The news from Iraq is breaking fast, so I’m just going to give you a catch-up on what we know as this writing in the early hours of Friday morning. Keep a close watch on the news for updates, and we’ll be discussing the latest developments after they occur (one of the big differences between this website and some 24-hour “news” channels is that we don’t make judgements and pontificate about news until after it actually happens.)
To bring you up to speed: In retaliation for the attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, President Trump gave the authorization for an airstrike on the Iran-based militia group behind it. The strike came on a road near the Baghdad International Airport. But unlike some retaliatory strikes of previous Administrations, this one didn’t just rearrange some rocks and kill a few bystanders. It took out seven top officials, including the man reported to be the second-most powerful man in Iran, Gen. Qassem Suleimani.
Suleimani was the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the direct commander of the elite Quds Force, which has been destabilizing the Middle East for years and committing and aiding in jihadi terrorist attacks around the world. The US officially designated the Quds Force as a terrorist organization in 2007, and Suleimani has been behind many attacks on US and allied troops and Iraqi citizens, from roadside IEDs to rock attacks. He’s responsible for the deaths of at least 600 US soldiers and injuries to countless more, and in attacking our Embassy, the militia he was with launched an assault on sovereign US soil.
The Pentagon and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that this wasn’t just retaliatory: they had intelligence that another attack was imminent and this disrupted Souleimani’s plans, to put it mildly.
After the attack on the Embassy (for which Trump sent in the Marines within 13 minutes, a stark contrast to the 13 hours that our Benghazi personnel waited for aid), Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei taunted Trump by tweeting, “You can’t do anything.” To paraphrase “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” he chose poorly in doing that.
Suleimani wasn’t just a powerful military figure in Iran, he was the equivalent of both the Secretary of Defense and the head of the CIA. He was seen as a likely next President and touted by state media as a James Bond-style invincible superhero, even celebrated in pop songs. Well, that superhero just met his Thanos in Trump. It was reported that after the airstrike, his ring was the only thing left to identify him by.
Iran’s leaders are threatening that the US will suffer “harsh retaliation.” Then again, they also claimed Iran had nothing to do with the militia attacking our Embassy. So I guess Suleimani just happened to be with them when the airstrike came – in Baghdad – because they’d invited him to a New Year’s Eve party that was running long.
It’s wise to be cautious and prepared for retaliation (a snake can still bite you, even after you cut it in two.) Benjamin Netanyahu immediately announced support for the US and put Israel’s forces on alert. But there’s some question of how much of Iran’s threats are empty bluster. They just lost their top military leader and strategist, and Trump’s economic sanctions are crushing their economy and have the people rioting in protests across the country. Let’s pray they find it a lot easier to make threats than to follow through.
They’ve also now been served notice that the days of responding to Iranian aggression by dropping planeloads of money on them are as dead as Suleimani. The leader of ISIS probably thought he was safe, too, and could continue his reign of terror. He also chose poorly.
Both Iran and ISIS – and if he’s watching, let’s hope Kim Jong Un – have been served notice that the Foggy Bottom establishment way of doing things – appeasement, weakness, apologies, payoffs, strong words backed by zero action, you know: “smart diplomacy” – are over. Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are not in charge anymore. (FYI: This is how Obama dealt with Souleimani.)
In short, Iran just got the same lesson about attacking America in 2020 that the shooter in White Settlement learned about the wisdom of drawing a gun on Texans.
We used to have a tradition in America that criticism of the President ended at the water’s edge. That meant that when the President was representing the nation abroad, or when he was acting as Commander-in-Chief in defense of the US, his political opponents held their criticism of him in the name of patriotism and national solidarity. Well, I think we can agree that idea has gone down the garbage chute in recent years.
The smoke hadn’t even cleared from the attack on our Embassy in Iraq before Trump’s critics in the media and the Democratic Party were already assailing him for responding militarily and absolutely drenching themselves in shame (by contrast, Iraqi civilians were dancing in the streets in celebration of Souleimani's immolation.)
The Washington Post, which reported the death of mass murdering ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by calling him an “austere religious scholar,” described Souleimani as a “revered military leader.”
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted: “Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question. The question is this - as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”
(FYI: The Founders invested the power to retaliate militarily in a single Chief Executive because they knew that if every threat had to be debated by a bunch of squabbling Congress members, it would amount to national suicide. Obama launched plenty of drone strikes and never had to run to Congress to beg for a declaration of war first.)
Rep. Ilhan Omar, who seems hard-pressed to find a jihadi terrorist she won’t defend, immediately suggested that Trump was just trying to distract Americans from impeachment (Is “impeachment” still a thing? I had halfway assumed that Nancy Pelosi “accidentally” threw out those articles along with the discarded Christmas wrapping in hopes we’d all forget about it.)
Sadly, Omar wasn’t alone in her Trump Derangement Syndrome, as other top Congressional Democrats put politics over national security and scurried to CNN and MSMBC to accuse the President of “provoking” a war with Iran by responding to their killing of our troops and their attack on our Embassy (I don’t think “provoking” means what they think it means.) Meanwhile, I assume their staffers were on the phone to every law professor they knew, trying to find a way to make the case that defending America from attack is an impeachable offense.
Some are reportedly even urging Iran to hold back until November, when Trump might lose to a Democrat and we’ll go back to kowtowing and appeasing them:
And of course, liberal Hollywood celebrities had to toss in their one-cent. I’d say their two cents, but that’s a penny more than their thoughts were worth. If you think I’m exaggerating, read this:
I would discuss this further, but frankly, I’m too disgusted. Instead, I’ll point you to this must-read article recounting the reprehensible responses, and noting what would have happened if these same self-appointed “experts” in foreign policy had been advising FDR on how to respond to Pearl Harbor (“You can’t strike back at Japan! You might provoke them into a war!”)
Democratic Presidential Race Update:
On Thursday, Julian Castro announced that he is dropping out of the race, surprising dozens of Americans who knew he was still in it.
Now, who will speak up for the rights of men who need abortions?
Spiritual guru Marianne Williamson also reportedly laid off her entire campaign staff, but is continuing with her campaign, perhaps with the assistance of spirit guides to lay out the mats at her yoga fundraisers.
And once again proving that few careers are more lucrative than being a socialist politician, Bernie Sanders’ campaign raked in $34.5 million in the last quarter of 2019. The largest subset of donors was teachers. This should be a giant red flag to parents to start home-schooling their kids.
Some assessments of the past year are still rolling in. Here’s a look back at the previous year’s worth of dire economic predictions and how they panned out.
I’ll toss in another record that was set while we were on break: the Saturday before Christmas set an all-time retail shopping day record of $34.4 billion spent. I personally don’t like the over commercialization of Christmas and the emphasis on gift spending, but there’s no question this is a great sign both for consumer optimism and for the fact that (despite the gloomy claims of Democratic Presidential hopefuls) Americans once again feel secure in their jobs and have more money in their paychecks.
If you think the predictions of economic doom were wildly off, they were like the Amazing Kreskin compared to a secret Defense Department forecast of climate change from 2004. I’m sure some people will say “How DARE you” bring this up, but according to the “experts” of sixteen years ago, Great Britain’s climate in 2020 (that is, RIGHT NOW) is like Siberia's. The climate-related catastrophes have caused widespread famines, millions of deaths and nuclear wars over resources, and (stop me if you’ve heard this before) it may already be too late to stop it (as of 2004.)
Here’s a blog post with more details about the unlivable climate of 2020, if you’re interested. It should be read for entertainment purposes only, not for advice on planning any trips to the UK.
In one of those “How could life get any better?” stories, there’s a chance that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have to resort to her true calling of being a social media star because her Congressional seat is in danger of being done away with.
I should warn you up front, this is speculative, so don't get your hopes too high. But because their idiotic leftist government policies are driving so many people away, California and New York are likely to lose Congressional seats to other states in the 2020 Census. Ironically, those policies include the minimum wage hikes, high taxes, hostility to job creators and other leftist crusades championed by AOC herself. The Daily Wire reports that one of the most vulnerable seats in New York is AOC’s because (brace yourself to be unsurprised) over a quarter of its residents are non-US citizens.
One of the most interesting details of this story: if AOC is left without a district, it will because the solidly Democratic state legislature redraws the lines to oust her. I’m sure Nancy Pelosi will be crying all night over that prospect, as soon as she gets off the phone to Albany from making sure the deal is done.