Twenty Years of Continuity

Last night, the US killed Qassem Suleimani in a targeted killing on Iraqi soil. DOD claimed they killed him in a “defensive” move to stop his plotting against US diplomats. Nancy Pelosi already made clear that Trump did not properly brief Congress (though Lindsey Graham says he got briefed while golfing at Mar a Lago).

Most experts fear this will escalate (indeed, recent events resemble a Colin Kahl think piece about how the US and Iran could escalate into a war without meaning to).  That’d be bad enough under a sane president, with competent advisors. But Trump has fired most of the experts in his White House and has been pardoning war criminals (and is thinking of pardoning more). Which means we may well be mobilizing service members to fight for a Commander in Chief they can’t expect to think through the use of force, but who has already demanded that his subordinates violate norms and laws partly because he has a temper problem and partly because he doesn’t understand how slow negotiation and strategy works.

But I also feel like this moment has been coming for twenty years, enabled by people who disdain Trump but nevertheless get treated as sane.

There’s our response to 9/11, which people on both sides of the aisles believed was license to break all the rules the US had claimed to adhere to since World War II. We embraced torture because some of the most experienced policy makers ever claimed to be at a loss to know how to respond to a threat they had been warned about. Yet those policy makers knew how to work the system, to have in-house lawyers write up OLC memos excusing the crimes in advance.

Then there’s the Iraq War, the forever stain. Those same experienced policy makers used the opportunity of 9/11 to launch a war of a choice, and then bungle it, in part out of the same impatience and imperiousness policy elites now criticize Trump for, in part by putting incompetent ideologues in charge of cleaning up the mess.

Along the way, we used tools meant to fight terrorism as a way to villainize Iran, in part because the Neocons wanted to avoid political negotiation with Iran at all costs and in part because figuring out a way to deal with Iran’s willingness to use proxies was too difficult otherwise.

It didn’t really get better with Obama. When faced with the challenge of an American citizen inciting attacks, Anwar al-Awlaki, he carried out a sustained effort to kill him using the same kind of targeted kill that Trump just used, excused by yet more shoddy OLC memos.

It seemed so easy, he did it again to take out Osama bin Laden, in a made-for-campaign-season strike that didn’t do much to address terrorism but did expand our claims to operate on other countries’ sovereign territory.

Then there was Libya, where the US made certain agreements to limit the action against Qaddafi, only to violate them and leave the country in chaos.

The Republicans’ cynical sustained response to Benghazi, yet another made-for-campaign-season event, made it their party line stance that any attack on the US must be met by a show of dick-wagging and force, regardless of the efficacy. Trump even made that stance a key part of his nominating convention. Benghazi-palooza made a response like yesterday’s targeted killing inevitable, even though a bunch of the same Republicans recognize that Trump doesn’t understand the fire he’s playing with.

Behind it all is a belief that the most powerful nation in the world shouldn’t have to tolerate any resistance to its power, and may break rules and norms — to say nothing of causing untold chaos in other places — to quash it. Purportedly sane mainstream politicians set the precedent that it was okay to commit war crimes as a misguided shortcut in defending America. A Nobel Prize winner normalized assassination. And both parties have enabled events and legal arguments that leave Trump with few restraints.

And yet the chattering classes will pretend this is something new with Trump.

66 replies
  1. sproggit says:

    The other argument used in moments like this seems to be something along the lines of, “Well, since X has been violating the law, fighting proxy wars and attacking us endlessly for the last few years, we have responded by violating the law and killing them.

    Because it’s always classy to stoop to the lowest level when defending one’s actions, especially if it can be done with entirely fabricated evidence. Cough, WMD, cough.

    • PeeJ says:

      I’m not a Trumper, but as I understand it, this Suleimani was killed in a convoy inside Iraq… What was Iran’s number 2 guy doing in Iraq with a military convoy? If this is true, I see justification for the attack when our embassy is already being breeched. If this was on Iranian soil, I’d have issues, but how can anyone argue this is unjustified when our embassy is being attacked and a foreign military leader is leading a convoy within that country? I’m not seeing a lot of reports about what really went on here, but from what I have read, I can’t see not supporting it. Am I wrong? Am I missing something? On another issue though, how in the hell did the “Iraqi” demonstrators get inside the fortressed green zone in numbers and then to the embassy to begin with? That’s what I question…

      • Leu2500 says:

        From what I can gather it’s part of the Sunni-Shia divide in Iraq. Iran is Shia & allied with the Shias in Iraq.

      • Ruthie says:

        As with our response to 9/11, justifiable is hardly synonymous with wise. In the hot takes I heard on CNN when the news first broke, even conservative Max Boot was concerned with the possible ramifications.

      • sproggit says:

        However much we may dislike Iran – and I have no sympathies towards them, given their conduct in recent years – Iraq is a sovereign nation. If the United States want to hold the moral high ground and want to encourage other nations to play by the rules of diplomacy and international law, then we have to follow those same rules.

        If we had credible evidence that Suleimani was guilty of attacks on US nationals, where is the Interpol Red Notice? Where is the complaint lodged at the Hague?

        Where Iraq’s own military/police in charge of the operation that took place on their soil? If not, why not? Were they consulted about the operation? Notified? If not, why not?

        At one level, I understand and empathize with your question.

        On the other hand, President Trump applied sanctions to Russia over the Russian attack of former Soviet Double Agent Sergei Skripal and is daughter, Yulia, in Britain. On what basis can the United States demand better behavior from the Russians if the US President authorizes a broadly equivalent strike in Iraq?

        So to answer your question, given the leadership role it has taken in world affairs over the last ~ 75 years, the US has to hold itself to the same standards of conduct that it holds other nations.

        It is also worth noting that there may in fact be no immediate repercussions from the US taking this action. But it will be noticed around the world. Russians will be whispering in the ears of former US Allies – “See, they accuse us of murdering Skripal in the UK, then turn around and murder an Iranian General in Iraq! It’s one rule for them, another for the rest of us…” And before you know it, the arrogance and attitude conveyed by strikes like this can undo decades of diplomacy and partnership.

        Remember, those who would do harm to the US would like for nothing more than to have reasons to create rifts and divisions between the United States and her allies.

        Actions like this are fuel to that fire.

        It might have been considerably more risky, but if the US knew the travel plans of Suleimani well enough to order the air strike, they could have worked with Iraqi security to stage an ambush and captured him alive. Or let him die in a gunfight. Either way, an action taken with partners is defensible. An action taken like this just leaves us looking like a playground bully.

        • PeeJ says:

          I totally agree on Iraq needing to be involved. I just assumed they would have been. If we’re launching offensives within another country without their knowledge or consent, then yes, this is totally out of bounds. Meanwhile, more importantly, we must repeal AUMF. Giving one man, total control of authorizing an offensive attack, is insane. There is nothing wrong in launching defensive attacks immediately. However, this definitely should have been run through BOTH parties of Congress instead of the Russians.

          • bmaz says:

            Oh, you “assumed” that did you? Swell. Must be nice. Surely war in the Middle East will never touch you and your assumptions.

            • sproggit says:

              As my chemistry teacher used to say to me after I had set fire to or blown up part of the chemistry laboratory and offered a defence of, “But I just assumed that (the flask was clean/this was the bottle of acid that I left here yesterday / that this stuff wasn’t,actually, flammable/etc)…”

              “You know, every time you ass-u-me something, you end up making an ass of u and me…”

              • P J Evans says:

                I still remember in HS-equivalent chemistry, the lab experiment where we mixed NaOH and HCl in an evaporation dish and then evaporated it. We were supposed to taste the crystals produced. I looked at the bright-yellow crystals in the dish and went “nope”. (Besides which, I know what NaCl tastes like.)

          • Desider says:

            Defensive, eh…
            In 1952 or so we removed Iran’s democratically elected leader, Mossadegh, putting in the Shah’s son, cuz we were worried either by the Russians or oil, you tell me.
            In 1979 Iranians overthrew the Shah’s son, known for torture with Savak. The US froze their accounts and kept money abroad, releasing it… Oh, we never released all of it. Ask Trump why not.
            In early 80s we armed Saddam Hussein to try to overthrow the Iranian gov. 10 yrs later with 1 million dead on each side, the war ended. (We – Reagan/Bush also did some backroom deals with Iran to show it was just political footbal.
            In 2003, Bush Jr ignored UN inspectors findings and invaded Iraq -largely completing the encirclement of Iran half finished with Turkey in NATO, invasion of Afghanistan,and Turkmeni (?) alliance.
            With defence like this, who needs offense? (the Pats, but that’s a side discussion)

      • e.a.f. says:

        If you are the “number two” guy of any country, you usually travel with a security force, where ever you go. Ever had a look at what Pence travels with. it is not O.K. to murder a foreign leader on another country’s soil. Some may not like what Iran does or stands for, but really is the U.S.A. any better when it comes to adhering to civilized behaviour. In my opinion, its one thing to kill some one when there is a war. To go out and kill some one because you don’t like the position or that they’re good at their job, isn’t going to make for a peaceful world. Usually people who order the killing of some one else gets arrested and tried for murder. Just because you’re President of the U.S.A. doesn’t excuse your behaviour, no more than Putin’s is excused.
        Its not like the Bin Laden or the General were tried and convicted at the Court of the Hague and sentenced to death. Perhaps its time for the Court to start looking at some of the bigger players in the world, not just those in defeated countries.

        • P J Evans says:

          The US has never signed on to the ICC for its own citizens. Trying to remedy that is something to do if we survive.

          • bmaz says:

            This is true. And the ICC is a very imperfect forum. But, and in light of those imperfections, which would almost always protect US actors, it is notable that the US refuses to do so.

      • bmaz says:

        Hi “PeeJ” – What? The United States invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of people on the wings of a fabricated lie. So, you would also support the extrajudicial assassination of Mike Pence or Mike Pompeo?

        Really? Can you expound on that? I will be waiting.

  2. Rapier says:

    The US, the Saudi monarchy and Israel all want Iran destroyed. The Saudi in particular want to wipe Shia Islam off the face of the earth and Iran is the center of that. They wouldn’t mind wiping Persians off the face of the earth and large portions of the Arabic speaking world do too.

    Iran is a vital node of China’s Belt and Road Initiative for Eurasian economic integration. Which takes Iran beond just sectarian, cultural and regional enmities into the realm of global strategy. Destroy Iran and BRI is gravely wounded.

    I know it sounds crazy and it probably is but don’t be totally surprised if you wake up one morning to hear that Tehran is gone, nuked.

    • P J Evans says:

      Iran has been a major power in that region for longer than most countries have existed. It’s not a creation of 19th and 20th century imperialism and oil diplomacy.

      I wish the US “diplomats” who have been wanting to take out Iran (at the wishes of KSA and Israel) would get their heads straightened out and recognize that we’re in the wrong.

      • sproggit says:

        Chief Pedant here… “Iran has been a major power…” Not so much. “Persia has been a major power…” Yes, absolutely.

        We’re talking about the birthplace of mathematics, astronomy, an area of the world with some of the most ancient civilisations we know about. We’re talking about a region that had been civilized as a sophisticated society for thousands of years before the Founding Fathers left Europe.

        • P J Evans says:

          And the food! I recommend it, when you can find it, especially if you can find their home-style cooking, which is sauces on rice or noodles. (Kababe are restaurant cooking.)

  3. BobCon says:

    The press has also been a disaster. The owners and editors looked at their abject failure in the run up to the Iraq War and decided to stay the course. Uncountable personal tragedies that followed did nothing to sober their hunger for petty, meaningless gains in wringing out whatever tidbit might be published.

    Reliance on unreliable, off the record sources hasn’t changed. Extreme bias toward authority remains. Viewing every explosion and killing through the peephole of subjective takes on US popular opinion is still the gold standard for punditry.

    The leadership of the press is like the finest citizens of New Bedford and Nantucket in 1855, unable to imagine how the collapse they have engendered was even possible.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I almost threw up this morning listening to NPR on the way to work. They treated this incident in the same breathless manner as the leadup to the Iraq war and repeated the talking point “pre-emptive self defense” put out by the gov without any skepticism. They also treated the target of this strike like he was not a major flagged official of Iran but rather just another target of value. As always they normalized Trump’s cognition, behavior, and motivations.

      17 years of supposed self-reflection and the media still is wagged at the drop of a hat.

      • BobCon says:

        NPR will simultaneously repeat bad faith speculation by the GOP and also refuse to report known facts about bad faith actions by the GOP on the grounds that it would require speculation.

        The leadership and much of the reporting staff is nothing but glib solipsists.

  4. Ruthie says:

    I couldn’t agree more that Democrats are as guilty as Republicans, on the whole, for the escalating erosion of civil liberties over the last 20 years (at least).

    Having said that, I do think Trump is uniquely terrifying. I imagine him incapable of literally anything, and that is terrifying.

    • Desider says:

      Both sides do it!!! a winner. Except the Libyan overflights were multilateral with NATO allies – the Iraq invasion was with Tuvalo(sp?) in the Pacific over UN protests. Syria? We didn’t invade, though we worked with regional coalition partners to fight ISIS. But hey, false equivalence is always a winner.

  5. Trevanion says:

    Reflective, factual, and succinct, with weariness tangled up with fear. Spot on, and well done.

  6. Rugger9 says:

    Pompeo just admitted that Suleiman wasn’t a direct threat to the US on CNN. That would be the only reason to justify what is an actual act of war without notifying Congress (and Lickspittle Lindsey doesn’t count).

    We’d better have at least two carrier battle groups in the North Arabian Sea right now. The blowback will be significant and will probably involve closing the Strait of Hormuz.

    • P J Evans says:

      “Notifying Congress” doesn’t mean “telling Lindsey while out on the golf course”. It’s another potential charge for impeachment.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Agreed. This is beyond the now typical-for-America drone assassination of an alleged individual terrorist. It is an act of war against a sovereign state.

        Arguments about proportionality, its connection to alleged wrongs against the US, and the rights of Iraq as a host state aside, there is Trump’s abject refusal to inform Congress. That means both parties, not just his golfing buddies.

    • e.a.f says:

      Having two battle ship groups in the area would be the smart thing to do, but me, I’d get out of town. Iran is going to be looking for some revenge. How they go about it only time will tell. No battle ships are going to stop it.

      Given Iran has some support from China, North Korea, and Russia, I wonder if this may impact trade with China. It maybe these 3 countries don’t care about what just happened, but they might and what they do could also have repercussions for the U.S.A. The U.S.A. is happy to impose sanctions on other countries. What would happen if other countries placed strategic sanctions on Trump properties or the U.S.A. or some of Trump’s very wealth supporters. If Iran is into getting even, I would not like to be known as a Trump mega donor.

      • Rugger9 says:

        I’ve noted it elsewhere, but the CBGs would provide the air cover and depending upon the makeup the capability to conduct littoral strikes like taking out Bandar Abbas and its ships at the top of the Strait of Hormuz.

        All the Iranians need to do to cause havoc is to set up anti-ship missile batteries along their coast and those would be the focus of the air wings.

        As far as Russia and China go, I noted elsewhere that their reactions will determine whether Iran is encircled effectively and will have to back down, or we have a situation like Korea where China’s lip-service enforcement of sanctions means Kim Jong Un still is pursuing the nuclear program. I suspect it will be sanctions in name only to draw the Palace into another quagmire while Russia carves up Ukraine and China grabs Taiwan.

        • Rugger9 says:

          I see that MSNBC is taking Pence to the woodshed for saying that the Iranians were part of the 9/11 plot, even though his own party’s investigation clearly showed otherwise. So this proves that Pence is just as bad as Individual-1 (and apparently he was very involved in this decision) and there was “intelligence” stovepiped to ensure that Iran would be made up as the biggest baddest boogeyman ever. Why else make such an easily provable lie? In fact there were 2 hijackers that went through Iran because they make a point of not stamping KSA passports.

          Let’s remember that Shias (Iran) and Sunnis (KSA) have been at odds for almost 14 centuries and the two nations noted as examples are fundamentalist versions of the sects, so there is no way they’ll ally unless it is on the “enemy of my enemy” level. Indeed, the KSA is allied with Israel on topics involving Iran.

  7. Cathy says:

    Had a somewhat less thought-out version of this discussion this AM with the soon-to-be-voter. We’ve made it quite clear how irresponsible we consider certain (most) of the President’s actions yet it’s important the rising generation understands this particular irresponsibility goes deeper than an unhinged con-man-in-chief.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump is the proverbial bad seed who tells other children to play with matches in a gunpowder factory.

    Whether in bidness or gubmint, he hates process. He considers it a waste of time and money. It’s not a tool of good managers, it’s a cudgel to beat the other guy over the head with. Mostly, he doesn’t understand it, he is terrified of having to learn, so he doesn’t.

    Unlike other successful narcissist CEOs, who hire a lieutenant to manage processes they want to ignore but which are critical to their success, Trump refuses to hire or listen to them. He blames and fires those he does have. Unable to understand his own, an ally’s or an opponent’s needs, he settles on the simplistic and often violent, “Because I said so.”

  9. e.a.f says:

    The murder of Suleimani was out of line. The man was an official of a government and he had not been charged, arrested or tried for any crimes that I’m aware of. That he was good at his job as Number two in the Iran government ought not to be a death sentence. if it is, then a lot of V.P.s, etc. ought to be concerned. The man was travelling in Iraq. if nothing else the Americans were dam rude to kill him on Iraqi soil. They themselves are guests in Iraq.

    The U.S.A. needs to really get over itself and stop killing foreign leaders or those who they don’t agree with. It accomplishes nothing in the long run. It may get some politician some votes, etc. but long term it only, in my opinion, makes the U.S.A. look like the countries they oppose. Killing people they don’t like is SO Russia/Putin. the U.S.A. and other countries condem Putin for it every time it happens. When the U.S.A./Trump does it, there isn’t much international condemnation. There needs to be, because if this continues, which country’s leaders will be next. There are other alternatives. usually it involves a court of law some where.

    In my opinion what Trump did was murder. Just like we see in those old gangster movies where a ‘don’ has the opposition or rival gang leader murdered. During the Christmas vacation some channels re ran the Godfather movies over and over. Perhaps Trump watched one too many of them.

    Trump has done some rash things during his time in office and there have been consequences. However, this time his actions may cause consequences he never thought about. It is doubtful Iran is going to let this go. My expectation is they will get even and it will come in a surprising way. I wouldn’t want to be known as a Trump mega donor right now. I wouldn’t want to be one of his family members either or for that matter related to him. It is doubtful Iran will do something “major” which can be tracked back to them and cause a war.
    The U.S.A. may also find they are no longer welcome in Iraq. If they are “invited” to leave, what will they do, kill the number two person in the Iraqi government?

    I do hope other countries express some sort of objection to what Trump/U.S.A. has done.

    • Thebuzzardman says:

      “He was good at his job as the #2 in the Iranian government”.

      Listen, I think it was a bad idea to do this, an escalation step that was NOT necessary, where there were other escalation steps, many, that could (or not) have happened in between, in response to the embassy attack. Which was in response, in general, to US pressuring Iran with sanctions, etc etc and so on.

      But you’re portraying Qassem Suleimani as some bureaucrat, like he’s VP or something.

      No, it’s probably better to compare him to Stanley McCrystal, circa Iraq 2007, or Petraeus, at the height of him fame and influence. Or maybe Admiral McRaven. Or whoever is the general of SOCOM right now.

      Of course there can’t be a 1:1 analogy, but those are a lot better than “Oh, he’s the #2 guy and he was doing a good job”

      • Jim White says:

        Yes! McCrystal is a great comparison because of his time leading Special Operations Forces (closest US analog to Quds) into really ugly operations and I had been thinking just that since his killing. But I’d add that Suleimani also had a public persona within Iran of much higher prominence, more on the order of a John McCain at his height of popularity, so I don’t really see a US figure who combines both of those features.

      • Cathy says:

        Appreciate the shout-out for Adm. McRaven, who has gone on to shoulder a significant civil responsibility (Chancellor, University of Texas System, 2015-2018; now Prof. of NatSec @ UT’s LBJ School of Pub Affairs

        “Through your actions, [President Trump,] you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”
        – Wm. McRaven, 17 Aug 2018

        Those word could just as well have been spoken this week.

  10. Mitch Neher says:

    Time out, now!

    Everybody sits down.

    Everybody shuts up.

    Everybody takes a god-damned goo-long time-out, now!

  11. thomasa says:

    At the risk of commenting on the obvious, I’ll say that the nature of warfare has changed in the last twenty years. While Bolton et. al. may still be focused on bomb, bomb, bombing Iran, the Iranians no doubt have assorted “surprising ways” in their cyber arsenal of disrupting things. Also, the unpredictability has apparently been no surprise to the Japanese who last Friday agreed to deploy protections for their shipping to the Gulf of Oman. Maybe it’s time to put the semaphore flags in the laundry as a communications backup.

    • e.a.f. says:

      thomasa, when I read “semaphore” flags I laughed out loud. omg that brought back memories. It is doubtful if even 50% of the population remembers what they are. I can actually remember learning some of the letters in the last century, about the middle of last century. Its not a bad idea though. We are so reliant on electricity and computers, some can’t function without them.

      If another country decides they wish to conduct war via our grid, it will not be pleasant and many will die. Just the car accidents as people think they all have the right of way.

      Last winter, on Vancouver Island, a storm knocked out the power. In some more remote areas for up to 2 weeks. The first 12 hrs stores just closed their doors. Not only didn’t they have light, they couldn’t operate their tills nor could customers use their “cards”. One local hardware store was able to stay open. He fired up the generator, people paid cash, or wrote out an I.O.U. which the owner put up on his “collect” wall. He even charged our cell phones, for free.

      Some parts of the U.S.A. I know under go extreme weather conditions which cause they to be a tad more self reliant than others but semaphore flags, don’t know if people even have them any more or know what morse code is.

      I just hope things settle down and other countries condemn Trump for his actions but stay out of any wars he might want to start.

      Japan might want to build a few more navy ships as should Canada. We’re going to be on our own.

  12. Margo Schulter says:

    In response to e.a.f. at 1:13 p.m., I might add that the rejection of the death penalty by various international tribunals for war crimes and genocide, including the International Criminal Court under the Statute of Rome, makes the use of extrajudicial killings all the more a human rights violation.

  13. Jim says:

    Problem is , when the Pregnant Donnie *thinks * about doing anything , he uses his X-Box to see what the supposed outcome MIGHT be .

    • bmaz says:

      Jim, thank you for participating, and please do so more often. But, as Rayne previously advised, “please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Jim” including one of our contributors.”

      That is still true, and would be really helpful.

  14. John Ullmann says:

    In pre-9/11 planniong, the decimation of Iraq was cover for V.P. Richard Bruce Cheney to award over $39 Billion in no-bid contracts to Halliburton and its subsidiaries. This was closely held in closed-door White House meetings within a week of the first Bush inaugural. Maps were issued within a month delineating projected holdings in Iraq for the major oil companies. Pre-9/11. Fast forward 20 years and I’m not sure what kind of golf courses and vacation resorts the moron in the White House hopes to award himself, but I’m sure they’re in the planning stages in the Pentagon.

    • P J Evans says:

      I don’t think Trmp thinks past “what’s in it for me”, at any time. I don’t think he even talks to the Pentagon first.

  15. sproggit says:

    One of the things that President Trump has an exceptional talent for is media manipulation. He is able to drive events and from that drive the focus of the media within any given reporting cycle, knowing that he only has to do this for about 24 hours or so, before the next news item comes along.

    This is why, when news was breaking about Michael Flynn being charged with failing to disclose his contacts with Russians, the very next day the President launched a completely unverified and baseless claim that President Obama had ordered Trump Tower, New York, to be bugged. ZERO supporting evidence, never mind anyone who claims to have “told” the President this, have ever been found.

    The President used the withdrawal of US forces from northern Syria in the same way.

    Now he appears to have gone one step further and, in keeping with his growing intoxication of wielding Presidential authority, has ordered the killing of a foreign national.

    But the question is: why now?

    Soleimani was apparently murdered in a district of Baghdad. That’s roughly 200km from the border with Iran. How did he get that far in to the country? What was his point of entry? Did he fly or drive? How did border security not detect him crossing? (OK, that’s an unreasonable question given the length of the Iran-Iraq border).

    So here’s a tin-foil-hat theory. What if the President’s decision to order Soleimani was to deflect attention away from something potentially more damaging to the President, back home. But what?

    How about this:-

    • harpie says:

      Others are asking the “but, why now?” question, too; ie: at the end of this very informative thread [which I’ve also posted on Jim’s thread]:
      [twitter for iPhone time]: 6:27 AM · Jan 4, 2020

      1. I’ve had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I’ve learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is “razor thin”.
      17. Before I go back to the pool let me just say the obvious: No one’s trying to downplay Suleimani’s crimes. The question is why now? His whereabouts have been known before. His resume of killing-by-proxy is not a secret. Hard to decouple his killing from the impeachment saga.

  16. Willis Warren says:

    I think everyone is guessing wrong. Iran will go after soft targets through proxies. The most likely target is Mar a Lago, or other Trump hotels. Trump’s family is another possibility, as Eric Trump tweeted out about what an awesome thing daddy had done, only to take it down because someone informed him that he’s a soft target.

    Trump is horribly bad at this, but we’ve had Bush, who was also bad at this, just not as bad, and Trump is merely the logical progression of stupid American policies, both military and economic (hard to tell the difference sometimes).

    Trump’s friends and customers are in extreme danger, and they’re too busy fighting the liberals to understand how vulnerable the are.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      Yes! Willis Warren is right. The Iranians are no where near as crazy as The Pentagon pretends itself to be–and The Iranians know that about The Pentagon’s pretense of its own supposed insanity.

      [Look up “Millennium Challenge (2002-3)”–for starters.]

      There will never be U. S. combat troops with boots on the ground in Iran. Never! And everybody knows it.

      P. S. The Pentagon owns Trump, now. For the remainder of Trump’s days on Earth (however many those should be) Trump will make no more decisions of his own. None!

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