According to reports confirmed by both the Pentagon and the Iranian government, Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was killed in an attack by US Forces on Baghdad airport Friday morning. Soleimani was Iran’s top commander and arguably the second-most powerful man within the regime, behind Ayatollah Khamenei. You would suspect that Soleimani’s death, or the death of any terrorist commander, would be received with cautious optimism. But in the case of our media and their mindless antipathy to Trump, such expectations must be suspended.
It would be hard to overstate the significance of Soleimani’s death. As the Pentagon announced following his death, he and his Quds Force “were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.” Soleimani orchestrated the recent attacks on U.S. bases within Iraq, including the one on December 27 in which an American contractor was killed. Soleimani also greenlighted the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad this past week, which involved the defacement of the compound at the hands of Iran-backed protesters and Iraqi militias.
It’s worth noting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization last year, the group joining the infamous ranks of nearly 70 others, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS. “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” Trump stated.
The IRGC, through highly specialized and secretive Quds Force, offers massive support to terrorists globally in the form of material aid, training, technology transfer, guidance, and direction, thus ensuring that Iran remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. In no short order, the IRGC continues to prop up its Islamic Revolution terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East, including but not limited to, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq, and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
According to the State Department, Soleimani’s Quds Forces plotted a terrorist attack against the Saudi Arabian Ambassador on American soil in 2011 that was luckily foiled. And in 2018, Iran and the IRGC were found liable in U.S. federal court for the 1996 Khobar Towers Bombing which resulted in the loss of 19 American lives. In recent years, it is no surprise that many countries have encountered and thwarted terrorist plots orchestrated by IRGC.
Given the indisputable terrorist activities of IRGC, with Soleimani at the helm, it would seem that celebrating his death would come naturally, in the same way that commentators on both sides of the aisle expressed relief and joy that Osama bin Laden had finally been captured and killed in 2011. According to the Pentagon, at the time of his death, Soleimani was in the process of planning future attacks on Americans diplomats and service members currently in the region, his death being treated as a means of foiling those plans and possibly deterring future ones from taking shape.
But reactions to the killing from media talking heads were predictably pathetic, given that they immediately assume the direct opposite of Trump’s position on any given issue, no matter the level of intellectual gymnastics such maneuvers require.
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s targeted killing of the terrorist leader has been deemed a litany of unseemly adjectives, including “reckless” and “incoherent.” Perhaps the most breathtakingly stupid reaction has been the notion that this attack somehow represented the first strike or an “act of war,” as if Iran and its proxies had not been targeting U.S. bases, seizing control of oil tankers, and laying siege on our embassy in Baghdad these last few months.
foreign policy specialists now bracing for US-Iran war after killing of Soleimani
former Bush national security official Richard Haass: “If US behind the strike, then Iran will almost certainly go after US personnel in Iraq and elsewhere. This could spread and escalate fast”
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 3, 2020
Imagine the Iranian government assassinated Mike Pompeo with a drone, at the direction of the president, and called it self defense.
That’s exactly what the US did by killing Soleimani — an act of war.
The only difference is Iran’s self defense claims would be more legitimate.
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) January 3, 2020
But there’s been a strange movement within the media to humanize the terrorist Soleimani. The Washington Post issued an alert last night, labeling the Iranian commander to be “Iran’s most revered military leader,” a far, ahistorical cry from the facts, which indicate that much of Iran is hugely upset with the regime’s expansionist and violent aims. Any reporter with knowledge of the region would recognize that there is a tremendous divide between the ambitions of Iran’s mullahs and the desires of the Iranian people.
The Washington Post was not alone. In the wee hours of Friday morning, a New York Times journalist tweeted a video of Soleimani reading poetry “about friends departing & him being left behind.” A former writer at the Intercept, Vice, and Salon compared the killing of Soleimani to the killing of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Captain America “all in one.”
A CBS report on Friday referred to the Soleimani as both a “revered figure” and a “war hero.”
Given the geopolitical complexity of the region, reactions to Soleimani’s death demand nuance. But before any analysis can begin, we should as a society be able to agree that his death was justifiable. During the Obama years, our foreign policy was structured on placating terrorists in some fashion, so much so that Obama tipped off the Iranians to an Israeli plot to kill Soleimani years ago. Given, inter alia, Trump’s partial withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the FTO designation of the IRGC, and the recent killing of Soleimani, that approach seems to no longer be the case.
As Michael Doran writes, “The decision to kill Mr. Suleimani represents the final demise of Mr. Obama’s Middle East strategy, which sought to realign American interests with those of Iran.” It seems the media is not only mourning the death of Soleimani, but the death of Obama’s legacy, a reaction which may explain their incoherent and emotionally fueled “analysis.” Determining what comes next is important. But acknowledging that a purely evil person was killed—and offering due credit to the Trump administration for his death—should not be so categorically challenging.