On April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific, the U.S. Army Air Force shot down the bomber known to be transporting Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The aircraft went down in flames, and all on board died.
Planned and executed under the strictest secrecy, Operation Vengeance was launched with the specific purpose of killing Yamamoto. Although the planners were concerned that this targeted assassination might invite retaliation in kind by the Japanese, the American press, public, and political establishment overwhelmingly approved the intentional killing of Yamamoto. He had been the architect of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and was deemed to be the Imperial Navy’s ablest officer. His death was not only well-earned retribution, it also materially advanced the war effort. So, targeted assassination or not, the killing of Yamamoto was considered to be a good thing.
Similarly, the 2011 execution of Osama Bin Laden by special forces received universal praise from the American public, the media, and both major political parties. And, consistent with the goal of that operation, the Obama administration also conducted extensive drone warfare that targeted and killed scores of lower-ranking terrorists while in many instances collaterally wounding or killing hundreds of non-combatants. Nevertheless, despite this “collateral damage,” neither the Democrats nor the mainstream media raised any serious criticism or opposition to Obama’s lethal drone program.
Which brings us to the recent drone strike on Major General Qassem Soleimani of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Force (“IRGC”) and his top ally in Iraq, militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Soleimani commanded the IRGC’s Quds Force which is primarily responsible for military and clandestine operations outside Iran. As reported extensively elsewhere, he was responsible for deployment of Iranian designed and manufactured IEDs that caused the deaths and wounding of thousands of American military personnel during the Iraq War.
Despite Soleimani’s bloody record, the drone strike that killed him, carried out at the direction of President Trump, has been bitterly denounced by Democrat office holders and their wholly-owned mainstream media subsidiary. To hear them tell it, by authorizing the killing of Soleimani without first consulting Congress, Trump has acted illegally and heedlessly and unnecessarily risked all-out war with Iran.
While Democrat and media criticism of Trump is hardly news, the context and vehemence of this latest condemnation raise interesting questions regarding the Democrats’ true motives which, as will be discussed below, appear to be nefarious and corrupt.
First, let’s consider the exigent circumstances leading up to President Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani.
Citing anonymous sources within the Iraqi security service and Shi’ite militia commanders, Reuters reports that, at the time of his death, Soleimani had instructed al-Muhandis “and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran…” including Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles capable of bringing down helicopters. Moreover, “the U.S. intelligence community had reason to believe that Soleimani was involved in ‘late stage’ planning to strike Americans in multiple countries, including Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon…”
In fact, by the time Soleimani was killed, the initial phases of the planned attacks had already taken place. The Soleimani strike followed by days a thirty-plus rocket attack by a Quds Force militia on an Iraqi military base which killed an American civilian contractor and wounded four American servicemen. And, the day before Soleimani’s death, the same Quds Force militia had assaulted the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Thanks to superior intelligence gathering and analysis, a brief opportunity arose to target and eliminate Soleimani and disrupt his plan of attack. Under those circumstances, time was of the essence, and the president had to promptly order the drone strike and end the threat. Whether such exigent circumstances would have allowed for advance notice to Congress is an open question.
Nevertheless, the Democrats and their media steno pool have vehemently condemned the president’s decision as illegal since he acted without first consulting Congress. This criticism is, of course, specious — if not outright dishonest — given that no commander-in-chief is required to brief Congress before taking action to protect American military and diplomatic personnel from imminent harm.
Moreover, the issue arises as to whether such consultation would have compromised operational security. According to the New York Times, the Obama administration, citing security concerns, decided to notify congressional leaders only after Bin Laden had been killed. (In the event, without White House knowledge or authorization, then–CIA Director Leon Panetta nevertheless notified selected members of Congress before the raid.)
The lead-up to the Soleimani strike implicated similar security concerns, albeit ones that dwarfed the risk of exposure that faced the Bin Laden raid. In this regard, half of the so-called “Gang of Eight” with whom Trump was putatively supposed to consult before taking out Soleimani are congressional Democrats. As such, they hold leadership positions in a political party that has spent the last three years attempting to remove Trump from office.
After the collapse of the Democrats’ Russian collusion hoax and the exposure of the pro-Democrat deep state plot to advance Hillary Clinton’s political interests by illegally spying on Trump’s presidential campaign, House Democrats nevertheless conducted a meretricious and lawless star chamber impeachment of President Trump without alleging or proving a single requisite high crime or misdemeanor. Given this reckless and unhinged record, the Trump administration undoubtedly had to seriously consider whether anyone in the Democrat congressional leadership could be trusted not to undermine the planned Soleimani strike by leaking word of it to their mainstream media partners. Based on the Democrats’ never-ending anti-Trump political jihad, the only reasonable conclusion would had to have been that briefing congressional Democrats about the upcoming drone strike would have resulted in their willingly and gleefully compromising operational security in order to embarrass the president and deny him a victory of any kind.
But, as bad as all that is, the situation confronting Trump was, in fact, much, much worse.
Recall that in July 2015 the Obama administration joined the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and other countries in signing the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran” (“JCPOA”) which greenlighted Iran’s processing and enrichment of uranium. According to the June 8, 2018 Investors Business Daily, President Obama and his officials at the Treasury Department and State Department sold this deal to Congress by claiming that “it would be accompanied by a near-ban on Iran having any access to the U.S. banking system.” Obama and his officials “were clear: They would work assiduously to freeze out Iran from getting dollars to fund its mischief and mayhem around the world.” The IBD noted:
The Associated Press puts it this way: “As the Treasury and State Department (sic) worked behind the scenes to help Iran access the dollar, the message to Congress remained the same: The JCPOA… did not allow Iran access to the U.S. financial system.”
Obama sent a clear message to Congress: If you don’t block this nuclear deal, we will bar Iran’s access to our financial system. The deal was clear, unequivocal.
It was also a lie. Obama lied, and so did others in his administration. That’s the conclusion of a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Citing the report, IBD went on to say that “Obama officials pushed the U.S. Treasury to let Iran convert the equivalent of $5.7 billion of funds held in Oman’s Bank of Muscat from rials into dollars and subsequently into euros.” This at a time when the State Department was characterizing “Iran as the No. 1 terrorist-supporting state on earth. Every dollar it gets from us has an ultimate use that is highly questionable, which is the reason why the U.S. imposed sanctions in the first place.”
Recall also that, in 2016, under this so-called “Iran nuclear deal,” the Obama administration delivered to Iran pallets of Swiss francs, euros, and other currencies totaling $1.7 billion and unlocked $150 billion in previously frozen Iranian assets. Citing the Washington Times, the IBD reported that some of the $1.7 billion in cash “ended up in the hands of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Iran’s own Quds Force, the dirty tricks and terror branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.”
Then, on May 8, 2018, at the direction of President Trump, the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. In its place, the Trump administration imposed very tough economic sanctions which have resulted in severe financial pressure on Iran’s government and spawned unrest among the Iranian people. Nevertheless, Iran has continued its clandestine terror operations against neighboring countries and threats against America.
In a recent interview with the American Enterprise Institute, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated flatly that former officials of the Obama administration are continuing to meet with Iranian leaders in an effort to undermine President Trump’s Iran policies.
“I’ll be straight up with you,” Pompeo said, “you have folks who served in the previous administration who are telling the Iranian leaders today, ‘Just hang on. President Trump will lose in the election in November, and we’ll go back to appeasement. America will write you a big check, we’ll underwrite your terror campaign around the world, we’ll give you a clear pathway to a nuclear weapon system. Just wait until the Trump administration is finished.’”
As cited in the AEI interview, this is not the first time that Pompeo has raised this spectre. In September 2018, he specifically criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry, for “actively undermining” U.S. Middle East policy by engaging in secret talks with Iran’s foreign minister in which Kerry advised “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” to “wait out” the Trump administration. According to the AEI, Pompeo’s criticism was confirmed by Iran’s Fars News agency which reported in May 2018 that private citizen Kerry had conferred with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an attempt to salvage the nuclear deal.
Accordingly, in addition to the corrupt efforts by the Democrats to remove Trump from office, there is also an ongoing sub rosa plot by an out-of-power shadow Obama administration to promote Iran’s interests and nuclear ambitions in direct contravention of Trump administration policy and America’s interests. Under these circumstances, President Trump would had to have been deranged to consult any of the Democrat congressional leadership concerning the conduct of imminent military operations against the Iranian terrorist state. Against this unbroken record of Democrat perfidy, how could the president ever have been expected to trust the loyalty much less the discretion of any congressional Democrat to keep secret the planned Soleimani strike?
But — as they say in the informercials — wait! There’s more!
Why, you may ask, is the Obama shadow government continuing its efforts to resurrect the atrocious and inexplicably deleterious Iran nuclear deal? The answer to that question may lie in the following May 8, 2018 Tweet by one Raman Ghavami (@Raman_Ghavami) which was made following Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and imposition of trading sanctions. Citing the senior adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, Ghavami’s Tweet reads in full as follows:
H.J. Ansari Zarif’s senior advisor: ‘If Europeans stop trading with Iran and don’t put pressure on US then we will reveal which western politicians and how much money they had received during nuclear negotiations to make #IranDeal happen.’ That would be interesting.
Can this be true? Were western politicians — including members of the Obama administration — paid by Iran to enter into the idiotic and dangerous Iran nuclear deal? Could this also explain why, as found by the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, the Obama administration lied to Congress to gain approval of the deal while it worked behind the scenes to allow Iran access to U.S. financial markets? Could it be that officials of the Obama administration were and continue to be motivated by Iranian payoffs to sell out America?
The strike on Soleimani has set in motion a series of threats and counter-threats and raised the possibility of open conflict with Iran. Where this will end nobody can predict. But it has already produced results beyond the death of Soleimani and disruption of Iran’s terrorist agenda. Thanks to the strange and vehement Democrat condemnation of President Trump’s decision to launch the drone strike, the aftermath of Soleimani’s death may well provide the predicate for re-examining the policies of the Obama administration that inexplicably promoted the interests of the leading state sponsor of terrorism while undermining American security.
As explosive yields go, that would be quite a result from a single Hellfire missile.
George Parry is a former federal and state prosecutor. He is a regular contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and blogs at knowledgeisgood.net. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.