If you’ve spent any time on Twitter in the past week or so you’ve probably seen plenty of progressives worried about Trump’s strike on Gen. Soleimani. There were many worried that WWIII was imminent and some confusion about why Trump would dare to attack an Iranian governmental figure. Michael Moore made the case yesterday that most Americans hadn’t even heard of Soleimani. Today Moore claimed that any Americans killed by Soleimani (or on his orders) were the fault of President Bush:
What Americans did Soleimani kill? Our troops, who were forced to invade Iraq, a country next to his which had nothing to do with 9/11? No.Our beloved troops were sent there to their deaths by Bush, Cheney &the 29 Democratic Senators who voted to commit this war crime. The Truth.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 8, 2020
Few have pushed the Why are we being so mean to Iran?! idea as far as Michael Moore, but many on the left are embracing the idea that President Trump is responsible for all of our current woes because he pulled out of the Iran deal. Until that moment, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism was well behaved:
Iran didn’t fire a single rocket at US interests in Iraq during the Iran Deal. Just look at what Iran has done since Trump pulled out of that Deal. Trump is lying relentlessly and he has made things much more dangerous. https://t.co/YucbzLHDLk
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) January 8, 2020
In response, the Washington Examiner published a helpful reminder about Iran’s long history of attacking the United States.
A more appropriate Iranian timeline begins with the 1979 seizure of our embassy in Tehran and the detention of dozens of U.S. diplomats for more than a year. It continues in Lebanon, with Iran’s April 1983 murder of 17 Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, and the October 1983 slaughter of 241 U.S. peacekeepers as they slept in their barracks. Iran’s gripe with these public servants? They served a multisectarian cause that obstructed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s subjugation of the Lebanese people. Regrettably, in President Ronald Reagan’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Lebanon, Iran and al Qaeda found a rationale for new terrorism. In 1996, Iranian agents attacked a U.S. military barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 Americans who had been working to maintain a no-fly zone against Iran’s nemesis, Saddam Hussein.
During the 2006 to 2009 period in Iraq, Soleimani’s Quds Force deployed explosively formed penetrator shells to Shiite militias in Iraq. These weapons killed hundreds of Americans and maimed thousands more. To be clear, Iran’s actions were not designed to end foreign intervention in Iraq but to push America out so that Iran could dictate Iraqi politics. Although little known, another Quds Force attack in 2007 saw four Americans kidnapped from a meeting with Iraqi officials in Karbala and executed while in handcuffs. In Afghanistan, Iran provided weapons and logistics support to various insurgent groups, including the Taliban…
Two years after [President Obama] had offered an outstretched hand to Tehran, seeking a new relationship, Iran attempted to blow up civilians in our nation’s capital. In 2011, under the direction of Soleimani, the Quds Force plotted to blow up the Saudi ambassador at Washington, D.C.’s Cafe Milano restaurant. When the operations agent responsible for carrying out the attack told his Quds handler that the explosion might kill one hundred diners, he was told: “F— ’em.”
Yet that’s not all. Both during nuclear negotiations and after the deal was signed, Iran helped Bashar Assad slaughter hundreds of thousands of his people in Syria. The Quds Force and its allies have played a special role in starving Sunni-dominated settlements. In Lebanon, Iran and its Hezbollah ally have blackmailed or bombed dozens of patriots opposed to Tehran’s interference. The list of victims includes many security officials and, most notably, former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. In Yemen, Iran has helped fuel the civil war by supporting Houthi extremists.
The editorial continues by pointing to this blockbuster article published by Politico in 2017 alleging that the Obama administration derailed an investigation of Hezbollah’s drug-running operation in order to help secure the Iran deal.
Asher for one, said Obama administration officials expressed concerns to him about alienating Tehran before, during and after the Iran nuclear deal negotiations. This was, he said, part of an effort to “defang, defund and undermine the investigations that were involving Iran and Hezbollah,” he said.
“The closer we got to the [Iran deal], the more these activities went away,” Asher said. “So much of the capability, whether it was special operations, whether it was law enforcement, whether it was [Treasury] designations — even the capacity, the personnel assigned to this mission — it was assiduously drained, almost to the last drop, by the end of the Obama administration.”
Iran has been attacking America since 1979 and has run up a significant body count over the decades. The Iran deal’s proponents said at the time that it wasn’t intended to stop Iran’s bad behavior around the world, only to limit it’s nuclear ambitions (temporarily). The deal allowed Iran to use money freed up by the end of US sanctions to export terrorism to other parts of the world. Even John Kerry admitted this was possible. So if Iran wasn’t firing rockets at the US during the deal it’s only because they wanted to continue bankrolling the firing of rockets elsewhere. In any case, it’s pretty hard to argue that Soleimani in particular didn’t have it coming or that the world isn’t better off without him in it. Here’s how Garry Kasparov (who is definitely not a fan of President Trump) put it:
We'll never know how many more innocents Qasem Soleimani would have murdered or how many hundreds of thousands more refugees he'd have helped create. But don't pretend you know that what is to come is worse than the world with such a person in it.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) January 4, 2020