Qassem Soleimani

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by nosborne48, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I don't know what the Administration knew or thought it knew when President Trump ordered the killing. Apparently, both Presidents Obama and Bush II considered the idea but rejected it for fear of the potential consequences. There doesn't seem to be much doubt that the Major General was the instigator of terrorist actions against the U.S and our allies for many years.

    I do suspect, though, that President Trump has greatly improved his chances of re-election by taking concrete action to raise the personal cost of engaging in terrorism. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I keep seeing that word. What is the definition of "terrorist" that would describe Soleimani yet applied identically would not describe any U.S. military or intelligence officials?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of the ayatollahs. But I can't help but be reminded of this:

    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It was an act of war, which is in the eye of the beholder.

    It may have been a war crime since he wasn't a combatant, nor was he on the battlefield (figuratively or literally).

    We're not at war with Iran. This makes the action an extra-judicial killing.

    Bad guy? You can make an argument for that. But others might make the argument that he was a patriot.

    He's accused of directing actions that caused hundreds of Americans to die and thousands more to be injured. But that could be said about many, many warriors on any side of a conflict, declared or otherwise.

    There is no evidence his killing prevented anything, despite vague and unsupported claims to the contrary.

    No sympathy for him, but I'm not sure ordering his killing was the right thing to do. This is even more so considering the tactical and strategic ramifications.

    Complex situations are usually made worse by applying simple solutions with no real plan.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  4. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    All true. But my point was that the killing will likely prove very popular with Americans who live in "flyover country" and outside the bubble of the "governing elite". I was a young ensign at sea in the Navy when the Iran Hostage crisis commenced and I remember very clearly the shame and hot outrage we felt that our government seemed incapable of taking any action in the face of an act of war. We knew we weren't incapable but President Carter refused to give us orders. Finally, of course, President Reagan paid a significant (and illegal) ransom to get the hostages back and the Iranian regime solidified itself into the form we see it today. Was Carter right? I don't know. Were we overconfident of our abilities? Probably. But the sting never left.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  5. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Reports coming in that several dozen of what are being described as "ballistic missiles" have been fired by Iran at bases housing US forces in Iraq. (One of the bases was Al Assad west of Baghdad, an Iraqi base used by the US. Reportedly there are some British there too.) Not clear where the projectiles were fired from (just outside the base fence or from Iranian territory) or what kind of "missiles" they are. It could mean anything from small katyusha-like unguided artillery rockets to bigger guided missiles like scuds. (The Iranians have supplied the bigger ones to the Houthis in Yemen who fire them at Riyadh periodically.)

    The US has several hundred Tomahawk cruise missiles in the vicinity, so...

    (I would guess that they might be receiving targeting coordinates as we speak. I hope they include the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile sites and supporting industrial/engineering infrastructure.)
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The military attempted to rescue the hostages, but the mission ended in abject failure. If we were not "incapable of taking any action," that would not have happened. Being on active duty at the time, I remember how hollow the military felt in those post-Vietnam days.

    Selling the missiles to Iran for the hostages wasn't the bad part, and probably wasn't illegal. Diverting the funds from those sales to the Contras in Nicaragua was most definitely illegal, however, and became the basis for the Iran-Contra scandal. I would imagine that if Reagan could have gotten them out without paying a ransom, he would have. (And how did that negotiation occur before Reagan took office? Was it a violation of the Logan Act?)

    One does not launch a land war in Asia if one wishes to achieve one's objectives. Not ever. JFK and LBJ didn't know it. Carter knew it. Reagan knew it. George HW Bush sorta knew it. But GW Bush and the Neocons had no clue about that and we got Afghanistan and Iraq in the deal. The current president seems not to know it, either. But let's hope some around him do.

    (I'll give Reagan credit for a huge thing: reinvigorating our military. Even the stranger things--like bringing back the battleships--seemed to contribute to this. I think the military is too large and a bit out of control these days, but better that than the hollowed-out version I entered in the 1970s.)
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It would be nice if cooler heads would now prevail on the US side. I'm not sure the president is interested in that, however. We'll know in the coming days.
  8. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    US Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman has issued this statement:

    "At approximately 5:30 P.M. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil. We are working on initial battle damage assessments. In recent days, and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region. As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners and allies in the region. Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available."
  9. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Gee, if it wasn't for DegreeInfo, I would never know this kind of stuff. Here in Pennsylvania, where I live, we have no access whatsoever to news websites (whether right wing or left wing), no access to television, no access to network news, no access to newspapers, no access to any information sources through which we can keep up on current affairs. Gee, if it wasn't for DI, I wouldn't hear about Iran bombing Iraq for at least a week, if not two or three or four. What will happen next? I guess I should stay tuned to DI or I'll never hear about these things. :rolleyes:
  10. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    The FAA has just issued a NOTAM prohibiting US registered civil aircraft from operating over Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, due to military activity in the area. (I expect other countries to do the same. Good luck flying into or out of Dubai on a Western carrier...)

    Early reports are that there are no US casualties. The missiles fired from inside Iran are said by several sources to have been very inaccurate. That's raised some eyebrows since the cruise missile attack on the Saudi oil refinery was very precise. So there's speculation that the inaccuracy might have been intentional, and this was more a face-saving measure by Tehran than a serious attack on the US.

    US forces in Iraq are on alert for attacks by Shi'ite militias.
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    You mean this thread wasn’t submitted to you for pre-approval? Someone is napping on the job. You know, besides you.
  12. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    While I'm no Libertarian, I really did like what Ron Paul said about how the US brings all this trouble on itself by consistently interfering in the middle east without anywhere near sufficient context.

    Don't like the current regime in Iran? Well, they probably wouldn't have hated us so much had we not propped up a dictator in Iran whose secret police tortured and killed numerous people.

    Basically, it's like we walk into strangers homes, throw out all of the furniture they picked out and replace it with the stuff we like. Then, when we drive past and see all of it on the curb, we get offended that they rejected our generous and unsolicited gift and feel justified to "retaliate" for their disrespect.

    This is the cycle. We do it over and over and over again.

    The great irony is that if we would stop holding back the development infrastructure changes that are needed to get us off of fossil fuel, we wouldn't need the Middle East again at all. We could just sit here happily consuming our electronic goods fueled by the sun and wind and watch as oil prices drop and Saudi billionaires really starting to sweat.
  13. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Who is good or bad is a matter of which side you're viewing things from. Who is a terrorist or a patriot also depends on which side you're viewing things from. With few exceptions, I view both sides as the same, both caught up in a mix of denial and delusion.

    It's ridiculous that the best idea so-called intelligent people can come up with to deal with a problem is killing each other. Someday, in the very distant future when all of us have been long gone, humanity will have grown to stop putting on costumes and killing each other over temporal matters and differences of opinion.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    There's a great episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called "The High Ground" that relates to these ideas.

    LearningAddict likes this.
  15. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I think that there's a big and growing division between those who:

    (1) support vigorous action to halt Iranian (and North Korean) provocations and their development of nuclear and ICBM technology capable of threatening us and our friends. That may leave us with no choice but to launch preemptive strikes. It's the impulse that led us to go to war against Hitler, and it might arguably leave the world a better place. But in the short term it means war and heavy loss of life.

    (2) those who favor the America first idea and something of a return to the American posture pre-World War II. Meaning that the US pays primary attention to what happens inside its borders (so there have to be borders) and let the rest of the world follow whatever path they want to follow (as long as it doesn't directly threaten us or our vital interests.) That means turning away from the religious-style missionary impulse where we feel like it's our purpose to spread democracy everywhere and to stand up for "oppressed people" wherever they are. It would keep us out of the endless wars and away from the whole world somehow becoming our responsibility. But it might leave many parts of the world more brutal than they already are, as less scrupulous powers like ISIS or Iran and its Quds Force carve out their own spheres of influence.

    It isn't just Trump supporters, I think that most people not only in the United States but around the world share that ambivalence. They insult the United States mercilessly and denounce it as evil and "imperialist", but wherever anything goes bad in their parts of the world, it's "Where are the Americans?" and expect us to show up and protect them. Cops of the World.

    There are strong arguments both for and against both options. I'm not sure where I fall.

    What I do think is clear is that some exceedingly idealistic "new world order" with its globalism and multilateral institutions won't fill the void.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    This analysis seems to ignore the fact that we had a deal with Iran on nuclear proliferation. They were abiding by it until we tore it up because everything Obama did was "bad."

    So it would be like if Chamberlain handed over Czechoslovakia, Hitler stopped invading other countries, then Churchill had someone in Hitler's inner circle assassinated in another country in an extrajudicial killing and said everything Chamberlain did was dumb and he wouldn't abide by any previous agreements.

    Conspiracy theories of the "New World Order" are ridiculous. The EU has certainly had its stumbles, but continental Europe has benefit immensely from the EU economically. The UK benefit from it greatly as well, just in ways that were not visible to many who voted for Brexit. Economic interdependence between countries promotes peace. Why would you blow up someone you trade with? Nationalism promotes chest beating and irrational pride over imaginary lines on maps and accidental locations of birth.

    The only message sent to the world with all of this is that the US will not by bound by its own word and we are willing to commit war crimes. This is not a positive and this is not something that globalized economies have broken.
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    The thing that's in my mind now is whether President Trump hasn't already accomplished whatever goal he may have had in mind. He has assassinated the person he felt needed to be killed. What would be the purpose of escalating the conflict further? And, as always, how does all this end? A land war in Asia...
  18. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    you made me do it . . .

  19. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    In his remarks this morning, the President seemed to indicate that if the Iranians feel that they have accomplished whatever goal that they had in mind (saving face), did so without killing any Americans and are now standing down, that the US isn't going to be pursuing additional military actions. So military tensions seem to be ratcheting down.

    Apparently the US knew the attack was coming through multiple sources. One of them was the fact that the Iranians warned the Iraqi government beforehand, who in turn warned the Americans. The Americans apparently withdrew into bunkers prepared for that purpose. Other governments in the region had advanced information (however they got it) as well, and also warned the US. And finally, by the time they warned us, we had already known for hours that a ballistic missile strike was being prepared through our own intelligence channels. (Satellites, communications intercepts, agents...)

    Another big event was the crash of a Ukrainian Boeing 737 (an 800 model, not a Max) that was leaving Tehran airport less than half an hour after the missiles were unleashed. All 176 people that aboard the airliner died. The cause of the crash is still under investigation but rumors are swirling (that's all they are at this point) that the Iranians, who were on high alert waiting for a possible US counter-strike, accidently shot it down. There's cell-phone video on the internet purporting to show the airliner crashing at night and a ball of flame was clearly visible descending into the ground. Perhaps significantly, the Iranians are refusing to turn over the airliner's "black boxes". That might be understandable if they don't want to hand them over to the US, but it was a Ukrainian airliner and they should give them to Ukraine. They should indicate whether the crash resulted from a failing engine (there may be some indication of that) or from a sudden explosion consistent with being hit by a surface-to-air missile.

    As I mentioned above, the US FAA has put out a NOTAM declaring Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman off limits to US civil aviation. Commercial aviation around the world is following suit. Hundreds of commercial aircraft pass through that region every day, normally. (The UAE alone has several big airports.)

    I don't think that the US government has any intention of launching a land invasion of Iran. We had enough headaches with Iraq. (The Iraqi army was relatively easy to defeat, but then what?) Iran is much bigger. The last thing we want is to be stuck occupying Iran. Again, having turned ourselves into the ones responsible for the future of the country.

    So I would anticipate that the top level of a hierarchy of contingency plans might be an air campaign, perhaps directed against the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructure, conducted as much as possible remotely with ballistic and cruise missiles and other stand-off weaponry, so as to minimize the chance that Iran might down some piloted aircraft and acquire hostages.

    But the President seems to be opting for the most restrained option of all of them - don't take any additional offensive military actions unless Iran does.

    He did slap some additional sanctions on them and told them that he's always willing to talk about negotiating a deal that better guarantees that their nuclear and long range ballistic missile programs truly end.

    Predictably, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks it's great and President Erdogan of Turkey has offered to serve as an intermediary. (Which might actually be helpful.)

    Of course, I don't expect negotiation to go anywhere since Iran has no intention of ending their nuclear and missile programs. The events of the last week or so just underline Iran's sense of weakness and their belief that they won't become the Shi'ite Islamic superpower able to control the Persian gulf and the majority of the world's crude oil reserves, sitting astride Europe's and east Asia's energy supplies, able to dictate terms to them and stare down the United States, until they have nukes and the ability to deliver them. So I think that ambition is non-negotiable with them.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
    Helpful2013 likes this.
  20. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    If he stops at this point it will certainly quash a lot of the "wag the dog" talk that's going around.

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