The execution by drone strike of Qassen Soleimani, the commanding general of Iran’s Al Quds Force, has caused quite a few strange reactions from both the media and many Democrats, including those running for president. Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, is a case in point, according to Fox News.
“Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is ratcheting up his condemnation of President Trump’s order that lead to the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, comparing the killing to Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘assassinating dissidents.'”
“Sanders, who was one of the first 2020 Democrats to call Trump’s airstrike on Soleimani an ‘assassination,’ lobbed harsh criticism against the Trump administration for the killing.”
The analogy was, to say the least, an odd one. Putin tends to have people killed for speaking out against his regime, taking a tactic often used by the Soviet Union for whom the Russian leader worked as a KGB agent.
Soleimani, on the other hand, was a terrorist chieftain who had fomented death and destruction across the Middle East. He was directly responsible for the murder of about six hundred American soldiers and the maiming of thousands more. Soleimani had just instigated the invasion of the American embassy in Baghdad by Iranian supported militiamen, an act of war. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is assuring one and all that the Iranian terrorist leader was planning further mayhem.
Indeed, as Politico noted, Soleimani was the recipient of a drone-fired missile not so much to start a war with Iran, but to stop the ongoing one, according to President Trump.
“’Let this be a warning to terrorists: if you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our citizens,’ Trump declared at the beginning of a campaign event with evangelical leaders in Miami.”
Meanwhile, officials of the Iranian regime have made blood-curdling threats against the United States and its people. They have vowed revenge against America for the execution of Soleimani. Trump has responded with his threats, moving troops, planes, and ships to the region. Many believe that a full-scale war between the United States and Iran is all but certain.
One of the reasons Bernie Sanders’s criticism is oddly expressed is that he once honeymooned in the Soviet Union and expressed praise for the communist regime. As Politico noted, using as a source some video that has surfaced:
“But that’s only the beginning. The hours of footage include a scene of Sanders sitting with his delegation at a table under a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. Sanders can also be heard extolling the virtues of Soviet life and culture, even as he acknowledges some of their shortcomings. There are flashes of humor, too, such as his host warning the American guests not to cross the KGB, or else.”
Considering the Soviet leadership style of Mr. Putin and Bernie’s admiration for the old Soviet Union, one wonders if he is not praising Trump’s execution of Soleimani, albeit unintentionally.
When President Obama managed the demise of Osama bin Laden, he was met with bi-partisan praise. Even the death of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi caused nods of approval from across the ideological spectrum. But the killing of Qassem Soleimani has elicited yelps of outrage, efforts to stop Trump from waging war against Iran through congressional action, and even hints of a third article of impeachment.
Some pundits have humorously suggested that Trump is such a canny political strategist, that he has provoked his political enemies to side with the Iranian government against the United States. Ill will toward Iran on the part of Americans has persisted since the hostage crisis of 1979-1980 in which a mob of “students” seized the American embassy in Tehran and took 52 diplomats as hostages, keeping them for 444 days. Only the election of Ronald Reagan persuaded the Iranians to release the hostages. The Iranians despised then-President Jimmy Carter. The fact that the hostages were only released the moment that Reagan was being sworn into office suggests that the Iranian regime had a deeper respect for him.
The years since the hostage crisis has been one of conflict between Iran and the United States. Iran, especially at the direction of Soleimani, has conducted a campaign of low-level terrorism across the Middle East. The conflict erupted into a hot war in the late 1980s when Iran targeted oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and President Reagan responded by attacking Iran’s navy and air force. Iran has also sought to develop nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them, an effort undeterred by the nuclear agreement forged by the Obama Administration.
In any case, Trump is taking a harder line against Iran. His Democratic rivals such as Sanders seem to hate the president more than the terrorist theocracy that rules that country.