Friday, March 05, 2021
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Partisanship Continues
Past the Water's Edge

January 19, 2020 --

Democrats can hardly be said to have rallied around the president, in the aftermath of the January 3rd killing,  near the Baghdad airport, of Major General Qassim Soleimani, leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, and, according to U.S. officials. responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops and the wounding of  thousands  more.  While the Democrats did not challenge Gen. Soleimani's role in violent attacks on U.S. troops, among others, like former vice president Joseph R. Biden, Jr., they accused President Trump of risking war with Iran.  Mr. Biden was quoted in The New York Times, January 4, not only of charging the president with risking "nuclear proliferation and 'direct conflict with Iran.'"  Biden was also quoted as calling Mr. Trump "'erratic, unstable and dangerously incompetent.'"   The Times quoted Senator Elizabeth Warren as saying that the United States "was 'on the bring of another war.'"  Sen. Bernie Sanders was reported as urging a U.S. military pullback from the area.  Pete Buttigieg termed the killing of Gen. Solomeini "'an extremely provocative act.'"

The killing of Gen. Solomeine came after months of violent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq from Shiite militias, reportedly under the overall command of Gen. Solomeini. The lead story in the Times, January 2, reported that the violent intrusion of an anti-American mob on the perimeter of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad had ended. The paper's editorial that day acknowledged that the anti-American mob broke into the embassy compound on December 31, following six months of missile attacks by "Iran-backed Shiite militias" on U.S. troops and military contractors in Iraq, leading to the death of one American, December 27. 

The assault on the embassy by the mob, occurred after  five American retaliatory strikes at Shiite militia camps in Iraq and Syria.   A Times report on January 1 asserted that "[t]he American airstrikes on Sunday [December 29] have resulted in the most serious political crisis in years for the United States in Iraq, stoking anti-Americanism and handing an advantage to Iran in its competition for influence in the country."  

Notwithstanding statements from Democrats like Susan E. Rice, national security adviser for  President Obama, writing in The New York Times, January 6,  that it is difficult to imagine the killing of Gen. Solomeini will not lead to war between Iran and the U.S., by January 9, the Times reported that tensions had been eased between Washington and Tehran.  The lead story in the Times, January 9 reported that "President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran..." after Iran  fired missiles at two military installations in Iraq, "housing American troops," without causing injury or death to American or Iraqi forces.  The Times, January 9, also carried carried the remarks of President Trump to the nation, January 8, including this warning to Iran: "Your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem, will not be tolerated any longer."   The paper also reported that a speech by Iran's supreme leader on the firing of missiles at two U.S. positions in Iran, ended with the audience of imams and others chanting "Death to America," "Death to Israel."