Patterico's Pontifications

1/3/2020

A Pretty Good Distillation of Yesterday’s Momentous Decision

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:35 pm



[guest post by JVW]

This Twitter thread from a freshman Democrat Congresswoman from Michigan is very interesting, and gives you some good insight into conventional thinking among the intelligence community over the past two decades:

You can click on the embedded tweet to read all ten of the posts in her thread, but to conserve space I am going to omit some of them. I am not trying to misrepresent her point, which I think is valid and well-argued, so please forgive me if you think my omissions remove important context.

It isn’t too surprising that Rep. Slotkin, who narrowly beat an incumbent Republican in the midterm election to win the seat for Democrats for the first time since 2001, is playing this close to the vest, questioning the wisdom of this successful attack yet not directly criticizing it, while demanding that the Administration brief Congress (she serves on both the House Armed Service and Homeland Security Committees) on the matter. She’s certainly not beclowning herself in the manner that Obama Administration alumni are by attempting to salvage their dignity and pretending that their Iran strategy was honest and coherent.

Earlier today, Trump antagonist David French persuasively argued that yesterday’s attack was permissible and did not require Congressional authorization, because General Soleimeni was in Iraq where U.S. troops lawfully were stationed under Congressional authorization, and because Soleimeni and his crew sought to direct attacks against our forces. But like Congresswoman Slotkin, he wonders if the Trump Administration has thought through all of the potential consequences and has plans in place to protect our personnel, allies, and interests in that part of the world. If the Congresswoman is correct, then the CIA and military intelligence brass — at least as she knew it from 2003-2016 — likely had a great deal of trepidation over this bold and decisive move.

On the other hand, perhaps our nation’s spies, spooks, and analysts had reached the conclusion that attempts to contain General Soleimeni and his terrorist pals were failing, and the time had come to neutralize him as a threat. One of the most interesting, frightening, and exciting (all at the same time!) aspects of the Donald Trump Presidency is his administration’s willingness to chuck conventional wisdom out the window and chart a new course. If this is indeed a decision that was not particularly well-received within the intelligence community, no doubt that the New York Times and Washington Post will have lots of “background sources” kvetching about it in time for the Sunday editions.

What’s done is done, and now we have to face the consequences. It’s interesting that President Trump, who seemed to be so cautious about entangling the U.S. in yet another overseas adventure, now finds himself ordering 3,000 troops back into the region, eleven months before facing the voters. Though it is unlikely that the Iranian military would attempt to wage a full-scale war against our armed forces, it is to be expected that ambush attacks against our troops will continue which, should they prove successful, will certainly bring about the “I told you so” chorus from the usual suspects.

– JVW

265 Responses to “A Pretty Good Distillation of Yesterday’s Momentous Decision”

  1. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Rep. Slotkin’s district by a 51-44 margin three years ago.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. I agree with French’s two Twitter threads, the second of which discusses the ramifications of taking Suleimani out of the picture. As I see it, Iran is going to be belligerent against the US either way, so why not take a vital queen off the board.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  3. I agree with French’s two Twitter threads, the second of which discusses the ramifications of taking Suleimani out of the picture. As I see it, Iran is going to be belligerent against the US either way, so why not take a vital queen off the board.

    That’s pretty much where I fall on the matter too. I guess I can understand that when Elissa Slotkin was at the CIA during the Obama Administration, it was far more important to play nice with Iran in the hopes that we could reach some sort of agreement in the Middle East. But I’m wondering if once she left the CIA as Obama departed office if some of the analysts didn’t determine that trying to reach a level of trust with the Mullahs was an impossibility and that we were being played for fools.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  4. Soleimani has had American blood on his hands in Iraq ever since he started assisting our enemies with IED’s.
    He was part of humiliating the USN by taking sailors captive and he was thought to have had a hand in the decision to shoot down our drone.
    Trump made a measured decision with the downing of the drone and trading broken toys for broken toys rather than breaking lives.
    This time Iran made a series of mistakes targeting American citizens and killing one, injuring others. Then they decided to at least fake a takeover of our embassy and the Ayatollah taunted the US via taunting Trump and said we couldn’t do a damn thing about any of it. Next day the ayatollah’s number 1 henchman was sent to hell along with a protege.

    Retaliation by Iran should be met with a destruction of their energy infrastructure

    steveg (354706)

  5. The Obama Administration played for fools by the Mullahs?
    Impossible.
    John Kerry has been trying “to save our democracy” by advising people with American blood on their hands on how best to bypass Trump sanctions. Kerry’s pedigree is unimpeachable, Obama creased his pants perfectly, and Hillary was the smartest and best ever to run.

    steveg (354706)

  6. As the greatest economic, military and political genius of our day likes to say, “We’ll see what happens.”

    I do wonder just how important one guy is. Taking out the leader of a well-run organization does not dismantle or neutralize that organization. Capable leaders of large organizations tend to have capable deputies who reflect their way of working and would be able to step into the role.

    Eliminating a supreme leader who is making strategic choices can sometimes lead to their replacement by somebody else who makes different (and more desirable) ones, but I don’t think this guy was the one driving Iran’s fundamental hostility to the West.

    All else being equal, it is obviously better that this guy is now a stain on the ground in Baghdad than flying around the Middle East organizing trouble. Due to the provocative nature of this escalation, all else is not equal, however.

    But we’ll see what happens.

    Dave (1bb933)

  7. @6. I do wonder just how important one guy is.

    Clearly you’ve never heard of Korolev.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. @4. ‘… destruction of their energy infrastructure.’

    Before going off conservatively halfcocked, might wanna research that first; the ubiquitous nature of petroleum products in the marketplace and disruption of flow there of– loss of pipelines, refineries etc., the international firms and agreements involved, not to mention the basic geography and tanker trafficking from sites like Iran’s Kharg Island as well as the Strait of Hormuz, through which ‘a third of the world’s LNG and almost 25% of global oil consumption passes through.’ -source, wikicrude ‘Course any disruption there just makes Russian oil reserves worth that much more.

    … and Putin smiled.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. Obviously should’ve just kept sending pallets of cash and begging them not to terrorize too much…..and oh yeah looking the other way while they build nukes.

    Because long-term thinking.

    harkin (d6cfee)

  10. Wow, David French has an opinion.

    That is exciting.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  11. Almost all the other D’s are parroting the party line which is:

    1) Trump is crazy and reckless and has escalated a bad situation.
    2) This could Iranian attacks on us. And it will be on Trump’s head.
    3) Trump did not get congressional authorization. He’s a dictator!

    The D’s are mostly leaving the praise of the Dead Iranian General to the WaPo and NYT.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  12. @10. ROFLMAOPIP. Best comment of the day.

    No knowledge of Iranian/Anglo-American history before 1979, but an opinion. Gotta mop up the spilled coffee from laughing so hard.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. We need to focus on what’s really important here: how many of you have ever uttered a sentence with the odd phrase, ‘…tossing a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  14. You’d think most of the hard righties and remaining NR subscribers would have figured Trump out by now. He never does anything that doesn’t benefit him in some way, shape or 36-24-26 form.

    Pompeo’s Ralph Kramdened explanation aside, the ‘urgent’ timing makes this a Wag The Dog 101 move. Hows that ‘urgent’ impeachment thingy going?

    Catch him if you can…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  15. Wow, David French has an opinion.

    An opinion backed by sound reasoning.

    I realize that last part is considered superfluous in TrumpWorld.

    Dave (1bb933)

  16. He never does anything that doesn’t benefit him in some way, shape or 36-24-26 form.

    Granted, that is true. But exactly which “steady Washington hand” is looking out beyond their next reelection cycle or retirement date and trying to do what’s best for the country’s long term interest? There might be a few foot soldiers in either party who could possibly fit that description, but certainly not in party leadership or the upper-echelons of the lobbying or bureaucratic classes who would qualify.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  17. The same sound– and irrelevant- opinioned reasoning you can find at the Flat Earth Society.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  18. I’m thinking the extra 3000 military personnel are being sent to protect against attack on “our diplomats and service members or high-ranking military officers, against our allies and partners in the region” as Rep Slotkin hoped.

    While the Bush and Obama administrations never pulled the trigger, I’m sure this scenario has been war gamed for a decade and a half.

    It’s a dangerous world full of dangerous people. With several less now. Bad stuff will no doubt happen, but regardless, 20/20 hindsight will never see whether or not the bad stuff averted was worse. I know the previous reluctance hasn’t made the situation better, as per Rep Slotkin’s own admission.

    lee (f8d029)

  19. We are apparently not stopping with Solomani
    https://apnews.com/e36db7c72c1adba1a6cae75091bc273d

    Kishnevi (126082)

  20. @16. Nobody does. None of them, young or old, display any vision or consistency in long term planning. Both these major parties have done more damage to ‘the national interest’ in the past 40 years than Adolf, Hideki, Benito or Josef could have dreamed. Even in business a ‘five year plan’ has a shelf life of about three quarters. Expect drift for a few cycles to come.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  21. Obviously should’ve just kept sending pallets of cash and begging them not to terrorize too much…..and oh yeah looking the other way while they build nukes.

    Because long-term thinking.

    harkin (d6cfee) — 1/3/2020 @ 3:38 pm

    Dhimmis gotta pay that jizya tax.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  22. 20- Good lord, never has a people had so much and been so ungrateful. You should go take a month vacation in Venezuela and get some perspective.

    lee (f8d029)

  23. Obviously should’ve just kept sending pallets of cash and begging them not to terrorize too much…..and oh yeah looking the other way while they build nukes.

    Trump is the one who unilaterally tore up the agreement and told our allies to go to hell, not Iran.

    And how is that working out, by the way?

    Dave (1bb933)

  24. @22. The American Express Gold Card– Uncle Sam never leaves home without it, kid.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  25. My Little Aloha Sweetie believes that President Trump’s order was unconstitutional. I admire her pluck, but I still think David French has the better argument.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  26. I am not Trump’s biggest fan, but from all accounts Soleimeni needed killing and Trump did what was needful. All this “Oh, goodness me, now the Iranians will hurt poor little us in retaliation” pearl clutching is ridiculous. They are already doing all they can to hurt us! Anybody who does not already know that should not be engaging in this conversation.

    nk (9651fb)

  27. “Trump is the one who unilaterally tore up the agreement and told our allies to go to hell, not Iran.”

    You mean he squandered a chance to stop nukes like Clinton did w N Korea?

    harkin (d6cfee)

  28. Orange Muppet Energy (Sunny)
    @sunnyright
    Damn, this many Democrats haven’t been upset about the killing of a murderous anti-American a**hole since John Wilkes Booth was gunned down in a Virginia barn

    _

    harkin (d6cfee)

  29. And your Little Aloha Sweetie, JVW, along with the Slotkin babe, are examples why women belong in the kitchen and not in the halls of government.

    nk (9651fb)

  30. Prime examples.

    nk (9651fb)

  31. What’s to argue- Trump killed one Iranian in Iraq for his own advantage and endangered the lives of every American tourist, business traveler and ex-pat living abroad around the planet. Cells will activate and begin grabbing U.S. citizens off the streets– or blowing them up over dinner at a some distant placed Hilton– and become the focus of high priority proxy sport for the next several years. Helluva deal, Donald.

    Little wonder State has urged Americans to leave Iraq ASAP. ‘Greeted as liberators’ becomes ‘Yankee Go Home’ PDQ. Expect fellow citizens to start getting grabbed off the streets soon. The Slumlord Motto: ‘Kick the beehive and let others get stung’– eh, Donald?!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  32. David French has one of those inspired last names you’d find in a Dickens novel.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  33. You mean he squandered a chance to stop nukes like Clinton did w N Korea?

    Let’s see – completely different agreements, with different parties, decades apart. Nice squirrel you have there!

    We had an agreement that gave us and our allies various rights, and imposed limitations on Iran. It included strict verification and enforcement procedures. The Trump Administration never exercised any of those verification and enforcement procedures, or presented evidence that Iran was violating the agreement.

    Instead, to gratify his base and spit in Obama’s eye, Trump unilaterally tore up the agreement, giving the Iranians carte blanche, humiliating our allies, and leaving us with nothing at all.

    Dave (1bb933)

  34. As I understand it, the Iran agreement was temporary and all those limitations ended in a few years, like tears in the rain.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  35. If the Iranians could do that, they’d already be doing it, DCSCA. Others are wanting to do it and we’re stopping them. Solemaini’s death is only going to make it more difficult for them.

    nk (9651fb)

  36. Helluva deal, Donald.

    Would take a real imbecile to vote for a guy like that in the primary, wouldn’t it?

    Dave (1bb933)

  37. Now, why, if the idea is to protect US personnel, would they send Airborne troops?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  38. “Trump is the one who unilaterally tore up the agreement and told our allies to go to hell, not Iran.”

    You mean he squandered a chance to stop nukes like Clinton did w N Korea?

    harkin (d6cfee) — 1/3/2020 @ 5:40 pm

    No, Trump didn’t miss his chance to stop nukes “like Clinton did” with North Korea. In fact Trump did that very same crap while kissing their dictator straight on the lips.

    I’m glad Soleimeni is in hell right now accounting for all the American soldiers he helped murder, but why did Trump fail to take these actions with Iran for the past three years? It took a whole lot of inaction to get Iran to this point where they are literally knocking on another of our embassy doors, laughing there’s not a ‘damn thing we can do about it.’ Granted, the Iranian leadership is incredibly stupid to keep tempting fate with terrorism, piracy, drone downings, etc etc. But Trump gave them some reason to think he’d be Iran’s b**** again. Amusingly, Iran didn’t understand that a crook being impeached (especially with those emails showing Trump’s direct culpability) would jump at the chance to change the subject. Iran has paid the price, and that’s great. But where will all these newly hatched chickenhawks be in a year?

    Dustin (cafb36)

  39. Would take a real imbecile to vote for a guy like that in the primary, wouldn’t it?

    This makes me less not-very-likely to. The US should not be willing to let someone be a world-wide terrorist when we already know what happens when we allow that. Too bad they didn’t scrag bin Laden in 1999, and probably the same fearful navel-gazers then, too.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  40. @25: Looks like there are just three options:

    1) Putin directed Trump to order the drone strike.
    2) Putin directed Gabbard to denounce it.
    3) Both.

    Let’s get John Brennan’s take.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  41. As I understand it, the Iran agreement was temporary and all those limitations ended in a few years, like tears in the rain.

    The limitations would have ended after 15 years. Instead there are no limitations at all.

    Dave (1bb933)

  42. @35. Not really- cells need activated; a catalyst; a trigger– and plans initiated. Expect the unexpected; there’s no set timetable; they’ve got a Sword of Damocles in hand; Iran not only has a long history, including Anglo-American festers; it has a long memory– and patience.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. If it was a strategic benefit for Soleimeni to end up dead, and I think it was if done intelligently. The question is how do you make him dead, and still minimize blowback from making him so. A drone strike in the downtown airport of the capital of an allied country is not going to do that. So Trump’s managed to do a strategically positive thing in the tactically dumbest way possible, potentially screwing the strategic pooch in the process.

    Of course this goes against his 5 years of bluster on “bringing the troops home” and getting us out of the “foreign wars”. None of this is surprising, he’s a moron, par for the course.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (48e13d)

  44. Terrorist has killed and caused the death and dismemberment of hundreds of American citizens

    We killed him.

    Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth continue.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  45. Trump only ordered this strike because he hates brown people.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  46. Destruction of Iranian infrastructure would cause trouble in the Persian Gulf.
    However. In my opinion, once the damage is done to Iran… what choice do our allies have but to protect the rest of the gulf from Iran?
    If Iran cannot ship oil, natural gas or refined products due to damage, but the western states need oil and gas products… where do they go and how do they protect their interests?
    They go to other gulf states and they are drawn into protecting their own interests in the gulf from a defensive posture against an Iran which has nothing to sell.

    steveg (354706)

  47. @46. Choice? What “allies?” Trump has peed in all their tea and coffee. China has interests as well.

    Look around Europe. Russia is more than ready to ‘supply and satisfy’ via pipeline, our ‘allies’ — at the right price.

    …and Putin smiled.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  48. And how is that working out, by the way?

    Remember how good we had it in the immediate aftermath of the Iran deal? Oh for those halcyon days of yore.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  49. Putin’s pipeline got hit with sanctions by Trump last week, so the easiest most prudent route for European nations would be to send some warships to the gulf and punish the hell out of any Iranian retaliation.
    Its the start of winter in Europe… they will need to decide expeditiously

    steveg (354706)

  50. We had an agreement that gave us and our allies various rights, and imposed limitations on Iran. It included strict verification and enforcement procedures. The Trump Administration never exercised any of those verification and enforcement procedures, or presented evidence that Iran was violating the agreement.

    And the previous administration repeatedly lied to us about the deal, sold it to us under false pretenses (“it’s either this agreement or war”), then did nothing to ensure that Iran would comply with their terms. In fact, the Obama Administration was forced to acknowledge that they were caught by surprise when Iran refused to suspend its long-range ballistic missile program, and they were forced to suck it up and acknowledge that Iran was probably using its bounty of cash to support terrorist activities aimed against Americans. Sorry Dave, but I’m not going to join you in lamenting the late deal which seems to have served Russia’s interests more than anyone else’s.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  51. @36. For short term thinkers, it’s an Imbecile Party now.

    Your options are welcome home, grin and bear it; vote Dem– start a new party or not bother to vote at all. But then, there’s just not enough of you left to matter, is there; the signpost ahead reads: ‘Weekly Standard.’

    “I love it when a plan comes together.” – Hannibal Smith [George Peppard] ‘The A-Team’ NBC TV, 1983-87

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  52. Steve, the EU is already making disapproving noises about this drone strike. The best Trump buddy Boris can do is observe the Iranians aren’t entirely innocent. Same with Merkel. They’ll choose Putingas as the easy way out,

    Kishnevi (126082)

  53. KeviM
    I think Airborne is there because they are highly mobile, highly self sufficient and able to drop in and protect far flung interests within Iraq and Syria.

    I would expect some of those swarm tactic boat operations inside Iran to get blown up if they prep to leave harbor. It would be good if some of those were neutralized in harbor so our European *ahem* allies have an easier time of it. Same goes for anti ship missile systems.

    If I was President I’d use any retaliatory escalation by the Iranians as an excuse to deny their navy and the anti ship missile systems.

    We have pretty good energy sources here now and others close at hand in Venezuela, Mexico , Canada, so we can break Iran’s oil economy and let the Europeans figure out how to stop the Iranians and Houthis from interfering in the gulf and the houthis in the red sea.

    Iran’s economy can’t take 6 months without bulk oil sales

    steveg (354706)

  54. #52
    I agree with you.
    But I do see this as an opportunity to tell the Europeans that the Iran problems with us are bigger for them than us

    steveg (354706)

  55. Sorry Dave, but I’m not going to join you in lamenting the late deal which seems to have served Russia’s interests more than anyone else’s.

    I agree it was a bad deal, but once it was done we were better off keeping it. Obama gave away the farm, but he kept the barn. Trump blew up the barn without getting anything in return.

    Kishnevi (126082)

  56. @53. Steve, suggest you some basic research on Iran, their oil economy history, reserves and production status compared to other petroleum producers in the region nd worldwide. They will always source a market of some kind [hello, China] — Petroleum manages to get into the marketplace one way or another– and once it does, it’s essentially ubiquitous.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  57. Nonsense Kishnevi. Obama gave Iran funds to encourage global terrorism in return for nothing. Trump put sanctions on them that seriously limited their terror funding abilities. Iran stopped working on the bomb just like North Korea did after Clinton’s deal.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  58. @44. Wait ’til a cell in Jersey City awakens some TBD day in the months ahead and shows up for a visit to the Paramus Park Mall. Then gnash your teeth…

    Until this administration shows some actual, unedited, unredacted, valid evidence and a believable rationale [which a vague Pompeo has not] Trump really stepped in it this time… for Trump’s Sake.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  59. NJRob (4d595c) — 1/3/2020 @ 7:34 pm
    Didn’t I say it was a bad deal.
    Trump managed to make Iran look like the reasonable party. The sanctions may hurt the man on the Persian street but not Iran’s terrorism ventures.

    And now he’s claimed we’re not after regime change. Even though the only real way to stop them from getting and using nukes is regime change.

    Kishnevi (126082)

  60. Trump will clean up the booosh Obama disaster before The no trumpers and Patty Sheehan get candles lit.

    mg (05848b)

  61. Cindy sheehan. They all look alike

    mg (05848b)

  62. @53 Steve,
    Basically every Iranian military facility along the Persian Gulf has been targeted for years (identified, had an appropriate asset designated to strike it, continually updated) along with pretty much every known Iranian military asset. Target packages are scalable from “sink a few boats” to “end the Iranian Navy (or Air Force, IRGC Quds Force etc).

    Stacy0311 (3d63e6)

  63. I think Airborne is there because they are highly mobile, highly self sufficient and able to drop in and protect far flung interests within Iraq and Syria.

    “We’re paratroopers, we’re supposed to be surrounded”

    –Major Richard Winters, on his way to Bastogne
    (or so Band of Brothers would have it)

    Kevin M (19357e)

  64. Sorry Dave, but I’m not going to join you in lamenting the late deal which seems to have served Russia’s interests more than anyone else’s.

    I find it ironic that Obama was making deals with the Russians behind our backs and TRUMP is the guy who’s supposed to be his stooge.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  65. Trump blew up the barn without getting anything in return.

    He got “not having to pretend.”

    Kevin M (19357e)

  66. And the previous administration repeatedly lied to us about the deal, sold it to us under false pretenses (“it’s either this agreement or war”)

    Assuming that is a direct or close quote, isn’t it just saying that there is no other way (than war or some kind of deal) to delay the Iranian bomb? They were getting close despite years of sanctions, so there’s no reason to think sanctions would suddenly halt their progress.

    The quote could also be premised on Israel going to war rather than allow the Iranians to acquire a bomb. Which is not so unlikely.

    Obviously, if we were prepared to acquiesce in the Iranians acquiring a bomb, we would have no casus bellum.

    I agree it was a bad deal, but once it was done we were better off keeping it. Obama gave away the farm, but he kept the barn. Trump blew up the barn without getting anything in return.

    Exactly.

    Dave (1bb933)

  67. Are we at war yet? Time to invest in war stocks.

    asset (c53c7d)

  68. Just a few weeks ago Trump was talking about getting out of Afghanistan, because, why are we still there and no endless wars. Same thing with Iraq. Bad bush got us into bad wars. No more endless wars. Now, curveball, we are starting a war with Iran, unilaterally, on the whim of the executive. I’m glad the bad guy is gone but I’m under no illusions about why.

    (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ENa55oSXYAIFvwF?format=jpg&name=small).

    JRH (52aed3)

  69. Some Iranian posted a taunting tweet a few days ago suggesting Trump couldn’t do a damn thing and the popculture, supremely self-centered, reality TeeVee star president got miffed. So in a fit of pique… “he napalmed Cheltham.”

    Suddenly, facing weeks of 24/7 media focus on his looming impeachment trial and after 10,000 lies and three years of dissing U.S. intel, insisting he wants out of endless Mideast wars, he does a 180 on it, w/time to maybe modify any ‘evidence’ –like a weather map– to fit his story, change the headlines and the world is supposed to believe him and his people?!

    This is such a ‘wag the dog’ ploy only Trump with the eager aid of his minions could believe he can sell this sucker bait like a Trump steak to a hungry public. And he may just get away with it. Catch him if you can…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  70. You guys do know that those “pallets of cash” was Iran’s money that the West was holding hostage, right? The only thing that Obama gave away was the lifting of sanctions.

    nk (9651fb)

  71. 70, Yes, this is true. Pray tell, how much of ‘Iran’s cash’ did the US seize and how much was on those pallets? Also, what was the dollar figure of American assets/investments that Iran seized in their revolution and what dollar figure might one put on the harm done to the American hostages?

    PTw (3c63a1)

  72. ‘You guys do know that those “pallets of cash” was Iran’s money that the West was holding hostage, right?’
    nk (9651fb) — 1/4/2020 @ 5:30 am

    Possession is nine tenths of the law, at least as applied to nationalized oil refineries.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  73. The point is that it was not US taxpayer money.

    nk (9651fb)

  74. ”The point is that it was not US taxpayer money.”
    nk (9651fb) — 1/4/2020 @ 8:17 am

    Assets seized from drug dealers aren’t taxpayer money either.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  75. Nk,

    was that “not taxpayer” money kept in a lock box?

    When the Shah fell, the debt disappeared. The nation that the debt was owed no longer existed.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  76. obama/biden/2020

    mg (8cbc69)

  77. I hope you are right, DCSCA, about Network imitating life, for I so want this guy to be the Howard Beale: http://www.thedailybeast.com/tucker-carlson-comes-out-against-trumps-iran-strike

    urbanleftbehind (2491db)

  78. It was a helluva thing to witness in your living room, ulb; Tucka lives on TV dinner money; he’s run out of standard news cablers who’ll tolerate him; burned a lot of bridges. Newsmax is where they go to fade to black. He may be up for contract renewal, hence the contrary static.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  79. He also had health insurance and teeth cleaning courtesy of the US gubmint until the Newt crew of 94 started messing with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (daddy was the first head of this Nixon bone-throw to hippies).

    urbanleftbehind (10dde2)

  80. #6

    I do wonder just how important one guy is. Taking out the leader of a well-run organization does not dismantle or neutralize that organization. Capable leaders of large organizations tend to have capable deputies who reflect their way of working and would be able to step into the role.

    Eliminating a supreme leader who is making strategic choices can sometimes lead to their replacement by somebody else who makes different (and more desirable) ones, but I don’t think this guy was the one driving Iran’s fundamental hostility to the West.

    gotta concur – taking out Yamamoto in 1943 didnt slow down the japanese

    Joe - the non legal expert (debac0)

  81. Joe, reporting back from the universe where Yamamoto wasn’t killed, so he should know. You people here are so smart.

    PTw (3c63a1)

  82. gotta concur – taking out Yamamoto in 1943 didnt slow down the japanese

    The war was decided (and Japan had been pushed onto the defensive) long before Yamamoto was shot down (it was arguably decided before the first shot was even fired…).

    Some historians go so far as to suggest that since Yamamoto’s glaring mistakes of both tactics and strategy were chiefly responsible for Japan’s most critical defeats in 1942/43, removing him from command may have even helped Japan.

    H.P. Willmott, IMO the best historian of the Pacific War, makes a persuasive case that Yamamoto was wrongly deified after the war, and also insists that there is no evidence he ever really said or wrote the insightful and prescient stuff attributed to him (like “I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,” after Pearl Harbor).

    Dave (1bb933)

  83. Rand Paul, bless his heart, is at least consistent on one issue:

    “You could say that Soleimani was plotting to attack the U.S. It may well be true. But with his death, do you think it’s more or less likely that Iran and their militias and their proxies will attack the U.S.? I would argue that it’s much more likely,” Paul told host Neil Cavuto.

    Paul felt that should Iranians kill U.S. soldiers and America respond to those deaths, a further escalation would happen. He said that in his opinion, without congressional support and a declaration of war behind the mission, “you get a mission of escalating,intermittent violence, but it really has no purpose or plan.”

    “The president said he didn’t want to perpetual war in the Middle East, but he’s adding more and more troops. If you don’t want perpetual war, you don’t keep sending more targets over there.”

    A rare (unique?) case of a GOP senator/congress-critter taking exactly the same position today that they took when the Obama was in the White House.

    Dave (1bb933)

  84. Yeah. Stupid stupid Yamamoto. And if we had only bombed Nagasaki first, we would not have had to bomb Hiroshima. Dude, all those Hiroshima people died for nothing. Stupid, stupid Truman.

    Y’all posting this stuff from heaven sitting next to God the Father Almighty who knows EXACTLY how history would have played out if only this and only that? If so, can you say hi to my gramma for me, ‘cause that would be great.

    PTw (3734a9)

  85. 84, post of the year, PTw – put it to music and you have your invite to the CMAs.

    urbanleftbehind (10dde2)

  86. 1) Putin directed Trump to order the drone strike.
    2) Putin directed Gabbard to denounce it.
    3) Both.

    Putin didn’t need to direct Trump to order the strike, or Gabbard to denounce it, since they are both stupid enough to do it on their own.

    Cultivating assets with support from diametrically opposite segments of the electorate is precisely what we should expect Putin to do.

    It’s called “playing both ends against the middle”.

    Dave (1bb933)

  87. Soleimeni had reached his level of redundancy.

    askeptic (0b6eb4)

  88. @85. He maybe sorely disappointed when Webb goes operational, sees the Big Eye of a pimple-faced 16 year old blinking back– and discovers this whole universe is a level in one big video game w/a variety of story lines and out comes every time he hits the big reset button in the sky ;-).

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  89. I think some self-important pompous jackass know-it- all should stick to pissing on his shoes instead of on the comments of people trying to join the discussion, that’s what I think.

    nk (9651fb)

  90. @89. Dunno, nk; pointing out that ‘pallet of cash’ was their own $ needed to be said.

    Well played, sir.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  91. Wassamatta there nk? Aphids get to your ‘maters?

    PTw (3734a9)

  92. Iraqi Parliament votes to expel US troops

    Interesting question: the Soleimani assassination now kind of precludes any voluntary withdrawal from Afghanistan or Iraq (which would look like turning tail in the face of Iranian threats, and be a huge propaganda victory for them), doesn’t it?

    Dave (1bb933)

  93. Iraqi Parliament votes to expel US troops

    That’s actually FakeNews because the non-binding resolution reads as follows:

    “The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory,” the resolution read.
    “The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason.”

    The phrase “any foreign troops” is relevant because it means they also want all Iranian military out as well, which is actually good news because we’ve wanted Iranian forces out of there for years.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/05/iraq-prime-minister-says-parliament-must-end-foreign-troop-presence-as-soon-as-possible.html

    Paul Montagu (a915a7)

  94. Wait a minute. You mean they aren’t embracing us with open arms? Welcoming us as liberators? Shock and awe didn’t work? But I mean. We incincerated a guy who’s charred corpse is making the rounds on twitter. What’s it going to take? more shock? more awe? More Trumpy tweets?

    JRH (52aed3)

  95. I know. TRUMP tower in Bagdad. YUGE one. That will shock and awe them into submission.

    JRH (52aed3)

  96. Not to worry- Trump will tweet that getting Iraq to vote to expel U.S. troops was his plan all along– to get out of endless Mideast quagmires.

    Our Captain is a genius; he told us so.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  97. Oh man the chess is so multidimensional.

    JRH (52aed3)

  98. With Trump endlessly trumpeting the yuuuuuge jump in military funding, can’t help but noticing the 82nd Airborne boarding MiamiAir jets rather that U.S. military aircraft. Expect Disney will be managing Space Force from inside Space Mountain, too.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  99. Or you could know that Miami Air contracts with the us military?

    steveg (354706)

  100. You do know that commercial jetliners carry people very efficiently?
    That leaves space on the military cargo planes for more stuff that goes boom

    steveg (354706)

  101. Looks like #NeverTrump is finding their footing once again. A retaliatory strike that takes out U.S. personnel, and they should be totally recharged. Get your “I told you so’s” ready.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  102. Trump doesn’t have to be 3D.
    He just has to be an opportunist, something he seems to be very good at.
    “Bye. I already told Iraq we would be leaving. Thanks for making it easier!!”
    Note the use of the Trump exclamation point. I’m starting to get the hang of this.
    “Time for our allies in Europe to step up and protect their own interests!!!”
    “Chocolate Ice Cream while watching Terrorist blow up. Yum!!!!”
    “Directed the Joint Chiefs to MOAB death to America chanters in Tehran. They said NO. Deep state deep state!!!”

    Maybe Trumps plan is the ultimate in identity politics.
    Lock up the ex-pat vote by droning their respective bogeymen… although the math gets a little complicated when you get to mexican drug lords
    “FAKE NEWS!!!”

    steveg (354706)

  103. @99/@100. Pffft. Waste, waste, waste; save the privatization crap. Would love to see them there paratroopers do ‘D.B. Coopers’ out of airliners. $800 billion/yr., not enuf to buy a few transports? Expect Space Force to operate out of Disneyworld’s Space Mountain by October 1.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  104. Pompeo fails to convince on every news outlet.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  105. “Middle East plan” is an oxymoron of literally Biblical dimensions.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  106. @105. Not to worry: after his nap, Jared ‘if-you-can’t-make-mid-east-peace-no-one-can’ Kushner is on this.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  107. Looks like #NeverTrump is finding their footing once again.

    Looks like Trump loyalists have a hard time understanding that criticism of Trump is generally a result of what Trump says and does — not some arbitrary “hate” that’s always seeking a pretext.

    Radegunda (39c35f)

  108. I’m guessing about 95% of Americans take a dim view of the $80M bounty on Trumps head.
    The problem is the percentage of people who think the bounty is too low, too high or just right

    steveg (354706)

  109. Making fart noises before your point lowers the level of discourse.

    steveg (354706)

  110. “The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory,” the resolution read.

    Iran is not part of the “the international coalition fighting Islamic State”, is it? While Iran may oppose the Islamic State as yet another heretical Sunni movement, the international coalition means the US and its partners (and mainly, the US).

    “The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason.”

    As Soleimani’s hob-nobbing with Shiite government ministers demonstrates, Iran doesn’t need its own troops in Iraq, because they have (Iraqi) militias to do their bidding.

    The article you linked also notes that the US has announced suspension of operations against ISIS so that it can protect its own bases against expected Iranian and Iranian-surrogate retaliation. Thus, our troops’ sole remaining mission there now appears to be to serve as targets.

    Dave (1bb933)

  111. @108. Yes. You’re guessing.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  112. But really, how dumb are the Iranians for not working out a deal like the one Trump gave North Korea?

    1) Agree to a summit meeting

    2) Gratify his ego by telling him what a genius he is

    3) Make vague promises so he can claim you are no longer a threat

    4) Send a “beautiful letter” every couple months (“beautiful vases” also OK)

    5) Do whatever you want; repeat #1-4 as necessary

    Dave (1bb933)

  113. There is no need to jump out of the plane. If there was, they’d take a military plane.
    Lets see… waste…
    cost of acquisition? $0

    Your move

    steveg (354706)

  114. It more honest to tell everyone that you are guessing rather than just blowing it out your ass

    steveg (354706)

  115. Look forward to those on here telling us that putting a bounty on Trump’s head is a genius move by Iran and we should really understand their POV.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  116. @113. ‘There no need to up out the plane.’ Yeah. Why should we expect 82nd Airborne paratroopers to jump out of planes. Or maybe it’s MiamiAir serves nuts. Cost of acqusition, $0? What, the 82nd gets frequent flyer miles??

    Contract aren’t free. With $800 billion/yr., stop the waste and use the aircraft already bought and paid for.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  117. Is there any credible source for the bounty story? Only British tabloids and PJMedia show up on Mr. Google’s internets.

    nk (dbc370)

  118. @115. He’s probably disappointed it’s not at least $1 billion. Billionaires are like that… 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  119. @117. Bounty? Leave it to the British tabloids to confuse Captain Bligh with Captain Queeg. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  120. Look forward to those on here telling us that putting a bounty on Trump’s head is a genius move by Iran and we should really understand their POV.

    Nah.

    Paying $80M for something about half the world would gladly do for free is pretty dumb, actually.

    Dave (65a95a)

  121. Isn’t targeting cultural sites (as Trump tweeted) against international laws? Or, is it some cultural sites are targetable and others are not?

    I can’t find a straight answer as to what it is meant by “cultural sites” in his context on the ‘Net… my google-fu is failing me…

    whembly (c30c83)

  122. @86 Because Putin really does cover every situation. It’s amazing how versatile that bogeyman has become.

    frosty (f27e97)

  123. Cultural sites are not allowed as targets unless they have some mililtary value. For instance, the anti-air missile defense system supposedly installed around Khomeini’s tomb.

    Here’s the pertinent formal definition from the Hague Convention

    The 1954 Hague Convention defines cultural property in Article 1(a)
    as:
    …movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural
    heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or
    history, whether religious or secular; archaeological sites; groups of
    buildings which, as a whole, are of historical or artistic interest; works
    of art; manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or
    archaeological interest; as well as scientific collections and important
    collections of books or archives or of reproductions of the property
    defined above (Hague Convention 1954, Art. 1a).
    Cultural property also encompasses the buildings in which these objects
    are housed or the places where they may be sheltered during conflict, or
    any center containing large amounts of cultural property (Hague Convention 1954, Art. 1a).

    From here
    https://jpia.princeton.edu/sites/jpia/files/2008-5.pdf

    kishnevi (0c10d1)

  124. @120 Half the world would decapitate Trump if given the chance? You may want to reevaluate your friend group or get out more.

    frosty (f27e97)

  125. Breaking- one servicemember, two civilian contractors killed I missile attack in Kenya.

    Your move, Donald. This time the 101st can fly down there on Virgin.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  126. Although this is more acknowledgement of reality than something new
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/iran-abandons-nuclear-deal-over-183522002.html

    kishnevi (0c10d1)

  127. @116 The US has contracted troop transport since at least Korea and Vietnam. If I had to guess I’d say this type of troop transport goes back further than that since paying people in the business of transporting people to transport people seems like common sense. You’re digging this hole why?

    frosty (f27e97)

  128. @124 I said “about” half, and nothing about decapitation.

    Dave (65a95a)

  129. fas.org

    GAO references the
    use of CRAF during Operation Desert Storm to illustrate its point:
    The use of CRAF aircraft during an activation is not free — DOD pays rates
    based on weighted average carrier costs — but the cost is minimal in comparison
    to the costs of acquiring and supporting aircraft, paying and training aircrew, and
    other expenses of maintaining standby military airlift capability. AMC paid the
    carriers about $1.5 billion for using their aircraft during the operation.
    Purchasing additional military aircraft to provide similar capability would cost
    from $15 to $50 billion, according to Air Force officials, depending on
    assumptions used for aircraft replacement cost.6
    A RAND study (Finding the Right Mix of Military and Civil Airlift, Issues and
    Implications) also includes a discussion of the cost-effectiveness of CRAF:
    For a very small cost, the DOD has had on call a very substantial airlift capacity.
    Replacing CRAF’s 1992 Stage II capability with military-style transports would
    have cost the DOD about $1 billion annually (1992 dollars) over the past several
    decades. Replacing the Stage III capability would have cost about $3 billion
    annually

    steveg (354706)

  130. Now that the Iranians have admitted they are continuing to enrich uranium, the US ought to issue the following policy change:

    “The Unites States now considers North Korea and Iran to be nuclear-weapon states. The US has formally pledged not to use nuclear weapons in any conflict with NPT-signatory non-nuclear states. This pledge no longer applies to North Korea or Iran.”

    Kevin M (19357e)

  131. nk
    the eulogist at Soleimani issued it according the

    https://heavy.com/news/2020/01/trump-iran-bounty-head/

    steveg (354706)

  132. Your move, Donald. This time the 101st can fly down there on Virgin.

    Cheerleadiung for the other side is poor form, man.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  133. Overblown reports

    steveg (354706)

  134. Soleimani was attacked in Iraq mostly because it was accessible without doing collateral damage. Trump actually approved this the weekend aftr the Dec 27 attack. It had been put on the list of options as an extreme option – to the surprise of the people who made up the lost Trump chose this.

    Final approval was given by President Trump o Thrsday night whie he was meeting with his political advisers in Mar-a-Lago to plot campaign strategy. He was called away for a telephone call or a meeting and came back and resumed discussion without saying a word.

    The U.S. would have called off the attack if Soleimani had been greeted by Iraqi government officials. He wasn’t. He was greeted only by his own people. This was Iraq where there were many ways of finding out things like that, probably because people he involved in his own security, who were not loyal to Iran.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  135. Iran had racheted up what it was doing all year, so no doubt all kinds of things were on the table.

    Soleimani had toured Iranian sponsored forces in Syria and in Lebanon now he was heading to Iraq..

    Probably the number one thing that Soleimani was plotting was nt any attacks on american forces or the embassy but a revolution in Iraq, (as Senator Marco Rubio says – he used the word coup) and he was closer to getting there than most people might realize, although probably still a little bit away..

    Only after they got complete control of the Iraqi government would the U.S. Embassy be targeted again. (Perhaps Iran would allow a Saigon style evacuation)

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  136. American troops always were and are targets.
    Africa, Middle East, Maritime continent the jihadis all know American blood is the fastest path to notoriety.
    Islamists wipe out 100 Nigerian troops or capture and behead 25 Malians? The news barely leaves the African continent.

    Post #125 would have been more honest if prefaced by a “Pffft” so we’d all know it was gonna stink

    steveg (354706)

  137. Iran didn’t target Americans. That’s why the embassy takeover was so carefully calibrated (one of the people killed in the strike on Soliemani (the leader of the militia) was there with Soleimani.

    They attacked an Iraqi military installation on December 27.

    The mistake Iran made on December 27 was not calculating an American might be killed and not understanding that that was the red line. If, but only if no Americans would be killed, no Iranian soldiers would be killed. Trump had drawn the line between doing r not doing anything lethal against Iranians military men there.

    Iran may make the same mistake again. Whatever they do, whatever country it is in, if one American gets killed, that breaks whatever kind of truce exists.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  138. Attack in Kenya would be cosidered ISIS or al Qaeda, not Iran.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  139. @128 your argument is a) you didn’t read the original reporting which says that the $80m is “for” Trump’s head and b) your going to be careful with word choice since “about” half is a significantly different situation than half?

    So, I should now understand that what you meant was about half, but not exactly half, of the world would kill Trump in some unspecified way for free if given the opportunity? About this “about” half, if you had to put a number on that what would it be?

    Is it that hard to admit you were being hyperbolic?

    frosty (f27e97)

  140. @132. What side? OIC: you prefer they fly Delta.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  141. What Soleimani was good at was recruiting forces that took orders from Iran but had very few Iranians involved and all of them high ranking officers. He had a special skill at that.

    For a long time he was getting $1 billion a month (off budget) by being given a cut of foreign exchange transactions by Iranian banks.

    One correction: Soleimani was speculated about not as a possible successor to Khamanei but as a possible president of Iran. That’s an office that doesn’t mean too much, though, so maybe that was disinformation. It would have given him diplomatic immunity, though, when he travelled.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  142. The U.S. would have called off the attack if Soleimani had been greeted by Iraqi government officials. He wasn’t. He was greeted only by his own people.

    According to the interwebs, the Popular Mobilization Force (whose leader was puréed together with Soleimani) is an Iraqi government umbrella organization created to fight ISIS.

    Dave (1bb933)

  143. 20. DCSCA (797bc0) — 1/3/2020 @ 4:33 pm

    Even in business a ‘five year plan’ has a shelf life of about three quarters. Expect drift for a few cycles to come.

    And yet, for the last hundred years or so, governments are expected to budget for an entire year. And that is set even more in advance.

    It makes government unresponsive.

    The federal (and state government) budgets should be abolished, not “balanced.” Expenditures though should be matched to revenues or or borrowing.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  144. Is it that hard to admit you were being hyperbolic?

    Of course not. I think it was blindingly obvious that I was being hyperbolic.

    Dave (1bb933)

  145. @138. Proxy, proxy, proxy– or simply taking advantage and using the Iraq situation as cover. Regardless, it’s a good bet those three killed would likely still be alive if not for Donald’s Droning. Lindsey clucked The Donald has let the world know killing one American will not go unpunished. After all doesn’t Don Jr., hunt big game there in Kenya? A few ‘daisy cutters’ dropped across the countryside outta satisfy Lindsey’s bloodlust and pick off a few lionheads for Donnie’s Den.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  146. SF: The U.S. would have called off the attack if Soleimani had been greeted by Iraqi government officials. He wasn’t. He was greeted only by his own people.

    143. Dave (1bb933) — 1/5/2020 @ 1:09 pm

    According to the interwebs, the Popular Mobilization Force (whose leader was puréed together with Soleimani) is an Iraqi government umbrella organization created to fight ISIS.

    This is my source

    Near the end of afront page article in the New York Times of Saturday January 4, 2020:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/world/middleeast/suleimani-iran-iraq-strike.html

    The mission to target General Suleimani was set in motion after a rocket attack last Friday on an Iraqi military base outside Kirkuk killed an American civilian contractor, according to senior American officials. The military’s Special Operations Command spent the next several days looking for an opportunity to hit General Suleimani. Military and intelligence officials said the strike drew on information from secret informants, electronic intercepts, reconnaissance aircraft and other surveillance tools.

    The option that was eventually approved depended on General Suleimani’s arrival at Baghdad International Airport. If he was met by Iraqi officials, one American official said, the strike would be called off. But the official said it was a “clean party” and the strike was authorized.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  147. #146

    That bet would likely be a loser
    Al-Shabaab is a Sunni group, Irans militias and proxys are heavily Shiite.

    steveg (354706)

  148. Well, maybe a more accurate statement would be “If he was met by Iraqi officials that we didn’t also want dead…”

    The PMF guy was specifically named by Pompeo on December 31 as orchestrating the embassy riot.

    Dave (1bb933)

  149. #146
    Here is an alternative explanation of why Al Shabaab would hit that airbase.
    Retaliation because the US attacked Al- Shabaab on the 29th of December, killing 4

    The airfield attack by the al-Qaida-linked group follows a truck bomb in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Dec. 28 that left at least 79 people dead. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

    A day after the bombing in Mogadishu, the U.S. military announced that at least four al-Shabab militants in Somalia had been killed in three separate airstrikes. The military said in a statement that the airstrikes “targeted al-Shabaab militants responsible for terrorist acts against innocent Somali citizens and coordinating with al-Qaeda.”

    steveg (354706)

  150. I was sort of thinking through different scenarios.

    What if Iran declared war on the United States? If the Iranians limited themselves to attacking US military targets in the Middle East, it seems like it could put Trump under a lot of pressure.

    There is very little stomach in the United States – even among Trump’s supporters – for a massive new military engagement/commitment. While the US could certainly defeat Iran, it would be a long war and likely much more costly than Afghanistan or Iraq.

    The more limited alternative of an air campaign could do a lot of damage to Iran, but would cost a great deal of money even if it were economical in terms of American casualties, and could drag on almost indefinitely.

    In short, Trump has sort of gambled, in an election year, that he can limit the conflict within politically favorable (for him) bounds. Iran could call his bluff, their goal being to drive US forces out of the region (or at least back to Saudi Arabia), and increase Iran’s leverage.

    Dave (1bb933)

  151. Soleimani was attacked in Iraq mostly because it was accessible without doing collateral damage

    Soleimani was attacked in Iraq mostly because it was a place where Trump had a working AUMF. Consider the kerfluffle if he had done it in Iran.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  152. an Iraqi government umbrella organization created to fight ISIS.

    al Qaeda was created to fight the Soviets.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  153. While the US could certainly defeat Iran, it would be a long war and likely much more costly than Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Why? They drew with Iraq. We stomped Iraq militarily (our problems only came when we tried to build them a new nation in our image). By transitive properties, the zeroth law, and other forms of sympathetic magic, stomping Iran should be just more of the same.

    Even easier if they threaten nuclear weapons.

    Besides, how many mullahs are there?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  154. @148. Don’t bet against it: chaos creates opportunity.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  155. @151. What if Iran declared war on the United States?

    Alert Homeland Security to be on the lookout for Tully Bascomb.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  156. Wonder if the players and the proxies would consider these “cultural sites”:

    https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/buildings-real-estate-projects-outside-the-us-that-are-named-after-donald-trump.html

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  157. Why? They drew with Iraq. We stomped Iraq militarily (our problems only came when we tried to build them a new nation in our image). By transitive properties, the zeroth law, and other forms of sympathetic magic, stomping Iran should be just more of the same.

    Even easier if they threaten nuclear weapons.

    Besides, how many mullahs are there?

    Kevin M (19357e) — 1/5/2020 @ 2:16 pm

    Who is “we”? Did you do that? Thank you for your service!

    Your logic might be strained. Iran and Iraq did not fight a war in the mountains of Iran. Also, Iran is a major consumer of advanced air defense equipment and has a robust cyber warfare industry. I’m not saying the USA can’t take them. Obviously we can. And maybe they have a budding movement against their own government that would help.

    But rooting these guys out of the mountains and tunnels protecting their military C&C would be more like Afghanistan with money, and less like Iraq just surrendering and getting steamrolled. We could destroy that air defense and air force and their navy in short order, but their unconventional programs would be a pest for quite a while, with many based abroad.

    These guys actually build their own armed drones, not that different from American drones 20 years ago (sucks that Obama didn’t blow up that advanced one a few years ago, btw).

    If we were actually to dismantle this government, we would need boots on the ground. Doing it Clinton Style would be fine if you didn’t mind leaving Iran crippled. That kind of strategy got Clinton through his presidency, but the bad guys came back, it turned out.

    Trump’s 52 targets language definitely blew up in his face, but I am glad he’s trying to explain he’s serious about deterrence. I want Trump to succeed at this one. I am unclear on what he considers success to be. Just shutting Iran up for a year? Regime change? Something in between? His pattern with North Korea, for example, is inconsistent.

    Dustin (85fe98)

  158. @159. The filter to put on it is simple: what’s in it for him.

    This whole episode reeks w/t stink of a Roy Cohn-to-the-mattresses move. Everything Trump has done in his entire life is about what’s in it for him first and foremost. That should narrow down what to peg as a ‘success.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  159. Why? They drew with Iraq. We stomped Iraq militarily (our problems only came when we tried to build them a new nation in our image). By transitive properties, the zeroth law, and other forms of sympathetic magic, stomping Iran should be just more of the same.

    Not sure if serious. Are you suggesting we could chase the existing regime out of Tehran and then just … leave?

    The Iran/Iraq war started in 1980, one year after Iran’s revolution and the purge or desertion of most of its high-ranking military officers, and Iraq received considerable material and intelligence assistance from us while Iran was isolated and unable to maintain its equipment. Today they would be supplied by Moscow and maybe Beijing.

    Iraq attacked Iran across a long, open land border, just as we did when (counter-)attacking Iraq, something we would not have the luxury of. Iran’s mountainous terrain is much more favorable to the defender than Iraq’s featureless deserts, and Tehran is almost 600 miles from the Persian Gulf, where any invasion would have to originate.

    We had considerable support and infrastructure available in neighboring countries for our campaigns against Iraq. It’s unclear who would be with us this time. Saudi Arabia, probably. The small Gulf States, maybe.

    The area of Iraq is about equal to California; the area of Iran is about equal to Alaska.

    The population of Iran is about double that of Iraq.

    Dave (1bb933)

  160. the eulogist at Soleimani issued it according the

    https://heavy.com/news/2020/01/trump-iran-bounty-head/

    Heavy.com, eh? Trump needs to worry only if Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc pit.

    nk (dbc370)

  161. If we’re still talking about the hypo where Iran declares war then more this

    We could destroy that air defense and air force and their navy in short order, but their unconventional programs would be a pest for quite a while, with many based abroad.

    And some of this

    Are you suggesting we could chase the existing regime out of Tehran and then just … leave?

    without the chasing part.

    I’ve never accepted the boots on the ground requirement for all situations. I don’t need a regime change. I’m not even sure what that would look like. I’d prefer better choices but I’d consider no navy, no air force, and no nuclear program a short term win and be willing to see where it goes.

    I doesn’t help that the same people saying Americans won’t stand for a long term ground war are also usually the same ones that are saying the only option is do nothing or have a long term ground war.

    So, yes, explain why breaking all their toys and going home isn’t an option but breaking all their toys and occupying the country is? This is also why Iran won’t declare war. They don’t want that sort of destabilization either. They’ll just keep trying the asymmetric unconventional stuff.

    frosty (f27e97)

  162. Heavy.com did an OK job of explaining things in this case.
    A eulogist at one stop along the burial parade said something to the effect of “If all 80 million Iranians each put in just one dollar apiece towards a bounty on Trumps head…”
    And since it was broadcast on Iranian State TV, it got spun into “Iran puts a bounty of $80M on Trumps head”

    steveg (354706)

  163. frosty (f27e97) — 1/5/2020 @ 5:13 pm

    Reasonable points.

    But apart from their nuclear research, the problem isn’t really Iran’s internal military capabilities (which you propose to degrade) but their behavior (which is harder to bomb away).

    Dave (1bb933)

  164. A eulogist at one stop along the burial parade said something to the effect of “If all 80 million Iranians each put in just one dollar apiece towards a bounty on Trumps head…”
    And since it was broadcast on Iranian State TV, it got spun into “Iran puts a bounty of $80M on Trumps head”

    Ironic that the bounty on the Great Satan’s pumpkinhead is to be paid in US dollars…

    Dave (1bb933)

  165. I don’t Trump subscribes to the Powell doctrine of “you break it, you own it”

    steveg (354706)

  166. @162. W/apologies to Country Joe: “…see the first one from Iraq to come home to Tehran in box…”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  167. @150. Chaos makes good cover and opportunity. All these groups are going to feel ‘copy-cat-emboldened’ to act–especially if in the immediacy it lets Iran take some of the heat.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  168. Figuring it in Rials would take a calculator, but 80 million rials is worth about $2400 USD.

    The eulogist clearly hasn’t heard of venmo

    steveg (354706)

  169. My apologies to Heavy.com and my thanks to you, steveg.

    So … do you think Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc pit?

    nk (dbc370)

  170. frosty (f27e97) — 1/5/2020 @ 5:13 pm

    There are two main problems with Iran now
    Its pursuit of the nuclear bomb
    Its use of terrorism on an industrial scale

    I think solving both requires getting rid of the mullahs. Anything less will simply leave the mullahs in control and more eager to get the bomb and help terrorism.

    The simplest way for us to get rid of the mullahs is to have the people of Iran do it themselves. In that context, it is pertinent to note that apparently the large anti givernment protests were filled with the same people now chanting revenge for Solomani.

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  171. So … do you think Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc pit?

    Know, I do not.
    – Yoda

    Dave (1bb933)

  172. Kidhnevi, thank you for bringing that up. Could the anti-government movement have been an elaborate honey pot to draw small monetary and material donations. It may also inform us as to how quickly the schism between Sunnis and Shia would heal following a mass casualty attack at Hajj.

    urbanleftbehind (2c1a4e)

  173. @127. $800 billion/yr. That’s why.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  174. @129. Small costs? Spend, spend, spend. So much for the halcyon cries of conservatism. This ait Korea nor Vietnam times. $800 billion/yr., and oozing debt and deficits to the horizon- you use the assets on hand and stop contracting crap out– and cease buying $14 billion aircraft carriers. Debt and deficits matter, right, righties? Can’t wait to see what the costs of this current deployment will be– and how the figures get lowballed. Waste, waste, waste.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  175. Its use of terrorism on an industrial scale

    While Iran certainly supports groups conducting terrorism against Israel, a lot of what they do strains the definition of that term.

    Take the attack that killed the US contractor that started the present cycle of retaliation. They launched a rocket attack an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk, and killed a civilian contractor who was working there to train Iraqi security forces. While this is certainly insurgency/unconventional/guerilla warfare against the lawful government of Iraq, and we had every right to retaliate against those who perpetrated it, is a rocket attack on a military base really terrorism?

    Likewise, the assault on our embassy was a violation of international law, but it is a US government facility. While illegal, and while we again have every right to defend our embassy and the people inside it, I’m not sure it fits the definition of terrorism either (an embassy is not a military target, so it is less clear here than in the Kirkuk attack).

    We generally seem to consider government facilities of hostile countries legitimate targets, if they serve some training, logistical, command/control or intelligence-gathering function.

    Dave (1bb933)

  176. some drones did something

    mg (8cbc69)

  177. Because there aren’t enough people who hate us in that part of the world, our Stable Genius is now threatening sanctions on Iraq:

    “If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever,” Trump said on Air Force One. “It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

    “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” Trump said.

    The president added that “If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.”

    Dear lord, help us.

    Dave (1bb933)

  178. @179. Trump 101: Real Estate. The cost of the air base is more important to him than the Americans wounded and killed freeing the place, supposedly ‘welcomed as liberators.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  179. @172 I’m not saying I want to see the current crew stay. I’m just calling BS on the idea that our only options are long term occupation and appeasement. If anti-government protestors are in favor of funding terrorism then that’s not good news. It’s odd for a anti-government pro-reform group to sympathize with a guy who is arguably part of the problem. Seems a little like code pink being concerned about Dick Cheney’s heart. But that isn’t an argument for letting this guy continue his rounds of the ME funding and organizing terror groups. If we can’t do anything about their desire to get nukes and fund terrorism we can at least try to do something about their capacity. Doing something might increase their desire but not doing anything won’t decrease it.

    frosty (f27e97)

  180. @179. Sure bet he gazed at that certain beachfront property in Normandy full of crosses and corpses and thought it would make a swell site for a Trump hotel, casino and 18-hole golf resort.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  181. @177 I would agree your examples aren’t terrorism in a limited sense of the term. I’m usually using the term to cover things like Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. I think in a lot of cases terrorism is used in place of asymmetric warfare.

    But this also works in the other direction and means that the term state sponsored terrorism is just a euphemism for acts of war, i.e. Iran has been at war with Israel, the US, and some other countries for a while and we’ve all just been deciding to pretend it’s something else.

    frosty (f27e97)

  182. Trump’s “we’ll sanction you more than anyone has ever been sanctioned if you don’t pay for the airbase we built” comment is idiotic on so many levels.

    First, the president can’t just impose sanctions on anyone he wants, for any reason he feels like. Congress would have to enact a law.

    Second, sanctions policy is about the only area where GOP legislators have shown vestigial remnant of a spine.

    Third, since everyone in the world except Donald Trump understands that sanctions on Iraq to force them to pay for an airbase will never happen, the only effects of his fatuous bloviations will be to humiliate the United States (by demonstrating yet again that we elected an imbecile) and to throw anyone left in Iraq who might otherwise be disposed to work constructively with us under the proverbial bus.

    In other words, he’s pissed straight into the wind. Again.

    Dave (1bb933)

  183. Trump announced his intention to violate the War Powers Act today, in a Tweet:

    These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!

    Allahpundit had a great reply, but the House Foreign Affairs Committee also tweeted back:

    This Media Post will serve as a reminder that war powers reside in the Congress under the United States Constitution. And that you should read the War Powers Act. And that you’re not a dictator.

    Dave (1bb933)

  184. To be fair, every POTUS has kicked against the goad about the War Powers Act since it was passed. Trump’s sole innovation is to do so via Twitter.

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  185. @185 This post will serve as notification that you and whoever is running the house foreign affairs committee twitter account are talking past Trumps tweet and that you don’t understand what violating the war powers act entails.

    Technically, everything in the hfac tweet is correct. It just has nothing to do with Trumps tweet.

    frosty (f27e97)

  186. Don’t know.

    The Sarlacc pit reminds me of the corpse flower
    https://harvardmagazine.com/2017/03/colossal-blossom

    I had to go watch the clip on you tube
    Had no idea what you were talking about

    steveg (354706)

  187. Trump announced his intention to violate the War Powers Act today…

    Actually, what he said about hitting Iran wouldn’t violate the War Powers Act, but he doesn’t understand that he is required to notify Congress. It’s not optional.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  188. George Lopez is stealing his “jokes” from here

    https://dailycaller.com/2020/01/05/george-lopez-responds-iran-bounty-trump/

    steveg (354706)

  189. @189 Even that isn’t really responding to Trump’s tweet and we’re in respond to what I imagine is going on instead of what is going on land.

    Trump is simply saying that if Iran does something the US will respond and this probably has something to do with the constant whining from certain groups about getting notice of military action beforehand.

    Reading this as a war powers issue is a figment of someone’s imagination.

    frosty (f27e97)

  190. The War Powers Act requires subsequent notification of Congress, not prior notification.
    In responding to an aggressive act by a hostile power, the CinC is the ultimate authority.
    Though Congress is given the authority to Declare War, it is not given the authority or responsibility to Conduct War, that is why the founders created a Commander in Chief, and Chief Executive Officer, in the person of The President. They had the experience of a “war by committee” between 1775 and 1783, and though we won (or the British lost), it was not a good experience.

    askeptic (0b6eb4)

  191. I’ve never accepted the boots on the ground requirement for all situations.

    Frosty, I agree you don’t need boots on the ground for all situations, but you would need it to defeat the Iranian government. If you’re just going to blow their stuff up, sure they will mind, but they will buy more stuff from Russia. The government will persist. So what’s the goal?

    Maybe the goal is to ensure their nuclear program is really screwed up, maybe to shut down their piracy, and even at the cost of ensuring belligerence that we were already pretty sure about… then it’s just a financial decision. I can get on board with this, perhaps, but I’d like Trump to articulate what it is he’s trying to do.

    He is flailing on twitter, and my guess is he wants to keep this in the press as long as possible by not being clear or a leader… because this is a smokescreen for impeachment. Which is unfortunate as if you really want a president who is a deterrent to North Korea and Iran, he needs to actually have some staying power. Trump’s red lines need to mean something for Trump to be successful containing or reducing Iran’s capacity for evil (and we do want his success with this, at least).

    Dustin (cafb36)

  192. This whole episode reeks w/t stink of a Roy Cohn-to-the-mattresses move. Everything Trump has done in his entire life is about what’s in it for him first and foremost. That should narrow down what to peg as a ‘success.’

    DCSCA (797bc0) — 1/5/2020 @ 4:25 pm

    Yeah.

    Unfortunately I keep debating with Trump supporters what they think success is. Why Trump is great is ephemeral. If Trump wanted to push the spotlight over from other things, yes, he gets a gold star for this. I do not think Trump will lose the next election (too easy to spoil the election with a third party candidate, and well worth it to the right people). But imagine a lame duck Trump going out with a bang.

    Dustin (cafb36)

  193. @193….I believe that tightened and continuing sanctions may finally bring us to a point that the Tehran mobs will do something symbolic such as Storming the Evin Prison, and the days of the Islamic Republic will be severely numbered.

    askeptic (0b6eb4)

  194. @193 I don’t think this is a wag the dog situation because there is no dog. I think this is just normal Trump not handling the situation well and talking like a tough guy because his base responds to that.

    I also suspect there is more going on here than we know about so far and Trump is probably dealing with a unique situation he wasn’t prepared for.

    Defeating the Iranian government via invasion is only a reasonable goal if there are reasons to believe the next government would be an improvement. There is no evidence for that. However, there is a limit to the buy more stuff plan and we’ve seen that work before. It’s not clear the government will persist in the face of constant more stuff buying to support the goal of Iran as Persia resurrected or Iran as the regional power or caliphate or whatever is driving their quest for nukes and support of terrorism and insurgents.

    frosty (f27e97)

  195. This post will serve as notification that you and whoever is running the house foreign affairs committee twitter account are talking past Trumps tweet and that you don’t understand what violating the war powers act entails.

    Technically, everything in the hfac tweet is correct. It just has nothing to do with Trumps tweet.

    The War Powers Act requires notification to Congress within 48 hours of significant engagement of US forces.

    Trump in effect wrote: “If I do something at some undetermined time in the future, this tweet is the notification to Congress that I did it.”

    That’s obviously flouting the law.

    Dave (1bb933)

  196. @197 I think “Trump in my imagination wrote” is more accurate. It’s hard to obviously flout a law with a future hypothetical that you had to reword.

    Let’s hope Trump doesn’t tweet something tomorrow about missing warm summer days, since obviously he’d be signaling that not only does he unconstitutionally control the weather but increased global warming is now US weather control policy.

    frosty (f27e97)

  197. Is Trump violating the War Powers Act?

    (c)Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation
    The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    Under C (3), the attack on the Embassy gave Trump wide latitude and any subsequent attacks would only make his hand stronger.

    Trump told Iran and Congress of his intentions to use executive powers per C(3) above if Iran does anything of that nature again.

    So his notification was informal and unconventional. Its not like Congress didn’t already know what and why.

    Trump was clearly giving advance notice to Congress at the end of his tweet the minute he starts talking about the future: should Iran do this, I will respond. I’m giving prior notice even though prior notice is not legally required.
    That isn’t behaving like a dictator.

    We also don’t know if someone at the WH has already drafted a letter if it might already have been sent … the fools in Congress might have it already and are just playing politics.

    I don’t think Trump intends to take and hold territory… in the event of retaliation by Iran or its proxies he intends to kill members of Quds Force wherever he can and to break a lot of stuff that hurts them economically and militarily.

    The US military is very good at breaking stuff… the more modern infrastructure a country is dependent on the more vulnerable they are to its breakage. Afghanistan can’t be fought that way because they are still in the stone age and they like it there, but Iran’s economy is very vulnerable and very dependent on the infrastructure surrounding one export. Oil is 4/5 of the Iranian export economy.
    The US doesn’t have to hit the oil infrastructure… it could destroy the three major oil refineries, fuel storage, cripple transportation, knock out the power to the oil pipelines. Make it so they can’t move their oil from the fields to the terminals

    Iranians are smart proud people and they aren’t going to roll over. My best guess is it doesn’t go that far unless the Iranians get emotional and decide to go big now instead of staying with their current patient asymetric strategy.

    Trump said something interesting the other day… something along the line of: Iran has never won a war, never lost a negotiation. Don’t know if he was baiting them to fight or telling them they’d be better off negotiating

    steveg (354706)

  198. I think “Trump in my imagination wrote” is more accurate. It’s hard to obviously flout a law with a future hypothetical that you had to reword.

    It was claimed that nothing in his tweet was relevant to the War Powers Act. The paraphrase was to demonstrate that it was.

    Saying “this is notice that if A happens I might do B” is not in compliance with a law that requires written notice of B after doing it.

    The law further requires that the President’s written notification include:

    (A.) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
    (B.) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
    (C.) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.

    If Obama had done it, the same people ho-humming (and Trump himself) would have gone apesh!t.

    Dave (1bb933)

  199. I know that some of you have seen the 2011 video of Trump predicting that Obama would attack Iran ahead of the 2012 election just to get re-elected. He ends by saying “Isn’t that pathetic?”

    It has been suggested that it would be irresponsible to say that Trump did the same thing this week by killing Iran’s top General. Maybe, but not nearly as irresponsible as it was in 2011 when there was no evidence to support the claim.

    An unexpected attack on Iran has occured in an election year… with a motivation spelled out right on camera. But we are supposed to give HIM the benefit of the doubt?

    noel (f22371)

  200. Trump said something interesting the other day… something along the line of: Iran has never won a war, never lost a negotiation. Don’t know if he was baiting them to fight or telling them they’d be better off negotiating

    Well, like just about everything else Trump says, this is sheer nonsense.

    The country became “Iran” to outsiders in 1935. Since then, they have been involved in one or two wars, depending on whether you count the nearly bloodless Allied occupation of the country during WWII as a war. The certainly didn’t win any negotiation in the aftermath – the country was partitioned and treated as occupied for the remainder of the war; the Soviets only withdrew in 1946 after extracting oil concessions.

    Iran arguably won the Iran-Iraq war, in that they turned back a surprise invasion, backed by use of chemical weapons, which they were initially completely unprepared for, and ended the war with their troops occupying Iraqi territory rather than the other way around. The war could certainly be (and often is) considered a draw (and thus not “won” by Iran), but Iran did not win any negotiation here, either. The war ended with a ceasefire in 1988, with Saddam still receiving diplomatic support from the West, and most of Iran’s neighbors, and thus able to escape accountability for starting the war. He made no concessions to Iran until 1991, when he was facing war with much more dangerous enemies in the wake of his invasion of Kuwait.

    If Trump meant (historical) Persia, which has existed in some form since at least 1000 BC, saying they never won a war is absurd. At various times the Persian empire stretched from beyond the Indus River west to Libya, and from Bulgaria south to the borders of Ethiopia.

    The Persians also defeated the Romans plenty of times; in 260 AD, the Roman emperor Valerian suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Persians at the Battle of Edessa, and was enslaved under humiliating conditions for the rest of his life (the Persian emperor Shapur reportedly used him as a human footstool when mounting his horse). Some accounts say Valerian was eventually flayed alive, while others have molten gold being poured down his throat. But in all accounts, his remains were stuffed with straw and put on display as a trophy in a Persian temple.

    So, yeah – Trump is full of it, as usual…

    Dave (1bb933)

  201. That was Valerian’s punishment for persecuting Christians. At least the guy who put together the fable would like you to think so. Actually, the Persians were more civilized than the Romans and, moreover, their kings did unto other kings as they would have other kings do unto them. Valerian and his retinue lived out their lives in internal exile in their own community/enclave/gulag/ghetto near the ancient Persian capital of Susa.

    nk (dbc370)

  202. https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/01/04/world/middleeast/04reuters-iraq-security-soleimani-insight.html

    In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi’ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad.

    The Revolutionary Guards commander instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi 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, two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters….

    …..Two weeks before the October meeting, Soleimani ordered Iranian Revolutionary Guards to move more sophisticated weapons – such as Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles that could bring down helicopters – to Iraq through two border crossings, the militia commanders and Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

    At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries – unknown to the United States – who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases….

    …Before the attacks, 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, U.S. officials told Reuters Friday on condition of anonymity. One senior U.S. official said Soleimani had supplied advanced weaponry to Kataib Hezbollah….

    ….Soleimani picked Kataib Hezbollah to lead the attacks on U.S. forces in the region because it had the capability to use drones to scout targets for Katyusha rocket attacks, one of the militia commanders told Reuters. Among the weapons that Soleimani’s forces supplied to its Iraqi militia allies last fall was a drone Iran had developed that could elude radar systems, the militia commanders said.

    Kataib Hezbollah used the drones to gather aerial footage of locations where U.S. troops were deployed, according to two Iraqi security officials who monitor the movements of militias.

    On December 11, a senior U.S. military official said attacks by Iranian-backed groups on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were increasing and becoming more sophisticated, pushing all sides closer to an uncontrollable escalation.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  203. 173. Kishnevi (7de89f) — 1/5/2020 @ 5:58 pm

    . There are two main problems with Iran now

    Its pursuit of the nuclear bomb
    Its use of terrorism on an industrial scale

    I think solving both requires getting rid of the mullahs.

    And Trump has said he doesn’t want regime change.

    Yet this sis where it is logically heading.

    I think the biggest reason he always says he doesn’t want regime change (besides the fact that he doesn’t care about human rights except for American citizens is that he thinks these tyrannies they won’t feel they need to confront the United States in self defense. But they never feared that anyway. The United States has a long record of leaving tyrannical regimes alone except for very very soft non-military action, which can’t destroy them if they know what they are doing, and if they don’t know they can’t survive anyway. It’s not self defense of the regime that prompts things like that, but ambition to rule more. So no need to promise no regime change.

    Anything less will simply leave the mullahs in control and more eager to get the bomb and help terrorism.

    They could have mullahs, but different mullahs.

    It’s like getting the surrender of Japan in 1945 without the bother of an occupation.

    Now we have to realize why Iran did this: For basically the same reason Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. The sanctions were going to force it t give up ts ambitions. Iran thinks, or thought, it is a little bit smarter than Japan was and they can avoid dragging the United States into war while forcing Europe at least to give up the sanctions.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  204. I think by the third round of escalation after this, Trump will be bombing Khamenei and trying to kill him, and at aminimum, forcing him to stay in a secret bunker and hide like Baghdadi did. And that’s a lot better than attacking soldiers. No reason to worry about the precedent – Iran has already put a bounty of $80 million (using the Great Satan’s money?) on Donald Trump’s head.

    The simplest way for us to get rid of the mullahs is to have the people of Iran do it themselves. In that context, it is pertinent to note that apparently the large anti government protests were filled with the same people now chanting revenge for Solomani.

    I think Trump doesn’t care who rules Iran, just that whoever does it gives up Iran’s nuclear program and its imperalist ambitions, including terrorism, and stops funding Hamas and Hezbollah and all the imitation Hezbollahs. Maybe they’d have to give up their secrets too, and co-operate in shutting them down.

    There might be other powers that might want to take up the slack just to deprive the United States of a victory. But then who? Maybe Russia secretly – but isn’t Trump Putin’s favorite candidate? Does he want to elect a Democrat, given their current anti-Russia, and pro-Ukraine temper? Pakistan? That may be a bridge too far. ISIS or al Qaeda? They’re not connected to Shiite groups. They might try to expand themselves, but with Iran out of the picture, it will be easier to confront them. China? Aren’t they having enough trouble already?

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  205. @200 This is the wonder of TDS and the glory of the mind reading, intent sleuthing Internet commenter. The tweet is present and future tense but you’ve converted it into past tense and even that doesn’t get you there. For him to currently intend to violate the war powers act he’d have to be saying “I’m going to do some unnamed thing in the future and this is the only notice you will ever receive about it”. But that much future projection isn’t there. It’s even more ridiculous considering he sent notice of the drone strike in compliance with the war powers act.

    I can tell I’m pushing a rope here though. At @202 you feel the need to go back to ancient Persia to establish that Trump is full of it for a post that most reasonably could be read as being about the post 1979 Islamic Republic of Iran.

    It looks like Nancy read your post though and is considering legislation specifically limiting Trumps ability to respond to Iran. I was going to joke when I started my response that you should send a letter to Nancy suggesting that but the jokes on me. Yes, let’s have a vote to establish beforehand not to respond to Iranian actions. It’s pretty sad when TDS means pre-acceptance of foreign aggression. At some point your just causing more people to rethink that whole enemies foreign and domestic thing.

    frosty (f27e97)

  206. it is pertinent to note that apparently the large anti government protests were filled with the same people now chanting revenge for Solomani

    And I think it’s pertinent to note that “apparently” the large anti government protests were filled with the same people expressing relief/gratitude that Solomani is dead.

    PTw (894877)

  207. Dave
    Some never trumpers like yourself reflexively default to the position that Trump is always speaking nonsense out of his butt.
    Thanks to nk for fleshing out the history, but I know enough about history to be aware that I have to do some research here and there to get up to speed.
    Some Iranians of Persian heritage seem to me to be a little pissed that their great civilization and place in the world was greatly reduced. To argue that they actually won the Iraq-Iran war misses the point. The point is on the needle. Say what you will about Trump, he is pretty good at finding a nickname or a weakness, an insecurity and poking at it using Twitter.

    I think its a mistake to just write it off as a simpleton practicing jackassery. Ask Crooked Hillary, or Little Marco or Slow Joe.
    You despise Trump, I get it, but underestimating people comes at great risk. Its easy for you to underestimate Trump because its the USA… no one is going to kick down your door and arrest you for a politically insensitive comment about Our Dear Leader. But Trump was speaking to the Iranians (possibly taking a slap at Obama too) and they had better not underestimate him because like him or not he does have a big stick.
    Iranians seem to carry grudges on their sleeves… Trump is the first US President since Reagan that seems to remember the Embassy humiliation and isn’t at all shy about telling the world he holds a grudge. The Iranians know personal feuds and grudges and hopefully they will be smart enough here to understand Trump is poking back at them because he means it. Its not some three D chess thing with him.. they poked his country and he hasn’t forgiven.

    steveg (354706)

  208. steveg,

    I do think you capture a lot of what’s going on with Trump, the 1979 embassy, and Iran, however you aren’t mentioning that Trump was impeached. That’s important because it explains why Trump pulled a 180 from being Iran’s b**** for three years, completely helpless to their behavior, and now he did a single airstrike. Also, Trump recently stabbed the Kurds in the back.

    Those three points are important. If Trump’s goal is more than just bluster and distraction from the impeachment, he will probably need boots on the ground or strong local and loyal support. He blew it with his strategy with the Kurds, betraying them to give Russia a huge advantage in Syria. Iranian locals would be insane to trust Trump. What’s to stop him from going back to his 3 years of smooching the bad guys? Didn’t he bluster on twitter towards Kim about how big his button is, before flip flopping to smooching Kim?

    I do appreciate that Trump is standing up to Iran, and I even appreciate he hasn’t forgotten the American embassy in Iran. At least deterrence is a possibility. But I wouldn’t overestimate that. What I hope Trump does is explain a coherent goal, and how he’s going to get there, but of course Trump likes to think he’s tricking everyone (and everything he does touches on corruption) so he never tells us what he’s trying to accomplish.

    Dustin (cafb36)

  209. Inter armes, silent leges. There should be no pointless partisan bickering — and it is pointless because the House Democrats’ War Powers horsesh!t resolution ain’t gonna go nowhere — when we’re engaged with a foreign enemy.

    I didn’t like it, and said so, when the GOP did Putin’s propaganda in order to embarrass Obama during the Snowden scandal, and I don’t like the Democrats doing it now.

    nk (dbc370)

  210. Defeating the Iranian government via invasion is only a reasonable goal if there are reasons to believe the next government would be an improvement. There is no evidence for that. However, there is a limit to the buy more stuff plan and we’ve seen that work before. It’s not clear the government will persist in the face of constant more stuff buying to support the goal of Iran as Persia resurrected or Iran as the regional power or caliphate or whatever is driving their quest for nukes and support of terrorism and insurgents.

    frosty (f27e97) — 1/5/2020 @ 9:46 pm

    Good points.

    I actually think this government (or some kind of extremist theocracy) would unfortunately persist even at Afghanistan economic levels.

    In my ideal world, the protestors in Iran, who Soleimani was so cruel to, would be organized, trained, armed and supported with air power against a crippled Iranian police/military state.

    But like you said, will those guys actually be good guys?

    Hindsight is 20:20, but imagine if we had refused to betray the Kurds, and our reputation was one of loyalty. And if we had refused to abandon Iraq, and had elections and civil rights to point to on Twitter instead of discussing blowing up Persian cultural heritage. I know this neocon idea will get eyerolls, but man I wish.

    Dustin (cafb36)

  211. Some Iranians of Persian heritage seem to me to be a little pissed that their great civilization and place in the world was greatly reduced. To argue that they actually won the Iraq-Iran war misses the point. The point is on the needle. Say what you will about Trump, he is pretty good at finding a nickname or a weakness, an insecurity and poking at it using Twitter.

    How is the point “on the needle” if there are numerous historical counter-examples? The Persians won plenty of wars. The colorful story about Valerian (i.e. one of those many victories) was included simply to try to make the comment more interesting. Even if Valerian lived out his life of captivity in royal luxury, the Persians still won the war decisively, and Trump is still talking out his orange backside.

    If you really believe Donald Trump has subtle insights of his own about Iranian/Persian history (based on what – watching Fox & Friends and Hannity?), you will believe anything.

    Dave (1bb933)

  212. I like the defeat of Crassus better. Not (only) because he deserved it after what he did to Spartacus, but because it introduced “Parthian shot” (corrupted to “parting shot”) into the language. The Parthians (Persians) were superb horsemen and archers and they would charge the Roman lines shooting in front of them, wheel and ride across shooting from the side, and then complete the turn, twist around on their saddles, and keep shooting as they rode away. Here’s a picture.

    nk (dbc370)

  213. I can tell I’m pushing a rope here though. At @202 you feel the need to go back to ancient Persia to establish that Trump is full of it for a post that most reasonably could be read as being about the post 1979 Islamic Republic of Iran.

    But even if you read it that way, it’s nonsense. The Iranians did not win any negotiation after the Iran-Iraq war.

    If a country’s fights a single war to a bloody stalemate, and then accepts a white peace afterward, in which the aggressor goes unpunished, does it make any sense to say “they’ve never won a war or lost a negotiation”?

    You could just as well say “they’ve never lost a war or won a negotiation”…

    Dave (1bb933)

  214. I like the defeat of Crassus better.

    I blame the Ionian Greek rebels, backed by Athens (a notorious state-sponsor of terrorism) for initiating the cycle of violence in 499 BC.

    Dave (1bb933)

  215. Here is an interesting graphic showing where US troops are currently deployed in the Middle East, and approximately how many.

    Kuwait: 13,000+
    Afghanistan: 12,000
    Qatar: 10,000
    Bahrain: 7000
    United Arab Emirates: 5000
    Iraq: 5000
    Jordan: 3000
    Saudi Arabia: 3000
    Turkey: 1700
    Syria: 500-1000
    Oman: “a few hundred”

    Dave (1bb933)

  216. You should know Trump by now. This sorta move has been his ‘MO’ since his NYC Reagan era days in the 80s. NYers familiar w/his shtick can spot it a mile away. Go full Roy Cohn w/overkill on an issue– then play to negotiate. This is a totally ‘wag the dog’ move. Go extreme and force the stunned other fella to react. Hell, he has more or less threatened to “sue” Iraq for reparations over an airbase if they press the resolution to leave their country. Clssic Trump; total Roy Cohn.

    Watching all these legal eagles chasing this guy with law books is hilarious. He’s been playing dodgeball with them his entire life. He’s now in his 70s: catch him if you can…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  217. @217. Tally up the total and correlate it w/where the petroleum is– what, 39,000 or so– and you’ll understand why your tax dollars finance the U.S. military as a protectorate for an elite group of corporatists and their oily assets, not that silly “American values” stuff fed to the masses about ‘democracy’ or other such sucker bait. Back in the day, popes hired crusading armies to protect and project their “product,” too. Might wanna check on how much Exxon-Mobil pay in taxes– or how their joint ventures w/bad guys Russia and China are doing. Then wave your Walmart American flag– made in Hong Kong.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  218. In the same Air Force One interview where he threatened sanctions on Iraq if they didn’t pay us for our airbase, Trump apparently also doubled-down on his threat to commit war crimes by attacking Iranian cultural sites.

    Meanwhile, at the UN, the head of UNESCO

    cited two legal instruments — both of which were signed by the US and Iran:

    One that stipulate states will not take deliberate measures that would damage cultural and natural heritage

    Another that condemns acts of destruction of cultural heritage

    Azoulay “stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” the release said.

    Why in the world would we want to set a precedent that non-military cultural sites are legitimate targets?

    If it’s OK for our planes to bomb Iran’s cultural sites, is it OK for them to blow-up the Statue of Liberty or Mount Vernon?

    Dave (1bb933)

  219. @213 It’s on point because this is how deep-seated insecurities work. You can see this being made fun of to good effect with the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Chekov in Star Trek. This is a trope but it’s based in reality.

    You really should appreciate the flexible nature of these Trump posts. He’s ridiculing Iran and then throwing them a bone and I’m sure you’re not the only person arguing that Trump is totally wrong because Iran doesn’t have a good record on negotiations or winning wars except ancient Persia.

    frosty (f27e97)

  220. @220. You my not recall this, but during the initial screenings when Independence Day was rolling out, American theatre audiences startled studio execs when they learned moviegoers literally cheered as ‘cultural sites’ were blown up–particularly Capitol Hill and the WH.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  221. This is a trope but it’s based in reality.

    Fake but accurate, in other words?

    Except it’s not accurate at all, under any interpretation.

    Dave (1bb933)

  222. @220 I don’t expect the US military to destroy Iranian cultural and natural heritage sites. Like you said what’s the point.

    Your quote has the hook:

    cited two legal instruments — both of which were signed by the US and Iran

    Iran has a history of backing groups that are actually destroying cultural and natural heritage sites. We can argue that these were done by proxy groups and not Iran directly and that will let some people pretend that it’s different.

    Arguing that threatening to target these sites is bad just confirms that Iranians, and muslim extremists in general, are bad guys and Trump’s critics are making the case. Some of them will make that case at the same time they are trying to argue that Iran is the victim here and not notice the cognitive dissonance.

    Before you invest too energy into this narrative what happens when the US doesn’t attack any cultural sites but we find out Soloman was making the rounds of the ME for that reason?

    frosty (f27e97)

  223. Iran has a history of backing groups that are actually destroying cultural and natural heritage sites.

    Are they? In the instances I can think of in moderately recent history:

    1) Taliban demolishing Buddhist sites
    2) ISIS demolishing sites of all religions and cultures
    3) China’s destruction of numerous mosques and other Muslim religious sites in Xinjiang
    4) Destruction of synagogues in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem by the Arab Legion in 1948

    None of the perpetrators of these acts were Iranian surrogates.

    Wikipedia has a probably-incomplete but nevertheless very extensive list of destroyed heritage sites all over the world. Unclear which Iran-sponsored groups you are referring to.

    Dave (1bb933)

  224. @194. Apparently reports out of the Pentagon more or less confirm the ‘fit-of-pique’ mindset that touched this off. The TeeVee scenes around the embassy and such lit the Roy Cohn in him.

    He’s clueless offshore; a total twit: doesn’t even like to travel. Helsinki was the biggest tell and it remains utterly unforgivable. Agree he’ll likely win again- the domestic landscape is in his favor and his F-Troop opposition excels only at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory; the massacre will hit the guy/gal after him.

    He’s so easy to read– especially for NYers who know and experienced his act from the 80s– totally transactional–and entertaining; knows how to milk that aspect and enjoys being ‘the bad boy everybody loves or loves to hate.’ JR did 12 seasons in Dallas. Trump will do 8 in Washington.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  225. Iran has a history of backing groups that are actually destroying cultural and natural heritage sites.

    If the contest is Trump vs Iran ethically, Trump wins. Sure. Trump is not actively putting people in rape prisons and throwing them off buildings and subjecting them to barbaric cruelty.

    I don’t think this is a very reasonable way to evaluate presidents. For example, Hillary, Obama, Jimmy Carter, a ham sandwich, they all pass this evaluation.

    Iran’s failure to make friends or succeed at foreign policy is a true point. We should take a moment though to recognize that the USA is punching down, way way down, and also is not going to be successful at making friends (like the Kurds) or succeed at foreign policy (depending on how you see it… if you want to corrode Nato as much as possible while boosting the value of Russian weapons and oil infrastructure, this is actually an inspired foreign policy).

    Dustin (cafb36)

  226. NBC News just reported per Iraqi request, the SoD will comply and U.S. troops will leave Iraq. B-b-but the 82nd Airborne is on the way there. WTF– such chaos.

    …and Putin smiled.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  227. “They’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said, according to a pool report

    What really would happen, is that certain locations probably qualify as both.

    He’d only use options presented to him by the Pentagon and they won’t present any target that violates the 1954 convention.

    It could be said that maybe saying that would have a stronger deterrent – the Goebbels diaries indicates that Hitler may have felt bad about some particular place bombed – an opera house in in Munich I think (he didn’t care anything about people of course, even Germans – only SS members maybe – he didn’t want them to smoke – even in that time, cigarettes were considered bad for your health) but these kinds of things don’t have much of a deterrent effect.

    What probably happened is that the Pentagon told Trump that some particular possible target (selected for other reasons) was a cultural site or right next to one and so maybe should not be included on a list of sites that might be bombed. Trump’s reaction was to say that’s good and he’ll warn them.

    Iran has said that they are raising a bounty – asking every person in Iran to contribute $1 to it – with a goal of reaching $80 million – for the death of Trump (they actually are tabulating money in Dollars of the Great Satan? Not even Euros? This might be a way of avoiding starting it. That GoFundMe style page is not going to collect much money.

    Some public figure there has also threatened to hit the White House (Iranian MP Abolfazl Aboutorabi as quoted in the Iranian Labour News Agency) and on Twitter, Hasameddin Ashena, an adviser to President Hassan Rouhani tweeted a link to a list compiled by Forbes of properties owned by Donald Trump.

    This has to be seen as some people outdoing each other in striving to show their loyalty/extremism.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  228. Iran destroyed the Jewish museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMIA_bombing

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  229. Iran’s failure to make friends or succeed at foreign policy is a true point.

    So why did we care about Soleimani jet-setting around the middle east to visit all the friends they don’t have?

    In fact, Iran has a lot of allies, most of them are just not states. Clearly they value lordship over dependent extremist groups to cordial relations with the West, and these fanatics are the flip side of Iran’s hostile and uncompromising attitude toward the US and Israel.

    They are arguably succeeding at foreign policy on their own terms, and in pursuit of their own aims.

    Dave (1bb933)

  230. Iran destroyed the Jewish museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    A terrible crime, but it seems likely the museum was the targeted because it would kill a greater number of Jews than any other target in Argentina, not because of its cultural value per se.

    The Israeli embassy, another high-occupancy target, was bombed two years before.

    Dave (1bb933)

  231. 134. 142. 147.

    SF:

    The U.S. would have called off the attack if Soleimani had been greeted by Iraqi government officials. He wasn’t. He was greeted only by his own people.

    Dave (1bb933) — 1/5/2020 @ 1:09 pm

    According to the interwebs, the Popular Mobilization Force (whose leader was puréed together with Soleimani) is an Iraqi government umbrella organization created to fight ISIS.

    SF: This is my source

    Near the end of a front page article in the New York Times of Saturday January 4, 2020:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/world/middleeast/suleimani-iran-iraq-strike.html

    The mission to target General Suleimani was set in motion after a rocket attack last Friday on an Iraqi military base outside Kirkuk killed an American civilian contractor, according to senior American officials. The military’s Special Operations Command spent the next several days looking for an opportunity to hit General Suleimani. Military and intelligence officials said the strike drew on information from secret informants, electronic intercepts, reconnaissance aircraft and other surveillance tools.

    The option that was eventually approved depended on General Suleimani’s arrival at Baghdad International Airport. If he was met by Iraqi officials, one American official said, the strike would be called off. But the official said it was a “clean party” and the strike was authorized.

    Dave @149.

    Well, maybe a more accurate statement would be “If he was met by Iraqi officials that we didn’t also want dead…”

    Another New York Times front page article, the next day, has, as the second paragraph from the end:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/us/politics/trump-suleimani.html

    The option that was eventually approved depended on who would greet General Suleimani at his expected arrival on Friday at Baghdad International Airport. If he was met by Iraqi government officials allied with Americans, one American official said, the strike would be called off. But the official said it was a “clean party,” meaning members of Kataib Hezbollah, including its leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Mr. Trump authorized the killing at about 5 p.m. on Thursday, officials said.

    Allied with Americans is probably too restrictive or it has a broad meaning.

    Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (alternate nom de guerre of Jamal Jafaar al-Ibrahim never would have been targeted by himself, they said.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  232. @225 The Taliban has a relationship with Iran. Iran and al-Qaeda same but I’m sure you’d argue that this doesn’t meet your definition of a surrogate. Yes, you can pretend that it’s different but you’re missing the larger point by getting into the weeds.

    ISIL and Iran are not allies but for the point I was trying to make it doesn’t matter. ISIL and Iran are still linked because they are muslim extremists. If Trump says we should target Iranian cultural sites and his critics say targeting cultural sites is horrible that attaches to muslim extremists generally and the Iranians specifically. Targeting heritage sites is a bad thing no matter who does it. Your list of other groups that have destroyed cultural sites just reinforces that.

    For the purposes of the point I was trying make, it doesn’t matter if you are correct and Iran, or an Iranian backed group, has never targeted a cultural heritage site. You’ve still got Trump critics falling all over themselves to prove he’s an idiot by white-knighting the Iranians. At this point you’re just picking through the sewer to separate pieces of corn to make a point about Trump.

    frosty (f27e97)

  233. A plausible-looking letter to the Iraqis, humbly informing them that we will be pulling out, has appeared.

    Apart from directly contradicting Trump’s chest-thumping yesterday, which is not actually all that unusual, I would say the speed with which this letter appeared is the main thing that’s suspicious about it.

    The Secretary of Defense denies that any decision has been made.

    The possibility of a hoax seems considerable to me. Other possibilities might include:

    1) Esper did this under the table to pre-empt Trump from starting a third war with Iraq.

    2) It’s a ruse, and the night movement of US troops into the Green Zone is actually an offensive deployment against Iraq’s government.

    Dave (1bb933)

  234. WTF- ROFLMAO; General says Pentagon released ‘troop repositioning’ letter suggestin withdrawl from Iraq “by mistake.”

    “… and so it was planned he command, F-Troop!”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  235. “Trump is not actively putting people in rape prisons and throwing them off buildings and subjecting them to barbaric cruelty.”

    Good point. The ICE detention facilities only cover two of those criteria.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  236. Genuine after all:

    The US has notified Iraq of the repositioning of some of its troops, a US official with direct knowledge told CNN today.

    The US official in Baghdad told CNN this is just a notification about repositioning of troops from one place to another within the region. The official said these notifications are standard based on a number of movements. “In particular, tonight we were going to have a lot of helicopters flying through Baghdad and it shows that we operate within the laws of the government of Iraq.”

    The official continued, “We are still very much partnered with the Iraqi security forces and while our training mission and operations to defeat ISIS in Iraq have paused we look forward to resume those operations at a moment’s notice. Most of these troops being repositioned are involved in the training mission are in administrative roles.”

    Another US official confirmed the authenticity of a letter viewed by CNN from the US Department of Defense to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, which discusses the movement of troops in the region.

    Dated today, the letter from US Marine Corps Commanding Brigadier General William H. Seely III said, “In due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement.” The letter does not claim the US is withdrawing troops from Iraq but comes as the US faces the possibility of being told to leave by the Iraqi government.

    The letter details helicopter movement around the international zone of Baghdad and said Coalition forces will take appropriate measures to minimize and mitigate disturbances to the public. The letter reiterates “the value of our friendship and partnership” and ends, “We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  237. Targeting heritage sites is a bad thing no matter who does it.

    Strange….didnt I hear the same sentiments with regard to domestic ones in the latter half of Summer 2017? And DCSCA’s aviation-boardroom Bollywood sweetie was 180 degrees from that until she realized she had to show out for the good ol boys.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  238. Funny how fast Some Democrats and some media immediately defaulted to the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” and since their real enemy is Trump, they waxed eloquent, nostalgic and sorrowful over the magnificent Persian Lion Soleimani warrior, poet, powerlifter. It got so bad even the NYT had to step in and try to mitigate the PR damage the Dems were doing to themselves

    steveg (354706)

  239. Or possibly Trump knows via briefings that the Iranians are using “heritage sites” as cover and he is signaling Iranians he is on to them?
    He might get them to do something stupid like move some things around out of the heritage sites but I doubt it.
    Wouldn’t hurt to try

    steveg (354706)

  240. Events are moving so quickly that a recap is probably in order.

    1) Bad guys orchestrate attacks and riots to force good guys to withdraw

    2) Genius good guy makes bad guys go boom.

    3) Pissed off government tells good guys to withdraw

    4) Good guys ineptly announce withdrawal, giving bad guys exactly what they wanted in the first place

    5) ?????

    6) WINNING!!

    Dave (65a95a)

  241. Or possibly Trump knows via briefings…

    Oh stahp

    Dave (65a95a)

  242. Esper contradicts Trump: No attacks on cultural sites

    Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Monday contradicted President Donald Trump by asserting the US would not target Iranian cultural sites amid rising tensions after a US strike killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

    “We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” Esper told CNN Monday.

    When pressed if that meant not targeting Iranian cultural sites, Esper replied, “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

    Esper is looking a lot like the last grown-up left in the room. Which probably means his days are numbered.

    Dave (1bb933)

  243. “Some Democrats and some media immediately defaulted to the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” and since their real enemy is Trump, they waxed eloquent, nostalgic and sorrowful over the magnificent Persian Lion Soleimani warrior, poet, powerlifter.”

    Like who?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  244. Or possibly Trump knows via briefings that the Iranians are using “heritage sites” as cover

    Trump would not be capable of keeping that information to himself.

    I think what he should have said was that war, naturally, is destructive to the valued things around war. People, places, and things would all be lost. Some of which are important to any Persian, including for cultural reasons.

    But no, Trump has reiterated he is never wrong and he totally intends to target cultural heritage to really intimidate his foes.

    Again: what is Trump’s objective? It would be a lot easier to evaluate his methods if we understood what he’s after. Is it a weakened USA? A prosperous Russian dictatorship? Iran’s government being overcome by American sympathetic citizens who appreciate that we respect their heritage?

    Time will tell (That trump had no plan and was just being a nutcase).

    Dustin (cafb36)

  245. Can we get Trump’s exact words?

    52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture,

    Lemme ax you: Is West Point important to American culture? The Pentagon Building? Pearl Harbor? Hollywood? Disneyland? Graceland?

    nk (dbc370)

  246. 247. Dustin (cafb36) — 1/6/2020 @ 4:58 pm

    Again: what is Trump’s objective? It would be a lot easier to evaluate his methods if we understood what he’s after. Is it a weakened USA? A prosperous Russian dictatorship? Iran’s government being overcome by American sympathetic citizens who appreciate that we respect their heritage?

    Trump’s goal seems to be:

    1) Stop all attacks by Iran that could kill any American soldiers or civilians. That includes civilians who might be killed because they were in the wrong place, even if they were not the target.

    2) Especially stop Iranian threats. Trump goes all out in pointing out what the United States could do because he believes that worked with North Korea. Kim Jong Un stopped all missile testing. He still stopped it. He had not yet delivered his Christmas or New Year’s present in spite of the fact that he and his wife were photographed on white horses..

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  247. Trump’s program for Iran: (not that it;s necessarily been fully thought out, but thsi seems to be what woud satisfy akk his criteria.

    1. IF Iran commits no further acts of violence that kills any American citizens:

    2. THEN toughen the sanctions against Iran, including some secondary sanctions against banks and companies, until the goal is achieved of Iran giving up its nuclear program and its imperialist ambitions, including terrorism, and stopping the funding of Hamas and Hezbollah and all the imitation Hezbollahs, and co-operating in trying to shut them down. Trump is willing to wait years to get to that point, so long as Iran does not kill any Americans, but will steadily increase the squeeze..

    3. IF Iran does commit further acts of violence that kills even one American citizen:

    4. THEN Ratchet up the acts against Iran’s government until they don’t. This may end in a decapitation attack against the regime.

    5. IF Iran stops without that happening:

    6. THEN GOTO 1.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  248. #247
    You forgot Dollywood and the worlds largest ball of twine

    steveg (354706)

  249. Clinton bombed a radio/television station in Belgrade, because it was broadcasting “Wag The Dog” “propaganda”, killing 16 people, all civilians. And you know what happened next? NATO tried the manager of the station for war crimes, for not evacuating the building before it was bombed, and sentenced him to ten years in prison. Nope, not kidding.

    It’s all hypocrisy.

    nk (dbc370)

  250. Hi Dustin

    I know Trump comes off as a philistine, but the idea to destroy cultural sites seemed odd right away.
    My guess is that you are right about his inability to keep his mouth shut and I’d offer that this is proof of that.
    He isn’t they type of person that is riffing in his head and suddenly “cultural sites” come to his mind. Someone told him something and he blurted it out. I certainly would not put it past the Iranian leadership to hide something nefarious in a cultural site… would you?

    steveg (354706)

  251. ”Good point. The ICE detention facilities only cover two of those criteria.”
    Davethulhu (fab944) — 1/6/2020 @ 1:39 pm

    Get professional help.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  252. Dave
    Do you really see Trump sitting around and suddenly come up with “Hey lets bomb Persepolis”
    Particularly since the nevertrumpers here think he’s too stupid to use google earth.
    The Iranians have threatened our cultural sites before (nk maintains the definitive list) and someone must have briefed him

    steveg (354706)

  253. @251. It’s all ratings: bad management can be a killer.

    “I argued that television was a volatile industry in which success and failure were determined week by week; Mr. Jensen does not like volatile industries and suggested with a certain sinister silkiness that volatility in business usually reflected bad management.” – Frank Hackett [Robert Duvall] ‘Network’ 1976

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  254. @244/@253/254.

    Y’all still don’t know this guy. He keeps showing you who he is. Trump has never given a damn about “cultural sites.” This is a man of brass letters and gold-plated toilet fixtures.

    Exhibit A: art deco facades of the Bonwit Teller Building.

    Google it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  255. Do you really see Trump sitting around and suddenly come up with “Hey lets bomb Persepolis”

    Of course not. He didn’t mention Persepolis, either.

    While it’s impossible to analyze the workings of his reptile brain with certainty, if I had to guess I’d suspect he was referring to Qom, the religious focal point of Shia, and also (maybe) where some of the top mullahs reside. Note the juxtaposition of “high level” and “important to the Iranian culture” in his threat.

    Dave (1bb933)

  256. Rand Paul blames the Soleimani assassination on … wait for it … John Bolton.

    He does make a number of very sensible points, but refuses to lay any blame at Trump’s feet.

    Dave (1bb933)

  257. @239 This is to obscure for me. Is this some sort of Nikki Haley reference.

    frosty (f27e97)

  258. “Blame” is not the right word. The right word is “credit”.

    And you know, when you come down to it, “libertarian” used to be another word for “anarchist” which was another word for “socialist” which was another word for “communist”. But the word I’d choose for dnaR luaP is “wacko-bird”.

    nk (dbc370)

  259. Frosty, winner winner chicken dinner.

    urbanleftbehind (e18e0c)

  260. 250. his program also needs an introductory [0?] line saying that U.S. troops can and will, if applicable, help train and guide, foreign troops in combating Iran’s proxies, but will stay out of combat and try to stay in a secure area, except to protect other Americans. (what happens is that Iran may attack a thought to be safe base, or as a deterrent to maintain freedom of navigation.)

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  261. The Iraqi consulate in Detriot announced it was open for those who want to mourn Soleimani

    If Obama’s FBI had people outside taking photos and license plate numbers of everyone that would be prudent.

    If Trump does the same it will be racist and xenophobic

    steveg (354706)

  262. I think happened was that someone came up with list of targets, and Trump was probably also cautioned that there might be a reason NOT to target one or more of the targets because they were also sites of cultural importance.

    This might be, for instance, a historic mosque where weapons or components of weapons or nuclear program records or some things useful to a nuclear weapon program were probably being secretly stored.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)


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