NATSEC ROUNDUP: Recap On Iran And This Week

This week, while President Trump took the fight directly to America’s enemies and protected our interests, House Democrats were blaming America and undermining our national security. For a recap on all of this, see below:

Taking Soleimani Off The Battlefield Was The Right Decision:

  • Qassem Soleimani was an evil and deadly terrorist with the blood of thousands, including hundreds of Americans, on his hands.
  • President Trump was right to order decisive, defensive action to kill Soleimani, prevent further attacks, and defend American lives and interests.
  • Unlike President Obama, who appeased Iran and provided over $1.5 billion in cash payments to the regime, President Trump has taken decisive action to stop Iran’s malign activity and defend the U.S.

Democrats’ Non-Binding Resolution Emboldened Iran

Yesterday, Democrats held a vote on a non-binding resolution to undermine President Trump’s ability to protect America’s interests and embolden Iran. Their War Powers resolution served no purpose other than to try and smear President Trump and the bold leadership he has shown to defend the security of our nation.

Not only did the White House issue a Statement of Administration Policy slamming the resolution, but President Trump tweeted for House Republicans to oppose the measure:

A number of Republicans spoke on the floor in strong opposition to the resolution, including several who have served the country in uniform overseas, pointing out that the proposal would have negative ramifications for our troops:

REP. BRIAN MAST: “Soleimani was a terrorist and the head of a designated terrorist organization. He was responsible for the deaths of American men and women. The United States would be justified to kill 100 Soleimanis for just one of our heroes that have been killed by him.”

REP. DON BACON: “I knew who Soleimani was when I was in Iraq. We were targeted by rockets every single day from Iranian proxies trained in, funded and armed by Iran – and sometimes led by Iranian commanders. This resolution is not needed.”

REP. GUY RESCHENTHALER: “In supporting this resolution, Democrats are choosing to stand with their far-left radical base rather than standing up against Iran.”

REP. STEVEN PALAZZO: “During a time where we should unite behind our Commander in Chief, Pelosi’s War Powers resolution turns us against ourselves.” 

REP. LEE ZELDIN: “You need proof? Go to Walter Reed. You need proof? Sit down with some of these Gold Star families who lost their sons, their daughters, their fathers, their mothers, their brothers, and their sisters because of this designated foreign terrorist.”

REP. WILL HURD: “Now is not the time for a partisan exercise that could be used as propaganda by the Ayatollahs. Instead, Congress should be united in condemning a regime that has been attacking America and our allies for 40 years.”

REP. MIKE GALLAGHER: “This is not a serious effort. This is a political effort that will have the practical effect only of undermining our military deterrent in the Middle East, which for the first time in a long time is actually stronger.”

REP. DAN CRENSHAW: “We must make clear that the U.S. will not be attacked indefinitely. We will respond and it’ll make you regret ever attacking us. We should stand by the decision to strike and stand by those who allowed us to bring Soleimani to justice.”

REP. RALPH ABRAHAM: “If you can look these Gold Star Families in the face and tell them this was not a justified strike, may God have mercy on you.”

REP. MARK GREEN: “They respond to strength, and our president did the right thing… Mr. Speaker, this president made a strong response, and it’s shown itself to work.”

REP. JIM BAIRD: “I’ve heard a lot of talk about patriotism and I gave this arm in Vietnam and I have a lot of good friends whose names are on the Vietnam Wall, so don’t talk to me about patriotism and how much I love this country.”

REP. ADAM KINZINGER: “The military’s job that they volunteer for every day is to keep the American people safe. That’s exactly what was done a week ago in the death of Soleimani.”

REP. SCOTT PERRY: “This resolution is insincere and unserious. It’s insincere because we don’t like the president and he took action and we can’t stand it. It’s unserious because if they wanted to limit the action of our country to defend our country, it wouldn’t be a nonbinding resolution.”

Even certain Democrats recognized that this resolution represented an effort to weaken America and strengthen our enemies, eight members from their caucus crossed the aisle and opposed this resolution:

  • Rep. Anthony Brindisi
  • Rep. Joe Cunningham
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer
  • Rep. Kendra Horn
  • Rep. Elaine Luria
  • Rep. Ben McAdams
  • Rep. Stephanie Murphy
  • Rep. Max Rose

Democrats Opt To Blame America; They’d Rather Express Their Hate For President Trump Than Support Him For Going After America’s Enemies:

At every turn throughout this debate, Democrats sought to blame America and criticize President Trump, showing that they refuse to check politics at the door even when it affects our country’s national security.

First, while missiles were raining down on U.S. military personnel in Iraq, Speaker Pelosi criticized America for attacks launched by our enemies, and called the killing of a terrorist with the blood of Americans on his hands a “needless provocation”:

While Speaker Pelosi said in 2011 – conveniently when President Obama was President – that the President did not need authorization to use force to protect our interests, she led the charge to advance this unconstitutional resolution. Her past position makes it clear that the impetus for this resolution was not because it was the right thing for the country – it wasn’t – but because it would undermine President Trump.

Later in the debate about this resolution, some Democrats inexplicably sided with Iran and argued that Iran was the victim, while alleging that the United States was at fault. Just look at what Rep. Ilhan Omar said on the House floor last night:

Now, Democrats are actually attempting to blame President Trump – not Iran – for the crash of a Ukrainian airline in Tehran. While public reports indicate that the plane may have been shot down by Iran, the left is actually claiming that America is responsible for the crash, instead of Iran, which shot down the plane and is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism:

Rep. Jackie Speier Blames Trump for the Ukraine Plane Crash in Iran: ‘Collateral Damage’ From His Provocative Actions

The Administration Outlines Why They Took The Action That They Did

  • Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Mark Milley said that there was “clear, unambiguous intelligence indicating a significant campaign of violence against the United States in the days, weeks, and months,” and that the administration would have been “culpably negligent” if it didn’t act.
  • POTUS: “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad.”
  • Secretary Pompeo: “The Intelligence Community had identified significant plotting and planning by Qasem Soleimani himself. They were describing it as a “big attack.”  It was going to be against the United States of America, likely in the region.”

Iran’s Brutal Actions Against Their Own People

  • As protests swept Iran in November, Iran’s brutal leaders ordered a violent crackdown.
    • The New York Times described the protests as the “worst unrest in 40 years.”
    • Initially triggered by a government gas price hike, protesters broadly called for an end to the Iranian regime.
  • Reuters reported that “about 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest,” a horrifying figure provided by three Iranian interior ministry officials.
  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly issued an order to top officials after the protests started: “do whatever it takes to end it.”
    • “The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order,” Khamenei told officials, according to Reuters.

Iran’s Recent Threats and Attacks Against U.S. Forces and Interests

  • Early October: Qassem Soleimani orders the IRGC to move more sophisticated weapons to Iraq like Katyusha rockets, per Reuters.
  • Mid-October: Soleimani meets with the leader of Kata’ib Hizballah (KH), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other Iraqi militia leaders and instructs them “to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran,” per Reuters.
    • Soleimani told the 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” and ordered Kataib Hizballah to direct the plan.
  • In the coming weeks, these militias launch more than a dozen rocket attacks threatening U.S. forces and interests.
  • Early November: Rockets target an Iraqi base that houses American troops near Mosul.
  • 12/3: Five rockets land inside the Ain al-Asad airbase, which houses U.S. forces, per the Iraqi military.
  • 12/9: Four Katyusha rockets strike a military base near Baghdad airport.
  • 12/27: Under Soleimani’s guidance, more than 30 rockets are fired at an Iraqi base near Kirkuk, killing a U.S. citizen and wounding four American servicemembers.
  • 12/29: U.S. conducts defensive strikes against KH in Iraq and Syria, killing at least 25 militia fighters.
  • 12/31: Guided by Soleimani, Iran-backed militants stage a violent assault against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, targeting diplomats and service members.
  • 1/2: The U.S. kills Soleimani and Muhandis in a strike at Baghdad airport.
  • 1/4: Two rocket attacks near Iraqi bases housing Coalition forces, a total of 13 attacks in the past two months, per DOD.
  • 1/7: Iran launches more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq.
  • 1/8: Two rockets land in Baghdad’s Green Zone and explode in the perimeter of the U.S. Embassy, per Fox.

See the below photos depicting Iran’s destruction at the U.S. Embassy:

(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

(AP Photo/Qassim Abdul-Zahra)

Experts and Former Officials Praise the President’s Decisive Action

Former Democratic vice presidential candidate and Senator Joe Lieberman wrote in The Wall Street Journal:

  • “Some Democrats have said that killing Soleimani will lead us into war with Iran. In fact, Soleimani and the Quds Force have been at war with the U.S. for years. It is more likely that his death will diminish the chances of a wider conflict because the demonstration of our willingness to kill him will give Iranian leaders (and probably others like Kim Jong Un ) much to fear.”
  • “Some Democrats have also refused to appreciate Soleimani’s elimination because they say it isn’t part of an overall strategy for the region. But based on the public record, there is a strategy, beginning with the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, the shift to maximum economic pressure, and now adding a demonstrated willingness to respond with military force to Iran’s provocations. The goal is to bring the Iranian government back into negotiations to end its nuclear weapons program and rejoin the world’s economy.”
  • “The claim by some Democrats that Mr. Trump had no authority to order this attack without congressional approval is constitutionally untenable and practically senseless. Authority to act quickly to eliminate a threat to the U.S. is inherent in the powers granted to the president by the Constitution. It defies common sense to argue that the president must notify Congress or begin a formal process of authorization before acting on an imminent threat.”

Former Bush administration officials Eric Edelman and Frank Miller wrote in The Wall Street Journal:

  • “With the killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Washington has sent Tehran an unambiguous message that it can no longer attack Americans with impunity. For the first time since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the U.S. has taken important initial steps to establish a credible deterrent.”
  • “Deterrence is effective when an enemy is convinced that the cost of an action will outweigh the gains. Until now the Iranian leadership has suffered no losses to its own valued assets as a result of killing Americans. Soleimani’s habit of taunting U.S. officials during his travels around the region was testimony to his belief that he could act against the U.S. without consequences. The ayatollahs had evidently concluded they had a free hand to harass American troops.”
  • “Soleimani’s death is the first time the regime has lost something it valued in its conflict with the U.S. The Trump administration was right to make clear that America will impose significant costs on the regime until its state-sponsored hostage-taking, murder and other forms of terrorism cease.”