As someone who went toe-to-toe with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Afghanistan, I can assure you that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani got exactly what he deserved when he perished in a U.S. drone strike. What he certainly doesn’t deserve is praise from Democratic lawmakers who would rather mourn a war criminal than credit President Trump for making the world safer.
As the leader of the IRGC’s Quds Force, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, Soleimani was among America’s most vociferous and aggressive foes. He was personally responsible for the deaths of thousands, including the killing and maiming of hundreds of American soldiers. He was an evil, remorseless man and his death is a positive development for the entire world – including his own country.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, however, is currently considering a resolution that labels the strike that killed Soleimani “provocative and disproportionate” and even seeks to curtail the President’s ability to respond to future Iranian aggression. Death, no matter the manner it is dealt to a terrorist who has planned and engaged in the murder of Americans, is never “disproportionate” – it is necessary.
Predictably, the Democrats have been stoking fears about Iran’s potential response ever since they’ve learned about Soleimani’s death, pretending that the strike jeopardized U.S. security rather than enhanced it. It seems no liberal lawmaker is immune to the lure of political opportunism in the midst of a presidential election campaign.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, for instance, argued that the targeted killing of Soleimani was an “assassination,” adding that the airstrike “brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.” Rep. Ilhan Omar issued a similar condemnation, claiming that the Democrats are “outraged the president would assassinate a foreign official.”
But while the Democrats join our enemies in mourning Soleimani’s demise, those with knowledge of Soleimani’s terror campaigns are celebrating the death of a genuine war criminal.
As I saw firsthand, the IRGC has long promoted terrorist tactics against the United States, sowing chaos and destruction across the Middle East. My own interrogation of an IRGC terror enabler in 2003 revealed that the Iranian government was funding terrorist operations against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. These operations were being directed by Soleimani himself, yet previous administrations refused to act on intelligence that would have allowed us to take him out far sooner.
That inaction allowed Soleimani and his soldiers to cause mayhem across the Middle East, carrying out assassinations, arming U.S. adversaries and killing hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq. Soleimani even plotted a failed terrorist operation to assassinate a Saudi official in Washington, D.C. – an act that would have likely led to countless civilian deaths, right in our nation’s capital.
Had it not been for the timely strike ordered by President Trump, Soleimani would have carried out further atrocities against U.S. troops and American interests – including an “imminent” attack that the administration claims Soleimani was preparing to launch at the time of his death.
This man was a terrorist in charge of an IRGC element that had been declared a terrorist organization. He was traveling, in violation of U.N. sanctions, to Iraq, with the apparent intent of inflicting harm on U.S. service members in the region. He was in a combat zone as a combatant in uniform – the legal basis to target him could not have been clearer and the same goes for the moral justification.
Make no mistake, the targeted killing of Soleimani was not only justified, but long overdue. Washington should have taken steps to eliminate this terrorist a long time ago.
The Democrats are politicizing this issue the way they’ve politicized every other issue since President Trump took office. They don’t even seem to care that they have to take the side of America’s enemies in order to criticize Donald Trump. I and other combat veterans applaud the courage and fortitude of this president, who is proving to be the right man at the right time to lead our nation in the war on terror.
Anthony Shaffer is U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (retired) and a highly experienced intelligence officer. The recipient of the Bronze Star, Lt. Col. Shaffer had 30 years of field and operational experience. He gained fame for his book, Operation Dark Heart, which described the intelligence community’s controversies associated with the 9/11 terror attacks. He is currently the president of the London Center for Policy Research.
This article was brought to the Italian Tribune’s attention by our good friend and award-winning actor, Tony Lo Bianco, an ardent supporter of our U.S. military and the brave men and women who serve our nation.