I have a long history of knocking Trump. However, I want to pause for a minute and praise him for Iran. Trump has greatly exceeded my expectations and even my wilder hopes.
First, an American contractor is killed in Iraq.
Second, Trump hits back at the five militia camps in western Iraq and eastern Syria, killing 19 militia members.
Third, a militia in Iraq overruns the outer portion of our embassy, doing lots of property damage, but not hurting our people who fall back to a defensible location, including a “safe room.” Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei boasts that there is nothing that Trump can do. Someone should have sent him a copy of the 2011 White House Correspondent’s Dinner where Obama taunted Trump. A very, very bad idea.
Fourth, Trump orders the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in Iraq, not Iran or Syria. I understand that there had been an order that if any Iraqi government officials had been present, the killing would not have taken place, which is extremely prudent. Shortly after the motorcade starts, Soleimani was killed along with an Iraqi leader with strong ties to the embassy attack. Soleimani is a strategic genius, not unlike George Marshall or Dwight Eisenhower. (After their military service, these two rare “five-star” generals went on to serve in government. Marshall became Secretary of State, Eisenhower became President.)
Fifth, Trump avoids spiking the football in the end zone, based on the Trump curve. (Far too triumphalist for me, but incredibly restrained for Trump.)
Sixth, the Iranians blow their response in three ways. First, 56 die in a stampede at Soleimani’s funeral. How stupid is that? Can’t they even conduct a funeral? Second, Trump has our forces hunker down for the inevitable rocket attack. There is only property damage, no American lives were lost. Third, Iran shoots down a civilian jet, lies about it and then blames us.
Seventh. Trump again is incredibly measured for him. He reaches out to the Iranian people.
Eighth, the strong Republican skeptics of Trump (often called “NeverTrumpers”) praise Trump. See The Bulwark. David French expresses his support for Trump’s deft moves. Jonah Goldberg praises Trump. At the same time, Democrats and the media lose their minds. Damn, this feels like the Kavanaugh hearings, the result of which being that Kavanaugh was confirmed, and the severe Trump Skeptics joining the Republican fold, until Trump, again, was Trump on other issues.
Ninth, Trump tweets in Farsi “Don’t kill your protestors” according to the Three Martini Lunch.
Was Trump perfect? Far from it. He did not consult with Congress in a timely fashion. He did not consult with allies. He provided inadequate briefings to Congress. His explanations about Soleimani are all over the place. He threatened to commit war crimes. What a mess. But still, for Trump, he did very, very well indeed. We are safer today. The world is a better place today with Soleimani dead, and Iran weakened.
I really didn’t think that he had it in him. It is good to have him come through so well. Good on Trump.Published in