Riding the Bomb (en.wikipedia.org).
by Steve Timmer
Jan 9, 2020, 5:00 PM

“Eliminate” means kill, Mark and Tina

From the January 7th edition of the Star Tribune, a letter to the editor:

In the wake of Trump’s altogether proper decision to send the world’s foremost terrorist to the hell he deserved, many on the left are issuing the all-too-typical challenges that our president is marching the nation closer to war. Nonsense. This president had the courage to do what no other president, since the ignominious seizure of our embassy in Tehran 40 years ago, has mustered. Ever since that debacle, and former President Jimmy Carter’s disastrous response in 1979, this country’s leaders have failed time after time to recognize the serial threat Iran poses (“Death to America, death to Israel”) to Western civilization. Their barbarous mullahs are on the verge of obtaining nuclear war powers, thanks to former President Barack Obama’s feckless administration.

Finally, an American president has dealt the Iranian regime with a twofold blow: crippling economic sanctions and the killing of the regime’s second most powerful figure. It is a given that the mullahs will respond with murderous vengeance. They would not have had the capability had earlier administrations, both Republican and Democratic, confronted the inevitable. The annals of history are replete with the sad endings of decent people and nations when they have failed to deal early on with pure evil, as Iran certainly is.

Mark H. Reed, Plymouth

Get off my lawn, thinks Mark; he also thinks the whole world is his lawn.

Both of the things Reed mentions with approval, the crippling economic sanctions (a virtual blockade) and the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani are aggressive acts of war. That doesn’t bother Reed, apparently, but it bothers me and I think it should bother you.

Reed doesn’t care a fig, obviously, for the international order that was established after the Second World War by the Nuremberg military commissions, the creation of the United Nations, and the adoption of the Geneva Conventions.

Parenthetically, Harold Stassen, “Minnesota’s boy governor,” an aide-de-camp to Admiral Bull Halsey who was tasked with figuring out how to rescue Pacific theater prisoners of war before the Japanese could execute them, was the last living signer of the U.N. Charter on behalf of the United States. Harold Stassen is one of the best people Minnesota ever produced, certainly in the 20th century.

But, where was I?

Well, Reed is not the only person who thinks that legality is rather beside the point.

So to Tina, the fact we killed him — and we did kill him, not merely “eliminated him” as though he was unpleasant kitchen odor — is of no consequence, save for the fact it may make us less safe. There is really no daylight between Mark Reed and Tina Smith. The Democrats continue to be the worst opposition party imaginable; with the exception of Bernie Sanders, this is what all Democratic politicians and candidates are saying. It falls quietly into the lap of the president’s narrative.

Harrumph. The assassination of Qassim Soleimani would have been just fine if the president had discussed it with us.

The Americans that everyone complains about Soleimani killing were mostly soldiers prosecuting an aggressive war on a perfidious pretext in Iraq, not an exercise in self-defense. That was almost certainly a war crime, too. (Not by our soldiers who fought in it, unless they committed war crimes themselves, but rather by the leaders who took us into that war.) The Iraqis and their Iranians allies were entitled to defend themselves under international law.

Jon Schwarz, a favorite commentator of mine for a long time, and now a writer for the Intercept, tweeted this recently:


Consider this from Rolling Stone:

I would strongly encourage the people going around cheerleading this to eat a big slice of humble pie now so they don’t have to later. The reason I say that is that you might be excited now, but are you going to be excited when the Russians or the Chinese start doing this stuff? At the end of the day this gives a green light to any other country around the world — authoritarian or otherwise — that wants to start doing this stuff. They’re now able to point at the most powerful country in the world, the country that’s supposed to uphold the international order and be the standard-bearer for what’s right in the world, and say, If they can do it, why can’t we?

Harold Stassen and his post-WWII internationalist pals are turning in their graves. And it is also why Tina Smith’s reaction is so clueless.

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