The Latest On Iran

Iran or its proxies fired a few mortars and rockets at the Green Zone in Baghdad today:

Two mortar rounds hit the Green Zone in Baghdad on Saturday and two rockets slammed into a base housing US troops, security sources said, according to AFP.

No one was injured. This is a pretty lame response to the killing of General Soleimani, and I assume there is more to come. I do think, however, that Iran’s most likely move is to de-escalate the conflict by launching an attack that allows it to save face but doesn’t harm any Americans. The Democrats are hoping for something more serious, maybe even war, but I don’t think they are going to get it.

There is no point in setting out and deconstructing all of the Democrats’ partisan foolishness, so let’s settle for noting this bizarre headline from CNN: “Dems question order to kill Iranian military leader. Trump hasn’t publicly explained his reasoning.” To which one can only reply, he most certainly has.

In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu supported Trump’s action:

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday praised US President Donald Trump for acting to eliminate Iran’s Qassem Soleimani.
“Trump acted swiftly, forcefully and decisively,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel “stands by the US.”

Netanyahu’s statements were made just prior to embarking on the flight home from Greece, pushed earlier due to concerns of backlash from the Soleimani elimination.

“Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right. Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the deaths of US citizens and many other innocents. He was planning more such attacks, and President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively.

“Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense.”

You might think American Democrats would respond in similar fashion, or at least you might have thought so in an earlier era of American history. In fact, Democrats have pretty much universally condemned President Trump for taking strong action in retaliation for Iran’s besieging the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad–in some cases, just hours after they criticized Trump for responding weakly to the embassy attack. No one expects consistency from Democrats.

Iran has been issuing threats nonstop–no surprise there–and President Trump has again responded via (what else?) Twitter:

I like that–52 sites for the 52 American hostages, taken during a low ebb of American history and now, perhaps, to be avenged. Is Trump serious? I think so, yes. It reminds me of a story about Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant. Or maybe it was Sherman. I couldn’t readily find it in my Civil War library, but it goes something like this: Lincoln was riding in a carriage in close proximity to Union troops, maybe he was reviewing them. A Union soldier approached Lincoln’s carriage and accosted the president, telling him a story that he thought Lincoln would hear sympathetically. The soldier had had some sort of conflict with the commanding general–Grant, I think, although it might have been Sherman–and the general had threatened to shoot the soldier if he didn’t obey orders. The soldier related this story in an outraged manner, but Lincoln replied along the lines of: “I know General Grant [or Sherman], and I believe he would do it. If I were you, I would do what he says.”

President Trump has his faults, as did Grant and Sherman. But like them, if he says he will do something, you can be pretty confident he will do it. I believe that; more important, I think the Iranians believe it. I think that is the reality that will govern events in the weeks to come.