President Donald Trump ordered the strike against Qassem Soleimani that led to the killing of Soleimani at the Baghdad Airport a couple days ago. The Left, here expressed by members of those unified by their disdain for and resistance to Trump, has been objecting ever since.
[M]any Washington insiders and defense experts remain skeptical about whether those attacks were truly imminent.
Well, of course. This was a Trump move; it cannot be believed. Never mind that these…insiders…and “experts” don’t have access to the intel the led to the strike’s necessity. More than that, though, is this: a former Pentagon official and Middle East expert, who refused to put his name to his claim (possibly because he knew a sentence or two from his claim might be taken out of context by his NLMSM interviewer) said (in part?)
I believe we have had plans [to eliminate Soleimani] all along. The attack on the US embassy was the trigger to get that ball rolling[.]
You bet we had those plans. We have contingency plans for every action we can think of that might threaten our security. Soleimani in particular has been a threat for years, and his PMF pseudo-protester attack on our Baghdad embassy certainly should have been a trigger to step up locating the thug. Coupling that overt attack with the intel we had added urgency to locating him and to our response. Keep in mind: success occurs at the intersection of preparation—contingency plans and active intel efforts—and luck—finding him so quickly once his plans had been discovered.
Aside here: the official’s two sentences—what was their context? What else did he say that was edited out from the quote above? Something along the lines of having contingency plans for everything? We can’t tell, so we can’t say whether this person is a member of that resistance or was misquoted.
Then we get this from Jenna Ben-Yehuda, an ex-State Department official who worked with DoD—and so a member of the interagency coordination facility of which Fiona Hill was so proud and quite upset that was occasionally (often, even) bypassed by the man actually responsible for policy:
[H]is move to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization in April 2019, the first time the US has ever given that designation to an element of a foreign government, makes Thursday’s attack part of a destabilizing chain of events.
While Secretary of State Pompeo has asserted that the US made the decision to strike on Thursday in response to “imminent threats” against US personnel and assets, the fact that he appears not to have provided the public, Congress, or allies with additional information about those threats casts doubts on the veracity of his claim[.]
That the “chain” might be in some way destabilizing is a result of Iranian actions, not anything else. Her calling Pompeo a liar regarding the intel assessment is simply another example of the Left’s automatic rejection of anything coming out of this administration—especially when it contradicts the Hill/Ben-Yehuda interagency coordination facility decisions. I’ll elide the fact that, as an ex-official, she, like the unnamed ex-Pentagon person, had no access to the underlying intel, and so she’s completely ignorant of any relevant facts.
Her plaint that Pompeo (and Trump, come to that) didn’t spend time advising anyone in advance of the strike demonstrates her complete lack of understanding of the term “imminent.” Never mind that relevant classified briefings to Congress are scheduled imminently.
That neither Pompeo nor Trump briefed the public—especially her precious self—demonstrates her equally complete lack of understanding of the tenets of secrets and security. And that explanations, now being made to the public (but not her particularly; she has to read about it in the press like the rest of us), must necessarily lack intel detail to protect, among other things, our methods and sources.
There’s this, too, from Kenneth Pollack, a Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute:
We know Qassem may have been planning an attack in general terms, but we don’t know about when and how. I would say we got an intel hit. He was going to be at the airpor…and an easy target….
Pollack is claiming that because he didn’t know imminence-of-attack particulars “we” didn’t know. Never mind that he’s no more privy to current intel than are Ben-Yehuda or the ex-Pentagon official.
None of that matters to the Left or to resistors in general. What Trump did violated their predetermined requirements and that’s to be condemned.