It’s a new year…a new decade…2020. Before we could even get over our New Year’s Eve hangover, the New Year basically ate shit. On January 3, 2020 the United States assassinated top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani via drone airstrike in Bagdad, Iraq. (Bowen, 2020) In retaliation, Iran launched ballistic missiles against two military air bases in Iraq. (Cunningham, Taylor, & Brice-Saddler, 2020) Hours later, on that same day, Iran erroneously shot down a Ukrainian airliner as it took off resulting in the tragic death of 176 souls on board. (McKenzie & III, 2020) Hell of a way to ring in a new decade, much less a new year.
There seems to be debate on whether or not Soleimani was “assassinated”. Some believe that assassination is too strong of a word. Now in today’s politically correct, participation trophy, self-entitled world I can see where some would bristle at such strong language. However, the reality is he was indeed assassinated. Merriam Webster defines assassination as “murder by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons : the act or an instance of assassinating someone (such as a prominent political leader)”. (Merriam-Webster, n.d.) Ummmmm…I’d say assassinated is a pretty accurate description in this case!
One argument is that Soleimani was a terrorist and not a “prominent political leader”. Just because the United States labeled him as a terrorist doesn’t mean he was. That is certainly debatable. What isn’t debatable is the fact that Soleimani was a prominent, political General in the Iranian military. Therefore, he was a sovereign nation/state leader. You better believe had Iran taken out a top U.S. general, we would have had B-2 bombers in the air headed towards Iran faster than someone could finish telling you how they’re entitled to voice their opinion based on their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Soleimani was a not-so-good guy. Just another name on the list of not-so-good guys that the Middle East seems to mass produce. I certainly don’t feel bad whatsoever that he was taken out. At the same time, the manner in which he was assassinated just doesn’t seem to feel right. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t know if there’s necessarily a “right” way to assassinate someone! At the same time, it just feels like there’s something amiss about the way it was done. Regardless, whether it was done “right” or “wrong” the outcome is the same…he’s dead.
Naturally, Iran retaliated…they had to. Everyone knew they would in some way shape or form. The debate here is whether or not Iran intended to actually kill anyone or was this just a show of force. Personally, I believe it was a calculated show of force. If they happened to kill a U.S. service member…so be it. Iran successfully accomplished what they set out to do. They saved face, made their point, and did so without escalating things further.
What’s unsettling is there are now some that are upset that President Trump didn’t carry through with his threat of retaliation to the retaliation. That is absolutely asinine. The reality is both sides have to talk big. Neither the U.S nor Iran can afford to look weak. As far as I’m concerned they can talk about who has the biggest gentlemen sausage all day long. Talk is cheap. Last time I checked, rhetoric never killed anyone. However, bombs, missiles, and rockets have and do.
To those that condemn the President for not further escalating the situation, all I can say is this. Join the military. If you think war is so great, don’t let others fight it for you. Un-ass the couch, join the military, and experience war first-hand. Then let me know how great it is…if you live to tell the tale. To those that have served and believe the President should have retaliated all I can say is this…shame on you. If anyone should know better it’s you.
The saddest thing about this whole situation is the fact that 176 souls were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Human beings that had nothing to do with any of this paid the ultimate price. Iran has finally accepted responsibility and admitted the Ukrainian airliner was shot down erroneously. Yet, the outcome is still the same. Just like Soleimani, 176 souls are dead. If this is the way 2020 started, I am quite leery to see what the rest of the year will be about.