Avoiding death of Soleimani meant more risk
At least three times while Bill Clinton was president, he rejected proposals to kill Osama bin Laden. That enabled bin Laden’s al-Qaida network to continue making terrorist attacks leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, assault on America that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Despite knowing bin Laden was a threat to Americans — and had already killed some — Clinton failed to act decisively against him. We can never know with certainty whether eliminating bin Laden would have prevented the 9/11 attack –but at the very least, it would have hampered al-Qaida’s plot.
Eventually, during former President Barack Obama’s administration, bin Laden was found and killed. His damage already had been done, however.
Another terrorist could have been taken out during Obama’s administration, but the White House failed to act. He was Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the guiding spirit behind hundreds of individual attacks that killed many Americans and, in all likelihood, thousands of other people.
But the Obama administration was trying to ingratiate itself with Iran’s leadership, in order to conclude the so-called “nuclear deal.” Obama, claiming it would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, agreed to it without submitting the matter to the U.S. Senate — as normally is required for treaties of that sort.
Now, a new president, Donald Trump, is in office. Recently, he ordered the Pentagon to kill Soleimani, which was done. The administration cited credible evidence Soleimani was planning another terrorist attack against Americans.
Virtually no U.S. leader disagreed with the contention that Soleimani’s death was a good thing. But Democrats assailed Trump, insisting he needed congressional approval for such action. At the very least, the White House should have informed congressional leaders in advance of the attack, critics claimed. They also alleged Trump’s action could plunge the United States into war against Iran.
Killing Soleimani at any point in his evil history would have carried with it that risk. But eliminating him may well have saved countless lives — as could have the death of bin Laden prior to 9/11.
Clinton was criticized, deservedly, for failing to act against bin Laden. One wonders what might have happened had Trump passed up the chance to kill Soleimani. Another 9/11 attack? Perhaps worse?
Trump did the right thing in eliminating a vicious murderer.