They Never Would Be Missed

Killing Gen. Suleimani is, at best, a good start.

To shocked surprise, President Donald Trump has dropped Death From Above onto Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani.  As the leader of Iran's Quds Force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, he was "primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations."

Or, put another way, he was a state-sponsored terrorist whose job was killing people in foreign countries with whom the nation of Iran was not at war and occasionally offing Iranian citizens at home who protested too much.

The usual treasonous far-Left Democrats of course defended him as a martyr to American imperialism, but even most Democrats acknowledged that he was an evil dude the world is better off without.  They simply questioned whether this was the right move at the right time.

Regular readers of Scragged will not be surprised that we don't believe that any of these questions are in good faith.  Osama bin Laden was also a famous and beloved terrorist leader who'd killed thousands of Americans - more at one time than Suleimani perhaps, but fewer over his career.  He was simply offed by a Democrat president, which makes it OK.  If another Democrat president were dispatching Suleimani, that would have been fine too.

But for all its bad faith, the question itself is legitimate.  Although people with long memories assert that we have been at war with Iran since they attacked our Tehran embassy in 1979, we are not formally at war with Iran, or at least we aren't formally acknowledging that we are.

So what makes it OK to bump the guy off this way?  Nobody complained when the U.S. Army Air Force assassinated Adm. Yamamoto, but he was a uniformed military officer for a nation with which we were at war - the very definition of a legal target.  More recently, the only person to complain when Mr. Obama ordered the our military to kill US-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

If it was OK for the Present to order the death of an American citizen against whom no formal charges had ever been brought, what's the big deal here?  Gen. Suleimani was a uniformed military officer of an enemy nation.  His national leaders have often threatened war against the United States and frequently perpetrated acts of war at his direction.  Despite the foaming of their media and cries of "Death to America," there is no actual formally declared war between us at the moment, but that doesn't seem particularly relevant to anyone on either side, especially when bullets fly.

Now, as even Obama's DHS secretary understood, America and President Trump had every legal right to get rid of Gen. Suleimani.  This is because he was present in Iraq, fomenting violence, where we have legal authority to assist the internationally-recognized government in fighting rebels and foreign forces:

"If you believe everything our government is saying about General Soleimani, he was a lawful military objective and the president, under his Constitutional authority as commander-in-chief, had ample domestic legal authority to take him out without additional Congressional authorization," [ex-DHS Secretary Jeh] Johnson explained. "Whether he was a terrorist or a general in a military force that was engaged in armed attacks against our people, he was a lawful military objective."

We're looking at a different question.  Killing Suleimani seems almost certain to have been lawful - at least, it's inconceivable that any court of competent jurisdiction will ever find otherwise.

Whether it was a good idea or not remains to be seen, but that's the sort of thing that can be known for sure only with hindsight: again, this is the very definition of the sort of decision we elect a President to make and shoulder the blame or credit for.

Was it right though?  And on what basis?

Good Riddance to Bad-Enough Rubbish?

For every hand-wringing fellow-traveler or force-marched Iranian mourner, there's another person celebrating the dispatch of a monster.  If half of what we are told about Suleimani is true, or most of what his own government claims for him, the world at large is a better place for his absence.

That's true of lots and lots of people, though.  Consider Carlos Martinelly-Montano, an illegal immigrant dwelling in the state of Virginia, having previously been sentenced to deportation after two convictions for drunk driving, who went drunk driving yet again and killed a nun.  He's now serving 20 years in prison at taxpayer expense, still not having been deported.

He was convicted of murder - in Virginia, any death caused while committing a third felony automatically counts as murder. Yet he's still alive.  Is there any sensible argument that the world would not be better off without him still in it, even behind bars?

Well, he didn't intentionally harm anyone, just behaved with reckless disregard for human life.  What then of José Inez García Zárate, another previously-deported illegal immigrant who shot Kate Steinle, a young lady out for a walk with her father and a friend on Pier 14 in San Francisco?  Not only is he still alive, he's been acquitted of murder and manslaughter; even his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm was overturned.  Why hasn't this monster been droned, since our supposed legal system is obviously incapable of administering the most elementary sort of justice in his case?

In fact, one could argue that these individuals are more worthy of summary justice than Gen. Suleimani.  After all, so far as we have read, nobody is accusing him of personally killing any Americans.  He gave orders that led inevitably to their deaths, that's all.  And for this we fried him!

Indeed, the same is apparently true of Osama bin Laden himself - and, for that matter, Hitler.  Causing murders doesn't require that you personally pull the trigger, you just have to start the ball rolling.

By this logic, though, shouldn't we also be executing sanctuary-state politicians whose demented policies and political actions make it possible for people like Martinelly-Montano and Zárate to kill Americans?  How is that fundamentally different than what Gen. Suleimani or Admiral Yamamoto did?  Indeed, the orders of Gen. Suleimani and Admiral Yamamoto targeted uniformed American soldiers who at least had the opportunity and training to defend themselves, which is more than can be said of nuns.  Kate Steinle, being in California, was legally forbidden from defending herself by that state's gun-control laws, which don't seem to have presented much of an obstacle to her murderer.

Maybe it's because Gen. Suleimani isn't American?  Well, neither are Martinelly-Montano and Zárate.  And U.S.-born terrorist al-Awlaki was, and we droned him anyway.

It also doesn't explain why we don't dispose of Lizbeth Mateo - an illegal immigrant living in California, who has been appointed to a political position in that state's government for the purpose of advocating for "rights" for her fellow illegal immigrants like Martinelly-Montano and Zárate.  Which, yes, will directly cause the intentional deaths of actual American citizens, as a well-known and inevitable consequence.

But Mateo and other treasonous politicians didn't order those murderers to do their deeds the way Suleimani, bin Laden and Hitler did, right?  OK, how about the constellation of Hollywood celebrities, or thousands of ordinary people, who've directly called for the assassination of Donald J. Trump, a natural-born United States citizen as well as our head of state?  And yes, we have elected politicians doing the same thing - but they aren't even forced to resign, much less stood up in front of a firing squad!

You might think, we can arrest traitors and criminals here, which we couldn't do to Gen. Suleimani.  Why not?  He was traveling in a car with a handful of other armed men, like bank robbers and drug dealers do all the time; doesn't stop us from arresting them if we know where they are, as we certainly did with Suleimani.  It would actually have been easier to perform such an arrest in Iraq than here: very few police forces have access to armed drones, armored cars, and tanks.  Under treaties in force at the time, our armed forces had just as much legal status to arrest enemies in Iraq as our cops do in the United States.

Now, it's true that if we'd done that and brought Suleimani before an Iraqi court, he would have been immediately released "on bail" and we've never have seen him again.  How is that any different from what happens in courts in California and other blue states?  Isn't that exactly what happened with the murderous Mr. Zárate?

Iraqi courts don't respect the authority of American laws or interests - and neither do Californian courts.

The only answer we can come up with as to why Gen. Suleimani is dead, and not so many others equally as morally deserving, is... because Mr. Trump could nail that one.

After the debacle of Mr. Obama's apology tour, killing a man who was so close to the Iranian seat of power shows the Iranians that there are limits to American patience, at least when a Republican sits in the Oval Office.  Anything that might make the murderous mullahs think twice before ordering another atrocity is a Good Thing in and of itself.

Executing the other enemies of American citizens would send just as powerful a message to the enemies of America, as well as the illegals who swarm our borders, saving many more American lives in the long term.  But in his prudential judgment, President Trump believes, most probably correctly, that such drastic action is beyond his power and ability.  As the saying goes, politics is the art of the possible!

So, is Scragged advocating that President Trump start executing illegal immigrants and their enablers with armed drones circling over the United States?  Well... no.

We're just having a harder and harder time articulating the logical, rational, moral principles as to why exactly not.  If that's so, though, and we are simply unable to stop the ongoing massive murderous invasion of our territory by foreign forces... haven't we already lost our country in all but name?

Maybe at the end of the day, it's America that won't be missed.  For half the country, that already seems to be the case.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Immigration.
Reader Comments

Regarding "executing illegal immigrants and their enablers with armed drones circling over the United States." I've long advocated for posting "the militia" along the boarder while the wall is being built. These citizens would report to local county sheriff. Post signs along the boarder (in spanish) of the danger to one's life if they cross the boarder. If they cross, fire at the ground in front of them; kick up some dirt. Most will turn and run. Those that continue are to be shot and killed. I do NOT consider that "executing illegals". They were fairly warned, twice.

January 10, 2020 8:16 PM

Probably a bit drastic. Whoever we liquidate would have a sobbing relative on CNN/MSNBC complaining about how unfair it was to snuff the family welfare collector. Besides a major political party is counting on the Dependency State to carry them too glory. The Dems bring in illegals , load them up with freebies, give them a drivers license for " local" vote ID, and make sure that they are incapable of supporting themselves in a First World country. So they become dependent on the Blue State government for their livelihood and vote Blue. Especially when the other party focuses on that awful 4 letter word ... " work".
I believe about 1 million immigrants get into the country legally each year. Possibly aside from the asylum scammers, they are screened for their ability to succeed in our very complex economy and not mooch. The rest who want in should wait in the same line. That's what Trump is enforcing. Treat them like Americans who want to get on an airplane.

January 10, 2020 10:10 PM

Regarding Centurian’s suggestion, it would take very few deaths to dampen the enthusiasm of prospective “family welfare collectors” (bsinn’s formulation). Perhaps we could weather the sobs and hand-wringing.

Some months ago I traveled the entire border with Mexico via Google maps. It took a while. What shocked me were all the sections where Mexican cities are built literally up to the border. The houses are within feet of the border, whole neighborhoods, in long stretches. And on our side, there is nothing. No cities, no buildings of any kind, just desert. An impassable wall would be just the thing in such areas. The residents would probably not approve of tunneling operations on their property, so at least that wouldn’t be a concern.

January 11, 2020 2:05 AM
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