This last week of media pants splatter has been instructive. Not because hysteria is not the norm. (If Frank Sheeran worked for today’s CNN his biography would be titled, “I Heard You Paint Underoos.”) Not because tearful eulogies for anti-American thugs are anything new.
The cry-and-wank for Qasem Soleimani was the great American divide freebased down to its essence, and a pitch perfect refutation of the narrative we’ve been sold about the War on Terror era.
I was an infantry soldier in Iraq. I’ve seen what was likely Soleimani’s handiwork. Given that Soleimani was known to have run the I.E.D. program that killed and maimed our brothers and sisters on the streets of Iraq, it seemed like overkill to include his name on the list of Iranians who would no longer be sanctioned under the Iran Nuclear Deal. But there it was, page 95.
Why? Even if you derive great joy from pissing on the graves of American troops, why support a guy like Soleimani? Doesn’t supporting the chief architect of Shia theocratic imperialism conflict a little with values like, say, pluralist democracy, separation of church and state, feminism, the rights of religious minorities, LGBT rights?
Soleimani is the avowed enemy of all that. Iran Deal cheerleader Ben Rhodes fostered what he called a media “echo chamber” to shill for the deal, claiming that it would lure the mullahs into civility. What really happened? The year after the deal was signed, Iran executed more people than it had nearly thirty years. Victims of the Iranian lynch mob include gay teens and rape victims. Since the deal, Iran has dedicated more funding to proxy campaigns in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
In November, Iranian shock troops killed perhaps 1,500 protesters across Iran. Their proxies have gunned down scores of protesters in Iraq, and administered beatdowns in Lebanon. Tehran’s Evin prison is full of young women who dared to remove their hijabs. Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is a current resident for daring to defend those women and other dissidents.
That’s the kind of action supporting Soleimani buys you. The Western left obscures the obvious cognitive dissonance by hawking a false narrative: that of the “Islamophobes” vs. Courageous Defenders of the Oppressed Muslim Peoples. Thanks to the unpopularity of the Iraq War, Barack Obama rode into office on this narrative. He proceeded to empower Iran in the Levant, and favored Muslim Brotherhood regimes in Egypt, Turkey, Gaza and Sudan. He even toppled enemy-turned-submissive Qadafi in Libya, unleashing jihadist chaos in that country. The result of all this compassion for our unfortunate Muslim brethren: genocide, mass rape and an exodus of epic proportions.
We OIF vets bear some of the responsibility for setting the stage for the Obama strategy and corollary Islamophobe vs. CDOMP narrative. True, we weren’t really over there to kill Muslims and let Allah sort ’em out. We even bled for equivalents of midnight basketball for Baghdad. But our elites “always knew” why we were really there. War scholar Colin Kaepernick summed it up recently: “American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people.” If we were the real terrorists, the hideous soul of Middle America — armed and amped up on Toby Keith anthems, sicced indiscriminately on the ummah — then enriching actual terrorists could be justified as turning the page on an era of American evil. The astronomical body counts of the Compassionate Epoch could be attributed to Bush War fallout and the racist hesitance of Idaho yokels to accept unvetted refugees from towns depopulated by Iranian proxies flush with American cash.
The narrative was always bogus. Our presence in the Middle East was never about acting on some latent deplorable revenge fantasy. Ours was a liberal conceit. We knew that some unspecified number of people around the Muslim world want to live free of theocrat fascist beardoes or genocidal warlords. That’s still true, as evidenced by protest movements around the Middle East. Our mistake was we thought it was our duty to help.
If the media are the Soleimanists, we were the Soltanists. Remember Neda Agha-Soltan? She was the young college student who became an international symbol when the Iranian Basij shot her down for protesting against real election interference by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Barack Obama was strangely silent about her murder. We know now he was already in secret talks, offering Ahmadinejad a lifeline.
I always felt a connection to Neda. The same guns that shot her down, that shot down protesters last November in Iraq and Iran, are the same guns that shot at us. The pallets of cash that paid off our I.E.D. executioners pay off the torturers and rapists at Evin. Ordinary Muslim people are not our enemies. Their oppressors, and their oppressor’s Western backers, are. That’s the real divide. The brave dissidents imprisoned at Evin, or being shot down in the streets of Tehran and Baghdad… those are my allies. Soleimani is the media’s martyr. Neda is mine.
We the alleged foot soldiers of Islamophobia were never the hate-filled deplorables our elites think we are. Some of us might have been bastards, shit happens in war. Most of us were just suckers. We bled for a fight that wasn’t ours, for an elite that will stab us in the back every time. Many of us are still Soltanists at heart, but our Soleimanist overclass hates us more than they love their latest pet victim group.
Let them mourn him. We, and our allies, took a lot of L’s these last few years, without a platform to whine and cry about them. Let’s enjoy this moment of clarity as our supposed champions of the oppressed show us, and the world, who they really are.