The world feels like it’s on fire at the moment; and Australia literally is, thanks to what appears to be a campaign of arson on the part of — well we don’t really know yet. But there have been dozens of arrests. It would shock me if they weren’t at least partially coordinated.
Framing all that is what happened yesterday in Iraq, when Iranian missiles hit an Iraqi base where US soldiers were housed, and possibly took out an entire Ukrainian passenger plane after it left the tarmac in Tehran. There’s no confirmation yet that the plane was shot down by the Iranians intentionally. But even if it was simply collateral damage from their haphazard attempt to show regional players that America hasn’t wounded them too deeply by cutting off the Soleimani snake head, it’s still reasonably their fault. (Of course the third option is that it was an entirely technical failure, making it one of the most amazing and ill-timed coincidences the world has ever seen.)
[UPDATE: never mind about that last part…]
BREAKING: U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner in the hours after the Iranian missile attack on U.S. targets, CBS News has learned. 176 people were killed, including at least 63 Canadians. https://t.co/QEPCgFZkf9 pic.twitter.com/91fVEH62ae
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 9, 2020
So things are rough in the Middle East, but there’s every reason to think that the administration, in making the decision they did as regards Soleimani, was prepared for the contingencies it now faces. We knew there would be push-back. And, as I write this, the president is preparing for a press conference at 11 am. God willing we’ll hear news that confirms what many think: that this is a dying ember, still a little hot, that will provide us the excuse to finally start bringing some of our troops home.
Just for a moment, though, I’d like to concentrate on something disturbing I’m seeing in the media. In times of war — even quasi-war — against a regime known for its brutality, it is not only bad form to try to raise dissent in the ranks (meaning the American people), it’s borderline much worse (I won’t use the word because it’s a serious allegation, so feel free to fill in the blank). I know how that sounds. But look, it’s fine to question your leadership in battle when faced with some egregious mistakes or human rights abuses, and even in hindsight while deconstructing strategic wins and losses for posterity. But doing so in the midst of battle? That’s just plain dangerous.
But that’s exactly what some in the media are doing. I’m sorry to pick on her, but this came across my Twitter feed this morning.
At the center of any debate on Iranian provocation/deterrence is always whether or not Iran is a rational actor. There are competing views. But the better question to ask right now might be, is the US?
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) January 8, 2020
Now is most emphatically not the time to think about whether or not the US is a rational actor. You are attempting to split the nation at a time when unity is crucial. Were we slaughtering people or bombing civilians or engaging in rhetoric to escalate, I may change my opinion. But we’re not.
Iran does those things, though.
Puts me in the mind of something a friend said on Twitter the other day:
An excellent question, indeed.
I cover the Iran situation on the show today, as well as the Hollywood Golden Globes roast (thank you Mr. Gervais, for your honesty), and review the film “Bombshell” (trailer below).
Pour a cup of coffee and have a listen!