President Trump should be applauded for ordering the attack that killed General Qasem Soleimani and several of his associates. Soleimani was a key Iranian leader fighting against the United States and was responsible for hundreds of American casualties. Those opposing or wringing their hands over the attack are wrong. It’s not like the Iranians are truly more likely to attack Americans. That’s just business as usual for them. Killing Iranian leaders plotting against America is more likely to make Americans safer than put them at greater risk.
Tough Policies Implemented Early Prevent Bigger Problems Later
That being said, it is important to remember that consistent, tough policies implemented earlier could have kept America from having to be in this situation in the first place. Earlier weakness confronting Communists in Venezuela, not having a military response to Iranian attacks on an American drone and Saudi oil installations, and abandoning the Kurds to the Turks, Russians, Syrians, and Iranians created an atmosphere where Iranian generals feel free to run operations in Iraq against the American embassy.
Keep in mind that we had 50 special forces soldiers supporting the Kurds and helping coordinate air strikes for them. The Kurds, themselves, were doing the heavy fighting aligned with American interests. Trump pulled those 50 advisors out, but had to recently send in 100 Marines to the embassy in Baghdad to provide necessary security in response to Iranian instigated attacks. Plus, about 700 paratroopers have just been sent to Kuwait to deter further attacks.
A decision to pull 50 soldiers supporting the Kurds out of Syria probably contributed to a situation where we just recently put 800 more soldiers in the region. We could have had 50 American soldiers plus air units helping the Kurds maintain stability in the region. Instead, we left the area to Iran, invited an attack on our Iraqi embassy, appropriately killed at Iranian general freely operating in Iraq coordinating that attack, and then added 800 more military personnel to the region to handle blow back from that attack.
This military response was appropriate and necessary. It will prevent worse problems later. It is important to remember that earlier military actions would have more cheaply prevented this action from being needed.
Policing the World is Cheaper and Safer than Fighting a Major War
Some will complain that America should not be the world’s policeman. That is a naive, short sighted view. Certainly, American should not police everything, but taking firm action quickly can maintain peace by keeping evil regimes from careening out of control. This means keeping troops in foreign countries to maintain peace.
Consider this situation from history. Most Americans would agree that the D-Day Normandy landing in World War Two was justified and necessary. In that one campaign on just one day, about 2500 American military personnel lost their lives. Many more were wounded. Even though D-Day was the right decision at the time, wouldn’t it be better to make timely decisions to make that unnecessary? If 600 American soldiers (a battalion) were stationed in Belgium after World War One, they could have stopped the Nazis from occupying the Rhineland in 1936 if America had the will to deploy them. The Nazis would have withdrawn without firing a shot if they had been confronted by any soldiers. That could have prevented a World War in Europe. Isolationists in the United States wanted nothing to do with keeping troops in Europe after World War One and getting entangled in foreign conflicts. A few American soldiers stationed and deployed to confront Germany after World War One would likely have prevented the massive entanglement of World War Two.
We need to learn from history rather than repeat it.
Use Military Force to Keep Evil Regimes in Line
Instead of allowing situations to grow into problems, the United States needs to be proactive and willing to use military force to neutralize enemies from evil regimes. In the case of Iran, President Trump should not exchange threats with them. If the Iranian government threatens the United States, the United States should use military force to destroy their forces and kill their leaders until they learn to behave, are killed, or are overthrown by revolution. If this is done with Iran, it will have beneficial effects on American relations with other evil regimes. The policy needs to be firm, consistent, and geared to achieve victory over evil instead of simply waiting to respond to problems as they arise.