Few experts — whether they are supporters of President Donald Trump or not — are criticizing the U.S. airstrike that killed its target, Iranian Quds Force Commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Most say it’s a good thing the brutal leader is dead. Most agree he was responsible for hundreds of American deaths in the Iraq War as he led Iranian and other rogue forces.
But experts in and out of the government have criticized the executive branch's planning of the mission and the way the Trump administration prepared, or didn't prepare, for the fallout.
State Department experts say these kinds of missions require advance planning for protection and possible evacuation of Embassy staffs in the affected countries. The plan for this protection appears to have come after the event, not before. That puts more U.S. citizens and soldiers at risk.
The target of Soleimani was very significant, as he had become a kind of folk hero among Iraqis and Qud Forces, his war record going all the way back to the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Significant retaliation from Iran is expected.
That retaliation may be targeted at our allies in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel and Iraq. Trump sent 14,000 additional troops to the Mideast in May and announced Friday that another 3,000 will be sent. There are a total of about 70,000 U.S. troops in the Mideast (5,000 in Iraq) with another 14,000 in Afghanistan.
A National Guard unit based in Mankato is currently stationed in Djibouti, a small East African country just 18 miles across the Red Sea from Yemen.
The escalation of violence comes despite Trump’s campaign pledge to get the U.S. out of fighting Mideast wars. If it’s any consolation, the Russians finally found something they didn’t like about Trump as they condemned the killing of Soleimani.
Americans in Iraq have been advised to leave “immediately,” and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, already the target of violent protests, has been shut down.
It’s a certainty there will be retaliation and it will be targeted at Americans. It is more uncertain than ever how long the U.S. will be involved in what Trump called stupid and useless wars and how long it will take us to extract ourselves from them.