I was wondering how an attack that took place in Iraq could be considered an “act of war” against Iran–were you? As it turned out, that little detail is indeed significant.
David French, the respected attorney, author and analyst who writes for the National Review, is often referred to as a “NeverTrumper.” He is capable of objectivity, however, and on this matter, registered a useful and definitive explanation that shows how incompetent the critics of the administration’s actions are. He wrote yesterday,
There’s much to say about the potential strategic benefits (and perils) of tonight’s decision, but make no mistake, separate congressional authorization was not necessary. This was not a separate act of war in the constitutional sense….It’s very important that Suleimani was killed in Iraq. Why? Because American troops are lawfully in Iraq — there by congressional authorization and with the permission of the Iraqi government. Moreover, they have a right of self-defense.
And don’t forget, they were reintroduced to Iraq by the Obama administration. The present military operations are a continuation of military operations initiated by President Obama. This is Obama’s deployment as much as Trump’s. It was proper then, and it is proper now. Iranian-backed militias attacked U.S. troops lawfully present in a combat zone under valid legal authorities. Moreover, America’s military response isn’t limited to immediate self-defense or tit for tat. It can act to remove the threat. That threat includes enemy commanders.
The true “act of war” was thus Iran’s — by putting one of its commanders, boots on the ground, in Iraq to assist in planning and directing attacks on U.S. forces. America is entitled to respond to that threat.
Suleimani was an evil, evil man. There is much American blood on his hands. And he was killed lawfully, in a properly constitutionally-authorized conflict. There is much risk and peril to come, but Trump’s action was constitutionally legitimate, and that matters. A lot.
I have seen no rebuttal to French’s analysis, and I doubt there is a valid one. It is disturbing, but far from surprising, that so many of our elected representatives would condemn the action with out thinking through (or having someone competent think through) the legal issues.
After another string of messages on Twitter, French concluded,
Bottom line — the Trump administration has taken a bold, justifiable action against Iran. But the next steps are vital, requiring strategic vision and tactical agility. I feel real joy at Suleimani’s demise. I feel real concern about what comes next.
That is certainly fair and reasonable as well. But then, David French is not deranged.
Pointer: Red State
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