The Washington Examiner is a right-wing paper, and it’s angry at us. It’s trying to cut through this coronavirus noise, and tell us something. My God, why is no one listening? What will it take?
Iran repeatedly attacks US troops while coronavirus outbreak distracts public attention.
Repeatedly! And during a pandemic! The nerve of those people!
Yes, the reporter seems to be saying, the coronavirus is important. It may kill a couple million people here or there. But isn’t war important, too? How on Earth have the American people have managed to miss that we are at war with Iran in Iraq? How? Could they all be so stupid as to have thought that our killing General Suleimani was the deathblow to Iran, and the end of the story? I mean, who came up with that dumb-ass idea? Obviously, those Iranians were going to retaliate. What did you expect them to do, just sit there? And naturally, they’d do it at a time of their choosing, and at a time of maximum vulnerability for us. That’s almost too obvious, like something out of a Strategy 101 textbook.
Anyway, let’s read this article together. You can take in the reporting, and I will offer the tastelessly triumphant (and yet unapologetically defeatist) snark along the way. With the coronavirus pandemic as background music. Come on. It’ll be fun.
Iran-controlled forces are launching rockets at U.S. troops in Iraq while Western leaders focus on a coronavirus pandemic that threatens to overwhelm hospital networks around the world.
“It feels like part of the American public may have forgotten that two Americans died in Iraq,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, an expert on the Iranian regime at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Examiner.
I feel you, bro. And not just a small part of the American public, I’d say. More like 99% of it. I actually feel like a part of the American public may even have forgotten that we unilaterally ditched a nuclear agreement with Iran and slapped some sanctions on them, too. They’re pretty forgetful, that American public.
American forces targeted five weapons depots controlled by Kataib Hezbollah, a Shia militia that the United States blamed for the attack that killed two Americans and one British service member last week. Yet the militias remain undeterred, as a Tuesday morning barrage marked the third attack on bases housing U.S.n troops in the last week, even as Tehran struggles to manage one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world.
You know, I keep wondering what exactly those Americans–I mean we–hit at those depots, and can’t seem to get a straight answer, no matter where I look. It kinda is weird that those militias “remain undeterred.” I’m guessing that one explanation is that we didn’t hit much of anything? Or enough of anything that would deter them? I guess another explanation is that maybe air power isn’t the key to victory against Iran. Almost makes you wonder whether we should just have withdrawn our troops from Iraq like a month ago.
Speaking of which:
“They view this as a kind of continuing campaign to push Americans out of Iraq,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, who directs the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, told the Washington Examiner. “They’ve lost a lot of citizens to corona, but for those kinds of regimes, it’s really kind of inconsequential to them. They don’t place as high a premium on life as we do.”
I totally agree with General Spoehr. Like him, I see this as a kind of continuing campaign to push Americans out of Iraq, too. The funniest thing is that I cheated on figuring that one out, because, well, Hezbollah–like ten or twelve weeks ago, maybe?–just came out and said that that’s what they wanted, and said they’d shoot their way to that goal. So I just assumed they would. I was so sure they’d live up to their word that I challenged anyone with enough disposable income to send me to Beirut (and back) to have a cup of coffee with Hezbollah–certain that they’d be nice enough to pour me a cup and send me back unharmed.* And here they are, doing exactly what they said they would! Funny how that is.
As for respect for life, I see where the General is coming from, but I’m wondering what he thinks about the connection between the high premium we put on life, and the fact that lots and lots and lots of Americans seem to be flouting the need for social distancing on that whole coronavirus thing–which recklessly puts lots of lives at risk. I wonder whether the phrases “spring break” or “South Padre Island” mean anything to him. He might want to have a conversation with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on that one. Or some of my neighbors. Or hell, some college kids.
Maybe General Boomer should just stop blowing the war out of proportion. I mean, if we lose a brigade of troops, we lose a brigade of troops. We can’t let shit like that stop us from living our lives. Especially during this coronavirus thing.
Imma skip a lot of the filler in this article to cut to the chase:
Some analysts believe that Iran has renewed attacks on U.S. forces in order to distract from the coronavirus outbreak…
Ben Taleblu disagrees that it is a distraction, saying, like Spoehr, that the latest attacks are part of Iran’s long-term effort to drive the U.S. from Iraq and require a response. He notes that either way, it’s hard to tolerate repeated attacks on the bases that house U.S. and other Western troops — attacks that have injured Americans even when they failed to kill any service-members. “Normally, had there been no coronavirus, there would have been a lot more attention to the recent loss of American life in Iraq,” the FDD analyst said. “Washington has to grapple with how to deter an actor like Iran at such a low and asymmetric level?”
I’m with my homies Taleblu and Spoehr on this one. The latest attacks are part of Iran’s long-term drive to drive us from the region, one that pre-dates any real concern with the coronavirus here. As for that counterfactual–had there been no coronavirus, there would have been a lot more attention to Iraq–I’ve got a question for Taleblu. How does he explain the fact that when there was no concern for the coronavirus, back in January and most of February, there was also scant attention being paid to Hezbollah attacks on U.S. facilities? Mill’s Methods, dude.
As for Taleblu’s last question, I answered that awhile ago. How do you deter an actor like Iran at such a low and asymmetric level? You leave. Better question: how do you do it after they’ve embroiled you in a foreseeable (explicitly announced) insurgency while you’re trying to deal with the coronavirus? You regret that you didn’t leave earlier. Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you. And luckily for me, I have no obligation to figure it out. Right now, I’ve got bigger problems to deal with than what to do about the war you managed to blunder yourself into.
*They promised not to harm non-combatants, and if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a combatant. Of course, the chances of getting safely to Beirut and back are slim now, but not for reasons having to do with Hezbollah.