by Chris Faure – for The Saker Blog
The most telling US reactions to their killing of General Soleimani.
The US, by the names of Pompeo, Trump and Mark Esper are in full damage control mode. If it was possible they would be bicycling backwards while trying to look forwards.
First, Mr Trump: his role is to malign, disgrace and to vilify General Soleimani in order to convince his internal audience that he did the right thing. This is a replay of the movies that we saw before with the killings of Osama Bin Laden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (x), and Muammar Qaddafi.
Mr Trump has to look like the Strong Man to his domestic audience and the tactic that he uses is to make extreme statements that smear General Soleimani to such an extent, that he himself looks good to his audience.
“Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was “hated and feared” within his own country and should have been killed “many years ago”
“General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught!” Trump tweeted Friday, in his first direct comments about Soleimani’s death and the U.S. airstrike. “He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself.”
Now clearly General Suleimani is not responsible for the death of millions of people, and he was revered and beloved by his people. But this has to be said by Mr Trump because he campaigned on bringing troops back and less war, and of course this action is clearly the opposite so he has to make it look like a good thing.
Mr Trump is trying to look like The Strong Man saving his people from evil.
Then, Mr Pompeo: Given that he is a self-admitted, one that tells lies for the glory of the American experiment, he is doing what he is good at. He is trying to lie his way out of the actions of the US. He follows a 2-fold strategy, desperately trying to call together a type of ‘coalition’ that will repeat his words and agree with him, and even before they agree, or not, he already tweets it out. He is calling everybody in the world and then tweeting that he has just spoken to so and so, and assured them that the US wants to de-escalate. Mr Pompeo is lying to everybody.
So, Pompeo is trying to look like The Good Guy and in touch with the whole world and they will all agree with him that the Good US is trying to de-escalate from a situation that is clearly Iran’s fault.
Mark Esper has been somewhat quiet the last few hours, simply messaging as follows:
“To Iran & its proxy militias: we will not accept continued attacks against our personnel & forces in the region. Attacks against us will be met w/ responses in the time, manner, & place of our choosing. We urge the Iranian regime to end malign activities.”
Mr Esper is trying to look like The Serious Guy.
Why? Why are they playing these roles? Mr Trump wants to retain his domestic audience and Mr Pompeo wants to retain the world as friendlies and Mr Esper wants to be taken seriously in his military decisions.
There is nobody that questions the fact that Iran will retaliate. We are just waiting for what and how. Mr Trump is building ground for an eventual retaliation to make it look like it is all Iran’s fault. They are playing Iran for a patsy. Iran will not bite, no matter how much it hurts.
So, let us be clear what the Strong Man, the Good Guy and the Serious Guy just did. They killed the head of Iran’s Quds force, Qassem Soleimani, and the head of Iraq’s Poplar Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. This killing was done on the territory of Iraq. Bicycling backwards will not change the fact that this was an act of war probably viewed in the Middle East as something akin even to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As these killings are extrajudicial, so will we see extrajudicial retaliation.