He’s back …
After going radio silent during the Christmas and New Year holidays, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff has returned to talk trash about the Trump administration’s decision last week to eliminate top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
Speaking Sunday morning with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he tried calling the move “reckless” and disputed State Mike Pompeo’s somewhat shared assertion that the terrorist mastermind’s death will make Americans safer across the globe in the long-term but was fact-checked by Tapper.
“When Secretary Pompeo says this decision to take out Soleimani saved American lives, saved European lives, he is expressing a personal opinion, not an intelligence conclusion,” he said.
“Much like his opinion that reneging on the Iran nuclear deal improved our security, the evidence has been to the contrary. And I think the evidence will be the contrary here, sadly. I think it will increase the risk to Americans around the world.”
The belief that Trump’s withdrawal from the widely panned Iran nuclear deal damaged U.S. national security is a disputed opinion. What’s not an opinion is the fact that, regarding national security issues, the secretary of state has more information and resources at his disposal than a member of Congress.
“I have not seen the intelligence that taking out Soleimani is going to stop the plotting going on or decrease other risks to the United States,” Schiff added.
He is nevertheless presumably aware of Soleimani’s lifelong history of promoting terrorism abroad and partaking in the murder of American servicemen. Not to mention reports that he’d been plotting more attacks against Americans.
Soleimani was a murderer with the blood of Americans on his hands—and plotting more attacks. Thank God for our military who eliminated him.
President Trump sent a message: the days of appeasement are over. Target Americans, and you will be swiftly brought to justice.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 3, 2020
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! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
LR @RepMcCaul on death of #Soleimani: “According to the Pentagon, Soleimani was actively plotting more attacks on Americans. The President acted decisively to protect our country, diplomats, service members and citizens.”
Full Release: https://t.co/cFbeCfCISS
— House Foreign Affairs GOP (@HouseForeignGOP) January 3, 2020
“[W]e’re already seeing serious strategic repercussions — the Iraqi prime minister now supporting throwing American troops out of Iraq, the Iraqi parliament introducing a new resolution to remove us from that country,” the congressman continued.
On that he was correct. Iraq’s parliament reportedly voted Sunday to expel U.S. military forces from the country.
“That’s going to impede our fight against ISIS. That would be a real coup for Iran, to force the United States out of Iraq,” he went on. “We’re going to have to take our eye off the ball when it comes to fighting ISIS in Syria because we’re not going to be able to, I think, protect a small number of forces there.”
“So either we’re going to have to send more forces or have to withdraw the forces we already have. So strategically, I think, we’ve already seen setbacks, and I don’t know that we’re going to see any improvement in our security. I think, quite to the contrary, we may see an increased risk of war with Iran.”
His remarks seemed to contain a lot of thinking and very few facts …
Tapper then interrupted the congressman’s chain of thoughts to drop a fact-check on him.
“You acknowledge, as the Chairman of the Joint Chief have said and others in the Trump administration have said, that Soleimani was heading a plot to attack American interests in the region. That is accurate?” he asked.
Schiff conceded the point but then seemed to argue that Soleimani has been plotting attacks and killing Americans for decades, so why eliminate him now?
“It is accurate and also true that Soleimani has been plotting against the United States for decades,” he said. “The question is did the plotting here rise to the level that requires his elimination from the battlefield? Would that elimination stop the plotting or would it accelerated or would it make the attacks great or not worse?”
The answer is unclear, though Fox News host Brian Kilmeade believes for his part that Iran will never be able to find a suitable replacement for Soleimani.
“If you take out a quarterback who’s a superstar quarterback on a team, don’t expect the rest of the team to play as well. And don’t say, ‘Well I got another quarterback.’ No, no. This guy is tough to replace. He doesn’t sit in a cave and jot down psalms,” he said during an interesting discussion Friday with FNC colleague Geraldo Rivera.
Similarly, retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters strongly believes Soleimani should have been eliminated decades go.
“I suggested killing him 15 years years ago when he was killing Americans in Iraq and maiming them,” he said Friday evening to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“Actions have consequences. This action will have consequences, but inaction also has consequences, and the consequence of inaction 15 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, was dead Americans, dead Syrians, attacks on Israel.”
But apparently, Schiff disagrees …
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