Joel Rosenberg: Prominent Democrat Takes His Party to Task, Urges Bipartisan Unity in Face of Iran Threat

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New post on Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

BREAKING: As leading Democrats blast President Trump’s decision to take out Iran’s top terrorist, a prominent Democrat takes his party to task, urges bipartisan unity in face of Iran threat.

by joelcrosenberg

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The Democrats and Iran

Why can’t the party’s candidates simply admit Qasem Soleimani’s death makes Americans safer?

By Joe Lieberman, former US Senator (Democrat, Connecticut)

Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal

President Trump’s order to take out Qasem Soleimani was morally, constitutionally and strategically correct. It deserves more bipartisan support than the begrudging or negative reactions it has received thus far from my fellow Democrats.

[See: Democrats condemn Trump’s strike on Soleimani(Axios); 2020 Democrats charge Trump is risking major Middle East conflict with Soleimani killing (Market Watch); Joe Biden on Killing of Qassem Soleimani: ‘Trump Tossed a Stick of Dynamite Into a Tinderbox’(Daily Beast)]

The president’s decision was bold and unconventional. It’s understandable that the political class should have questions about it. But it isn’t understandable that all the questions are being raised by Democrats and all the praise is coming from Republicans. That divided response suggests the partisanship that has infected and disabled so much of U.S. domestic policy now also determines our elected leaders’ responses to major foreign-policy events and national-security issues, even the killing of a man responsible for murdering hundreds of Americans and planning to kill thousands more.

After World War II, Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, a Michigan Republican who was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, formed a bipartisan partnership with President Truman that helped secure the postwar peace and greatly strengthened America’s position in the Cold War. “Politics stops at the water’s edge,” said Vandenberg when asked why he worked so closely with a Democratic president. He added that his fellow Americans undoubtedly had “earnest, honest, even vehement” differences of opinion on foreign policy, but if “we can keep partisan politics out of foreign affairs, it is entirely obvious that we shall speak with infinitely greater authority abroad.”

In their uniformly skeptical or negative reactions to Soleimani’s death, Democrats are falling well below Vandenberg’s standard and, I fear, creating the risk that the U.S. will be seen as acting and speaking with less authority abroad at this important time.

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No American can dispute that Soleimani created, supported and directed a network of terrorist organizations that spread havoc in the Middle East. In Syria he made it possible for the Assad regime to respond with brutality to its own people’s demands for freedom. More than 500,000 Syrians have died since 2011 and millions more have been displaced from their homes.

During the Iraq war, Soleimani oversaw three camps in Iran where his elite Quds Force trained and equipped Iraqi militias. According to the U.S. government, these fighters have killed more than 600 American soldiers since 2003. In another time, this would have been a just cause for an American war against Iran, and certainly for trying to eliminate Soleimani. Within Iran, the Quds Force has worked with the supreme leader to suppress freedom and economic opportunity, jail dissident politicians and journalists, and kill protesters in the streets.

From the perspective of American values and interests, it’s impossible to mourn the death of such a man, and Democrats haven’t. Their response thus far has been “Yes, but . . .,” adding worries that Soleimani’s death will provoke a violent response from Iran. Democrats have also suggested that the Trump administration has no coherent strategy toward Iran or that Mr. Trump shouldn’t have acted without notice to and permission from Congress.

Yet if we allow fear of a self-declared enemy like Iran to dictate our actions, we will only encourage them to come after us and our allies more aggressively. Some Democrats have said that killing Soleimani will lead us into war with Iran. In fact, Soleimani and the Quds Force have been at war with the U.S. for years. It is more likely that his death will diminish the chances of a wider conflict because the demonstration of our willingness to kill him will give Iranian leaders (and probably others like Kim Jong Un ) much to fear.

Some Democrats have also refused to appreciate Soleimani’s elimination because they say it isn’t part of an overall strategy for the region. But based on the public record, there is a strategy, beginning with the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, the shift to maximum economic pressure, and now adding a demonstrated willingness to respond with military force to Iran’s provocations. The goal is to bring the Iranian government back into negotiations to end its nuclear weapons program and rejoin the world’s economy.

The claim by some Democrats that Mr. Trump had no authority to order this attack without congressional approval is constitutionally untenable and practically senseless. Authority to act quickly to eliminate a threat to the U.S. is inherent in the powers granted to the president by the Constitution. It defies common sense to argue that the president must notify Congress or begin a formal process of authorization before acting on an imminent threat.

On many occasions President Obama sensibly ordered drone strikes on dangerous terrorist leaders, including U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki. He did so without specific congressional authorization, and without significant Democratic opposition. Mr. Obama also “brought justice” to Osama bin Laden without prior, explicit congressional approval.

It is possible that anti-Trump partisanship isn’t behind Democrats’ reluctance to say they’re glad Soleimani is dead. It may be that today’s Democratic Party simply doesn’t believe in the use of force against America’s enemies in the world. I don’t believe that is true, but episodes like this one may lead many Americans to wonder whether it is. If enough voters decide that Democrats can’t be trusted to keep America safe, Mr. Trump won’t have much trouble winning a second term in November. That’s one more reason Democrats should leave partisan politics at “the water’s edge” and, whatever their opinion of President Trump on other matters, stand together against Iran and dangerous leaders like Qasem Soleimani.

Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat, was a U.S. senator from Connecticut, 1989-2013, and is chairman of No Labels, a national organization working to revive bipartisanship.

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joelcrosenberg | January 6, 2020 at 6:36 am | Categories: Epicenter | URL: https://wp.me/piWZ7-8Xn

I was in Israel when US killed Iranian general: Three ways to redeem our mortality

January 6, 2020  |  READ TIME: 5 minutes
In The Daily Article today:

  • How Israelis deal with the uncertainty of life
  • Remembering Lois Evans, a true hero of the faith
  • Standing at Armageddon today
Americans woke last Friday to news that our military had killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. I was in Jerusalem at the time, leading a study tour of the Holy Land.It was fascinating to see the response in Israel—gratitude that one of the enemies of the Jewish state was dead coupled with expectations of Iranian response and the possibility that Israel might be targeted.

Some in our group asked if Israel would raise its “threat level” in response to Soleimani’s death. My answer was that they live every day at the highest level of preparation. When you’re a country the size of New Jersey surrounded by enemies who want to exterminate your nation, expecting the unexpected becomes a way of life.

This is a lesson I brought with me when I returned home yesterday, and one I’d like to explore with you today.

Remembering Lois Evans, a true faith hero

A memorial service for Lois Evans will be held at 11:00 this morning at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas. Lois was one of the most godly and effective Christian leaders of our generation. She and her husband, the revered pastor Dr. Tony Evans, have built a ministry that spans the world with biblical truth.

My wife, Janet, worked with Lois on several projects over the years. Janet considers Lois one of her heroes in the faith. For Lois to end her earthly life at only seventy years of age points to the fact of mortality for all people, even those who follow Jesus most closely and serve him most effectively.

Our mortality is illustrated by catastrophic fires sweeping Australia and by tragic accidents such as the death of a pastor who drowned trying to save two of his children at a Spanish resort over Christmas. The children died as well.

Early yesterday morning, a tour bus in Pennsylvania struck an embankment and rolled over. It was then struck by two semi-trucks before a third truck collided with the other two semis. A total of six vehicles were involved. At least five people were killed; around sixty more were injured.

Closer to home for me, a one-year-old boy was killed in a targeted shooting in Dallas early Sunday morning. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted later: “A shameless act of gun violence has taken the life of yet another innocent child in our city.”

Standing at Armageddon

We should grieve for those we lose and do all we can to prevent suffering and tragedy in the future. At the same time, we should recognize that mortality is a fact for us all.

Last Tuesday, our tour group stood atop Megiddo, the ancient fortress city that overlooks the valley of Armageddon. We remembered the battles that have been waged over the centuries in this ancient place and noted the fact that Armageddon can come any day for any one of us.

As Scripture notes, “We are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are but a shadow” (Job 8:9). Wise King Solomon observed, “No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8). That’s why “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Tomorrow is promised to no one.

I don’t know when the Lord will come for us or we will go to him. But I do know that we are one day closer to eternity than ever before.

Three countercultural truths

Let’s close with three biblical principles that will redeem mortality for us today.

One: Death can help us value life.

Jesus came that we “may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). In December 1776, Thomas Paine wrote in The American Crisis, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” He added: “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.”

Do you esteem this day as the gift of God?

Two: Our limits can lead us to God’s best for us.

Scripture teaches that “this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). In this light, consider this reflection by Jonathan Maury of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist: “Vocation is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received. Every life experience becomes a vehicle for God’s call to be realized in vocation. In learning our limits and embracing failures, we can begin to recognize God’s particular gifts for us, which infuse our very being and form in us our unique vocation.”

Are you fulfilling your “unique vocation”?

Three: Our identity is not found in this world but in the next.

Jesus prayed: “This is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Henri Nouwen: “The great spiritual task facing me is to so fully trust that I belong to God that I can be free in the world—free to speak even when my words are not received; free to act when my actions are criticized, ridiculed, or considered useless; free also to receive love from people and to be grateful for all the signs of God’s presence in the world. I am convinced that I will truly be able to love the world when I fully believe that I am loved far beyond its boundaries.”

Will you “be able to love the world” today?

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