They might have been the warnings that might have kept off a war — for today.
When President Donald Trump addressed the country on Wednesday in a strongly worded speech about the Iranian missile strikes against U.S.-held bases in Iraq, he declared that there had been no Americans killed or injured in the attacks and appeared at least cautiously optimistic that further open hostilities could be avoided.
“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned,” he said.
Given the tenor of Trump’s speech, there’s no doubt his message would have been decidedly different if an American service member had been killed.
And even Iran’s murderous mullahs might finally realize that.
According to a CNN report Wednesday, which cited both an Arab diplomat and a U.S. defense official, Iranian officials tipped off Iraqi counterparts to the attacks in advance.
The Iraqis then notified U.S. officials, according to CNN.
While Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi issued a statement declaring that the Iraqi government had been warned of the attacks, he said the specific locations were unknown.
According to the CNN report, however, Iraqis were warned about the actual targets:
“An Arab diplomatic source told CNN that Iraq gave advance warning to the United States on ‘which bases would be hit’ after Iranian officials passed on the information,” the outlet said.
“A US defense official said Iraqis were told by Iran to stay away from certain bases.”
In his speech, Trump credited the lack of casualties in the missile strike to “precautions taken, the dispersal of forces and an early warning system that worked very well.”
And there’s no reason to doubt the U.S. military was ready for anything the Iranians tried.
I’m incredibly grateful that no American or Iraqi lives were lost in the missile strikes launched by Iran last night thanks to an early warning system that allowed our military to help prevent major harm to the bases being targeted.
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) January 8, 2020
But there are also good reasons Iran might have wanted to avoid actually killing any Americans in the missile strike.
As Trump’s speech made clear on Wednesday, the Islamic Republic has to reckon now with an American leader who is not afraid to confront terrorists were they live — and they have the death of Iranian terror general Qassem Soleimani as an example if there are any doubters.
Had there been mass U.S. casualties in the Iranian attack, there’s no doubt the stern message delivered by Trump on Wednesday would have been sterner still.
Maybe too stern even for the murderous mullahs of Tehran to risk.
If CNN’s report is correct, those Iranian warnings might have kept their country from being at war with the United States today.
But Trump’s speech Iranian regime on notice: What previous presidents have tolerated, and what the Obama administration actually rewarded — as with the disastrous Iran nuclear deal — is not acceptable to the United States today.
Iran needs to renounce its efforts to obtain a nuclear bomb, stop supporting international terrorism and basically join the family of normal nations, Trump said, or be prepared to accept the consequences.
That’s a warning, if it’s heeded, that could keep off war tomorrow.
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