To the editor: Following Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani’s killing by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad, some believe that Americans are once again trapped in another escalating conflict in the Mideast. A more realistic view shows such a spiral to be improbable.
Over the past two decades, Iran built a powerful network of proxies in the Middle East. This created the image in American minds of an all-powerful Iran. The reality of Iranian power is less impressive. Suleimani masterminded a handful of small conventional attacks from Syria on Israel from 2017 to 2019. In response, Israel has struck Iranian targets more than 1,000 times.
When Iran engages in conventional military exchanges, it normally loses. Naturally, then, the Iranians will limit any retaliation for Suleimani’s death to targets that will not draw a conventional response, and President Trump has established a clear standard: He repeatedly did not retaliate after attacks on American allies’ oil facilities or tankers.
These allies should worry, but Americans can sleep soundly.
Max Plithides, Los Angeles
To the editor: Some have accused Trump of impeachment deflection.
If they had listened to the president’s statement after the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that “this is no Benghazi,” the critics would have anticipated a retaliatory attack meant to impress upon Iranian leaders that the U.S. will not sit back.
Trump is no appeaser, and he will therefore act accordingly when U.S. interests are at stake.
John T. Kirages, Arcadia
To the editor: A roving state sponsor of terrorism is eliminated by an American president, and the political opposition is loud with objection about the Middle East chessboard and the possible ramifications of this kinetic action. War game planners scope these moves and anticipate the ramifications, while the commander in chief hopes for the best and plans for the worst.
Paralysis should not be an option unless Democrats, in their frenetic belief that the republic will crumble unless the president is defeated, prefer continued bloodletting, a few American lives at a time, as if the scale of loss will not be unbalanced, as if unreasoning domestic fear and inaction will not further whet terror appetites in Tehran.
Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati