As he continues his holiday in Hawaii, former President Barack Obama was spotted paddleboarding on the same day drone strikes ordered by President Donald Trump killed two top Iranian military figures in Iraq. Since then, Obama has remained silent on the killing, the Washington Examiner reported.
This isn’t accidental. Instead of congratulating Trump on the successful termination of an enemy of the U.S., he’s playing politics like the rest of the Democrats. He can’t really condemn it, given that he was known for drone strikes, but he’ll remain silent.
Iran’s Soleimani killed
Trump previously abandoned Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and has been dealing with minor provocations from Iran which escalated into an attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq last week.
On Thursday, drone strikes killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Forces leader Abu Mahdi al Muhandis outside Baghdad International Airport. The press has focused on the killing of Soleimani, fearing that the death will be seen as an assassination and that retaliation from Iran will follow.
Trump’s Middle East policy has included attempts to broker peace with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan after close to two decades as well as hold Iran accountable for pursuing nuclear weapons with economic sanctions. With Iranian factions continuing to have undue influence in parts of Iraq, however, the situation has become complex and led to incidents like the embassy attack.
To “stop a war”
Trump said on Friday that he authorized the drone strikes to “stop a war” with Iran that could possibly expand. Officials in his administration have said that Soleimani was planning an attack that could have killed hundreds of people and had to be stopped immediately.
Trump warned Iran not to retaliate against the drone strikes, but military outposts in the region are bracing for that possibility as tensions escalate. Trump has said he does not want a war with Iran, but had to act to prevent further U.S. casualties in the region. Americans in Iraq have been advised to leave, and 3,500 additional troops are being sent to the region for support as Iran vows “severe revenge” on the U.S. for killing Soleimani.
While critics worry the strikes will provoke a war with Iran and that they were not legal, Obama’s silence speaks volumes. Obama authorized plenty of airstrikes during his two terms as president. He understands the necessity of using precision-targeted force to prevent wider-scale attacks that would cause U.S. deaths.
Regardless of his feelings about Trump, he also doesn’t want to reopen himself to criticism over his failure to act in Benghazi when another U.S. embassy attack resulted in four American deaths due to the slow-to-nonexistent response from his administration.
Trump has been quick to draw a contrast between Obama’s 2012 response to Benghazi and his own response to the embassy attack in Iraq, which had a military response in just one hour from a request for help.
Obama knows that any criticism of Trump’s actions, besides being unwarranted, will just come back on him for similar actions he took as well as mistakes he made by not taking action. No, he’d rather enjoy his nice vacation in Hawaii than deal with all of that. I can’t say that I blame him.