About 19 years ago I was a part-time, work-from-home mom with a 10-month-old and a 4-year-old. I literally heard a “boom” when American Airlines flight 77 slammed into the side of the Pentagon three miles from my home, taking the lives of 184 innocents, as three more planes took the lives of many others in New York and Pennsylvania that day. Even more traumatic, my husband and I spent the evening comforting the pregnant wife of Navy CDR Patrick Dunn as she awaited news of her dead husband’s fate.
American citizens unified in our horror and outrage against evil men for their murderous actions but we also were furious with U.S. intelligence for their failure to disrupt the plot. Last week our intelligence community proved that they took to heart our demand to “never forget.”
Unfortunately, many Democrats seem to have developed amnesia over the past week. Following the airstrike that killed Iranian commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s retaliatory airstrikes at U.S. bases in Iraq and even the downing of a passenger plane full of innocent people, some Democrats seem to think President Trump is wrong to use a strong hand against Iran.
So let’s review: The United States has a long and complicated history with Iran. They became our lethal enemy in 1979 when they stormed our embassy and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, releasing them only after the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. Christopher Bedford reminds us in The Federalist, “Iran needed to learn a hard, swift lesson. For four decades, it has ratcheted global temperatures up and down with a close eye on America’s reaction. Kidnapping, terror, extortion, sabotage, and blockades have all been used since the Islamic Republic’s inception in 1979.”
Even more on point — both the left and the right agree that Qassem Soleimani was an evil man responsible for the death of over 600 Americans and countless others in the Middle East. As the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a group that the United States labeled a Foreign Terrorist Organization, he spread death and destruction throughout the region. Most recently two violent attacks were carried out under his direction — the December 27 attack that killed an American and wounded U.S. and Iraqi troops and the New Year’s Eve attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
But even more importantly, the reason Soleimani was on Iraqi soil that eventually became his deathbed, was to lead an active plot to kill more American citizens. Reuters wrote in a deeply reported piece, “Before the attacks, the U.S. intelligence community had reason to believe that Soleimani was involved in ‘late stage’ planning to strike Americans in multiple countries, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, U.S. officials told Reuters Friday on condition of anonymity. One senior U.S. official said Soleimani had supplied advanced weaponry to Kataib Hezbollah.”
The Obama Administration’s era of appeasement, topped off with an approximate $150 billion windfall from lifted sanctions, didn’t convince Iran to behave. Instead, we supplied Iran with cash to spread around to Hezbollah and other extremists. When will we learn that simply ignoring or appeasing evil doesn’t make it go away?
Certainly, there needs to be a thoughtful response to threats — we can’t police the world — but in this case President Trump made the right call. Trump has consistently worked to draw down our engagement in the Middle East, even provoking criticism from his own party. However, Sept. 11 taught us that allowing evil to thrive and plots against Americans to go unanswered means “death to America.”
The notion that minding our own business will keep us safe ignores the reality that evil exists and preys on the naive, innocent and weak. I join with Concerned Women for America supporters all over this nation who reiterate the message from Sept. 11 to our President, intelligence community and military leaders, “Never Forget.”
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the book “Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women.”