Back in the old days, this is what was called a casus belli — a cause for war:
Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.
The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.
At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.
The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.
The devices bore the signs of the Iranian “Quds Force,” their external terrorist/special operations group within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. And, though not mentioned in the article, similar attacks took place in western Afghanistan, in regions near the Iranian border. The Iranian government was killing and maiming our soldiers.
I call that an act of war.
Note that this is a failing of both the Bush II and Obama administrations: Iran (and Syria, for their support of jihadist rebels) was never properly punished for its actions. This is a region of the world wherein strength and brutality is respected: the failure to hurt Iran for its attacks on our forces only invited further aggression.
Think I’m misreading things? A 2007 National Intelligence Estimate noted that Iran has seriously slowed or even halted its nuclear program after we invaded and liberated Iraq. The Iranians were afraid we’d do something similar to them, so they tucked their tails between their legs and laid low. This is not a brave regime. But, once they realized we weren’t going to do much to really punish them, they began and continued their attacks through 2011.
I’m not saying we should declare war on Iran and invade, though the ill-advised restraint of George W. Bush and President Obama’s incompetence have made eventual war more likely, not less. The American public isn’t ready for such an undertaking, and the military needs a lot of rebuilding.
But, at the same time, the Middle East isn’t going away, and our necessary involvement there isn’t over. Potential foes have to know they will pay a high price for attacking us: we must fight back. A response doesn’t even have to be military. In fact, it’s too late now to do anything like direct retaliation.
However, the Iranian regime is afraid to death of its own people, so why not (finally) start giving substantial political support to the opposition? Make the mullahs fear for their own necks, rather than going after ours.
If we don’t show them we’re not bin Laden’s “weak horse,” they’ll only do it again.