We’ve had a wild time. During the Congress coming back to work and taking up the impeachment against our president, there was a target of opportunity to take out a general in the Iranian military and President Donald Trump and his cabinet decided to act. Some people tried to shape it into an act of war and worried we were starting World War III. Others tried to say our president acted to take the heat off the impeachment and make himself into a hero for the next election. 

We saw “Iranians” take to the streets shouting, “death to America,” but really, how was that different than the last 40 years? And do we know these people were Iranian citizens and not trained proxies of the type the general liked to train to do his dirty work? The Iranian government decided to retaliate by lobbing missiles into the Green Zone in Iraq, but no one was killed. They shot down a passenger plane, mistaking it for the U.S. bomber coming to bomb them back and killed 176 innocent people. First, they tried to say it wasn’t shot down, but the video was clear and then admitted a mistake — but not before blaming the U.S. for making them do it. (And here I was thinking it was just in the U.S. people no longer took ownership of their mistakes). 

Some Congress people were “insulted” they weren’t informed and then additionally when they didn’t like the briefing they got from the administration. The truth came out that the “gang of eight” on the intelligence committee did see the actual intelligence, but a few did not find it compelling. They wanted to debate imminent threat and just how many embassies were at risk. I don’t know about you, but for me even one embassy is too much. 

The question of imminent could be tomorrow, next week, next month or in six months, but does it matter? Did we think the man’s heart was going to change? The man not only plotted to kills Americans, but he trained other terrorists to do the same. That was enough justification to me. Most of the Congress does not have the clearances necessary to see the level of classified data that reveals the means and sources from which intelligence is derived. Congress overall is considered a sieve for information and many of them cannot resist the opportunity for the sound bite.

I have to say I was a bit amazed so many members of Congress thought we should somehow apologize to Iran for targeting their general. Did anyone think we should apologize to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan for killing Osama Bin Laden? 

I liked the fact our president challenged NATO to get more involved. I thought his speech was constructive and although so many people chose to ignore it, I felt he extended a hand to Iran. So many people wanted to hang their hats on the Paris Peace Treaty from which we withdrew, but the truth was it had no real teeth and, likely, Iran was violating the agreement. 

Today Iranians are taking to the streets, not to scream “death to America” but for regime change. The average Iranian does not hate the west or America and would like to have their country back in the world, not as a pariah nation. Their own government is very restrictive and punishes severely those who step out of line. We can only hope the revolt takes hold to the point where changes can be made. 

Elsie Hickman is a Lake Martin resident and weekly columnist for The Outlook.