By Andrew McCarthy – TheHill
“If a war be made by invasion of a foreign nation, the President is not only authorized but bound to resist force by force. He does not initiate the war, but is bound to accept the challenge without waiting for any special legislative authority.”
So said the Supreme Court in the Civil War-era Prize Cases more than 150 years ago. It has been the law of the United States as long as there has been a United States. It reflects the venerable law of nations, derived from natural law and long preexisting our republic.
When there are forcible threats to the United States, the president has not merely the power but the obligation to repel them. In large measure, that is why there is an Office of the President. The Framers grasped, in a time of dire peril to the fledgling nation, that national security cannot be achieved by committee. A single chief executive, the president, was necessary to marshal the might of the nation with dispatch when America was under siege.
These are rudimentary principles. Alas, they obviously need restating in the wake of the attack President Trump authorized late Thursday that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), founder of its jihad-exporting Quds Forces and Tehran’s terror master nonpareil.
Soleimani was taken out near the airport in Baghdad, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq. The PMF make up one of several networks that Soleimani and the mullahs forged on the model of Hezbollah, their longtime terrorist faction in Lebanon — indeed, the outfit al-Muhandis directly led is known as the Hezbollah Brigades, or Kata’ib Hezbollah.
Soleimani and al-Muhandis were in the act of making war on the United States. Not just plotting it, though there was plenty of that going on, too.
In late 2019, the Hezbollah Brigades, backed by Soleimani, carried out repeated attacks on U.S. coalition forces in Iraq. There were 11 attacks on bases housing U.S. military personnel in just the last two months. As the Defense Department has recounted, these included “a 30-plus rocket attack on an Iraqi base near Kirkuk that resulted in the death of a U.S. citizen and injured four U.S. service members” as well as members of the Iraqi security forces.
In response, American forces carried out missile strikes against Hezbollah Brigades targets in Iraq and Syria.
After vowing revenge, the jihadist militias stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Though foiled in the attempt to replicate the 1979 attack in Tehran, in which our embassy was breached and hostages were taken, the brigades — shouting the menacing Iranian refrain “Death to America!” — did significant damage. They burned the outer walls, checkpoint and reception area, smashed windows, and trapped hundreds of diplomatic personnel.
The brigades left graffiti on the walls bragging about the participation of Soleimani and the “Popular Mobilization Commission.” President Trump warned on Twitter that Iran would be held accountable and would “pay a very BIG PRICE.” Iran’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, scoffed in reply, “You can’t do anything.”
He may want to rethink that one.
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