Mission Complete: Gen. Petraeus Says Trump Did What Obama Was Too Afraid To Do

Retired Army General and former CIA Director David Petraeus is praising President Trump’s decision to take out Iran’s top military commander, Qassem Soleimani, saying he had the courage to do what former administrations did not.

Petraeus, who also served as a former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, told Foreign Policy on Friday that Iran has been a thorn in the side of the United States for many years and often carried out violent attacks on U.S. military members and their regional allies.

These attacks went unanswered under Obama who, instead of launching a military strike on the Iranian commander, signed a nuclear peace agreement and agreed to send the country millions of dollars.

Petraeus said the Obama administration considered carrying out an attack on Soleimani but ultimately decided against it, fearing retaliation and potential consequences.

Petraeus said, per Foreign Policy:

The reasoning seems to be to show in the most significant way possible that the U.S. is just not going to allow the continued violence—the rocketing of our bases, the killing of an American contractor, the attacks on shipping, on unarmed drones—without a very significant response.

Many people had rightly questioned whether American deterrence had eroded somewhat because of the relatively insignificant responses to the earlier actions. This clearly was of vastly greater importance. Of course it also, per the Defense Department statement, was a defensive action given the reported planning and contingencies that Suleimani was going to Iraq to discuss and presumably approve.

This was in response to the killing of an American contractor, the wounding of American forces, and just a sense of how this could go downhill from here if the Iranians don’t realize that this cannot continue. 

Petraeus also described the death as “more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden,” the Western Journal reports.

Petraeus described Soleimani as an instrumental component in Iran’s plan to dominate the region and said: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this particular action.”

“It is more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the death of [Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi,” the retired general told the outlet. “Soleimani was the architect and operational commander of the Iranian effort to solidify control of the so-called Shia crescent, stretching from Iran to Iraq through Syria into southern Lebanon.”

“Iran is in a very precarious economic situation, it is very fragile domestically — they’ve killed many, many hundreds if not thousands of Iranian citizens who were demonstrating on the streets of Iran in response to the dismal economic situation and the mismanagement and corruption,” Petraeus continued.

“I just don’t see the Iranians as anywhere near as supportive of the regime at this point as they were decades ago during the Iran-Iraq War,” he also said per the report.

Despite Iranian threats, Petraeus said he does not believe the country wants to engage in a full-scale war with the U.S.

“Obviously all sides will suffer if this becomes a wider war, but Iran has to be very worried that — in the state of its economy, the significant popular unrest and demonstrations against the regime — that this is a real threat to the regime in a way that we have not seen prior to this.”

President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday evening to respond to Iranian threats of retaliation.

“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters,” Trump said in a series of tweets.

“He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations,” he continued. “Iran has been nothing but problems for many years.”

Trump then offered the Iranians a warning: “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”