Sending A Message - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1668716

Sending A Message

In the January 9 issue, Phil Keith, in his “Mostly Right” column [“Bananas All Around”], declares that our president drove half the world bananas with his “unprovoked curveball, out-of-left-field assassination of the second-most-powerful man in the Iranian government.”

Apparently, Keith considers 40 years of aggression against the United States, dating back to the embassy hostage situation during the Carter administration, as non-provocative. Iran has been supporting unrest in the Middle East by escalating conflicts wherever possible. They support the insurgents and militia groups in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Israel and Iraq, financed by the $150 billion in frozen assets that our last president decided to return to Iran.

Recently, Iran has attacked oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, attacked Saudi oil fields, attacked our bases, killed an American citizen contractor, and has even attacked our embassy in Tehran, trying to set it ablaze. Keith does not consider this provocation.

Up until taking out the Iranian general, Trump has shown great restraint in the region and seized upon the opportunity to send a message — “We’ve had enough, cease and desist” — instead of drawing ever-retreating red lines in the sand like his predecessor.

Keith considers it a “wag the dog” response to take attention off the impeachment, while at the same time accusing Trump of being incapable of any strategic or tactical forethought, oblivious to consequences. Keith is oblivious to the consequences of doing absolutely nothing as an emboldened Iran continues its path of insurgency.

The ball is in Iran’s court, and they launched an ineffective strike at two of our air bases, inflicting no casualties and little damage. Trump responded with a message that he wants peace and it is up to Iran to not escalate this further. They have had their face-saving moment; they can walk away from this and not have their economy wrecked and their infrastructure destroyed. They need to stop their campaign of regional terrorism, and the world will gradually bring them back from their own self-destruction. The mullahs are acutely aware of the civil unrest increasing among their own citizenry that the sanctions have imposed on their people.

Phil Keith thinks our president is incapable of setting goals in the Middle East. If I had to guess what Trump’s goals in Iran are, taken from his past comments, I would list the following:

• Not allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

• Limit or eliminate Iran’s support for terrorism through groups like Hezbollah.

• Eliminate or severely curtail Iran’s attempt to completely control Iraq.

• Foster the return of a secular “modern” political government that builds bridges with liberal democracies in the civilized world, and abandoning stated goals of annihilating some of same.

John Porta



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