The last week has seen the death of one of the world’s worst remaining terror leaders, General Soleimani of Iran, thanks to orders issuing out of the President’s office and carried out by our nation’s military.
This makes the second major player taken out during Trump’s time in office, as well as the end of the ISIS caliphate. Yet, unsurprisingly, Democrat politicians and pundits have only been able to find bad things to say about it.
Apparently Democrat institutional memory doesn’t go back very far. Our difficulties with Iran didn’t start with Trump ordering the killing of Soleimani or even with Trump being elected to office and backing out of Obama’s deal with Iran. Iran declared war against the United States all the way back in 1979 and has been continually attacking us, our allies and our interests since then.
Yet for some reason, it always seems that Democrats take any action by a Republican President to protect our nation and our interests to be an “escalation,” while publically making excuses for those who take action against our country. Iran has been attacking America and our allies troops, aircraft, and shipping with impunity for years; but Trump’s actions are supposedly an “escalation.”
Worse than that, they are bemoaning the loss of Soleimani, as if he were a great leader, just like they did with Al Baghdadi. This is scary to me, especially when compared to how cavalier they are to the deaths of our own people. Remember Ambassador Stevens in Libya?
So the president takes out this terrorist and Iran has responded. They sent a bunch of missiles into bases located in Iraq, which house US forces. But the missiles didn’t hurt anyone, either by intention or by accident. At this point, it looks like it might only have been a manner for them to save face. Publically, they have stated that they aren’t going to do anything more.
Does anyone believe that?
While Iran may have taken some public action which looks like retaliation, that’s probably just for public consumption. If we look at how they’ve responded to other slights in the past, they don’t just blow up a bunch of ordinances and call it good. They tend to take the long view, patiently waiting for the opportunity to strike a decisive blow, which will not just allow them to get even, but allow them to get more than even.
Chances are, that’s what’s happening in this case as well.
We can expect further attacks from Iran or from their surrogates in the near future. It may not happen for months, but you can be sure that they will link those actions to the assassination of this war criminal. They’ll make sure others know that too.
In reality, those actions will probably come from surrogates. Iran has become the world’s leader in using surrogates to accomplish their goals. That’s why they are the world’s leading supporters of terrorism. The many terrorist organizations that they support are all working to bring about Iran’s political goals.
We can also expect that they will ignore President Trump’s demands. There is no way that Iran is going to stop its nuclear program, its missile program or its support of international terrorism. It’s probably going to take a lot more pressure on them to even get them to talk about those three demands.
Until they do, we must be ready for any retaliation by the Iranian government or their surrogates. While we can’t be absolutely sure of what that retaliation will be, there are a few possibilities we must be ready for.
Direct Military Action
Often, in an international discourse between hostile nations, it’s more important to listen to what’s not said, rather than what is said.
If we look carefully at the statements out of Iran’s capital, the one thing they’ve actually stated is that the missile attacks on those two military bases are the only “military response” they are going to make, in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t retaliate in other ways.
For that matter, it doesn’t mean that they won’t take any further military action against our forces or against those of our allies. It just means that they won’t call it retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. They’ve been taking military action against our military for four decades, why would they stop now? We can expect the same sort of harassing military attacks that have been going on for years.
Granted, this doesn’t directly affect most of us, unless we have family members who are serving in the Middle East. Iran has sent warships into the Atlantic Ocean before, even approaching our Eastern Seaboard, but they don’t really have the capability of performing any significant military attack against the USA; at least, not with conventional military forces.
That could all change if they ever reach the point in their nuclear program where they have a viable warhead. Supposedly they have already developed a missile capable of intercontinental range. Should they reach the point where they can attack us with a nuclear warhead, I would be surprised if they didn’t use it.
Lacking the ability to mount any meaningful military attack against our country, Iran will resort to the same thing they’ve been doing for decades, continued support of radical Islamic terrorist organizations. While those terrorists have mostly attacked Muslims in other countries, they have also attacked Americans, especially American soldiers serving overseas in the Middle East.
But that’s not to say that they won’t attack here in the US in the future. If nothing else 9/11 and ISIS have proved how easy it is for terrorists to operate in the United States. Entering the country is not all that hard and once in the country, there is little to prevent them from operating.
Please note that I don’t mean any disrespect of the FBI and our local law enforcement officers in saying that. They do excellent anti-terror work and have prevented a number of attacks from ever happening. But as we’ve seen, they can’t stop them all. The more terrorists that Iran sends to our shores, the more chances that their attacks will be effective, as the resources of the FBI are spread thin.
In the past, terrorists mostly confined their operations to major cities, reasoning that there were more targets to kill and more people that would be impacted by their operations. But something has changed in the last decade. Terrorists no longer limit their operations to major metropolitan areas. Thanks to the efficiency of modern news media, they have learned that they can be just as effective working in mid-sized and smaller cities. As an added bonus to them, more people become afraid of a potential attack.
I lived along the Mexican border for 20 years and I know how porous it is and how easy it is for terrorists to hide within the masses of humanity trying to cross that border. Two years ago, 10 ISIS “soldiers” were captured in McAllen, Texas, as they tried to infiltrate our country. In that year, there were supposedly 3,000 people with ties to terrorist organizations, who came into the USA.
Yes, some of these people get caught coming across our borders. But the thing we don’t know; that nobody knows, is how many of them make it across our border and are waiting either orders or opportunity to act. By and large, there is nothing our law enforcement officers can do, not even investigate them until they break the law in some way.
Protecting Ourselves from Terrorists
So how do we protect ourselves from a terrorist attack? The same way that we protect ourselves from any active shooter situation. Carrying concealed, maintaining our situational awareness and being ready to respond to any violent attack with violence of our own.
When I lived along the border, one of the training officers in our local sheriff’s department told me that the word around the office was that they were sure that if terrorists did try to do anything in the area, no law enforcement officer would have to draw their firearm. The citizens with concealed carry licenses would take care of it themselves before the police could get there.
But that’s in Texas, where one out of every 37 adults carries concealed. Not every state is like that. There are still some states where it is extremely difficult to get a concealed carry permit. In those states, people have to depend on the police for protection; but there aren’t enough police to do the job.
In that case, the best thing you can do is to stay away from public places, especially those where large crowds are likely to gather. All terrorists look to kill as many victims as possible; so they will always pick a crowded area to “go loud.” Even better for them is a crowded area where there is an event being broadcast live. Remember the Boston Marathon? If you can stay away from those areas, chances are you’ll succeed in staying away from any potential terrorist attacks.
The other major area of risk is cyber-warfare. Apparently Iran has invested greatly in developing cyber-warfare capability, just as China and Russia have. If they want to attack us directly; this is the most likely way it will occur.
It is highly unlikely that this will mean any cyber-attacks against your or my computers. They’re not going to be stealing your e-mail records, looking for something to embarrass you. You and I aren’t the kinds of highly visible targets that they will go after. They’ll want something that will throw society and even the government into disarray.
The most likely cyber-attacks would be against our infrastructure, especially public utilities. An EMP isn’t the only way that the grid can be taken down; they can do it with cyber-attacks as well. It has already been done. Just do a search on the internet sometimes, and you’ll see a number of reports about cyber-attacks against various different countries’ electrical utilities, including nuclear power plants.
Sadly, we aren’t as prepared against cyber-warfare as we should be. While our government has been making great strides in that area in the last few years, they got started too late. But even if they hadn’t, it would still be a problem. You see, the advantage always lays with the attacker.
Have you ever noticed how often Microsoft issues updates to their products? The majority of those are to plug security holes that have been found, either by Microsoft’s own in-house “white hat” hackers or through attacks that have succeeded. It’s a constant battle and the hackers have the initiative.
Preparing for Cyber-Warfare
As I said, it is unlikely that your computer or mine will be targeted for any sort of major cyber-attack. Nevertheless, we should practice good computer security, including:
- Regularly changing our passwords with robust passwords
- Limiting internet usage
- Installing anti-virus software and keeping it updated
- Turning your computer off when not in use
- Only downloading things you need to
But the bigger problem is being ready to live without electricity and other utilities. If you have been preparing for an EMP as part of your normal prepping operations, then you’re doing the right thing. The loss of the grid and other utilities will affect us the same, regardless of whether it is from that EMP, terrorist attacks to physically the grid or cyber-warfare attacks to take the grid down.
The plus in a cyber-attack against the grid, as compared to an EMP, is that with a cyber-attack, chances are pretty good that they’ll be able to get the system up and running again within a few days. At the worst, they would have to wipe the hard drives and reinstall a clean copy of everything, in order to get the utilities up and running again. At least that’s possible. With an EMP, that’s not even possible.