Relax, Everyone, The Stable Genius Is In Charge
Tuesday night, or in the wee hours of Wednesday morning if you happen to be in the Middle East right now, Iran began its retaliation for Donald Trump's targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. And maybe Iran also finished its retaliation for the killing. The Iranian military targeted two Iraqi military bases that house American troops, but so far, we haven't heard that there were casualties, and we hope it stays that way.
Anyway, it's fine.
Because Iran doesn't appear to have taken American casualties -- and may not have intended to, may indeed have kinda sorta intentionally "missed" -- it's possible we're not in full-blown war yet, though it felt like we were last night. Pundits on the TV who know Iran and the Middle East have noted that on Iranian state TV, they're claiming they devastated America and murdered everyone in their counter-strike, leading some to suggest that this was a sort of face-saving propaganda strike, intended for consumption by the enraged Iranian people. It's notable that the strike happened during Soleimani's funeral/burial ceremony, which was paused and then resumed after the strike was completed.
Of course, this is war, or it's maybe-war, which means facts and pundits' interpretations are subject to change at any time, like five minutes from now.
Vox aggregates what we know now, or what we think we know now, and even there, details are still a bit muddy:
A spokesperson for US Central Command told me that Iran fired 15 missiles: Ten struck al-Asad airbase west of Baghdad, Iraq; one struck Erbil in northern Iraq; and four failed. David Cloud of the Los Angeles Times reports that the US was able to track the launches with radar, giving personnel time to take cover. Unnamed Iraqi military officials told the New York Times that Iran launched 22 missiles.
Iran would have known that we could track the missiles, so perhaps that lends credence to the theory that Iran was making a show of force and not actually trying to kill Americans and set off a war nobody wants. Maybe they were actually de-escalating, with missiles. If that's the case, then Iran may be more Stable Genius than Donald Trump. What a world that would be!
On the other hand, Iran is certainly talking tough, saying that if the United States retaliates for this strike, then they're going to fuck up Dubai and Haifa and who knows where else, and Iran has proxies all over the region and the world, so could choose to retaliate in myriad other ways also too, so ...
This tweet is from the Iranian foreign minister:
On the other hand, Ayatollah Khameini tweeted that last night's strikes were "not enough." Because of course he has Twitter, why wouldn't he, isn't that what all unhinged foreign leaders have these days, @Jack?
Oh yeah, and Iran really really really fucking wants every last US troop to leave the area, which should be fine, since America accidentally hit reply all on a letter telling the Iraqis we are pulling out all our troops right now, except for how that was a "mistake," ayup, you betcha.
So how will Trump react? Unclear. Because of how there are so many grown-ups in the room advising Trump right now, like Mike Pompeo, and unofficial national security adviser Sean Hannity, who apparently spent his show last night calling for strikes on Iranian oil and nuclear sites, we are confident it will all turn out fine.
Or maybe Trump will take Hannity's advice and announce his intentions to bomb the shit out of them some more, one, two, skip a few, which could lead to true Dipshit Armageddon.
Maybe Trump's advisers, who are reportedly with him in the Situation Room this morning, that's right, Donald Trump is actually working in the morning, are showing him a whole slew of options, including one REALLY CRAZY DUMBASS ONE, in order to help him choose a sane option. You know, because that worked so well with the Soleimani killing.
President Sea Of Tranquility will address the nation at 11 AM. We are sure he will soothe our fears, the way he always does when he attempts to speak English with his mouth.
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