William Barr was right, and the left was wrong

Jay Ambrose

Democrats just won’t give up on the cause of Iran getting nuclear weapons.

First off, we had President Barack Obama spending months and more months on a deal that shoved all kinds of obstacles out of the way. Then we had President Donald Trump yanking the United States out of the deal and actually fighting back with deadly force against a general specializing in terrorism who had killed 600 Americans. Democrats have been outraged, worrying about a war that’s not exactly likely while, with some qualifications, presidential candidates say they will get us back in the Obama deal if Trump is defeated in this year’s election.

That promise might not tell the Iranians they will get all of Obama’s gifts again, but it certainly sends hints to the dictators that they need not worry too much, that they can get rid of sanctions wrecking their economy and maybe still grin their way to mushroom clouds. In the interim, the horror of the left at what Trump did is itself close to a horror, a message to Iranians that they have cheerleaders across the Atlantic. Their tale has been that Trump acted recklessly, that he may have cheated the Constitution, that war is a done deal with him in office and that Congress must rise up by way of rescue.

Such concerns were hushed to the degree of applause when Obama and five other powers started dropping sanctions after Iranians agreed to talk because of them. With the United States leading the way, these negotiators amazingly agreed that Iran could keep the means of producing enriched uranium crucial for nuclear weaponry. Iran did agree to turn over its most highly enriched uranium to Russia, which has returned some of it. Without consequence, Iran has violated the treaty 32 times by trying to buy nuclear technology from Germany. We agreed not to inspect military bases just maybe involved in nuclear trickery.

An Obama aide later admitted he fed naive reporters hooey as a way of selling the deal, and, look, Iran has since gotten away with tests of ballistic missiles ever expanding in numbers. It has joyfully sent out terrorists to kill and wound and destroy. It has rather obviously been aiming to revolutionize a Middle East that it will direct with nuclear weaponry facing down objections. There’s a problem, though, because we have this Trump guy who thinks deterrence outdoes appeasement as a strategic model. He has let all kinds of things go, such as Iranians shooting down a U.S. drone, but the story is not over.

Major Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a genocidal madman with a gentlemanly demeanor, crossed a Trumpian red line by killing an American, following that up with violence encircling an American embassy. Trump relied on another U.S. drone to in effect return fire, eliminating a cause of hellish effects. This was not a violation of the Constitution, as some Democrats have said, although it would be if Trump went to war without getting a declaration from Congress, something no president has done since World War II.

Iran threatened retaliation, Democrats in our homeland sounded as if they themselves had a revolution in mind and then there were the Iranian missiles and something remarkable: Almost certainly as a matter of intention, they did not kill anyone and did precious little damage. Trump did vow more sanctions, but repeated his often-stated offer of negotiation without preconditions. He made it clear he would not hit back.

We may now really, truly be on the way to victory, of restoring Iran to economic health and affording it a respected place among nations as Iran quits hiding anything and rids itself of the means of developing nuclear weaponry, terrorism, bullying the Middle East in every way it can and testing missiles. That’s not for sure, of course, but it could happen if the Democrats would quit holding out hope that it can return to evil. We will see.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at speaktojayaol.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. © 2020 Tribune Content Agency.

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(27) comments


When the WDT conducted a poll a few weeks ago, asking readers to choose their favorite section of the newspaper, the Opinion section came in dead last. Ambrose and Flowers have to go, NOT the Opinion section!

Holmes -- the real one

I wonder whether the decision to include the Ambrose and Flowers drivel was simply because they provide that soothing dog whistle-like flavor right in the headline and often a comforting conservative lie within the first paragraph.

My guess is that most of the "readership" (and I hesitate to use that term) of NNY360 doesn't actually read much of what is there. Besides, reading comprehension doesn't exactly seem to be a strong point among them.

From the kind of comments and pieces we see here, it appears that conservatives don't really want to know what others think -- they just want to be told the same reassuring lies over and over. Just a brief word to remind them that they are in the midst of tribe thinking and they are good to go.

Holmes -- the real one

And speaking of trying to attract followers for NNY360.....

Kansas City has found a new way to attract listeners to their local radio station -- broadcast Russian state-owned media programming for 6 hours/day. KCXL’s website, which says that it’s the radio station that will “tell you the things that the liberal media wont (sic) tell you,” lists Radio Sputnik in its morning programming. In the website conspiracy theories abound. Oh, and the owner (who's paid by Russia to promote the propaganda) was forced to register as a foreign agent for leasing Sputnik stuff. So expect Donald to award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom soon.


hermit thrush

"Democrats just won’t give up on the cause of Iran getting nuclear weapons."

complete trash. shame on the wdt for publishing such ridiculous smears. there is an ocean of opinion columnists out there and this is no better than directly linking to comments threads at breitbart.


When will the Times recognize the irresponsibility of Ambrose's scrawlings? And the shallowness of Flowers' "deep thinking"?


It's amazing that so many people--including President Bonespurs--fail to grasp the wisdom behind the JCPOA: if Iran must forego nuclear development for a generation it will guarantee peaceful coexistence with the West for that period--and that during that time mutual trust will develop that will virtually guarantee an Iranian government will see no need to develop a nuclear capability. That likelihood convinced six major nations to espouse this pact. Of course, mildly sophisticated reasoning like this is well above Trump's mental pay grade.


"guarantee peaceful coexistence?" That's what you call Iran's behavior since the JCPOA was signed? Interesting...


Iran was abiding by the provisions of the JPCOA. Even Trump admitted that. But then in his infinite wisdom he withdrew the US from it even though the agreement contained no language dealing with Iran's relations with other Middle East nations.


But you said that the JCPOA would guarantee peaceful co-existence. Do you think it did?

hermit thrush

you are right that "peaceful coexistence" is an overstatement. but if you dial that down a little that newsjunkie is making a good point.


Obama and Kerry's appeasement of Syria and Iran have only caused more death and destruction. It seems that standing up to Iran and not setting phony "red lines", may have caused them to stand down. But as Ambrose says, that's not what the democrats seem to want... or would they just rather somebody else had done it.

hermit thrush

obama and kerry's nuclear deal staved off the iranians getting a nuclear weapon for at least 15 years. if you want to look at death and destruction, look at the escalation which has occurred since trump abrogated the deal.


You think there was less violence coming out of Iran prior to Trump pulling out of the deal? He didn't abrogate the deal. It still exists for the other countries who signed on to it and who are now trying to hold Iran to it. Iran can continue on their "peaceful" march towards nuclear weapons if they so choose, and I guess you're glad that are still countries who are willing to appease.

Holmes -- the real one

Ahh Jackie.

It's so nice to see that you are now taking the position that potential problems should be addressed before they get worse. I totally agree with that premise.

No more of this minimizing the concern (e.g by saying something like, 'well, it's not as if it's Hiroshima')

Just the POTENTIAL for nuclear war is a concern -- not only to the surrounding countries, but to the whole world.

This is much the same as voicing concern when a person in the White House implements policies that single out and denigrate some particular group.

Just because these moves are not YET another Holocaust, and just because this is largely happening to another tribe not one's own makes no difference. When it affects one of us humans it basically affects us all. The fact that those Trumpian actions are reminiscent of actions Hitler took in his early days in power reminds us that we need to remember that the potential is still there.

So.... good for you voicing your concern here. I support that sentiment. I hope you will keep that up in ALL areas where there is the potential for harm to people.

Meanwhile, I'm curious -- what is your recommendation for what to do now that Trump's approach has moved the situation farther down this worrisome road?

hermit thrush

yes, of course there was less violence coming out of iran prior to trump abrogating our part of the deal (thank your for the clarification, btw). and oh by the way, after we pulled out of the deal, despite the iranians having been in full compliance, they restarted their nuclear program and now claim (admittedly, for whatever that's worth) to have enriched uranium to higher levels than they ever had before the deal went into effect. if you think any kind of "appeasement" is going on then i simply don't know what to tell you. that suggestion is kind of nuts.

hermit thrush

"may have caused them to stand down"

this is the same kind of wildly credulous attitude towards trump people have taken in regards to north korea. after all the love letters between kim and trump and the pomp and circumstance around their summits, today we learn that north korea is "building new missiles, new capabilities, new weapons as fast as anybody on the planet." it is unbelievably naive to think this is the last we've heard from iran.



I don't think we've heard the last from Iran. They will never give up on trying to wipe Israel off the face of the map. However, to think that the JCPOA curbed their violence is also pretty naive, or something. Syria, Lebanon, Gaza... they were peaceful before Trump? One has to wonder what your definition of "peaceful" is.

hermit thrush

"I don't think we've heard the last from Iran. They will never give up on trying to wipe Israel off the face of the map."

we've been talking about our own country, not israel. it is wildly credulous to think that the iranians are simply going to stand down from us at this point. it will likely take years for this to unfold, but how do you think we would respond if someone droned our secretary of defense while he was on a foreign trip? suffice it to say we'd do a wee bit more than launching a handful of missiles (and our citizenry would revolt if the response were limited to that). soleimani was a very bad guy, but you are here cheering on a very dangerous game.

"However, to think that the JCPOA curbed their violence is also pretty naive, or something."

iran started behaving more aggressively towards after we pulled out of the deal. i'm sorry but the facts are what they are.

"Syria, Lebanon, Gaza... they were peaceful before Trump? One has to wonder what your definition of "peaceful" is."

likewise, one has to wonder why you're reduced to putting words i never said in my mouth.

hermit thrush

*towards us


In your comment below that I can't respond to you seem to criticize me for bringing Israel into the conversation but here you are focusing on N. Korea. What's the difference?

hermit thrush

the difference is that i was using north korea as an example of what credulousness towards trump's foreign policy ("may have caused them to stand down") gets you. people were taking the same kind of laughably pollyannaish attitude towards trump's summits with kim jong un, and look at how foolish they've been revealed to be. your invocation of israel was a non sequitur or a weird change of the subject. my point was that no, this is probably not the end of our immediate bout of military conflict with iran, and then you started talking about israel.


Is this pretending we are not going to war purely to help Trump’s re-election chances? Trump’s army left that soldier alive on the Battlefield in Chad, imagine our Stormi Daniels loving president trying to run a war! Hilarious comedy that will leave thousands of American soldiers dead. At least the last time Republicans invaded Iraq we found weapons of mass destruction, right? We found them? Otherwise you would have to be a grade-A fool to believe Republicans on the Middle East.


"Pretending we are not going to war"? What evidence is there that we ARE going to war? Democrats want Trump to have started a war to ensure their own election chances. All we heard that week was how we were on the brink of war with Iran. I haven't heard that lately.


So, are you hoping Trump will win the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize?


I'm hoping the ayatollahs win it.

Holmes -- the real one

Wow, Jay Ambrose. What a lie -- and right out of the gate!

Not to be outdone by this "quality opinion selection," and just in case Christine A. Flowers doesn't make it to the opinion page today, here's her headline:

"I don’t like Meghan Markle. That doesn’t make me racist. | Christine Flowers"


Ambrose might reply with "Some people just don't know their place."

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