Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Joseph Curl.
After President Trump last week took out Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Quds Force who was responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans, the ayatollah of Iran threatened to retaliate against America.
Trump fired back.
"Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets,"
the president wrote Saturday on Twitter. "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!"
Speaking to reporters on board Air Force One on Sunday, he reiterated the threat. "They're allowed to kill our people,"
Trump said. "They're allowed to torture and maim our people. They're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we're not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn't work that way."
But others in the Trump administration quickly said there was no such plan. The Pentagon distanced itself from Trump's threats, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying on Monday that the U.S. will "follow the laws of armed conflict,"
ruling out the targeting of cultural sites.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, too, rejected the idea that the U.S. would strike cultural sites. "The American people should know that we have prepared for this, that we are ready, that our responses are lawful, and that the president will take every action necessary to respond should Iran decide to escalate,"
Pompeo said Sunday on "Meet the Press."
Lawmakers from Trump's own party blasted Trump's threat to target Iranian cultural sites. "We shouldn't be attacking cultural sites. And I don't see our military planners suggesting or identifying sites to hit,"
Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) said Sunday night.
But top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Trump's threat to strike sites "important to Iranian culture." "Secretary Pompeo said yesterday that we will be within the law, and I think that Iran has many military, strategic military sites that you may cite are also cultural sites,"
Conway told reporters at the White House on Monday.
There was one big problem with Trump's plan: Targeting cultural sites is prohibited by international conventions. In 2017, weeks after Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the "unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, inter alia destruction of religious sites and artifacts" during armed conflicts.
In the end, cooler minds prevailed.
"You know what, if that's what the law is, I like to obey the law,"
Trump said Tuesday in the Oval Office. "But think of it: They kill our people, they blow up our people, and then we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions. But I'm OK with it."
On Tuesday, Iran fired over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting U.S. forces in Iraq. Tuesday night, Trump issued an update on the assessment of the damage. "All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!"
Trump tweeted. "We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."