Debates 2020

Buttigieg Refuses To Say If He'd Have Assassinated Soleimani: 'This Is Not an Episode of 24'

The modicum of restraint expressed by the former South Bend mayor earned him immediate scorn from conservatives.


The only military veteran on the Democratic debate stage tonight declined to say definitively if he would have also ordered the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

"What we saw with President Trump's decision, there is no evidence that made our country safer," said Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, when pressed by debate moderators on whether Soleimani would be alive if Buttigieg had been presented with the same information as Trump. "Taking out a bad guy is not a good idea if you don't know what you are doing."

President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike assassination of Soleimani in early January in response to Iranian-backed demonstrators attacking the U.S. embassy in Bagdad. Iran responded with missile strikes on U.S. bases.

"This is not an episode of 24," said Buttigieg, arguing that the president needs to carefully consider the consequences of the kind of strike that killed Soleimani. Trump's continued escalation of tensions with Iran—starting with his withdrawal from the nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration—had only made the Middle East a more volatile and dangerous region, he said.

Other candidates were of the same mind. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) said he wouldn't kill everyone who is a bad guy.

Buttigieg did not go full anti-war with his answer. He stressed presidential competence, not a general rollback of America's disastrous, decades-long wars in the Middle East.

The modicum of restraint he expressed nevertheless earned him a lot of hate from some very online conservatives.

These responses illustrate just how narrow the acceptable bounds of foreign policy debate are in American politics. If you're not in favor of killing all the terrorists, all the time, you might as well be one of them.

NEXT: 8 Months Later, This Journal Still Hasn't Corrected Its Study Implying That E-Cigarettes Magically Cause Heart Attacks Before People Use Them

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  1. But he had such a sexy beard!!!!!!

  2. The proper response just might be: “I would make the decision based on the best information available to me at the time.” Now, how hard was that to come up with?

    1. That’s essentially what failed mayor pete said.

      1. And that’s what President Trump did.

        So basically Buttigieg is saying he’d probably do what Trump did, but he’s too much of a pussy to admit it. I look forward to him trying to answer questions about that in a debate with Trump.

  3. The question is idiotic in absence of the actual intelligence at the time. I dont like the guy, but failed mayor pete had the correct answer. It would have been more correct of he pointed out the stupid hypothetical.

    The funniest part of the night so far is Clinton’s butler George S asking every other democrat if they thought a democratic socialist could win.

    Biden saying Vindman should have won the civilian award Trump gave Rush was also hilarious due to Biden being an idiot.

    Also Biden had another blatant loe when he said he was never for nation building yet he wrote a newspaper opinion piece literally titled “Nation Building? Yes”

    1. I’m sure Biden doesn’t remember writing that. He’s getting pretty senile these days.

      1. Or he never wrote the original article. Does have a long history of plagiarism.

    2. Whycom you know this, Jesse, but a “journalist” doesn’t (or doesn’t want to) confront Biden with his lie? Maybe the torrent of lies and half truths emanating from politicians of all parties would stop if responsible journalists immediately confronted them with the truth.

      1. They are all democrats. They will never call each other out.

    3. Oh… the other funny part from the open… Biden when asked how iowa went said he would lose new hampshire too. Strong confidence.

      1. This is the dude who has – on multiple occasions – cut himself off midsentence, in a debate, because “looks like I’m out of time”.
        He’s not even making a good show of throwing the campaign

        1. It wouldn’t surprise me if Biden was quietly told by the party that he is to clear the decks for Buttigieg as the new “moderate” and in return he doesn’t have to worry about that nasty Burisma stuff anymore and can continue his family enterprise of corruption.

          And that if he doesn’t and Mayor Pete wins, there may have to be a big name Democrat sacrifice to appease the public.

      2. Losing Iowa or New Hampshire is like losing three square blocks of Manhattan — if a bunch of half-educated, stale-thinking whites could afford to move to Manhattan.

        1. Arthur L. Hicklib admits he and his fellow hicklibs are half-educated, stale-thinking whites, ignores that Bernie fucked around in Vermont for decades because he couldn’t afford to stay in New York.

  4. That’s disappointing. As we all know, Orange Hitler assassinated that Iranian guy purely to distract from impeachment — and literally started World War 3 in the process. It should be easy to condemn such a disastrous blunder.


    1. “literally started World War 3 ”

      Thank God the Iranian nuclear strike on Wichita missed and clobbered Topeka instead or Charles’ net worth would have really gone down the tubes thanks to Trump.

    2. Two years ago, the Iranians were constrained by the nuclear deal and now, because of your fucking God King, they’re chugging away at enriching Pu. I suppose there’s a good side… maybe they’ll drop the resultant nuke on his cheesy resort while Dear Leader is trying to chip out of the sand trap on the 14th. Fingers crossed.

      1. “the Iranians were constrained by the nuclear deal”

        It seems nobody told the Iranians that

      2. Two years ago, the Iranians were constrained by the nuclear deal”

        Hahaha, the fuck they were.

        Five years ago the Iranians got 150 billion in assets, and 1.7 billion in ready cash to fund a brand-new nuclear program and leave the old one to the UN inspectors.

  5. Pretty sure the sub-text here ran along the lines of ‘do you endorse what that poopyhead did?’
    His ambivalence suggests his TDS condition is at least under control.
    No, this is not an endorsement; the man was raised at the knee of a raging commie thug and has yet to even suggest his Dad was a lunatic, incapable of reading history.

  6. Klobuchar tried to take the middle. The rest ran far left. Steyer seems like a completely dishonest moron.

    1. Seems like? He’s a billionaire who wants everyone else to be poor.

    2. I don’t know about his honesty, though I have no reason to assume he has any, but I think he’s just a moron.
      “Don’t want to interrupt. Just want to say hi, Bernie.”

      As for Klobuchar… I think I hate her most. And for completely shallow reasons.
      She’s just so viscerally annoying.
      Squinty eyes, big nose, wide mouth with thin lips. Super nasally voice.
      Every moment she is seen or heard in public is a crime against humanity.

      1. Maybe it’s not fair, but appearance matters for female politicians. The first female president will either be hot or remind people of their loving grandma.
        Hillary, Klobuchar and Pelosi look like someone’s mean, overbearing boss who drinks at work.

      2. Moron or not, Steyer was the one who nudged the rest back towards reality for a bit and reminded them that while they can pontificate and argue on which of their policies is best all day long, but the real issue for them is how to beat trump.

        Kinda wished they had kept trying to one-up each other with the stupid

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  8. Reason writer can’t conceive of someone wanting a bit more information before they take a stance on a foreign policy issue, color me shocked

    1. Reading comprehension not your thing, huh?

  9. “If you’re not in favor of killing all the terrorists, all the time, you might as well be one of them.”

    This Solemani (sp?) dude sounds like more than a random terrorist, if media accounts are accurate (a big if, to be sure).

    He’s reported to have organized a military attack on what is strictly speaking American territory.

    If that’s true, he sounds like a military target.

    Of course, if we just “declared victory and went home” we wouldn’t always be stepping on hornets’ nests in Mideast heckholes.

    1. “…This Solemani (sp?) dude sounds like more than a random terrorist, if media accounts are accurate (a big if, to be sure).
      He’s reported to have organized a military attack on what is strictly speaking American territory.
      If that’s true, he sounds like a military target….”

      To clear out some underbrush, this guy was in a ‘war zone’. Yes, I know Congress did not declare war, but if you are to use that argument, you’re going to have to claim every conflict since WWII unconstitutional, including the wars started by that Nobel ‘peace prize’ winner.
      And, yeah, it’s far from certain that he ‘organized’ it, but if not, he shoulda’ been offed for public stupidity for allowing his name to be plastered all over the place.
      If you are to argue he’s a random civilian who got improperly targeted, it seems the weight of evidence falls on you; he sure seems to qualify as a terrorist leader who has organized attacks against US domain and troops and unquestionably intended to continue doing so.

      1. ^^^THIS

    2. “This Solemani (sp?) dude sounds like more than a random terrorist, if media accounts are accurate (a big if, to be sure).”

      Terrible person.
      Definite enemy.
      Kind of a badass.

      In terms of capability, he was a much much much bigger threat than Bin Laden and Baghdadi combined.
      And taking him out sent a very definitive message.
      It was measured, proportionate, and potent.

    3. “He’s reported to have organized a military attack on what is strictly speaking American territory.”

      By whom? A source you trust? Citing a source you don’t trust is disingenuous.

      1. Why don’t you disingenuously suck my cock?

        1. You see, you can do active voice if you want it bad enough.

          1. I should be blown. By you.

            1. When you admit whatever you think you know about the dead man from Iran is dubiously sourced and probably self serving propaganda.

              1. Is it? You’re making the assertion. Back it up.

                Soleimani was a very bad man. The world does not mourne his loss.

                1. “Soleimani was a very bad man.”

                  That’s quite a climb down from the guy plotting to kill Americans.

                  1. Ok mtrueman, since you’re experiencing cognitive dissonance.

                    What happened here was just a tragic mistake. You see, General Soleimani flew into Baghdad International at 1am in the morning, to exchange Chelo-kebab recipes with his friend, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who – can you believe this – just happened to be the militia leader of the group who attacked our embassy. I mean, who knew? Here we were going after the bad guy – Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis – and poor General Soleimani was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Terrible. Tragic. Others might view the same incident, and describe it as providential. 🙂

                    C’mon guy. Soleimani has American blood on his hands, not to mention his fellow muslims in the region. He got brazen, arrogant and careless and paid with his life. Soleimani thought POTUS Trump would do nothing. Soleimani thought wrong. Soleimani is now transitioning from red goo to fertilizer. The world is a better place without him.

                    1. That’s trueman you’re dealing with, one of the most disingenuous assholes to post here.
                      Here’s a direct quote:
                      mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                      “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”
                      That’s the sort of bullshit which passes for clever repartee to him.

    4. Yeah, I really wish I could have chimed in on the debate stage there when they said that. Trump isn’t trying to kill all the “bad people”, nor has he said that he would. What he’s said and shown is that if you attack us, there will be consequences, and who you are will be secondary to that. Solemani attacked our embassy and launched missiles at us, that right there is justification enough as far as I’m concerned. Whether he was actively planning another attack like Trump claims is irrelevant in my book, you need to respond to attacks like this. If you do what Obama did with Benghazi and do nothing, or start saying how it’s all your fault, you look weak, and that invites further attacks.

  10. Democrats are not going to beat Trump no matter how hard they try, unreason.

    1. Thanks Democrats for pushing unconstitutional gun control so hard in Virginia.

      I thought it would take a few elections cycles to get Virginia back Red from Blue but at this rate, election 2020 will be that election cycle.

      1. Bright flight is turning western Virginia into West Virginia (or Mississippi, or Oklahoma). Sparsely populated, economically inadequate, full of uneducated bigots and superstitious yokels. I doubt Virginia’s modern, accomplished communities need to worry about being overtaken politically by the depleted human residue of western Virginia.

        1. “…Sparsely populated, economically inadequate, full of uneducated bigots and superstitious yokels…”

          Nobody cares about where you live, asshole bigot

    2. You know that nobody from the “unreason” staff reads your comments or cares what you say. You do know that, don’t you?

      1. Poor unreason staff. Only they would care about the criticism and new name that fits their unlibertarian Strategy of unfree minds and unfree markets.

        But thanks for making sure that we all know they troll the comments via sock trolls.

      2. Fake news. Ron Bailey reads them.

        1. Do you actually have first-hand knowledge that nobody on Reason’s staff reads LC1789’s comments, or are you just being an asshole?

        2. +10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

  11. The correct answer is “No, of course not.” A free nation doesn’t order hits. I miss Ron Paul more every year.

    1. No, you have it wrong. Jesse and lc have assured us that Trump is the paragon of libertarianism, and if he ordered a hit then it must have been the right thing for a free nation because he is the ultimate libertarian champion.

      And he’s clearing the swamp, or some delusional belief like that.

      1. Even your socks are pathetic sqrsly.

        1. It’s not a Sqrlsy sock. Too lucid in its dishonesty.

        2. I think it’s the same idiot who uses the LeaveTrumpAloneLibertarian sock

    2. “…A free nation doesn’t order hits….”
      That’s an assertion which, if you wish to to be considered other than some lame ‘feel-good’ crap, needs a whole lot of support.
      I don’t see any.

    3. But they fire bomb cities instead, right?

    4. Yamamoto and Reinhard Heydrich would beg to differ. Fairly certain there’s more than a few Eastern Bloc spies that wouldn’t mind chiming in.

    5. Ron Paul was a big fan of letters of marque and reprisal, which are exactly ordering hits.

      1. For profit, no less!

    6. It wasn’t a “hit”. It was an act of war against an enemy general who had organized an attack the day before. Soleimani was in a war zone (in a country he did not have permission to be in, therefore technically an invader), commanding troops who were attacking American embassies. This is a textbook example of a legitimate military target.

      As long as we acknowledge that is what it is, an act of war, then we can go forward. We can debate the wisdom of the attack all day, but do not try and claim it was murder.

      That being said, Iran clearly thought that we would not retaliate, certainly not against the high command. I believe the counterattack was far too risky. However, the risk seems to have paid off. Iran does not want a full out war, and they understand that a shadow war is no longer possible. Perhaps Trump judged the situation well. Perhaps he got lucky.

  12. The answer, Pete, is no.

    1. The answer, commie-kid, is grow up and pay what you owe.
      And fuck off.

      1. Would they say it to the faces of Kelly & Gage Hake?

        That poor Okie was ducking it out with Iraqi Nationalists about the same time I was unloading my distressed debt. Who came out on top, do you think?

        1. Scumbag, your pathetic attempts at justifying your stupidity go nowhere.
          Fuck off and die where we can’t smell your slimy ass.

  13. “What we saw with President Trump’s decision, there is no evidence that made our country safer,” ……. “Taking out a bad guy is not a good idea if you don’t know what you are doing.”

    See, this is the problem. Mayor Pete seems to be arguing that you shouldn’t take an action unless and until you know what the consequences are going to be. So he, like all the other candidates, are proposing all these big new programs and changes to existing programs and, by his own criteria, apparently knows that there won’t be any unexpected unintended consequences. Just like the rest of them, Mayor Pete is convinced that he has all the answers and knows better than you how to run your own life. Nobody who thinks like this should be allowed anywhere near the levers of power, and that’s all of them because that’s the whole damn reason they’re running for office.

    1. Excellent points there.

    2. “there is no evidence that X”

      A tell for a lying weasel.

      Honest people say “X isn’t true”. Lying weasel’s say “there is no evidence that”.

      Note that in this case, there manifestly is plenty of evidence. An enemy of the US who has killed hundreds of Americans and injured thousands more can no longer attack Americans. That’s prima facie evidence of that Americans are safer.

  14. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) said he wouldn’t kill everyone who is a bad guy.”

    Only Republicans! Those guys go RIGHT into the gulag!

    1. Yeah, Democrats are totally cool with illegals, criminals, terrorists, etc. It’s just their political opponents they hate.

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  17. I’d let Pete assassinate my ass. I’d let him commit a genocide back there if he wanted to.

    Thanks. Just wanted to say that.

  18. Buttigieg Refuses To Say If He’d Have Ass-assinated Soleimani: ‘This Is Not an Episode of 24’

    Teeheehee, it’s funny cause he’s a rump-ranger.

    1. That’s Mayor Rump-Ranger, to you.

  19. That’s not restraint, it’s avoiding the question.

    1. Exactly.

      What kind of idiotic analysis is this? Mayor Pete gave a non-answer. There was no restraint at all. He did not say he would have done anything different…. just that if he had been the one making the decision, he would have made the decision smarter.

      Everyone involved in this is an idiot. All of the idiots in the debate, the people asking the question and accepting non-answers as if they are deep and insightful, the idiots who are ranting about his answer online, and the idiot who wrote this take for reason. Writing an analysis of what a bunch of twitter-heads have to say rather than an analysis of what the candidates have to say is always going to fail to impress.

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  21. Maybe the question to ask Mayor Butthead is what specifically would he have done differently, and why? I mean, he says he knows better. So ask him.

    BTW, his response was not ‘wrong’ per se. Just wishy-washy and too conditional.

    I personally thought it was a perfect call 🙂 = deciding in the space of minutes to take the shot at Soleimani.

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  25. So he won’t be straightforward even when it wouldn’t compromise further action….

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