Speed Reads


Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer tells Fox News that Iranians may 'celebrate' the killing of Gen. Soleimani

Fox News host Sean Hannity's guests Thursday night to discuss President Trump's decision to assassinate Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the powerful leader of Iran's external paramilitary Quds Force, included two prime architects of former President George W. Bush's public case for invading Iraq in 2003, former Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and chief strategist Karl Rove.

There's a political argument raging in Washington over whether the assassination of Soleimani is more like former President Barack Obama's killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan — one-and-done retribution for a man who ordered the death of thousands of Americans — or Bush's region-destabilizing decision to topple Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

Fleischer made the case that Soleimani's killing should be welcomed like bin Laden's, but his argument was complicated by his role promoting the Iraq War, and his prediction that lots of Iranians would "celebrate this killing of Soleimani" had uncomfortable echoes of his pronouncement, just days after U.S. forces swept into Baghdad nearly 17 years ago, that "the celebrations in the streets of Baghdad are the sights of freedom."

The substance of Fleischer's prediction is also not widely shared.

It would be fascinating to know what Trump, who frequently watches Hannity but despises many Bush alumni and claims to have opposed the Iraq War, thought about Fleischer's praise.