Killing Soleimani: The end of the world or the beginning of a bolder, better one?

Killing Soleimani
Fars News Agency [CC BY (]

By killing Iranian General Soleimani, America just kicked Iran in the teeth.

Many say his fiery demise was long overdue and will save lives. Not sure about this metric, but one thing’s certain—there’s one less terrorist doing his dastardly worst in the world.

Best of all, Soleimani’s death may trigger the end of an evil Iranian regime and the beginning of real freedom for Iranians.

Worth the risk? It is to them. Risk and reward aside, we’re living in dangerous days.

Is America’s playing with fire and inviting more bloodshed? Absolutely. A leading presidential candidate says we just “threw a stick of dynamite into a tinder box” and he may be right this time.

To be fair, the president has an age-old Iran problem on his hands. It’s a situation he claims was exacerbated by the policies of his predecessor in the form of clandestine cash payoffs, hostage ransoms and flat-out appeasement.

All true. But I would argue that the supreme monument to Barack Obama’s misunderstanding of the Iranian regime (and other truly Islamic nations) is his signing of a worthless and enabling nuclear agreement.

It’s a testament to self-deception or narcissism or naiveté or a blend of all three. No matter. What’s done is done.

Soleimani is dead.

And now leaders of the regime see blood red. Depending on whom you read or watch, Iranians are either enraged and ready for revenge or are secretly overjoyed and itching to rebel.

I’m no foreign policy expert, but based on actionable evidence and word of mouth, I must conclude that Iranians who chant “Death to America! Death to Israel!” likely mean us harm.

Here’s my advice to the administration:

Keep punching them in the mouth. Meet force with overwhelming force. Violent people respect violence; give them more to respect. Draw a real red line in the sand and send this message. Hit us and we’ll hit you back—harder.

This approach will hearten Israel, our only real ally in the region. They daily face Iranian haters with missiles and nuclear dreams. All they hear from their Arab enemies is that the Jews and their Zionist friends deserve death. Israel’s annihilation is the will of Allah, you infidel.

Tough choice, only choice

How does America deal with a regime that refuses to recognize, let alone value, Israel’s right to exist and our right to help them do so?

Refuse to give an inch. Deploy the diplomacy of power. Respond disproportionately. Proportionate responses are for proportionate adversaries. We’re the superpower and they’re not. And their regime may be weaker than we know.

Iran’s leaders are clinging to power by subjugating their people and engaging in tired propaganda and incessant chest beating. The sanctions are squeezing them. The killing of Soleimani has unnerved them.

This strategy seems extreme because it is. It could mean war. But let’s be honest with ourselves for once about Islam and Iran—it’s not a religion of peace, and they’ve been at war with the West for centuries.

Gasp. Truth.

And to those ripping Trump and going all Chicken Little over the killing of Soleimani and its repercussions, what is your strategy? How would you deal with a regime that seeks regional dominance and the destruction of Israel?

End of Part One. Part Two coming soon.

Kim Jong-un and North Korea: How propaganda and the cult of personality blinds a nation.


Talk about hogs running the proverbial animal farm. In North Korea, a prodigious propaganda machine has elevated a chubby kid with a funny haircut to god status. Meet Kim Jong-Un and North Korea’s cult of personality.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea, has been at god-making for generations. Three to be exact: grandfather, Kim Il-sung, father Kim Jong-il, and current man-god, Kim Jong-un.

Its depth and scope of misinformation and brainwashing surpasses even that of Stalinist Russia. Like all cults and dictatorships, North Korea elevates flawed, capricious men and transforms them into semi-gods in the minds of citizens who come to believe their leaders can do wrong.

North Korea’s tandem of propaganda and cult of personality is especially effective because it leverages a national identity of civic duty and loyalty to leadership.

Kim Jong-Un and the cult of personality

The Kim family cult began around 1949 during the rule of Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung. Through ubiquitous propaganda and “education,” North Korea’s youngest citizens were taught that they were fed, clothed and nurtured in all aspects by the “grace of the Chairman.”

One of these children, defector and author Kang Chol-hwan, describes the state-sponsored delusion like this:

“To my childish eyes and to those of all my friends, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were perfect beings, untarnished by any base human function. I was convinced, as we all were, that neither of them urinated or defecated.

Who could imagine such things of gods?”

Crazy? It’s not that simple. The power of propaganda and the cult of personality are immense and virtually all-consuming. Brainwashing is an effective mind-control tool. Just ask former Scientologists, cult members and defectors of totalitarian regimes.

Kim Il-sung

Glorious leader forever

Kim Il-sung is the Eternal President. Eternally. Why? Because after becoming the nation’s first president, he had the position retired. It’s like when an American sports team retires a legendary player’s jersey number. Another legend can follow, but none can ever wear the first legend’s number.

The Eternal President’s likeness also is virtually eternal. There are a roughly 34,000 statues of him in North Korea. His birthday is the equivalent of the American Fourth of July. And, of course, his greatness is taught in the classroom.

Students memorize Kim Il-sung’s speeches and marvel at his state-imagined accomplishments, like when he single-handedly defeated the Japanese at the end of the occupation of Korea.

Over the course of his 46-year rule, Kim Il-sung enjoyed many titles such as Sun, Great Chairman, Heavenly Leader and others. He also was awarded the “Double Hero Gold Medal” because, after all, a double hero is twice as good as a single one.

The North Korean state even created a calendar just for Kim Il-sung. While the rest of the world operates in 2020, North Korea’s current year is “Juche 108” (108 years after the Eternal President’s birth).

Rainbows and uniforms

North Korea’s propaganda machine also engaged in myth-making for Kim Il-sung’s son, Kim Jong-il. According to legend, his birth was heralded by a swallow and caused winter to change to spring, a star to light the sky, and a double rainbow to spontaneously appear.

Propaganda has it that Kim Jong-il could walk and talk before the age of six months and could control the weather based on his mood, among other state-issued accomplishments.

Like shooting a 38-under par the first time he picked up a golf club. This epic links outing included no less that 11 holes in one. Reportedly, it was so easy that he quickly grew bored with the game and ceremoniously retired.

Renaissance ruler

According to Kim Jong-il’s official biography, he authored 1,500 books during his three years at his father’s college, Kim-Il-sung University. And somehow between his book writing and studies, he found time to pen six full operas—”all of which are better than any in the history of music,” declares the biography.


When Kim Il-sung died in 1994, Kim Jong-il declared a national mourning period for three years. Three years?

Man, that’s a long time to grieve—legitimately or otherwise. But the state made it happen. To help his people maintain a tearful facade, the Dear Leader punished those who faltered in following the official mourning rules.

Not to be outdone, the current despot Kim Jong-un holds at least six titles, one of which makes him “Wonsu,” the second highest rank in North Korea’s military despite having no military experience. And this “promotion” is in addition to his title of Supreme Commander.

Apparently, Kim Jong-un, like his father, was also a prodigy. North Korean students are instructed that he could drive at three and win yacht races at nine. And that he’s also a skilled artist and composer of musical scores.


Kim Jong-Un as god-king

Kim Jong-un enjoys unworldly opulence while most in his locked-down nation live in abject poverty. He smokes Western cigarettes, plays video games, rides jet skis and indulges an NBA basketball fetish while his communist comrades feed the machine that powers his imperial fun.

But he;s not all play and no work. Kim Jong-Un puts down his Xbox controller and cigarette long enough to order up some real-world destruction. According to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Kim Jong-un has executed at least 70 officials since taking power.

And to keep his own family members in line, he whacked his uncle, Jang Song Thaek and had his older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, assassinated in Malaysia.

Kim Jong-un’s seemingly favorite method of execution is death by anti-aircraft guns. Cute. How Dr. Evilesque—but without the funny.


Absolute corruption

Like all dictators. Kim Jong-un wields a crazy amount of power and more than any mortal can handle. Especially for someone who’s lived an unreal and kingly life for all of his 35-38 years. (We can’t be sure of his age because the exact year of his birth seems to be a state secret.)

One thing’s for certain though—Kim Jong-un’s upbringing and sheltered existence makes Donald Trump’s childhood seem rather mundane. But it’s his ideology that makes the portly man-god dangerous and unpredictable.

And here’s the scariest part: Kim Jong-un has his pudgy finger on the nuclear and chemical weapons buttons of the DPRK. Worse, he’s seeking intercontinental warhead delivery capability. Scary stuff, indeed.

So now the world waits to see if our loose cannon of a president can stare down a porky young ruler with a questionable grip on reality and pressure him into giving up his nuclear weapons aims. Fat chance.


Call me crazy, but it seems a fool’s errand to get this nutty guy to back down now when he’s never had to before. Trump would do better to offer him lifetime court-side tickets to any and all NBA games.

I fear force is the only pressure point to which the Supreme Leader will respond. Apparently, Kim Jong-un doesn’t listen to cautions from big brother China. Meanwhile, his people starve and suffer under yet another failed communist state.

Communism FAIL

Socialism is a nice idea that does not work precisely because its tenets run counter to human nature. People will always want to rise above others and do better and make more. It’s just how we are.

We’re bent by greed, malice, selfishness and a corrupt, broken world that’s incompatible with the empty promises of socialism.

Communism is socialism with teeth; and it provides a barnyard for the strongest pigs to take over the farm. It happened in Russia and Cuba and China and elsewhere. Sadly, swine rule is firmly in place in North Korea even as its soldiers blindly goose-step for state cameras while grinding the hopes of true freedom underfoot.

Pariah to penitent: Ralph Northam and the reimagining of virtue in our woke new world

U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear
U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear

February 2019: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is exposed for wearing blackface in a decades-old college party photo. He lies by saying it’s not him. Lawmakers, media members and others blackguard him and demand his resignation. He refuses.

Fast-forward ten and a half months. The governor has yet to admit that he lied about the photo. Instead, he’s been busy offering newly enlightened confessions like this:

“I’ve had to confront some painful truths,” he confessed at an event in Hampton, VA, commemorating the arrival of the first African slaves in North America. “Among those truths was my own incomplete understanding involving race and equity.”

The governor is woke.

Like Ebenezer Scrooge, he doesn’t know anything. He never did know anything. But now he knows he doesn’t know anything. And like Scrooge, he seems determined to make amends—not for greed and selfishness—but for a wasted life of white-privileged ignorance.

White lightning

The governor has not been idle. He’s spoken at racially significant sites, sought counsel from black leaders, and announced initiatives to advance racial justice. He hired a state director of diversity, equity and inclusion. And he established a commission to root out “racist” language from Virginia’s Jim Crow-era laws.

He also ordered expanded access to state contracts for women- and minority-owned firms and created a commission to recommend reforms for how black history is taught in Virginia’s public schools.

And he recently proposed an array of programs for minority communities. These include free community college for low- and moderate-income students, expanded prekindergarten for at-risk and disadvantaged children, and more funds to reduce “maternal mortality” among women of color.

These measures are meant to be compassionate and kind. My purpose is not to denigrate them, but to illuminate the differences between genuine repentance and honesty and artificial equity and wokeness.

That said, the governor still hasn’t fessed up about his big lie. Why would he? In our woke world, lying about being in blackface in a college photo is not a sin worthy of repentance. In truth (subjectively speaking), it’s not a sin at all.

The sin is wearing blackface—no matter the era, time or place. And for this sin, there’s only one path to forgiveness. It begins with an awakening.

In a culture where right and wrong are absolutely subjective and subject to the greater good, waking to one’s white privilege—and all that entails—is what matters most. Just ask The Washington Post.

Wrong is right and woke is dope

WashPo political columnist Karen Tumulty tweeted this today:

Back when a racist photo first surfaced in his medical school yearbook, most Va lawmakers, our editorial page (and yours truly) said ⁦@GovernorVA⁩ should resign. We were wrong.

They were wrong all right, but not for the reasons given by WashPo’s editorial board in the piece she attached to her tweet.

They were wrong to demand that a once-acceptable party garb warrants resignation, and they were wrong for not holding the governor to account for lying about the photo. And now they’re wrong to call his words and actions “atonement.” Atonement requires confession and repentance, not legislation.

The governor was wrong for lying. He could’ve shown real leadership from the outset of his “scandal” by being honest and saying something like, “I thought it was okay back then. We all did. I now wish I hadn’t done it, but I’m not resigning over it. I’m sorry.

Ironically, the governor showed strength of a sort by refusing to resign—but for the wrong reasons. He could’ve demonstrated genuine moral strength by resisting the cancel culture practiced by The Washington Post and others.

Cancel-crazy woke warriors

In case you don’t know, “canceling” is a form of public shaming and a way to hold someone accountable for their subjectively wrong actions—in the governor’s case—wearing blackface decades ago at a college party.

The WashPo journalist is repenting of her and her paper’s call for the governor’s resignation not because he’s repented of a real sin, but because he’s showing the required signs of racial repentance by pursuing woke race-related measures.

Conversely, if the governor had been honest and resisted calls for his resignation—and the pressure to pursue forgiveness through a racial awakening and racial justice measures in his state, he’d still be a pariah.

Instead of hailing him as a penitent and newly converted social justice warrior, WashPo and their canceling cohorts would still be trying to run him out of office.

Reimagining virtue

It’s tempting to chalk all this up to hypocrisy. And there are plenty of people on Twitter doing just that. But I think it goes much deeper. I think journalists at The Washington Post and other true believers hold to this dogma:

Wearing blackface is always wrong and is one the deadliest of sins. But lying about it—as long as you’re working to achieve racial equity as a member of the preferred party—is permissible. It’s your works of atonement that count.

After all, social justice warriors can’t be troubled with honesty when fairness is the highest virtue in our brave new woke world.