The Trump administration finally issues its formal justification for the assassination of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, and no mention is made of an imminent attack

At the beginning of the new year, as you may recall, Donald Trump, without either alerting our allies and running the idea by Congressional leaders, gave the command to assassinate Iranian General Qassim Soleimani. At the time, as you may also remember, Donald Trump told the American people that this was absolutely necessary, as they had evidence of an “imminent attack” against U.S. forces… one which could only be stopped by eliminating the powerful Iranian leader. And, in the days following the assassination, as foreign affairs professionals came forward to say that there was no such evidence of an imminent attack, Donald Trump, as he’s known to do, doubled down, telling the us that Soleimani wasn’t just planning to attack one U.S. embassy, but four of them. [Even U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that he “didn’t see” evidence of any such plans on the part of Soleimani.] As Donald Trump told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham at the time, “I can reveal that I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies.” Well, guess what? The Trump administration just released their formal legal justification for the Soleimani strike, and nowhere does it mention an “imminent threat” against Americans. The evidence of an imminent attack that Donald Trump promised, it would seem, does not exist. Here’s Michigan Representative Justin Amash with more.

This, of course, was exactly what we expected to happen. We knew there was no imminent threat. And we knew that we’d been lied to. I just wanted to note it here to formally close the loop on this matter.

One more thing. I know I shared this before, but it’s worth repeating. As Agnes Callamard, the United Nations official in charge of assessing the legality of targeted killings under international law, said following of the assassination of Soleimani, “The test for so-called anticipatory self-defence is very narrow: it must be a necessity that is ‘instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation’”. So, yes, it’s looking like Soleimani’s killing was illegal under international law.

What follows is something that I posted back in January, when we were last discussing the Soleimani assassination. Like the quote from Callamard, I think it too deserves repeating.

…As for why Donald Trump would make a move like this against Soleimani when, in addition to being illegal, so many thought it would only serve to escalate tensions in the Middle East, here’s a possible clue from the Wall Street Journal.

Granted, just because Trump told people that he gave the order to kill Soleimani because Republican senators told him to, it doesn’t make it true, but it warrants investigating. And, thankfully, Americans for Oversight have already FOIA’d “senior State Department and Department of Defense officials’ communications with Senators Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio during the weeks immediately before the strike”. So, with any luck, we’ll find out soon what kind of pressure Donald Trump might have been under from the Iran hawks in the Republican Party… This is a long way from being over.

Speaking of uncomfortable videos of administration officials lying for Donald Trump, here’s National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien telling Chuck Todd that we need to take him at his word when he tells us that there was “exquisite intelligence” about an imminent attack, even though he’s not at liberty to share it, even with members of the House Intelligence Committee… I’m not the biggest Chuck Todd fan, but I loved how, at the end of the clip, he asks O’Brien why, if there was an imminent attack against U.S. embassies in the offing, no embassy personnel were alerted. O’Brien’s response? “It was a very fast moving situation.” If only Chuck Todd had followed up with, “Well, if that’s the case, how is that Donald Trump was talking about the operation to Mar-a-Lago members several days before it happened?”

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7 Comments

  1. John Galt
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump did not lie in the traditional sense. It may not have been true that they had evidence that killing Soleimani would stop an imminent attack, but Soleimani had to die. That is the deeper truth. And Donald Trump is a teller of deeper truths. He may employ deceit. He may break laws. But he does so in service of our lord Jesus Christ. His truth is biblical truth. He is beyond our laws.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    We’ll never know why he did it. Thankfully, though, it didn’t lead to war. If the Iranians hadn’t shot down their own plane, turning the people against the regime, this would have played out much differently.

  3. Kim
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    The sad thing is that no one cares, Mark.

  4. Lynne
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    I care!

  5. I bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this name
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Aloha annonymous, I think you have missed the 100 plus casualties the Iranians and there allies have indicated on our forces in Afganistan and Iraq. Saw where someone rocketed our Imperial zone in Baghdad again. How many US casualties equal we are at war?

  6. I bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, not on specific point, but on the general point of Trump and political interference.
    1100 former Federal Prosecutors and DOJ employees call on Barr to resign over political interference in Stone sentanceing.

    Will St. Nancy allow impeachment proceedings to begin against Barr. Make the Republican scum in the Senate defend each and every henchman the tyrant uses.

  7. iRobert
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Are you all watching 60 Minutes right now on CBS. I’m curious what folks here make of the details they’re reporting.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] an Iranian-backed militia killed a single U.S. contractor, Donald Trump decided to retaliate by assassinating Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, but, in this instance, we saw no response at all? It does make one wonder. As Nancy Pelosi said […]

  2. […] an Iranian-backed militia killed a single U.S. contractor, Donald Trump decided to retaliate by assassinating Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, but, in this instance, we saw no response at all? It does make one wonder. As Nancy Pelosi said […]

  3. […] an Iranian-backed militia killed a single U.S. contractor, Donald Trump decided to retaliate by assassinating Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, but, in this instance, we saw no response at all when U.S. military personnel were assassinated? […]

  4. By The Russian bounty hoax on July 2, 2020 at 8:05 am

    […] again, we’re left to wonder why. Why is it that President Trump, who ordered a targeted execution in Iran in response to one U.S. contractor being killed, can’t so much as say that, if these stories are true, Russia will have to pay a price? What […]

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