Saturday, January 4, 2020

Soleimani's Assassination Was Justified — But It Was Also Wrong. Here's Why...

The outcome seems "right" to many Trump supporters, but it's consequences are given very little thought. 

There should be no doubts in anyone's mind about how much better off the world is without Qassem Soleimani in it any longer. The Iranian general was responsible for a number of deaths (including American servicemembers') and other terroristic actions over the years. His departure from this world is a good thing.

Which is why it's hard for a number of supporters of President Donald Trump to understand why there is blowback against the commander-in-chief for this action. The president's order resulted in the death of one of the country's enemies. Why do we want to second-guess that?

The feeling behind the joyous celebration at Soleimani's assassination has its basis in Old Testament, "eye for an eye" sentiments. He killed ours, so let's kill him. It's perfectly reasonable when taken from that perspective.

But the logic starts to dissipate when you consider what has happened (or will) as a result.

Iran is vowing swift retribution for Soleimani's death. Our own State Department has recognized the increased tensions in the region, and is urging Americans in the Middle East to high-tail it out of there. Even New York City, which knows a thing-or-two about terrorist attacks stateside, is increasing its own security measures due to the attack.

More than 3,000 American troops are being deployed to the area now. And all of them, every single one that is there already, or is soon to be there, will be put in harm's way due to the airstrike that killed Soleimani. The threat of war is very real.

Iran/Wikimedia; Michael Vadon/Wikimedia
I have noticed that arguments on social media, however, particularly those emanating from Trump supporters, are dismissive of these outcomes of his death, choosing instead to put more of their focus on the retributive nature of it. Soleimani hurt Americans, and he deserves to die for it. It's as simple as that.

The attack against him is certainly justified, but it was also not well-thought-out. There is a difference between a justified attack and one that is right, and it's important to know what that means. These things, we should know by now, are never so simple.

There are plenty of people around the world who have done harm to our nation, who we restrain from attacking. Kim Jong Un's regime killed American Otto Warmbier, but our president actually took a congenial tone with the dictator afterward, choosing to ignore that American's death in order to hammer out a nuclear deal with Kim.

No one is seriously calling for Kim to be punished for this crime in a violent way, although some form of punishment — military or economic — would be justified for his regime killing this American.

Why wasn't action taken in that instance? It would have jeopardized Trump's foreign policy ambitions in Korea. In short, an attack against Kim would cause more damage, in the president's mind, than would be worth it.

Such concern for America's interests in the Middle East wasn't taken when it came to Soleimani. That the phrase "World War III" is trending on social media should make it clear that serious consequences are a possibility due to his death.

This is why people are opposed to what Trump has done. They understand that Soleimani deserved what he got. But while the president's supporters praise the action, they do not seem to care about the outcomes it may bring, including the possibility of war. Some are even welcoming such possibilities.

The choice made by Trump was brazen. It didn't take into account the real consequences that could come about. It appears to be based on his worry about looking weak more than anything else. And he failed to alert the proper channels, namely the Gang of 8 within Congress, about the plan before it happened. Process matters.

I've seen more than one complaint against supposed "snowflakes" being against this latest military action. But there are so many reasons for why this move was wrong, rather than right, that upon further inspection, the incredulous feelings of those who support Trump's airstrike are more ridiculous than the opinions of those who have legitimate qualms about it.

Trump's undaunted supporters are errantly asking "what's wrong with you" to those opposed to the attack on Soleimani. That is not their question to be asking. Rather, that query is better directed toward those who supported the attack.

What is wrong with them, for failing to see that this will create more problems for Americans, both abroad and at home? What is wrong with them, for believing this killing will somehow make things right in the end, without regard for what happens? That's a cowboy mentality, not a reasonable foreign policy that will benefit the United States, nor the Middle East, in the short- or long-term.

To emphasize the point I made earlier, I will say it again: the assassination of Soleimani was, in all honesty, a justified action. That doesn't, however, make it the right one to have made, at this time and juncture. The subtle difference is an important one to understand, one that appears to go above Trump's head, and that his supporters are willing to overlook.


  1. The supreme stupidity of this action lies in The Hairplug Himmler's act of openly taking credit for it. Had this Iranian thug simply "disappeared," or died under much more mysterious circumstances, and had any physical evidence hinted at other actors, the US and allies in the region would have had the luxury of denying culpability and the benefit of all the uncertainty and confusion that would have resulted. Would this thug's own supporters have suspected each other, or some other political faction within Iran's borders?
    Trump's decision to take credit for the assassination was political, not strategic. It had more to do with deflecting attention from his dwindling reelection chances, his legal woes, his domestic and international unpopularity and status as an idiot, and his epidemic-level of corruption. It was another example of his and the Republicans' predilection for contingency thinking, and their complete inability and unwillingness to engage in long-term strategic thinking. The idiots stir up shit, make a fucking mess, then watch US military personnel pay for it with their lives until Democrats acquire a mandate to clean up the mess Republicans made. This happens with foreign policy, with the economy, with social and moral issues. Republicans jockey for short term optics, Democrats are left to hose down and scrub clean the shit-covered avenues and streets.

  2. it is fine to kill millions of our babies but horrible to kil a terrorist?

    1. You don't care, old man. You've got yours, while the rest of us will pay for this idiocy. Like we always pay for small-dicked GOP arrogance.

      Go away and leave the decisions to those of us with IQs over 80 and the ability to see past the next 5 minutes. Your senile self has been wrong for 40 years, and you need to stop screwing it up for those of actually do care.

    2. Dohnal, the most disturbing thing about your attempt to hijack this thread is that you may actually believe you composed a coherent sentence that expresses a coherent thought. You did not. And that should worry you.
      Your cognitive processes are showing notable decay.
      The "composition" of your "comment" already telegraphs the likelihood that you will ignore a suggestion, but look up "Whataboutism." Then I invite you to reflect (I know that does not come naturally to you) on how your propensity to engage in whataboutism prevents you from establishing significant relationships with other human beings. This is so important. Because this whataboutism you practice is an evasion, and a cry for attention, a cry for help. Time is running out. You have a few relationships you need to repair. You need to ask forgiveness, from some important people who were once close to you, for your failings. Don't wait. Isolating yourself from other human beings isn't healthy.