Judge Andrew Napolitano believes that the killing of General Soleimani was illegal because we’re not “at war” with Iran, Soleimani is an official within the government of Iran and he wasn’t, at the time of his death, engaged in active violence against U.S. interests. Let’s have a look at his arguments.
“The general’s assassination was odd, out of place, untimely and unlawful. Odd, because the general’s folks had worked with our intelligence folks in Iraq against ISIS.”
Regardless of the general’s previous work with our people against ISIS, prior cooperation is not a “get out of jail free” card when the general begins planning and accommodating attacks against U.S. personnel and equipment.
“Out of place, because the Iranian general was welcomed by the Iraqi government and was not engaged in any violence or war crimes at the time he was killed.”
Our intelligence said otherwise. U.S. intelligence agencies had evidence that Soleimani had planned and coordinated several prior attacks that had cost the U.S. $Millions in damaged equipment and, most importantly, the lives of U.S. citizens.
“Untimely, because whatever he may have been planning to do was not an imminent attack on the U.S. or on Americans. We know this because Trump administration officials revealed that the president gave the kill order seven months ago, in June 2019. How imminent could an attack have been in June if it had not occurred by January?”
Regardless of the timeline, I reiterate that the attacks already planned by Soleimani and carried out at his order, or at least with his blessing, had resulted in American casualties.
“And unlawful, because we are not at war with Iran, and political assassinations have been prohibited by still valid executive orders signed by Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan. The U.S. Constitution limits the federal government’s lawful power to kill to foreign troops in wartime and after due process, neither of which abides here. Moreover, international treaties to which the U.S. is party, as well as the laws of war to which the U.S. subscribes, prohibit preemptive killings except when the target is just about — “certainty” is the standard — to strike.”
We don’t have to be at war with Iran to strike an enemy who has already killed U.S. citizens and is plotting to kill even more. Executive orders by previous Presidents don’t fetter the current President in any way. Previous presidents don’t get to issue orders or restrictions to the current President. Soleimani wasn’t acting in the role of a “foreign troop”, so the Constitutional requirement for a tribunal doesn’t apply. He was acting as a terrorist which strips him of the expectation of being treated as an Iranian soldier under the rules of war. Final point, this killing was carried out because Soleimani was constantly engaged in the planning and ordering of attacks against Americans. Our intelligence agencies were telling the President that “this guy is going to attack more Americans”. The President believed that the information was credible and constituted an imminent threat of more American casualties.
“Shortly after the general’s death, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that Soleimani’s attacks on Americans were imminent. President Trump himself claimed Soleimani was planning to attack four U.S. embassies in the Middle East.”
The evidence showed that the general was planning attacks on four American targets. Of which, embassies could have been included.
“When Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was asked if he saw any intelligence data about attacking four embassies, he said he had not. When Pompeo was pressed for his understanding of Trump’s four embassies claim, he offered that the intelligence data did not reveal when or where or how, but he knew Soleimani was “probably” up to no good.”
The intelligence showed, among other things, elevated levels of chatter that mirrored previous upticks in activity prior to previous attacks. There was other intelligence, which has not been shared, which has been intimated by Administration officials to have provided credible warnings of attacks against American interests and personnel. Things to which neither Napolitano nor the American people, are privy.
Judge Napolitano is a never-Trumper. I think we all understand this. But, his Trump Derangement Syndrome is now causing him to turn his back on the safety and security of American troops and contractors in the Middle-East, in favor of making Trump look bad. Not only is his position on Soleimani’s death illogical, but it’s also disgraceful.
Republished with permission from Judge Napolitano can’t see the forest for the trees.