In a scorching piece for the Washington Post, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin ripped the Trump administration for claiming the assassination of Iranian leader Qassem Suleimani was required because of the “imminent threat” of a possible attack on America was in the planning stages.
According to the columnist, using the term “imminent threat” without details was a way to get around oversight and she speculated it was all about building up embattled President Donald Trump’s image.
“It is easy to understand why such a rationale would be advanced. An imminent threat would arguably obviate the need for a declaration of war from or even prior consultation with Congress. Exercising the right of self-defense, an established principle of international law, would satisfy allies and sidestep nasty questions about violation of an executive order in place with only minor changes since 1976 that prohibits assassination,” she wrote. “However, there is substantial reason to doubt that there was an imminent threat. Soleimani had been plotting and directing operations for years to kill Americans and others throughout the region. ‘Imminent,’ however, suggests something concrete and immediate.”
Noting a Washington Post report that cast doubt on the White House claims, Rubin asked, “Was the killing aimed at deterring attacks in the future? Stopping a plot about to kill Americans? It strains credulity to believe that this move will de-escalate tensions as administration officials say they intended. The behind-the-scenes details do not make it sound as if this was based on specific knowledge of an imminent attack. It sounds — no surprise — like an effort to assuage Trump’s frail ego.”
With the Post reporting, “Trump was also motivated to act by what he felt was negative coverage after his 2019 decision to call off the airstrike after Iran downed the U.S. surveillance drone, officials said. Trump was also frustrated that the details of his internal deliberations had leaked out and felt he looked weak, the officials said,” Rubin stated her case.
“The need to mend the president’s ego is not an imminent threat. It’s not a legally or politically justifiable reason for plunging ahead with a highly provocative military action absent full consultation with Congress and a full exploration of the potential consequences,” she wrote.
“Americans have every reason to be skeptical of anything and everything coming out of this administration. The president has lied more than 15,000 times on matters small and large. Pompeo misled the Congress and American people in suggesting there was not convincing evidence of Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the slaughter of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Pompeo repeatedly misrepresented to Congress that progress was being made in talks with North Korea. Moreover, given Pompeo’s own fiery rhetoric that essentially demands regime change in Iran (if not using that term), it is logical to assume this was not a defensive action nor one intended to de-escalate violence. Pompeo needs to come before Congress and testify under oath,” she added, before writing, “In short, it is not unpatriotic, partisan or unreasonable to question the rationale given for action that escalates tensions and may usher in a larger war.”
“This is a case in which we would wise to remember the lessons of the Iraq War and ask serious questions about the intelligence, planning, downsides and risks of military action. The decision to escalate military action against Iran, a country far more sophisticated in modern warfare (including cyber-terrorism) than Iraq, should prompt more caution, not less, than the decision to go to war with Iraq,” she concluded.
You can read the whole piece here