Trump Orders Defense Department To Publicly Confirm Assassination Of Iranian General

In a break from long-standing intelligence practices, President Donald Trump ordered the Defense Department to confirm that the United States was behind the missile strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s secretive Quds Force, and six others, including Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The public acknowledgement of responsibility is a game changer. While Iran (like most of us) assumed it was the United States, the public confirmation of the assassination removes any doubt and forces Iran and Iraq to deal with a direct and official attack. International law treats the targeted killing of a ranking military figure on foreign sovereign soil as a presumptive act of war. As always however there is no shortage of hypocrisy in the condemnations from Capitol Hill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has denounced the failure to confer with Congress before taking this act. I agree with that criticism and has been a long-standing critic of the expanded war powers given to presidents. However, the Democrats are in no position to criticize since they are less concerned with consultation when the president is from their own party. President Obama acted unilaterally in launching the Libyan War. I represented Democratic and Republican members challenging that unilateral action.

Michael Bloomberg has criticized Bernie Sanders for calling this an assassination but I am not sure what the distinction is between a “targeted killing” and an “assassination.” Both are targeting an individual.

For decades, I have criticized how Congress has ignored the constitutional requirement to declare war and given presidents blank checks in pursuing wars at their discretion. Most relevantly, President Obama claimed the right to kill not just any foreigner but American citizens on his unilateral authority. I denounced this kill list policy but Democrats like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others supported President Obama.

Of course, the congressional Democrats are not the only ones caught in the hypocrisy of the moment. Russia, which has assassinated people around the world, has objected over the violation of international law.

I have long posed the question of what would happen if another country took out an American leader or military figure on U.S. soil. We would certainly treat that as an act of war. Claiming American exceptionalism is not enough. We have to maintain a clear and credible position on military interventions if we expect the same protections of international law.

This is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid with the requirement that only Congress can declare a war. While the Administration claims that another attack was “imminent,” it should make that case to Congress. Even if one accepts that there are cases where a president must act on an exigent basis, that does not mean that the White House cannot confer with a handful of congressional leaders known as the Gang of Eight. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) however says that he was given a briefing when visiting the President in Florida.

This brings us back to the official declaration of responsibility for the assassination. We are now on the record in committing an act that is widely defined as an act of war not just against Iran but arguably against Iraq. That places even greater pressure on our rationale for the right to carry out a missile attack in a sovereign country to kill a foreign military leader. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has referred to the “active . . . plotting” further acts. That has not been used previously as the basis for taking out a figure who is widely viewed as the second most powerful figure in a sovereign nation.

Few people are grieving the death of Soleimani who has a long history of terrorist associations as well as connections to operations killing many American personnel. He is not the issue. The issue is the constitutional authority of a president to unilaterally take an act that is widely viewed as a act of war without conferral, let alone a declaration, from Congress. Again, President Trump is not the first president to assert such unilateral authority, but this remains a glaring contradiction in our constitutional system of checks and balances.

262 thoughts on “Trump Orders Defense Department To Publicly Confirm Assassination Of Iranian General”

  1. I am mildly surprised that no one has commented on Thomas Friedman’s op-ed today.
    He certainly lays it into that Iranian Quds Force commander.

  2. According to Pompeo, there was a “imminent threat” that was going to kill hundreds of Americans, and the killing of Soleimani stopped that. It was a defensive action you see. Pompeo says the intelligence on this was solid as does Trump.

    Looks like this may not be the case.

    If Trump thinks the average voter will take kindly to a lie of this nature, he is quite mistaken.

      Steve J.,
      Here’s a different version of the reason for taking out Soleimani
      At this point, we don’t have enough information to decide if there was an imminent threat or if there was no urgent need to target him.
      I just read that the Iraqi Prime Minister is going to ask that Parliment demand the removal of all U.S. forces.
      If such a demand is made by the Iraqi government, I have a feeling that Trump may be happy to accommodate them.

      1. “At this point, we don’t have enough information to decide if there was an imminent threat or if there was no urgent need to target him.”

        This is fair enough and cannot be overstated at this point. But if Trump and Pompeo did try to pull an mini version of Gulf of Tonkin on us, they’re going to regret it.

        And it won’t change the fact that these attacks happen on Americans who are in a war zone in Iraq for no discernible reason. The last President and the current President said they were going to get us out of there. They haven’t done so. We went in there in 2003 for cryin out loud. This is simply out of hand. Madison must be rolling over in his grave.

        1. Steve J.,
          Actually, Obama did get us out. Then found it necessary to go back in when the Iraqi military folded as a relatively small ISIS force walked in and helped themselves to a third of the country.
          I don’t know what the capability of Iraq’s military is today, but the Iraqi government may get a chance to find out.

          1. Well the Shiites military didn’t fold. It maintained control of the Shiite area. Foreign fighters are able to manipulate this area because a chunk of the indigenous population is willing to tacitly tolerate them. That would be the Sunni section during the period of time you are talking about, and they may choose to tacitly tolerate foreign fighters again. They are not going to willingly submit to the Shiite so-called Iraqi government.

            The sooner we get out of way of their 1,000 year tribal dispute, the sooner they can have at it, and there will either be an additional autonomous area or one group will control the area and rule over the other.

            These rag tag foreign fighters, by the way, including the ones calling themselves Al Qaeda, are hardly comparable to the Bin Laden group that had a base of operations and sufficient logistics to plan attacks outside the Middle Eastern theater. The fact that some yahoo plants an Al Qaeda flag in the desert somewhere hardly means that an ongoing American military deployment is necessary.

            1. Steve J.,
              Do you mean that they are “a JV team”😉?
              The strength of an existing or emerging terrorist group can be over or underestimated.
              If we withdraw and Iran’s influence in Iraq grows even stronger, the Sunni minority may re-ignite a full- fledged insurgency.
              Whatever does happen and a likely U.S. withdrawal, it will be an Iraqi problem since they demanded removal of U.S. forces.
              Even though the Iran-Iraq War ended over 20 years ago, there is at least a sizeable minority of Iraqis who will object to growing Iranian influence in their country.
              (BTW, there’s an audio of LBJ asking for Sen. Richard Russell’s advice on what to do about Vietnam.
              This was in May 1964, about a year before LBJ massively increased the number of troops he sent there.
              Sen. Russell suggested that we install a government in South Vietnam that would ask us to leave.
              The audio is available on the internet; it lasts for 25-30 minutes.

              1. If you’re claiming that we should be on guard against rogue groups that show signs of establishing a base of operations with designs of carrying out operations within our borders, then I agree with you. We have more than enough means with special forces and air power to handle such groups in short order.

                Having major deployments in the middle of 1,000 year old disputes won’t help us in that area. It will make the odds greater that we will have to deal with such groups.

                There is not going to be a functioning Sunni/Shiite government in the Middles East for centuries, assuming anyone there wants to even start the process of doing something about it. Without a functioning government, you will have an unstable area.

                1. Steve J.,
                  The base of operations for the 9-11 attack was not within our borders, it was in Afghanistan.
                  We went back into Iraq in 2014 to wrest back control of the area that ISIS set up as a base of operations.
                  After 9-11, the policy generally was to deny these groups a base of ooerations.

                  1. Steve J.,
                    I read your comment again and I think I misinterpreted it earlier.
                    You were talking about a base of operations with ambitions of attacking the U.S. within our borders, not about the base itself being in the U.S.
                    As far as our special forces and other assets ability to deal with a base of operations, it took enormous effort at great cost to dislodge ISIS.
                    The Kurds and Iranians and Iraqi civilians paid a huge price to take back ISIS- held territory.
                    Our support of the Kurds and the Iraqi government forces was valuable, but it took a lot of boots on the ground and heavy casualties to retake those areas.
                    A relatively small, short-lived opperation by American forces alone would not have done it.

                    1. We eventually bribed the Sunnis with money which they used to buy arms to protect themselves, and felt safe from the Shiites for the time being. So they stopped tolerating foreign fighters for the time being.

                      ISIS or some other foreign fighter group will simply come back any time the Sunnis feel threatened from the Shiite government and wish to tolerate them. If the Sunnis have in fact set up an autonomous area then they will choose not to tolerate them. And if they haven’t, the faster we get out of the way, the sooner the Shiites and Sunnis will come to some sort of arrangement.

                      If you use our military to keep them from coming to that arrangement, you will have an unstable area where foreign fighters may be gone for a time, but will come back later.

        2. “At this point, we don’t have enough information to decide if there was an imminent threat or if there was no urgent need to target him.”

          This is fair enough and cannot be overstated at this point.

          This is all nonsense.
          The media reports that Iran must respond. So who is Trump going to murder to address that imminent threat? And then what about the imminent threat that response will create?
          and so on and so on….

          1. Jinn,
            Iran was “responding” in the attacks on the U.S. military, sending rockets into the Green Zone, and threatening our embassy in Bahgdad.
            This was BEFORE Soleimani was killed.
            At some point, a decision was made for us to respond.
            The ball is in Iran’s court now, and there is no universal certainty that they will rachet things up.
            There’s that possibilty and it may be a strong probability, but they would be risking an awful lot.

            1. Iran was “responding” in the attacks on the U.S. military, sending rockets into the Green Zone, and threatening our embassy in Bahgdad.
              This was BEFORE Soleimani was killed.
              At some point, a decision was made for us to respond.
              Th US response was as much an affront to Iraq as it was to Iran.

              Iran doesn’t need to respond. The US has created plenty of Iraqi enemies who are now eager to respond.

              1. Jenn, Iran may find itself the target of an Iraqi Sunni response, Jinn. And actions against Iran’s influence in Iraq may not be confined to just the Sunnis.

    2. Steve, I wait a bit in such statements as to who is lying. I think your source is from the NYTimes which has been lying for years and destroying their reputation.

      I find it amazing that you believe that you will suddenly find absolute fact in either party.

    3. That’s a NYT source and, hence, hardly to be trusted even if one assumes there is an actual source. Second, she lays out ample grounds to base a conclusion of “immanent”action that Soleimani was actively planning, but calls it ‘razor thin’. But it’s plenty good enough for me and any other sentient American. Soleimani was a cold blooded mass murder who happened to be called a “military commander” by a State sponsor of wide spread terror. He is no more and the world is a safer place for it.

  3. Heather Digby Parton about Pence’s lies:


    Replying to @MEPFuller @chrislhayes

    “People can be wrong. And they should be held responsible. But people like Pence who lied outright about that war over and over again and continue to lie today should be drummed out of public life forever and should be shunned by decent people everywhere.

    11:32 AM – 4 Jan 2020”

    1. Pence is a practicing Christian. You and your lefty moral crippled friends are not. So pick a side and stick to it. Lying is forbidden by people of Faith, but moral cripples celebrate lying and cover themselves with dung to show how great they lie

      Sh!t or get off of the pot. You cant have it both ways

      Oh, wait a second. You have no principles and you’re a flaccid wet dick. No wonder you can not erect an argument to penetrate anyones side, never mind cum to a riotous ending


      1. I am open to the notion that Pence, on the issue of substantive Iranian cooperation with Al Qaeda, is ignorant and delusional — and not necessarily a liar. Never underestimate incompetence as an explanation for absurd statements by people in Washington.

        1. Note to self: Pence is delusional to anonymous, drive-by commenters on internet blogs, but said commenters have the Force with them.

          Tell us Darth Stevej, what is your Word for the day? Your disciples are waiting with deep and prolonged breathing

    2. Anonymous the Stupid seems only able to post opinions that agree with Mr. Stupid or Fido the Brainless Wonder. Why not deal with actual quotes IN CONTEXT? That is because Stupidity reigns in your world.

        1. Fido the Brainless wonder teamed with Anonymous the stupid. Great team with an IQ that doesn’t reach two digets.

  4. “I have long posed the question of what would happen if another country took out an American leader or military figure on U.S. soil. We would certainly treat that as an act of war. Claiming American exceptionalism is not enough. We have to maintain a clear and credible position on military interventions if we expect the same protections of international law.

    The question you posed, Professor, doesn’t describe what happened this week. Soleimani wasn’t killed on Iranian soil. He died coordinating acts of war against US troops in Iraq by Iranian-supported Iraqi Shiite militia that resulted in the death of an American citizen. This made him an “enemy combatant”.

    The purpose of those attacks on US troops was to cause the US to withdraw from Iraq in furtherance of Iranian policy. The Iraqi government has long accepted violence by the Iranians and their proxies on their soil. The Iraqis invited the US into their country. The base that the Iranians attacked with rockets was a joint US-Iraqi base.

    It’s arguable that the drone attack on Soleimani violated Iraqi sovereignty, but if it did, so have countless attacks on US troops in Iraq by Shiite militias trained, indoctriated and armed by the Quds Force.

    My son was one of the US troops killed by Iranian-supported militia using an IED made of three 153mm artillery shells buried in the road outside Taji, Iraq and detonated by remote control. I am not mortified by the deaths of Soleimani and senior local militia leaders who have been making war on us with impunity until now. If the death of the head of Quds Force upsets Iran’s government, they are now in the position of all of us who have lost loved ones to the proxy fighters enabled to fight by Iran and its Quds Force.

    1. It is interesting that Trump has worked hard with the N. Korean dictator to sign a nuclear deal and the Dems have had nothing but invective tossed at Trump for his efforts. Yet when Obama did it with Iran, knowing General Soleimani has killed at least 500 US servicemen, the praises by Dems towards Obama’s efforts were / are still deafening. The dead US servicemen were ignored and still today.

      It is troubling that the Dem politicians never bat an eye about the death of our US military personnel particularly at the hands of dictators.

      “Secretary Carter, I understand that the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency has a classified list of roughly 500 American soldiers who were murdered by Iranian [improvised explosive devices],” Cruz said on Capitol Hill during Carter’s testimony.

      Carter and other top officials were testifying about the Iranian nuclear deal, which Cruz strongly opposes.

      “I would ask Secretary Carter … that the Defense Department release that list to every member of this committee, declassify that list and release it directly to the service members’ families who were murdered by General Soleimani,” Cruz said, referring to Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

      Carter’s response was brief: “Let me look into that and I’ll get back to you, senator.”

      But the issue underscores the controversy surrounding Washington’s recent nuclear deal with Tehran, a long-sought goal for Obama, but one fiercely opposed by many Republicans in Congress and other critics.

      Many of those estimated 500 deaths occurred during the so-called surge in Iraq, when President George W. Bush ordered an influx of tens of thousands of troops to confront what had devolved into a sectarian civil war.

      1. How far can Trump push Iran without Congress’ OK? Depends who you ask

        Many members appear to have already made up their minds. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla. and an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, criticized Democratic colleagues for questioning the legal basis for the strike.

        “Congressional authorization isn’t required for an act of self defense to prevent further attacks against our military,” he said on social media. “To sit and wait while Soleimani puts more Americans in body bags would be completely irresponsible of (the president).”

        But Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., who previously worked as a Middle East analyst for the CIA and Defense Department, said the move may have made U.S. personnel in the region less safe because White House officials have not developed a strategy with lawmakers to handle the potentially violent aftermath of such an operation.

        strategizing with dishonest lawyers and yahoos in the US House on a military strategy would be as deadly as strategizing with hospital parking valet attendants on doing a surgical hip replacement or running a Code Blue.

        Trump did the right thing, but anything he does will earn an apoplectic, grand mal seizure response irregardless. So screw them, particularly Pelosi and Schumer. They don’t merit any respect or time.

        1. Trump did the right thing, but anything he does will earn an apoplectic, grand mal seizure response irregardless.

          If Trump dropped his pants and took a shit and then started jacking-off during the state of the union speech you would say he did the right thing.

          The people that are having a grand mal seizure are Israel and Saudi Arabia.

          Soleimani was not some terrorist who was hiding in a cave. He was a very public figure who walked confidently in public. He was well aware that he could be targeted and killed. When asked why he was not worried about assassination He said truthfully that it would be stupid to kill him.

          Now we are in the land of stupid.

          1. I’m sure his judgment on that point was straight from the shoulder and absolutely reliable.


            1. LOL. Touche

              Anon: “He was a very public figure who walked confidently in public. He was well aware that he could be targeted and killed. When asked why he was not worried about assassination He said truthfully that….”

              Anon would rather believe a dictator assasin like Soleimani
              who killed American soldiers than the US President, DOD, and Secty of Defense. So trusting is Anon of dictators that watching Soleimani taking a shit in the street and jacking off would not be acceptable. Eating his shit and taking his load up their azz would have been the bareback minimum.

              Thats what Media Matters employees do to get paid…take it up their azz raw, while blessing themselves.

                1. “Anonymous says:January 4, 2020 at 8:26 PM
                  Well you do have a point” — in response to a thoroughly disgusting comment by we-know-who


                  I don’t think so.

                  1. Correction to “I don’t think so.”

                    No. S/he doesn’t have a point — at least not one with any merit.

    2. loupgarous – Well said. Sorry for the loss of your son and his comrades.

    3. We are thankful for your son’s service and your family’s sacrifice. You point is spot on.

  5. Tucker Carlson:

    “Tucker slams ‘chest-beaters’ cheering US strike on Soleimani”

      1. Obama was a weakling and he bowed to dictators. It wasn’t Bush’s choice. Suleimani was considered very dangerous at the time. You ought to get your data from the primary source. I don’t think it is free so here is the entire article which doesn’t make your ideas sound smart.

        Gen. Stanley McChrystal explains exactly why Qassem Suleimani is so dangerous.

        Stanley McChrystalJanuary 22, 2019, 7:29 AM

        The decision not to act is often the hardest one to make—and it isn’t always right. In 2007, I watched a string of vehicles pass from Iran into northern Iraq. I had been serving as the head of the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for four years, working to stem the terrorism that had devastated the region, and I had become accustomed to making tough choices. But on that January night, the choice was particularly tricky: whether or not to attack a convoy that included Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force—an organization roughly analogous to a combination of the CIA and JSOC in the United States.

        There was good reason to eliminate Suleimani. At the time, Iranian-made roadside bombs built and deployed at his command were claiming the lives of U.S. troops across Iraq. But to avoid a firefight, and the contentious politics that would follow, I decided that we should monitor the caravan, not strike immediately. By the time the convoy had reached Erbil, Suleimani had slipped away into the darkness.

        These days, he still operates outside the spotlight. Suleimani has grown from a military commander into a ghostly puppet master, relying on quiet cleverness and grit to bolster Iran’s international influence.
        Suleimani has grown from a military commander into a ghostly puppet master.
        His brilliance, effectiveness, and commitment to his country have been revered by his allies and denounced by his critics in equal measure. What all seem to agree on, however, is that the humble leader’s steady hand has helped guide Iranian foreign policy for decades—and there is no denying his successes on the battlefield. Suleimani is arguably the most powerful and unconstrained actor in the Middle East today. U.S. defense officials have reported that Suleimani is running the Syrian civil war (via Iran’s local proxies) all on his own.

        The prominence the soft-spoken Suleimani has achieved is especially striking given his origins. Born into poverty in the mountains of eastern Iran, he displayed remarkable tenacity at an early age. When his father was unable to pay a debt, the 13-year-old Suleimani worked to pay it off himself. He spent his free time lifting weights and attending sermons given by a protégé of Iran’s current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was enamored with the Iranian revolution as a young man. In 1979, at only 22, Suleimani began his ascent through the Iranian military, reportedly receiving just six weeks of tactical training before seeing combat for the first time in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province. But he is truly a child of the Iran-Iraq War, which began the next year. He emerged from the bloody conflict a hero for the missions he led across Iraq’s border—but more important, he emerged as a confident, proven leader.

        Suleimani is no longer simply a soldier; he is a calculating and practical strategist. Most ruthlessly and at the cost of all else, he has forged lasting relationships to bolster Iran’s position in the region. No other individual has had comparable success in aligning and empowering Shiite allies in the Levant. His staunch defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has effectively halted any progress by the Islamic State and other rebel groups, all but ensuring that Assad remains in power and stays solidly allied to Iran. Perhaps most notably, under Suleimani’s leadership, the Quds Force has vastly expanded its capabilities. His shrewd pragmatism has transformed the unit into a major influencer in intelligence, financial, and political spheres beyond Iran’s borders.

        It would be unwise, however, to study Suleimani’s success without situating him in a broader geopolitical context. He is a uniquely Iranian leader, a clear product of the country’s outlook following the 1979 revolution. His expansive assessment of Iranian interests and rights matches those common among Iranian elites. Iran’s resistance toward the United States’ involvement in the Middle East is a direct result of U.S. involvement in the Iran-Iraq War, during which Suleimani’s worldview developed. Above all else, Suleimani is driven by the fervent nationalism that is the lifeblood of Iran’s citizens and leadership.

        Suleimani’s accomplishments are, in large part, due to his country’s long-term approach toward foreign policy. While the United States tends to be spasmodic in its responses to international affairs, Iran is stunningly consistent in its objectives and actions.

        While the United States tends to be spasmodic in its responses to international affairs, Iran is stunningly consistent in its objectives and actions.
        The Quds Force commander’s extended tenure in his role—he assumed control of the unit in 1998—is another important factor. A byproduct of Iran’s complicated political environment, Suleimani enjoys freedom of action over an extended time horizon that is the envy of many U.S. military and intelligence professionals. Because a leader’s power ultimately lies in the eyes of others and is increased by the perceived likelihood of future power, Suleimani has been able to act with greater credibility than if he were viewed as a temporary player.

        In that sense, then, Suleimani’s success is driven by both his talent and the continuity of his time in positions of power. Such a leader simply could not exist in the United States today. Americans do not allow commanders, military or otherwise, to remain in the highest-level positions for decades. There are reasons for this—both political and experiential. Not since J. Edgar Hoover has the federal government allowed a longtime public servant to amass such levels of shadowy influence.

        Despite my initial jealousy of Suleimani’s freedom to get things done quickly, I believe such restraint is a strength of the U.S. political system. A zealous and action-oriented mindset, if unchecked, can be used as a force for good—but if harnessed to the wrong interests or values, the consequences can be dire. Suleimani is singularly dangerous. He is also singularly positioned to shape the future of the Middle East.

        1. “Trump attacks McChrystal after retired general called Trump immoral”

          By Caroline Kelly

          Updated 6:56 AM ET, Wed January 2, 2019


          The commander in chief’s name-calling comes after McChrystal said during an interview Sunday that Trump was dishonest and immoral.

          “I don’t think he tells the truth,” McChrystal told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week.” When asked if he thought Trump was immoral, McChrystal responded, “I think he is.”

          “What I would ask every American to do is, again, stand in front of that mirror and say, what are we about?” McChrystal continued. “Am I really willing to throw away or ignore some of the things that people do that are pretty unacceptable normally just because they accomplish certain other things that we might like. If we want to be governed by someone we wouldn’t do a business deal with because their background is so shady, if we’re willing to do that then that’s in conflict with who I think we are.”

          “And so I think it’s necessary in those times to take a stand,” he said.

          McChrystal also criticized Trump in November for his attacks on retired Adm. William McRaven, the leader of the Navy Seal unit that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, who also has leveled sharp criticism at the President. Trump called the four-star admiral “a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer” and said it would “have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that.”

          “The President is simply wrong,” McChrystal told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “Newsroom.” “He’s uninformed, and he is pushing an idea that I think is not helpful. But I really think it’s symptomatic of the crisis in leadership that we have in the nation today.”

          McChrystal wrote in a November column for CNN that “America is facing a leadership crisis,” calling Trump “just the most bombastic example of this phenomenon, which has been playing out for decades.”

          McRaven responded to Trump’s attack on McChrystal with a statement to CNN on Tuesday.

          “Stan McChrystal is one of the great generals of this generation and the finest officer I ever served with,” McRaven said. “He is a deep strategic thinker, tactically brilliant, with unparalleled personal courage. His leadership of special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan unquestionably saved the lives of thousands of American and allied troops, as well as countless civilians. No general I know has given more in the service of this country.”

          In his Sunday interview, McChrystal also reacted to James Mattis’ resignation from the Trump administration as secretary of defense earlier this month. Mattis wrote in his resignation letter that Trump had the right to have a defense secretary whose views “better aligned” with the President’s.

          “If we have someone who is as selfless and as committed as Jim Mattis, resigns his position walking away from all the responsibility he feels for every service member in our forces, and he does so in a public way like that, we ought to stop and say, okay, why did he do it?” McChrystal said. “We ought to ask what kind of commander in chief he had that Jim Mattis, that the good Marine, felt he had to walk away.”

    1. Here we have a Tulsi supporter. Take note how the supporter is afraid to use a non generic alias.

      1. “…the supporter is afraid…”

        Allan is jumping to unfounded conclusions.

        1. People that have to use a generic alias on a list like this are both scared and stupid.

          1. And those who fail to understand why people post comments anonymously are clueless.

            I’m not going to give you the answer, but there is a very good one.

            1. Of course there is a good answer. They are scared, deceptive, stupid and wish to hide their yellow backs within the crowd.

              The generic label offers no more protection than the assumed alias.

              1. You’re not too smart, are ya, Allan.

                “They are scared, deceptive, stupid and wish to hide their yellow backs within the crowd.”

                This says more about you, Allan, than anything else.

  6. You have to love the subtle use of the phrase “Iranian backed militias” in dealing with the debacle that is Iraq.

    They are Iraqi militias, supported by the Shiite Iraqi government and Iran. Perhaps some people simply do not want to come to terms with the fact that the people we “liberated” are attacking us. Hence the obtuse phrasing of it.

    1. Indeed. And more to the point these Iraqi forces are fighting ISIS and they get assistance from Iran because they do not trust the US to help them fight ISIS because they have good reason to believe the US is backing ISIS.

  7. I can see why Turley doesn’t read the comments section. He doesn’t need to. It doesn’t matter what the topic is; everyone is an expert and the other political party is evil. I mean, imagine the odds that regardless of the subject, every contributor is absolutely correct and they align politically, exactly the same as they have on every other topic.

    How messed up are we that every move made by this President is both constitutional and impeachable?

  8. None of this happens if we are not in Iraq promoting Democracy in the first place. Democracy promotes extremism. So we are using our troops to promote political objectives resulting in extremism.

    It is worth noting that the United States evolved out of a Constitutional Monarchy formed over centuries. The Founders then incorporated large chunks of the British Constitution into our own. We did not overthrow a dictatorship.

    At no point were the colonies in America, whether deemed British or American, not Constitutional. Taxation without representation is a Constitutional complaint.

    Even with thoroughly ingrained Constitutional institutions, formed over centuries, the Founders moved from a system of separation of power between the parliament and an unelected ruler to a situation involving national elections of a President with great caution and trepidation.

    Wilsonian democracy promoters would do well to remember that.

    1. Check your facts. There was a Parliamentary system in England at the time of the Revolution.

      1. If you’re claiming Parliament had pretty much eclipsed the power of the Monarch by that point, fine. Then the United States evolved out of a Constitutional Democracy that evolved out of a Constitutional Monarchy. Happy? It doesn’t change the caution the Founders had regarding a nationally elected ruler, or the fact that centuries of Constitutional development inherited from Britain preceded those elections.

        1. Anonymous at 12:48 is a coward. He lobs insults, hits and runs, then returns expecting others to engage him. Ignore him

    2. “None of this happens if we are not in Iraq promoting Democracy in the first place.”

      Steve, you have finally hit on something I believe we agree on, is important and factual. GWB initially pledged not to build democracies. Whether we had information or not that forced us into Iraq will be argued indefinitely but GWB changed from his platform and decided to build a democracy. That was stupid. Our own country is a Republic for some of those reasons but we had experience with self governing and trust in a functioning judicial system.

      1. It is always nice to be in agreement with you on issues. But not if we agree all the time.

      2. GWB changed from his platform and decided to build a democracy. That was stupid.

        It rather follows ineluctably from the decision to conquer Iraq. That, in turn, was driven by the policy trilemma the Administration faced. (Which the President’s detractors almost never acknowledge). Another bit of witlessness in these discussions is that the President’s detractors never attempt to construct counter-factual scenarios to compare with current conditions in Iraq (while exaggerating Iraq’s problems).

        1. “It rather follows ineluctably…”

          DSS, his “job” was to get rid of whatever WMD’s existed and secondarily get rid of Saddam. That is when you leave. You don’t disband the Republican Army and you don’t destroy the government.His father recognized that fact so why don’t you?

          That would leave Iraq in the same position as if another stong person killed Saddam, took over his position and proved there were no WMD’s

          1. DSS, his “job” was to get rid of whatever WMD’s existed and secondarily get rid of Saddam. That is when you leave. You don’t disband the Republican Army and you don’t destroy the government.His father recognized that fact so why don’t you?

            I’m sure Iraq in approximately the same political condition as the former Belgian Congo would be just loverly.

            I don’t ‘recognize’ that because it isn’t true. Neither did his father, who was being generically risk-averse ‘recognize’ that.

            1. DSS, leaders die or are assassinated all the time so we have to accept the impermanence of them. There are risks and of course that is one of the risks that GWB had to consider before deciding to invade Iran. What he did was upset the balance of power which is something one doesn’t want to happen. That is probably why his father left Saddam alive.

  9. Jonathan: Finally, we agree on something. Trump’s ordered assassination of Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani was clearly “a presumptive act of war” not authorized by or in consultation with Congress and a violation of the War Powers Act. As you point out over the years both Democrats and Republicans have abdicated their responsibility to constrain the president’s war powers. Trump has set the gold standard for ignoring the Constitution and violating the nation’s laws. He believes his powers are unlimited. Case in point: The Ukrainian and the subsequent impeachment inquiry show that Trump has an utter disdain for Congressional oversight. He ignored House subpoenas, refused to turn over documents or allow administration officials to testify. You have been a vocal critic of the House impeachment inquiry and the two articles of impeachment–believing the record was to “thin” to justify impeaching the President. Under Mitch McConnell’s leadership no doubt there will be a sham trial in which Trump is acquitted. Trump will be emboldened to believe he can do anything–including engaging in a full scale war with Iran without Congressional approval in advance. If you don’t think Trump can be impeached for a clear abuse of power and obstruction of Congress what makes you think Trump’s powers as commander-in-chief can be similarly constrained? Perhaps, if Trump were to be convicted and removed from office we could stop his escalating and dangerous war with Iran. Be careful what you wish for.

  10. Mr Turley, I think you are a very intelligent individual and I started following you to observe the truth as we seek to understand what has happened to the legal/political state of our country. I am a devout supporter of this President but this does not matter. As you know, we must live under our Constitution and abide by our laws. What I think has not been addressed is a fact that your correct interpretation of the Constitution needs to be seen in light of how politics and resentment has began to erode the principles of our Constitution. The President’s actions have been conducted in a defensive/offensive posture ever since the start of his Presidency. The House of Representatives’ actions have been conducted in a offensive/defensive posture ever since 2018. It has gotten worse as we went down the path of Mueller/the “Zelensky” phone call/FISA and many other attempts to use every means to do damage to this President (and the Office?). This country is beset by manipulation of our rule of law on all sides that a normal course of courteous and civil Government has not existed during this Presidential/Congressional term. Using every means, even if it doesn’t fall in line with the Constitution, is the state of our country. When our Constitutional system is besieged by the extreme polarization of these political parties many defensive/offensive actions intrude upon the legal rule of governing. Debating whether this President should have informed the opposite party prior to any of his actions is constitutionally correct is ludicrous in light of where we are as a country. Our country is reaching a tipping point on all levels of Constitutional Executive and Legislative actions that are not in line with our Constitution. We are beginning to accept these actions even though they might violate our rule of law or spirit of the Constitution. I don’t espouse this to be right but it is where we are at as a nation. How we fix it is left to the foxes. We have an election this year which is supposed to put things into perspective. I am afraid that this polarization will remain no matter who is elected. We’ve gone down roads that I don’t think we can turn back. Are my views negative, realistic, or uninformed? I have to choose a political path in line with my beliefs. I just don’t know how it aligns with the actions of the foxes? I am afraid for the rule of the Constitution.

    An aside, the Supreme Court is supposed to be the arbitrator of our Constitutional principles. By stepping in to resolve these many questions, I don’t know if it will do any good. The problem lies with the question does either party want the “intrusion” by the highest Court in the land to shut down their actions? I don’t know/I don’t think so and there have been actions to prevent this from happening. (Point: I don’t think the Justices are foxes)

  11. How is this different than prior drone strikes if this person was a terrorist? What takes precedent being a terrorist or a general?

  12. Why do we “revere” terrorists? Why do we give Iran the same sovereignty as countries who do not take hostages of Christians on false charges, maritime crews, students and others they can lock up for decades and use for leverage? The Ayatollah Is a thug who has terrorized his own people for decades.
    Yet we are debating whether or not defending our embassies and Americans abroad in their country is done properly? Does anyone know what intelligence was given about this general’s intentions? Does anyone know if they were prepared to strike targets in just hours while Congress wasn’t even in session? There were trusted members of the gang of eight informed. The Democrats have put themselves in a position of the untrusted by the President and he has 3 years of evidence which shows they even wish his demise and his death. It’s disgusting that the mainstream media is elevating a rabid dog to “a brilliant military mind revered by his troops.” Give me a break.

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