Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Trump says ‘it doesn’t really matter’ if Iranian general posed an imminent threat

The Washington Post reports:

President Trump added to the controversy over his administration’s justification for the killing of an Iranian general, saying Monday that “it doesn’t really matter” whether it was in response to an imminent threat to the United States.

In a tweet, Trump criticized Democrats for trying to determine whether Iranian attacks the administration has said were planned by Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani against U.S. targets were imminent.

“It doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past,” Trump wrote. The administration has held Soleimani, as head of Iran’s Quds Force, responsible for orchestrating Iran’s use of proxy forces in terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East, and the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers over the years, long before the threat it has said justified the Jan. 3 U.S. drone strike that killed him.

In a separate tweet, Trump emphasized Soleimani’s past actions rather than the threat of future attacks. “The Democrats and Fake News are trying to make terrorist Soleimani into a wonderful guy, only because I did what should have been done for 20 years,” he wrote. [Continue reading…]

NBC News reports:

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.

That decision explains why assassinating Soleimani was on the menu of options that the military presented to Trump two weeks ago for responding to an attack by Iranian proxies in Iraq, in which a U.S. contractor was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded, the officials said.

The timing, however, could undermine the Trump administration’s stated justification for ordering the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3. Officials have said Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, was planning imminent attacks on Americans and had to be stopped. [Continue reading…]

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