Trump Says He Ordered Soleimani Strike to ‘Stop a War’ Not Start One

Pentagon claims 'imminent attack' justification, but offers no details

In the wake of Thursday night’s assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Pentagon offered a legal justification by claiming there was an “imminent” attack being plotted at the time.

That’s the go-to excuse for US airstrikes, but it is conspicuous that in all that’s been said on the high-profile assassination, the Pentagon is absolutely refusing to offer any details on what that threat actually was.

That’s not insignificant, to the extent that the US is going to try to argue a legal pretext for an act of war launched outside of a Congressional authorization. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was similarly light on details, but claimed it would have “put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk.”

There are details sorely lacking in all of this, and evidence as well. Sen. McConnell (R-KY) suggested some Senators might get a classified debriefing next week, but that still leaves the public in the dark as the attack risks starting a war.

The lack of specificity leaves open room for speculation. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was eager to get in on this, claiming Soleimani was plotting a coup in Iraq at the time. He similarly offered no evidence, and given Iran’s close ties to the Iraqi government, it seems highly unlikely.

Adding to doubts about the imminent threat is the Department of Homeland Security, which even after the attack claims there is no domestic threat at all. While New York officials say they are bracing for an attack, the signs point to there being no intelligence at all.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.