From The Washington Post: Why lying about an ‘imminent’ attack would matter

EDITOR'S NOTE: Before Trump named him secretary of state, Pompeo was a fiercely anti-union, far-right-wing, Kansas congressman. He voted the union position on issues just 5 percent of the time he was in office (from 2011 to 2017.

By JENNIFER RUBIN

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and State Department subordinates vigorously argued Friday that the justification for killing Iranian general and terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani was intelligence that an attack was “imminent.”

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.

Aside from the legalities, as a political matter, polls have shown overwhelming opposition to a war with Iran. Casting the killing as defensive and urgent rather than an act of a war of choice would be one way to avert a public backlash. (If this reminds you of the Iraq War, you are in good company.)

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