Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Suleimani. General Suleimani. On January 2, 2020 (January 3, 2020 Baghdadi time) General Qassim Suleimani, head of the Quds Force, the Special, and Intelligence, Operations Unit of Iran's Republican Guard Force, was targeted and killed by United States military forces through a drone strike while traveling by vehicle at the Baghdad Airport in Iraq. There are those calling this a successful military operation and those calling it an assassination. Let's look into this.
Guerilla Warfare. Guerilla Warfare is the concept of small fighting forces exerting tremendous power over their enemy using non-traditional methods. The Viet Cong, led by Ho Chi Minh, conducted guerilla warfare on a massive scale in South Vietnam, trying to unite North and South Vietnam. This was ultimately successful in 1975, with the withdrawal of UN forces from Saigon, subsequently renamed Ho Chi Minh City. This success fed the growth of other guerilla warfare methods around the globe. The people using these methods against non-military targets did so to terrorize the world into acquiescing and granting them their desired result. One of their favorite methods has been hijacking civilian aircraft. While hijacking has been around since the 1920's, it grew in prominence and effective usefulness in the 1960's. We'll come back to this.
The United States is not used to losing. When we lost our attempt to save a democracy (South Vietnam) from falling to communism (North Vietnam), we turned on ourselves to find out what happened and assign blame. The press became a central player in this introspection. Never before was a conflict that we undertook more in the faces and on the television than Vietnam. We found out about Agent Orange, napalm, Viet Cong, and what we are going over today - authorized and unauthorized assassinations. An authorized assassination is one where a high value target (HVT) has been identified and those in a place of proper authority then weighed the possible outcome and ordered the mission to assassinate this person - or unit - in order to make the battlefield conditions more favorable. An unauthorized assassination is one where the HVT was killed without the proper authority giving any oversight. While there are many examples of authorized assassination, there were unfortunately, more than just a few examples of unauthorized ones. This led to the US placing a ban on itself from undertaking any assassinations, as it appeared that the process to seek approval was too long and convoluted. This led to many assassinations, which may have been authorized, to be carried out before the approving authority could make a decision. Banning these altogether seemed to be the best fix, given the circumstances, so President Ford, and later President Carter, through executive orders, banned and expanded the ban on assassinations..
OK - back to hijackings. With the growth of the world press giving airtime to any political issue, guerilla warfare/terror tactics becoming both successful and low cost ways of exerting control, and the US (and allies') moratorium on assassination, terrorists (as they were more and more being called) began to hijack with seeming impunity. In 1979 this began to change. President Carter had authorized a small unit to be developed in 1977 in response to terror operations around the globe that put US interests at risk. This unit was not counter-terrorism, meaning defense against terror, but ant-terrorism, or offensive operations against terrorism. This unit has now come to be called Delta Force. Read about it here. This new unit became a major deterrent to terror groups, forcing many to go underground, since many other nations did the same. Understand, that the President that expanded the ban on assassination (Carter) started the Delta Force, a unit that in all realities conducts assassinations masqueraded as military operations. As a nation, we are completely ok with this because of who these operations are directed against - terrorists.
President George W Bush relaxed the ban somewhat, arguing that ban on assassinations was not intended to exist in a wartime environment. We, as a nation, were ok with this because we were fighting against Al Qaeda following the successful attacks on the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and the unsuccessful attack on the US Capitol Building on September 11, 2001. We named many groups as terrorist or terrorist-backing/funding groups as part of the Patriot Act legislation. While those who like to keep information compartmented don't believe these are connected, I am not among them. These acts are most definitely connected. Labeling groups as terrorist and terrorist-backing/funding, allowing for military operations without the need to address Congress, while at the same time allowing for military assassinations in wartime conditions walk hand-in-hand. It allows for military assassinations against terrorist targets without any need to inform Congress prior to the event. Informing the Congressional leadership has still been done to keep coordination alive, but is not necessarily required.
Currently, in my opinion, we are undergoing a full blown coup attempt, which you can read about in my blog entry entitled, "Impeachment...or Coup d'Etat." The President is not required to inform Congress prior to ordering an assassination against a terrorist HVT. With the current state of affairs, informing Congress would be tantamount to telling the enemy our intentions in a megaphone, as the Democrats have proven willing to do ANYTHING to discredit President Trump and cause either/both embarrassment or failure. They are labeling this an assassination in order to influence those with limited knowledge against President Trump.
Back to General Suleimani. He has been instrumental in ordering the attack of multiple US interests and people, including our own military. His Quds Force has been named as a primary terrorist organization, carrying out and financing many terrorist events around the globe. The fact that he is - was - in a leadership position in one of our chief enemies is immaterial, if our goal is to attack anti-US terrorism where it exists. The argument that it could potentially lead to war has no place in this argument. It's either the right thing to do within our declared and historic parameters, or it is not. I believe it is, as it fits all the required elements: Terrorist (check); wartime military (check); US interests and personnel still at risk (check); expected continued anti-US attacks if not stopped (check). It is, therefore, both an assassination and a military operation.
Note to future - it is imperative that we as a nation set definitive standards as to how we determine that a group or individual gets placed on the terrorist watchlist. With the standards of employing assassinations we currently have in place, and the ongoing military operations around the world, the unlawful use of this will prove catastrophic without proper oversight. Also by continuing assassinations (again, I'm not necessarily against it), Matthew 26:52b comes into play: "...for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."