By Dave Lindorff
As far back as at least the American Revolution, there was an unwritten rule among combatants that you don't kill the commander in the field of battle. That's why generals could be seen directing their troops while sitting astride a horse behind the front lines easy targets for anyone equipped with a rifled barrel on their long gun to pick off. The reason they felt relatively safe doing so was that it was that both sides understood that if commanding officers were fair game and one were slain, there'd be nobody to surrender or order a retreat, and all conflicts would be fought to the death.
Now President Trump has upended that logic by reportedly directly ordering the assassination, by drone-fired missile, of Commander of Iranian Forces Qassem Suleimani, who was on a visit to neighboring Iraq.
Some American media outlets are predictably reporting that Suleimani was "the world's number one bad guy" and are reflexively praising Trump's "resolute" response to the allegedly Iranian-sponsored Iraqi attack on the US Embassy compound in Baghdad. But aside from the problem that the assault on the embassy was actually a public reaction in Iraq to the US's earlier outrageous and illegal aerial bombardment of an armed unit of Iraqi government-backed fighters, itself a response to the killing of a US "contractor" (mercenary soldier) in Iraq, what is actually accomplished by blowing up a military leader from Iran while he is inside another country, Iraq, in which the US actually has troops operating by invitation?
Did Trump and his advisers consider what that insulting violation of Iraqi sovereignty will lead to?
More importantly, do President Trump and whatever moronic advisers he's listening to actually think that by blowing up the head of Iran's military they have incapacitated or intimidated Iran? And do they think that somehow Trump and his own generals are immune from an Iranian retaliation in kind? Iran may not have the sophisticated missile-firing drones that would allow it to copy America's action exactly, but its military and intelligence services certainly have skilled snipers, sappers and others technicians of death who are quite capable of taking out a US general, or even a president, pretty much at will if they decide that's what they want to do. Trump's act of presidential bravado, about which I'm sure we'll have to endure much presidential boasting at rallies and in tweet form, is heading us in an incredibly dangerous direction.
The US has long been an outlaw nation, and treating the entire globe as a free-fire zone. But when it returns to the kind of assassination policies it was using routinely during the Cold War years, it is understandable why President Ronald Reagan, in a rare moment of lucidity in December 1981, signed Executive Order 12333 banning the government-ordered assassination of leaders. (Perhaps he was influenced by his own nearly fatal experience with an assassin's bullet in March of that year)"
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/trump-hit-on-iranian-commander-puts-a-target-on-his-own-and-top-us-generals-backs/
Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)