By Senator Lena C. Taylor
To say, I am “struggling” would be the understatement of the year. My head is reeling from the recent events involving the Trump administration’s decision to assassinate another nation’s governmental official. No, I am not a federal legislator, but I want answers. As a nation, we should want answers. Since the rationale that we have been provided, for the reason for the attack on Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, has been questionable from the start, we need to understand if this was a U.S. sanctioned murder.
After all, although it may not seem like it, America has a ban on assassinations since 1970. It was put in place after it was discovered that the CIA had attempted to kill Fidel Castro of Cuba and other foreign leaders. While discussing how the Trump administration could have legally pulled off the killing of Suleimani, we have learned the term AUMF, which stands for Authorization for Use of Military Force.
The AUMF was a piece of legislation put in place after the 9/11 attacks. We have often heard how the fear of this terrorist attack caused Americans to throw the rule of law and some of their personal rights to the wind. Global terror was real. People were scared. We were willing to look the other way at possible illegal acts or policy violations to ensure our national and personal safety. Today, we are being forced to ask the question, at what cost?
Candidate Trump was almost gleeful when pundits said that he could likely shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose his voting base. On Jan. 3, President Trump decided to test the theory. Of course, there were declarations of “imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and American personnel”. However, nearly a week later, that explanation just isn’t panning out.
So, the unthinkable question is now publicly being asked. “Was this assassination done for political and personal reasons to aid Trump’s re-election chances?”. To be fair, other U.S. Presidents have used the AUMF to color assassinations of their own. Republicans and Democrats, alike, have to launch targeted killings all over the world. The distinction, though, was that these strikes were against “non-state actors.”
These are people that are not official members of another country’s government. Suleimani, for all of his horrible acts, didn’t fit the definition of “non-state actors” and was supposed to be handled differently.
The administration knew this, but chose to do differently. Why?
With each passing day, the rationale for the assassination weakens and so does the ability to justify what far too many Republican enablers have allowed from this administration. Trump has shown us all, who he is…..a man willing to destroy cultural sites, has reportedly lied more than 13,000 times since running for office, including about the weather, a man who belittles POW’s, picks on teenage girls, and who has diminished respect for America around the world. Trump is a man who doesn’t take military briefings, doesn’t trust intelligence reports on Russia’s efforts to interfere in our elections, but used the military to shield this killing. He has shown us, who he is, and it’s time we believe him. He’s unfit to lead this nation.