Qaseem Soleimani had lots of blood on his hands. Max Boot writes:
He has the blood of hundreds of Americans and thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of Arabs on his hands. [But] Soleimani was not the leader of a stateless terrorist organization. He was one of the most powerful figures in the Iranian government. His death makes him the highest-ranking foreign military commander assassinated by the United States since the shoot-down in 1943 of an airplane carrying Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack.
This is precisely the kind of crisis that many feared Donald Trump would blunder his way into:
The death of Soleimani, contrary to a Pentagon news release, was a hardly a “decisive” action — and, contrary to what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Friday, it will not necessarily make Americans safer. Indeed, the fact that the State Department is telling all Americans to evacuate Iraq suggests otherwise.
Charles de Gaulle supposedly said, “The graveyards are full of indispensable men.” Soleimani was perhaps the most important man in the Middle East, but even he can be replaced. Indeed, Iran has already appointed his deputy to fill his position, although it remains to be seen if the little-known Brig. Gen. Ismail Qaani will be as effective. The history of decapitation strikes — such as Israel’s 1992 killing of Hezbollah Secretary General Abbas al-Musawi or the joint U.S.-Israeli operation to kill Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughniyah in 2008 — suggests that they seldom debilitate the targeted organization and sometimes backfire. Musawi’s death, for example, led to the emergence of Hasan Nasrallah, an even more dangerous leader.
Israel has been assassinating its enemies for decades; but it doesn't claim responsibility for those assassinations. Trump -- who has always been a publicity hog -- is different:
By neither confirming nor denying responsibility, Israel gives itself plausible deniability and its enemies an off-ramp from further escalation. That is not Trump’s way. The Pentagon news release on Thursday night specified that Soleimani’s death was ordered “at the direction of the President.” This further increases the pressure on Iran to retaliate, as its leaders have repeatedly vowed to do.
The fat is in the fire. Somehow Donald Trump -- and his country -- will get burned.