From how Trump talks about assassinating Soleimani two things are clear.
1. He enjoyed it:
“They’re together sir,” Trump said he was told of the two leaders. “Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. ‘2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ “
Trump remarked that he assassinated “two for the price of one” and noted that the strike, which dramatically escalated tensions between the US and Iran, “shook up the world.”
2. He had been winded up by the sheer existence of Soleimani:
President Trump told Republican donors Friday evening that Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian general who was killed in a drone strike this month, was “saying bad things” about the U.S. before his death.
“How much of this shit do we have to listen to?” Trump was quoted as saying. “How much are we going to listen to?”
“He was supposed to be invincible,” Trump said of Soleimani.
This was personal. Trump didn’t have Soleimani killed to stop a war, and he certainly didn’t have him killed because he had been planning an imminent attack on four US embassies. Trump, who had been thinking of killing Soleimani for the past 7 months, had Soleimani killed because he had convinced himself that Soleimani continuing to draw air was an affront to the US.
Soleimani had the best claim of anyone in the world for the architect of victory against ISIS and had likewise dulled and thwarted the US anti-Iranian agenda for the Middle East. And he was walking around as a living reminder of that and wasn’t above publicly ridiculing Trump.
So Trump as a practitioner of stone age imperialism where you occupy countries to try and steal their oil, extort client-states for payments, and drone-murder opponents for besting you in proxy wars had the US military assassinate him.
In doing so Trump actually greatly increased the extent of the US defeat in the Middle East, and gifted Soleimani an enormous victory, which I suspect the Iranian dubbed “the living martyr” by the Supreme Leader years ago would have gladly traded his life for.
As a result of Trump’s assassination of Iran’s Soleimani and “two for the price of one” Iraq’s Muhandis the US is now on its way out of Iraq and probably Syria.
That’s the positive outcome of the assassination. The negative one is that the world has lost a war hero and gained a murderer and a particularly cowardly one at that. To salivate over the technical execution of the strike to which Trump had contributed nothing is less sick, as it is sad and pathetic. And to have a draft dodger big himself up as a tough guy for telling a $700 billion military to murder a better man than himself as he was moving openly on a diplomatic mission as a guest of the Iraqi PM only goes to show one Soleimani was worth 10 or 50 examples of human garbage that is Trump.
And I don’t say that because Soleimani was on “my side” or anything like that, because he wasn’t. My measurement of the man isn’t because of what he believed in and who he worked for but despite that.
I’ve no reason to love the IRGC. My cousins and uncles fought Iranian-trained Arabs in the early 1990s for their dear lives and for that of their community when the US, Iran and the Saudis were all boosting the same side in the Bosnian war, and Izetbegović was setting his model “Muslim brigades” against besieged Croat enclaves of central Bosnia (rather than send them into the teeth of the far better-armed Serbs) a number of which did indeed end up overrun.
Nonetheless, there’s no denying Soleimani was capable and supremely brave (wounded multiple times in the 1980s Iraq-Iran war), and could be a powerful force for good, for example in Syria where he did a lot for the similarly embattled Christians there.
That is something that is sorely lacking with Trump. Despite lucking into the Oval Office from where he has more power to do good than anyone else in the world he has done so little of that.