alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

Constitutional law professor: Soleimani killing looks 'like summary execution without trial’ after defense sec admits he saw no evidence to back up Trump's claim

Constitutional law professor: Soleimani killing looks 'like summary execution without trial’ after defense sec admits he saw no evidence to back up Trump's claim
President Donald J. Trump watches as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito swears-in new Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

One of the talking points that supporters of President Donald Trump have been using in defense of the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani on January 3 is that the killing is no different from the operation that resulted in the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 under President Barack Obama. But bin Laden, unlike Soleimani, was not a government official. And constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe is asserting that the Soleimani killing amounts to a “summary execution without trial” rather than an act of self-defense.


Las week on Twitter, the 78-year-old Tribe (who co-founded the American Constitutional Society and teaches at Harvard Law School) posted,” In the fog of war, it’s easy to lose track of what counts. Whether Soleimani posed an ‘imminent’ threat that killing him would assuredly end isn’t just a debate over labels. It’s the difference (between) self-defense to protect Americans and murder to stave off Trump’s impeachment.”

In a separate tweet Sunday, Tribe asserted that the killing of Soleimani cannot be justified as an act of self-defense after Defense Secretary Mark Esper admitted he didn't see any specific evidence to back up President Donald Trump's claim that Soleimani was planning to attack "four embassies" in the region.

“With the Sec Def’s concession that he didn’t see any specific evidence of an imminent threat that made killing Soleimani an act of self-defense,” Tribe wrote, “it’s increasingly looking like summary execution without trial just to keep this president in office. Another gross abuse of power.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close