President Donald Trump just announced another war crime on the Internet.
“These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” he wrote Sunday. “Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”
Georgetown Law Professor Marty Lederman, who used to serve as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, pointed out a problem in the president’s “notification.” The problem was the promise of a possible disproportionate response to attacks from Iran.
Official “notice” of an acknowledged-in-advance violation of law! (“in a disproportionate manner”). Because after he threatened to commit war crimes yesterday, of course the President of the United States had to find a way to lower the bar still further today–and he did.
— Marty Lederman (@marty_lederman) January 5, 2020
Law&Crime’s Colin Kalmbacher had the same take.
This is another threat to commit an explicit war crime.
The law of proportionality has been enshrined in international law for decades (by way of Geneva: https://t.co/pXBTyDjVPB) and is also a rule per the DOD: https://t.co/VYDUBrjj5r https://t.co/LEpjMYbfg3
— Colin Kalmbacher (@colinkalmbacher) January 5, 2020
This follows the day after Trump promised hypothetical retaliation against Iran, in which U.S. forces would strike 52 sites that had major cultural significance. Attacking such sites is a war crime.
Trump’s newest tweet elicited more criticism in the wake of an U.S. airstrike that slew Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Goodbye Article I. pic.twitter.com/TYVYB8fnzg
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) January 5, 2020
This is a broken and confused man who wishes he were a king. Or the owner of a successful casino. https://t.co/3PRG1zCgEM
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) January 5, 2020
Trump and his allies argue that killing Soleimani was necessary.
“We made the right decision,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Meet the Press. “There’s lots of intelligence. This is all in the context of a larger American strategy to create peace and stability in the Middle East. A key element is taking down Qassem Soleimani who has been just a destabilizing force in the region for so long.”
Critics argue that Soleimani exacerbated an already dicey relationship with Iran.
[Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images]