Trump's Iranian Kill Shot: Legal? Constitutional? Sensible? Impeachable?

The Reason Roundtable argues over America's latest foreign policy escalation


Some regular listeners of the Reason Roundtable podcast have been attempting to give me credit for predicting in last week's episode that the 2020s would feature a conventional war between two countries with populations larger than 40 million.

But as too many journalists already seem to be missing in the reaction to the U.S.'s drone-assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard leader Qassim Sulemaini, this act of war on third-party soil—which comes after years' worth of Sulemaini-directed war-acts against American and allied personnel, also on third-party soil—nonetheless does not pit conventional army vs. conventional army on the territory of the combatants. At least not yet. What's more, President Donald Trump has rhetorically ruled out "regime change" war against Tehran, and he claimed with a straight face that his escalatory act of violence was "defensive."

In today's podcast, Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, and I debate a series of questions over Trump's most notable military action as president. Was it legal? Constitutional? Precedented? Deliberated? Sensible? Impeachable? We also nominate some of the more noteworthy new laws that went into effect January 1, expend yet more oxygen praising Watchman, and touch briefly on the welcome Golden Globes comedy of Ricky Gervais.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

Music credit: "From Russia With Love" by Huma-Huma

Relevant links from the show:

"Don't Believe Mike Pence's Spin About Iran and 9/11," by Eric Boehm

"Trump Wants to Target Iranian Cultural Sites, Says His Tweets Shall Serve as Notice to Congress," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Without Evidence of 'Imminent' Attack on Americans, the White House's Justification for Killing Iranian General Seems Hollow," by Eric Boehm

"Reminder: American Officials Lie About War," by Matt Welch

"Congress Should Debate War, Not Mindlessly Cheer for It," by Eric Boehm

"Military-Intellectual Complex Looks Forward to More War in 2020," by Eric Boehm

"A Decade of No Lessons Learned in U.S. Overseas Intervention," by Brian Doherty

"Media Would Rather Talk About Gary Johnson's 'Aleppo Moment' Than a Damning New Report on Hillary Clinton's Actual War," by Matt Welch

"Pot, Guns, Tampons, Narwhals, Bail, Bags, and More Face New Rules in 2020," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Fiscal Analysis of Colorado's New 'Red Flag' Law Assumes Gun Confiscation Orders Will Be Granted 95% of the Time," by Jacob Sullum

"California Freelancers Sue To Stop Law That's Destroying Their Jobs. Pol Says Those 'Were Never Good Jobs' Anyway," by Billy Binion

"HBO's Dazzling Watchmen Was a Show About the Limits and Dangers of Power," by Peter Suderman

"Ricky Gervais Slams Woke Hollywood's Sanctimony in Golden Globes Speech," by Robby Soave