Peter Singer in Project Syndicate:
On January 3, the United States assassinated Qassem Suleimani, a top Iranian military commander, while he was leaving Baghdad International Airport in a car with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia. All the occupants of the car were killed.
The next day, at a special press briefing, an unnamed senior US State Department official said that Suleimani had been, for 20 years, “the major architect” of Iran’s terrorist attacks and had “killed 608 Americans in Iraq alone.” He added that Suleimani and Muhandis had been designated as terrorists by the United Nations, and that “both of these guys are the real deal in terms of bad guys.”
In 2003, US intelligence about Iraq’s supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction was completely wrong. Those errors led to the invasion of Iraq, which cleared the way for the involvement of Iran and Suleimani in the country. But let’s assume that this time the facts are as the US administration says they are. Was the double assassination ethically defensible?