Congress has called its own bluff. Even something as simple as transmitting the articles of impeachment from the House to the Senate became a protracted and politicized farce, in the midst of which truly serious questions of war and peace — and constitutional war powers — arose. But faced with Democrats’ outrage over the killing of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani, President Trump must have asked himself, ‘what are they going to do? Impeach me?’
The outrage was hypocritical: drone strikes aerosolize wedding parties full of innocent people on a semi-regular basis, but the minute one takes out a general who had masterminded insurgency operations against US troops in a war zone, Congress suddenly has an attack of conscience. Like impeachment, this reveals more about the real character of the institution than a wise legislator would want known. Killing Soleimani, a man who deserved to die, was more controversial than ‘collateral damage’ in the form of civilian lives lost because Congress does not have the courage to question the underlying morality of the wars and prolonged occupations that are now a permanent feature of American foreign policy. What made Soleimani’s death so objectionable was that it was so unusual — so personal — when our political class likes to believe that war is now a science, to be conducted only as approved by the experts.