In responding to Jake Tapper of CNN, Pompeo was unable to explain how blowing Qasem Soleimani to kingdom come would enhance the safety of America. Instead, he retreated to bluff and bombast: when in doubt, it seems, blame Obama. Pompeo declared, ‘Team Obama appeased Iran and led to Shia militias with money, Hamas, the PIJ, hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed by Soleimani himself.’ The most he would concede is that ‘it may be that there’s a little noise here in the interim if the Iranians makes the choice to respond.’ Noise.

When it came to Trump’s threats about bombing scores of Iranian cultural sites in memory of the 1979 hostage crisis, Pompeo pooh-poohed the notion that the administration might be contemplating perpetrating war crimes: ‘The American people should know that every target that we strike will be a lawful target, and it will be a target designed at the singular mission of protecting and defending America.’ So far, however, the administration has provided no information that would suggest that it was suddenly imperative to rub out Soleimani. If anything, Trump appears to have acted largely on whim, determined to efface the impression that he lacked the cojones to take on Tehran.