His administration unable to keep its story straight about how exactly General Qasem Soleimani posed an “imminent threat” to U.S. national security, President Trump now claims it “really doesn’t matter” if the assassinated Iranian commander was about to kill Americans.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The question of imminence matters. Indeed, the legal justification of the strike depends on it. Killing a top-ranking government official of a nation that the United States is not at war with, on the soil of a third nation altogether, would be illegal, except as an extreme matter of self defense.

Even acting to foil an imminent threat requires an expansive legal reading of Article 51 of the United Nations charter, which outlines the “inherent right of

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