Donald Trump‘s authorization of the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani has been argued as both a necessary, decisive decision and a reckless move with no apparent benefit or intelligence to justify it. During an episode of Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, Family Research Council (FRC) president Perkins interviewed the Christian organization’s director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, David Closson, about the attack and what the Bible says about it.
Closson claimed that the scriptures do not suggest that the “default position of Christianity is pacifism,” as many people purportedly believe.
“The scripture talks a lot about war but the scripture also lets us see that all war itself is not intrinsically evil,” Closson said. “As believers, we are at war with sin. We are at war with evil.”
He claimed that the Old Testament “sanctions war,” adding that in the New Testament, governments are responsible for their citizens and “answerable to God” for this responsibility.
“And so sometimes, there are compelling reasons for going to war. All killing is tragic but sometimes it’s necessary.”
Closson and Perkins pointed to the “just war” theory, a doctrine for ensuring that war is morally justifiable. Perkins explained that such moral principles are “extracted from scripture” and have been used to guide nations “for centuries.” Closson noted that one of the laws is that war is only permissible for protecting “innocent life,” “maintaining or restoring justice,” and “self-defense.”
"We were ready. You have no idea" — Trump suggests he was close to launching major military strikes on Iran two days ago but decided to stand down when he heard no Americans were wounded pic.twitter.com/3NsQmKZMWz
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 10, 2020
In the case of Soleimani’s killing, the Trump administration claimed he was planning an imminent attack on U.S. interests, which could be supported by the just war principles. However, the accuracy of this claim has been debated following reports that the U.S. conducted a second failed attack on Yemen-based financial backer Abdul Reza Shahlai the same night as the Soleimani attack. In addition, Trump was allegedly motivated by impeachment and reportedly told GOP associates he felt pressured by GOP Senators, whom he believed would be crucial support in the upcoming Senate trial.
A previous report from The Intercept suggested that many cable news pundits supporting the assassination have undisclosed ties to the arms industry and are poised to gain from increased wartime activity. Gin Armstrong, a senior researcher with the Public Accountability Initiative, questioned the decision of media outlets to let anyone with a “financial interest in war” speak on their programs at such a “critical time.”
Following Soleimani’s assassination, The Intercept reported stock prices for major defense contractors reportedly increased.