" /> Did the U.S. 'assassinate' Iranian general or just kill him? Why it matters
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A debate over how to describe the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani reached the 2020 Democratic primary over the weekend as candidates argued whether or not the drone strike that killed him constituted an “assassination.”

Soleimani, the charismatic face of Iran’s expansionist Middle East policy and head of the Quds Force — the special operations and intelligence branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard — was killed by an American drone outside the Baghdad airport on Friday. The White House said Iran “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” But when pressed Sunday about whether intelligence showed that attacks were “imminent,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dodged the question.

Sen. Bernie Sanders immediately called it an assassination in a statement distributed by his campaign. Sen. Elizabeth Warren did the same in a series of tweets on Saturday, saying “Donald Trump … assassinated a senior foreign military official. He’s been marching toward war with Iran since his first days in office — but the American people won’t stand for it.”

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, currently lagging behind both candidates in the polls, took exception to that description.

“This is a guy who had an awful amount of American blood on his hands,” Bloomberg said Saturday. “I think that’s an outrageous thing to say. Nobody that I know of would think that we did something wrong in getting the general.”

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, “I am not interested in the terminology.”

But the terminology used to describe Soleimani’s killing is important when it comes to both U.S. and international law. Read more

 Read also: DHS: Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyber-attacks against the US

A debate over how to describe the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani reached the 2020 Democratic primary over the weekend as candidates argued whether or not the drone strike that killed him constituted an “assassination.”