Quoting Trump’s statement on “wanting peace with Iran” made on Tuesday, the Washington Post editorial board wrote that Trump has “committed an act of escalation”
While Trump's decision to order the assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani is being cheered by America's allies and progressive forces across the region, top US media including The Washington Post and the New York Times harshly criticised him for his action.
"The consequences of the strike are unpredictable, but there is no denying the risk that the United States will be pulled more deeply into the Middle East and its conflicts," The Washington Posts' Editorial Board wrote in an opinion piece titled "Yes, Soleimani was an enemy. That doesn't mean Trump made the right call".
Quoting Trump's statement on "wanting peace with Iran" made on last Tuesday, the editorial board wrote that Trump has "committed an act of escalation" and now is deploying more than 4,000 additional troops to Kuwait "as a hedge against Iranian counterstrikes".
"It's certainly possible that the killing will have the effect of deterring further Iranian attacks on Americans, such as the rocket strike that killed a US contractor at an Iraqi base last week, or the assault by Iranian-backed militias on the embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday," the opinion piece continued.
The editorial also mentioned the fact that loss of Soleimani might disorient and demoralize the militia forces he steered and the Trump administration is clearly hoping Tehran will absorb the blow and retreat, which is why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kept talking on Friday about "de-escalation."
While the Washington Post's Editorial Board directly confronted Trump for his actions, the Editorial Board of The New York Times, however, followed a slightly tactical approach.
Comparing the assassination of General Suleimani with hunting down Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the editorial piece stated that they are not the same in any way!
While bin Laden and al-Baghdadi were both terrorists who answered to no government, General Suleimani was a senior official of the Islamic State of Iran. Openly targeting him was a sharp escalation in the conflict between the United States and Iran, all but taunting Iran to strike back.
The editorial piece further explored the possibilities of major Iranian retaliation, including cyber warfare. Any such strike would then demand an American retaliation, risking an all-out war with enormous consequences for the Middle East and beyond.
"Oil prices have already spiked; any chance for a new nuclear deal with Iran would be eliminated; Israel, under a prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as deeply in political trouble as Mr Trump and potentially in search of a diversion, could be tempted to get involved; Iraq, currently without a firm government, could again become a battleground between American forces and pro-Iranian militias," the editorial continued.
The editorial raised many questions. Questions like why didn't the White House alert senior Democrats in Congress before such a major military action? Or why the administration didn't take more measured deterrent steps before abruptly twisting the regional dial to "boil"?
Among all other questions, the editorial ended with a rather simpler one...
"What about the promise to end endless wars, Mr President?"