Throughout the media there have been articles in the past weeks that said that Trump 'ordered' the killing of General Qassem Soleimani from Iran. Can a president order such killings or he approved what the generals of the US Army wanted to do anyway? The question simply boils down to the word 'order'.

Which one is more suitable: 'ordered' or 'approved'?

Example links:

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/03/baghdad-airport-iraq-attack-deaths-iran-us-tensions

[2] https://www.france24.com/en/20200103-iraq-baghdad-katyusha-rocket-airport-attack-shiite-popular-mobilisation-forces

[3] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/trump-order-assassinate-iran-qassem-soleimani-legal-200103212119366.html

[4] https://nypost.com/2020/01/04/queens-jews-have-no-regrets-about-trump-ordered-killing-of-qassem-soleimani/

[5] https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/17/three-reasons-why-trump-ordered-soleimanis-killing

[6] http://www.ejinsight.com/20200109-how-trumps-order-of-killing-soleimani-has-backfired/

  • Please quote exactly what one of these articles writes, because the way you put ordered in quotes makes me believe that they didn't actually write ordered.
    – pipe
    Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 10:02
  • I have updated the question and added several links.
    – Darkov
    Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 10:54
  • 4
    If you are a lieutenant and your sergeant says "I think we should do this Sir" and you say "Yes, do it" then you have issued an order. The opinion of the underling is not relevant to the legal status of your words. Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 17:13
  • 1
    @Oddthinking: What on earth is "minefield" about "assassination", which is "the act of killing a prominent person for either political, religious, or monetary reasons"? What would you like to call a drone strike, an accident?
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 19:03
  • 2
    @Oddthinking: ...in the USA, the guilty party.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


From the Department of Defense:

"At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani..."

Yes, the president ordered the killing of Soleimani.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .