I Carried Out The Strike That Killed Soleimani. America Doesn’t Understand the Lesson of His Death.

Excerpt Below:

Recent history demonstrates that a strong U.S. posture in the Middle East deters Iran. As the leader of U.S. Central Command, I had direct operational responsibility for the strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the ruthless general responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. service members. Iran had begun to doubt America’s will, which the strike on Soleimani then proved. The attack, in early 2020, forced Iran’s leaders to recalculate their months-long escalation against U.S. forces. Ultimately, I believe, it saved many lives.

The situation in Iran has changed, but the Soleimani strike offers a lesson that is going unheeded. Iran may seem unpredictable at times, but it respects American strength and responds to deterrence. When we withdraw, Iran advances. When we assert ourselves—having weighed the risks and prepared for all possibilities—Iran retreats. Soleimani’s life and death are a testament to this rule, which should guide our future policy in the Middle East.

Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie, USMC (ret.) served as commander of U.S. Central Command from 2019-22. He is the Hertog Distinguished Fellow at JINSA, executive director of the Global and National Security Institute at the University of South Florida, and author of The Melting Point: High Command and War in the 21st Century.

Read the full op-ed in The Atlantic.