Former US defense secretary Mark Esper in his new book reveals that then-president Donald Trump ordered the assassination of a top Iranian military figure to get re-elected in 2020.
In his forthcoming book ‘A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Defense Secretary in Extraordinary Times’, Esper writes that Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, “stunned” the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff shortly before the 2020 election by saying that the president wanted to kill a senior Iranian military officer, in an oblique reference to Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
“This was a really bad idea with very big consequences,” Esper writes, adding that General Mark Milley, then-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, suspected that O’Brien saw the move purely in terms of Trump’s political interests – to get re-elected.
The book describes an administration that was obsessed with Trump’s reelection campaign throughout 2020, according to a report in the New York Times.
The former US defense secretary says Milley told him on August 20 that O’Brien had called the evening before to say that Trump “wanted to strike a senior military officer who was operating outside of Iran.”
General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated along with their associates in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. The strike was authorized by the US president.
Both anti-terror commanders were deeply respected and admired across the world for their battlefield heroics, especially for their key role in decimating the Daesh terrorist group in the region.
In the book, Esper presents himself as one of those who stoutly resisted Trump’s foolhardy decisions, such as the strike on the top anti-terror commander.
“Milley and I were aware of this person,” Esper writes in the book. “But why now? What was new? Was there an imminent threat? What about gathering the national security team to discuss this?”