IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE MORNING, local time, state media in Iraq reported that Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s top security and intelligence official, had been killed in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport, along with figures tied to Iran-backed Iraqi militias. In the United States, where it was Thursday night, the news quickly spread, albeit with key details missing; cable news shows and one broadcast network, CBS, cut into their programming with portentous reports that something serious had happened. An hour or so later, the US government confirmed that its military had killed Suleimani at the direction of the president. Trump remained strangely quiet, though he did tweet a picture of an American flag. In response, Iranian officials tweeted their country’s flag, and threats of revenge. Such is the road to war in 2020.

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