Why? Why is President Trump playing brinksmanship with Iran? He says he ordered the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani in order to prevent a war. He says he ordered the assassination because Soleimani was orchestrating an attack. When questioned, Trump said an attack was imminent.

All right, the media said. What attack? What did General Soleimani authorize? And imminent? What was imminent about an attack that as of this writing is not defined?

Like an operatic act, Trump rightly blamed Soleimani for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in the Iraq War. 602 is the exact number the media have put forth. The chorus of Republican sycophants rose to crescendo in support of the assassination. Isn’t causing the deaths of Americans reason enough to commit murder?

Except that the Iraq War in which those deaths occurred was a war the United States started, launched an invasion and then came up with a rationale. Iraq had weapons of mass destruction—which it didn’t. Iraq was importing yellowcake from Niger in order to make nuclear weapons—except it wasn’t. Iraq was connected with 9/11—except no connection has ever been proven. General Soleimani was opposing the US in a war the US started.

Enter the war against ISIS. Into the vacuum the Iraq War created in Iraq, ISIS rose out of the sand and gained control of much of the country. Virulently anti-American, ISIS had to be stopped. On its own terms. By waging war. And in that war, General Soleimani was on the US side helping to eliminate ISIS. A campaign that was largely successful. Soleimani was an ally, then.

So Trump had him assassinated. The rationale was given as above. But is there something more? Are Trump’s motivations politically layered? On top, Soleimani led brutal campaigns, was plotting against the US, posed a danger to American interests in the Middle East.

But is there a second layer, a shadowy layer that writers allege also motivated President Bush to attack Iraq? I call it the evangelical layer. In the cultic type of evangelicalism that grips much of the country and has become the religion of convenience (meaning it gets votes from the base) for the Republican Party, there are prophecies stitched together from several books of the Bible that provide a basis, even an immoral one, for unprovoked killing.

Although the timelines vary, the general theme of evangelical prophecy is that the world is divided between the good and the evil, an evil, satanic empire vs. an empire led by Jesus Christ. At a future time, those empires will clash, enter into war, there will be seven years of tribulation followed by the coming of Christ who will establish a millennial kingdom on earth.

What does this have to do with evangelicals and Trump? Evangelicals long for the return of Christ. I know. I was there. Constant prayers that he will come soon, come quickly. And what better way to hasten that return? Bring on Armageddon. Welcome the war between the evil and righteous empires. And if you have the ear of a politician who can hasten that day, why not go for it?

You’ve seen the articles describing Trump’s council of evangelical advisors. You’ve read about evangelicals who have access to the president at their convenience. Is Trump listening to these advisors? Is Trump acting, including assassination, because they whisper in his ear that his base would love him to bring on Armageddon? And that God has appointed Trump for this purpose? Trump, God’s man?

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