Legislators react to airstrike
The United States killed Iran’s top general and the architect of Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport early on Friday, an attack that threatens to dramatically ratchet up tensions in the region.
The targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, could draw forceful Iranian retaliation against American interests in the region and spiral into a far larger conflict between the U.S. and Iran, endangering U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and beyond.
The Defense Department said it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” It also accused Soleimani of approving the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
The region’s federal legislators were uniform in expressing gratitude that Soleimani was killed.
“Qasem Soleimani was responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. “The world is a better place now that he is dead. Every American should be grateful to our armed forces who carried out this strike with incredible skill and precision. The Trump administration was right to restore deterrence against Iran.”
Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., said he’s looking forward to hearing more about the plan with Iran.
“As the father of a wounded warrior, who suffered injuries as the result of improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq, I am all too familiar with the Iranian regime’s involvement outside their borders and attempts to destabilize the region,” Thompson said. “I am looking forward to returning to Washington this upcoming week to receive further intelligence on the matter and the Pentagon’s plan for negating any counter aggressions against American citizens, troops, and assets.”
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said, “Qassim Suleimani was a military figure who inflicted terror and killed thousands in Israel, Iraq, Syria and other places. He was directly responsible for the killing of hundreds of American soldiers and civilians. The world is safer with him gone.”
He also called on the Trump Administration to answer some important questions, and give a full briefing to Congress next week “regarding the following: The intelligence used to authorize the strike; the legal basis for the strike; the nature of the threat articulated by the Pentagon in its statement (Thursday) night; and the preparations and planning the Administration has undertaken regarding potential retaliation by the Iranian regime against Americans abroad and here at home.”
Casey continued, saying he has grave concerns that the American people have not been provided a comprehensive strategy on Iran.
“Finally, this and other recent actions by the Administration have been taken without a Congressionally-approved Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF),” Casey said. “As we prepare for fallout in the coming days, Congress has a critical role to play in assessing the legality of the strike, understanding its impact on U.S. national security and conducting oversight over this Administration’s actions abroad.”