Congressmen voiced opposite positions on the U.S. airstrike that took the life of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Quite a few Democrats raised concern about the worse consequence that could lead to a potential regional war. Meanwhile, their Republican counterparts praised the move, calling it a bold and necessary action.
Former vice president and also one of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden said the Middle East could be on the brink of a “major conflict.” In his statement on the airstrike, he warned of the “opposite effect,” citing the United States is probably “on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.”
@JoeBiden statement on killing of Qassem Soleimani: ‘Tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox’. America needs a Commander-in-Chief with no learning curve. The stakes could not be higher. pic.twitter.com/VScRGDdKPg
— Greg Schultz 🥁 (@schultzohio) January 3, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated that the Trump administration has engaged in “provocative and disproportionate actions” in her own statement.
American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American servicemembers, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions. https://t.co/o0R8YVJMNW
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 3, 2020
At the same time, Rep. Steve Calise (R-La.) lauded it as a major victory in an interview with Fox News.
If you come after the United States, we will come after you with overwhelming strength.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 3, 2020
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also reasoned that it was “a pre-emptive, defensive strike planned to take out the organizer of attacks yet to come” in his tweet on the same day.
We killed the most powerful man in Tehran short of the Ayatollah.
This was not an act of revenge for what he had done in the past.
This was a pre-emptive, defensive strike planned to take out the organizer of attacks yet to come.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2020
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) voiced his support to the president’s decision as well, President @realDonaldTrump has shown amazing restraint with Iran, but he was very clear: if harm came to Americans, he would respond with overwhelming force.
That is what occurred here and I support the President’s decision.
The world is a better place without Soleimani in it.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 3, 2020
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had deemed Soleimani just as dangerous as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself after being cornered by U.S. military in a raid on a compound in Syria.
The State Department announced last April that Iran was responsible for killing 608 U.S. troops during the Iraq War. Soleimani was the head of the Iranian and Iranian-backed forces carrying out those operations, killing American troops. According to the State Department, 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani, reported Fox News.