CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS DECRY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S PROVOCATIVE ASSASSINATION OF IRANIAN GENERAL AT BAGDAD AIRPORT

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[Western Asia\Iran]
Senator Tim Kaine: "As I have warned for years, Trump’s decision to tear up a diplomatic deal that was working and resume escalating aggressions with Iran has brought us to the brink of another war in the Middle East...this drastic escalation of hostilities...will increase the threat to American troops, diplomats, and families in the region."
Photo: YouTube

Congressional Democrats are roundly rebuking the Trump Administration's decision to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport--a killing that is already leading to widespread condemnation of America in Iran.

New York Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the following statement on the assassination:

“Qasem Soleimani was the mastermind of immense violence, suffering, and instability. He had the blood of Americans on his hands and I won’t grieve his death. But many will consider him a martyr and I’m deeply concerned about the repercussions of tonight’s strike.

“Iran is the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism. The regime in Tehran and its proxies have global reach that they may use to seek retribution for this strike, endangering the lives of Americans around the world. And we are now again on the brink of direct confrontation in the Middle East. Tonight’s action represents a massive escalation in our conflict with Iran with unpredictable consequences.

“Finally, this strike went forward with no notification or consultation with Congress. To push ahead with an action of this gravity without involving Congress raises serious legal problems and is an affront to Congress’s powers as a coequal branch of government. Even if this strike was in self-defense, no current congressional authorization covered it and the President needs to notify Congress within 48 hours pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. The law requires notification so the President can’t plunge the United States into ill-considered wars. We must also hear without delay from senior officials about this action and their plans to deal with the aftermath.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued this statement on the deadly drone strike:

“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service-members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions. Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America – and the world – cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.

“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress.

The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) issued this statement:

This is a direct antagonization and dangerous escalation that risks the United States entering a conflict unauthorized by Congress. The unending lies told by this president, covered up by further lies and obfuscations from his administration, make it virtually impossible to believe his motivations and explanations for such actions, especially when he refuses to consult the Congress.

“Trump continues to show flagrant disrespect for the system of government our founders set up — one in which Congress is a co-equal branch with specific and exclusive powers, including the power to authorize military action. Now, he does so while threatening any further opportunity to rely on diplomacy to ensure we don’t enter another endless international crisis.”

Today, New York Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said:

“Iran is a dangerous regional actor and Suleimani was its military mastermind. Any action to strike him should have come with serious thought, strategy, and Congressional consultation. Instead, President Trump’s order to assassinate him is an escalation of hostilities that has no apparent strategy behind it. The White House must immediately consult with Congress as required by law. President Trump came into office determined to undermine any strategic efforts toward Iran, starting with dismantling the multilateral joint action plan to address Iran’s nuclear program. Congress must be a check on his reckless posture that puts Americans in danger.”

U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said:

“The assassination of Qassem Soleimani is a massive, deliberate, and dangerous escalation of conflict with Iran,” said Senator Markey.

Soleimani was responsible for assassinations, terrorism, and the deaths of countless, including Americans. But President Trump’s decision will make the United States less safe. Rather than deterring new attacks on American interests as the Administration insists, this killing surely invites them. The President just put the lives of every person in the region – U.S. servicemembers and civilians – at immediate risk without an apparent response and follow-on plan or coordination with our allies. We need de-escalation now. We cannot and must not get drawn into a costly war with Iran.

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, said:

“No matter how good it may feel that Qasem Soleimani is no longer alive, he likely will end up being more dangerous to the United States, our troops, and our allies, as a martyr than as a living, breathing military adversary. There will be reprisals, and Iran will likely target American troops and even our own political and military leaders. This is why the United States does not assassinate leaders of foreign nations—in the end such action risks getting more, not less, Americans killed in the long run.”

“President Trump’s disastrous approach to Iran has, from the beginning, been all tactics and no strategy. They make it up day by day. The assassination of Soleimani fits this pattern. I hope I am wrong, but I suspect this White House is totally unprepared for the cascade of consequences that will follow last night’s actions. I pray for the Americans who, today, are in harm’s way.

“Now, it is up to Congress to press the president to disclose his legal basis for this action and the plan for how our nation manages the fallout. I doubt there is congressional authority for this strike, and I doubt the president has a plan for what comes next. But these are questions Congress must now ask.”

“Congress is the only entity that can authorize military force. President Trump must come immediately to Congress and brief us with details of what imminent threat the administration supposedly was preventing, as well as the diplomatic strategy to avert another military campaign in the Middle East, which would lead to devastating loss in lives and treasure.”

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a co-author of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, said:

President Trump’s decision to kill Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad is a provocative act taken without congressional consultation or authorization, the potential consequences of which are unknown. The Pentagon in its statement characterized the strike as ‘a defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad,’ but the Trump administration’s repeated confrontations with Iran tell a different story.

"Dating to his withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear agreement in 2018, this president has unfailingly raised tensions with Iran, and his latest act puts Americans at risk by all but inviting retaliation against U.S. and allied interests inside and outside of Iraq. There is no imminent threat aside from that which the president has provoked. President Trump should stop the provocations and allow diplomacy to take root.”

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) said:

“Congress must be called into session to debate and pass a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), given that since 2001, the United States has been guided by a broadly written AUMF that has frozen Congress out of conversations related to military engagements across the globe. Many Members of Congress, myself included, have demanded that this be debated publicly and with full transparency, because for far too long Congress has not had the opportunity to weigh in on decisions to commit American troops overseas. This cannot continue!

“Our allies must have awakened this morning fearful. Particularly, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf allies, because while Soleimani was hated by many, many feel that he is a martyr and he has proxies all over the Middle East and Europe. We should immediately harden our embassies and soft targets around the world. The shipping straits in the Gulf are endangered, cyber security is a threat, and clearly in this very complex situation, there are going to be grave consequences. American citizens should be placed on high travel alert.

“This action will only embolden Quds forces, the Iranian guard, Hezbollah, and the popular parliamentary forces that are Shia in Iraq.”

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, (D-VA)  a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, said:

"As I have warned for years, Trump’s decision to tear up a diplomatic deal that was working and resume escalating aggressions with Iran has brought us to the brink of another war in the Middle East. Qassim Suleimani was a despicable killer, but this drastic escalation of hostilities — waging a military attack on Iraqi soil over the objections of that country and without congressional authorization — will increase the threat to American troops, diplomats, and families in the region. Trump's ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has made the region less stable, divided us from key allies, and is driving our adversaries together. Congress must act to stop President Trump from entangling America in yet another unnecessary war in the Middle East.”

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