One day after a successful pre-emptive defensive strike took out Iran’s top exporter of terror, Qassim Soleimani, the US State Department and President Trump are arguing that the strike was necessary to save American lives.
US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tells Sky News the US “made the decision that the risk of keeping Qassem Soleimani alive was a much greater risk than taking him out.”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 3, 2020
Ortagus stated: “We killed a terrorist yesterday.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike was designed to disrupt Soleimani’s plots, deter further plotting by Iran, and de-escalate tensions with Iran.
For more on Soleimani and his past go here.
President Trump justifies the strike
President Trump issued a statement justifying the strike:
General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more… but got caught!
“He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!”
In his first official appearance since Soleimani’s death, President Trump answered his critics with, “We took action to stop a war, not to start a war.”
Neither Bush nor Obama went after Soleimani
Neither President Bush or President Obama tried to take Soleimani out during their tenure. Bush thought it was too risky, and Obama wanted to improve relations with Iran. So, Soleimani continued his terrorist activities unopposed by the US until President Trump. Some described Soleimani as worse than Bin Laden or Al Baghdadi.
Senator Mitch McConnell justified the attack
Senator Mitch McConnell briefed the Senate and explained why Soleimani was such a threat, saying, “Soleimani made it his life’s work to take the Iranian revolutionary calls for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” and turned them into action.” McConnel called Soleimani’s actions destabilizing for the entire middle east.
Democrats assert that the President needed congressional authorization
Unsurprisingly, the Democrats are criticizing President Trump, saying that he should have gotten authorization before taking Soleimani out. 2020 candidate Tulsi Gabbard said that the strike was an act of war against Iran and hadn’t been authorized by Congress. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer, and Pete Buttigieg echoed similar opinions.
But the war in Iraq, where Soleimani was killed, was authorized by Congress in 2001 by an almost unanimous vote.
The preamble of the ‘‘Authorization for Use of Military Force’’ states:
Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were
committed against the United States and its citizens; and
Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that
the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect
United States citizens both at home and abroad; and
Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign
policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence;
Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary
threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United
Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to
take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism
against the United States:
IRGC and Qods designated Terrorist organization
Obviously, the president has a duty to defend Americans against terrorism, and Soleimani was a terrorist. Indeed, the president designated “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act” on April 8, 2019. Soleimani was the Iranian Quds Force commander.
Congress approved the War on Terror long ago, and the strike on Soleimani was another action in that war. The strike was not a declaration of war, it was just another action in an ongoing war against terrorism. Congress could amend the authorization, but, Congress is too busy with impeachment to worry about re-visiting the Authorization of Military Force.
Senator Lindsay Graham justifies the attack
Senator Lindsey Graham was asked if the president should have consulted Congress before the strike against Soleimani. He responded that that would be the last thing the president should do.
Graham emphasized that the strike against Soleimani was not an act of revenge, but a pre-emptive defensive strike to disrupt Soleimani’s plans to attack Americans. Graham also said that Soleimani is dead today because he miscalculated what President Trump would do.
Graham advised that the US needs to let Iran know what will happen if they try to retaliate. He said that if the Iranians know what we will do, it will moderate their response.
Graham also warned that Iran has armed Iraqi Shiite militias and that the Iraqi government is in danger of being destabilized by Iranian influence.
Iran threatens “crushing” revenge
Iran’s Supreme leader Khameini is threatening “crushing revenge.” He is portraying Soleimani as a martyr. More to come.
Is a war with Iran next?
Fox News contributor Walid Phares suggests that Iran is not ready for a war with the US.