TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona’s members of Congress are speaking out about President Trump’s decision to attack and kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
Soleimani was the leader of Iran’s Quds Force--- Iran’s main force for spying and terrorism around the world. He was in Baghdad, Iraq when a U.S. drone strike killed him and a leader of an Iraqi militia allied with Iran.
In a tweet the President said in part, “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.” He went on to say Soleimani was hated and feared in Iran.
Republican Senator Martha McSally tweeted: “Qassim Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the Iraq War and hostile activities throughout the Middle East. His pursuit of state-sponsored terror has finally come to an end.”
U.S. Senate Candidate Mark Kelly released a statement on killing of Soleimani: “Soleimani was the architect of a state-sponsored terror operation that targeted and killed U.S. servicemembers and led to the deaths of countless civilians. It’s good that he’s dead. The priority right now must be to ensure the safety of all Americans at home and in the region, particularly our troops, diplomats, and intelligence officers serving abroad."
Democratic members of Arizona’s Congressional delegation were generally critical of the strike and concerned about whether the Trump Administration considered the Iranian retaliation expected to follow.
Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema said in a statement: “"The country deserves, and the administration must provide, a coherent effective strategy to safeguard our national security. My highest priority is the safety of Arizona families. Soleimani was a terrorist and I stand with all Arizonans in honoring the Americans killed and harmed by his actions. Iran’s aggression should be checked and we must protect all Americans at home and abroad."
Southern Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva said: “While Trump golfs at his private club in Florida, his reckless actions have endangered the lives of American diplomats and servicemembers around the world, dramatically escalated tensions in the Middle East, and raised the likelihood of another endless war in the region. From his decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal to his warmongering advisors in the White House, President Trump has made the decision to forgo diplomacy and pursue a disastrous foreign policy toward Iran. Time and time again, President Trump has proven himself to be guided by erratic impulses over thoughtful leadership. Congress has not authorized war with Iran, and we will not allow President Trump to lead us into another endless war in the Middle East.”
Southern Arizona Representative Ann Kirkpatrick said Soleimani was clearly an enemy of the United States but questioned whether President Trump failed to consider broader consequences of the attack and said the President overstepped his authority to use military force.
She said: “Qasem Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of Americans and horrendous violence around the world. But without Middle East strategy or even the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran, the assassination of Soleimani has drastically escalated conflict with Iran — bringing us closer to a senseless war.
It’s time for Congress to be fully briefed and intervene to determine what our Iran policy is. Congress must introduce legislation to establish a new AUMF that can govern any future decisions regarding the conflicts in the Middle East. The current AUMF has been inappropriately used to justify American military actions in the region.”