House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff are among the Democrats condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to take out the Iranian Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani.
Their reaction stands in stark contrast to the praise Republican leaders offered in 2011 when President Barack Obama green-lit the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
A statement released by the Defense Department on Thursday noted Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region” and he and his Quds Force were “responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”
“He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months — including the attack on December 27th — culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week,” the Pentagon said.
At Trump’s direction, Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, were killed in the strike, along with five others, according to Iraqi officials.
How did the nation’s top Democrats react to the news?
Pelosi, Schumer and Schiff said Trump had no authorization to act despite being commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces.
“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,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday night.
Schumer and Schiff also hit the president for not seeking Congress’ permission.
“The operation against Soleimani in Iraq was conducted … without specific authorization and any advanced notification or consultation with Congress,” Schumer said Friday on the Senate floor.
“The need for advance consultation and transparency with Congress was put in the Constitution for a reason, because the lack of advanced consultation and transparency with Congress can lead to hasty and ill-considered decisions,” he added.
Meanwhile, Schiff tweeted, “But Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran.”
Can you really blame Trump for not consulting with three people who hold such ill will toward him and are always seeking to undermine his administration?
They are willing to impeach and remove him from office based on hearsay while not even alleging he committed any sort of crime.
Political advantage against the president seems to be all they care about.
Contrast the Democratic response to the death of Soleimani with how Republican leaders received word of bin Laden’s death in 2011.
“This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against Al Qaeda and radical extremism around the world,” then-House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement, according to Politico.
“I want to congratulate — and thank — the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success,” he said.
“I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President [George W.] Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice,” the Ohio Republican added.
Then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered similar praise.
“The death of Osama bin Laden marks a long-awaited end to the work of the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks,” McConnell said.
“No one who remembers the horror of that day can help but feel relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead,” he said.
“This is a great victory in the war on terror and for all who have worked so tirelessly over the years to thwart the monstrous designs of this madman and his disciples,” the Kentucky senator added.
Unlike Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman at the time, Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan, also celebrated the news.
“Any time you can take an operational leader or an inspirational leader, of which I argue [bin Laden] was both, off the battlefield, it is a great day for our national security,” Rogers told reporters.
The congressman elaborated, saying, “The added benefit of Osama bin Laden is that somebody who was the mastermind of slaughtering 3,000 people is brought to justice.”
“Think of the psychological impact to al-Qaida operatives everywhere that the United States will be patient, we will be diligent and we will reach out and touch you where we find you if you are risking the lives of our United States citizens or our allies,” Rogers said.
Everything the lawmaker said about the killing of bin Laden can be transposed on to Soleimani.
The very fact he was taken out in Baghdad while meeting with the Iranian-backed militia leader responsible for the death of an American last week and the attack on the U.S. embassy this week only strengthens the case that Trump’s order to neutralize him was justified.
There can be little doubt that if the militia had broken through the embassy’s defenses into the central compound, the deaths of Americans — or perhaps their kidnapping, as in Tehran in 1979 — would have been their objective.
Appearing on CNN on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained that Trump’s decision to authorize the killing of Soleimani was due to an “imminent” threat, based on actionable intelligence, to Americans’ lives.
“The American people should know that President Trump’s decision to remove Qasem Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives,” Pompeo said.
“He was actively plotting in the region to take actions, a big action, as he described it, that would have put have put dozens, if not hundreds, of American lives at risk,” he said.
Imagine if Trump had not taken out Soleimani knowing he had the opportunity, and many American lives were lost because of it.
Not only would it have been morally wrong for the president not to act, but one can easily imagine a new leak from a “whistleblower” on the National Security Council staff or within the CIA, alleging Trump had failed in his responsibilities as commander in chief and now Americans are dead.
Soleimani was designated as a terrorist by the U.S. government in 2007. His malign activity against America goes back decades.
Trump made the right call, and once again Democrats are showing they care more about politics than the welfare of the country and its citizens.
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