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In an interview with Fox News, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) expressed his disapproval of President Trump’s ordered drone strike in Iran that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
Around the internet, fears of World War III have been trending, notably with Actor Rose McGowan apologizing to Iran, tweeting, “Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani“
The Iranian Foreign Minister also condemned the action, saying, “The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.
The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 3, 2020
The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.
Soleimani was widely considered the second more powerful in Iran, second to only Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. However, some in the US think, Soleimani is responsible for orchestrating attacks on US troops.
As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox, “Qassem Soleimani has the blood of Americans on his hands, Bret, as does the force that he leads, and America is determined each time we find an organization, institution or an individual that has taken the lives of Americans, it is our responsibility.”
Most Republicans, on the other hand, praised Trump’s show of strength.
“At a time when the president is under impeachment by the Democrats, there’s nothing wrong with him showing strength and resolve in the face of a foreign threat,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.
In the interview, Rand Paul said he was concerned about the lack of an official declaration of war from Congress, despite the likelihood that the conflict will escalate.
“I think without a declaration of war, without Congress and the American people behind it, what you get is a messy mission, a mission of escalating intermittent violence that has no purpose or plan. And the country has not been told to be united, the president said that he did not want to perpetual war in the Middle East, but is adding more and more troops. If you do not want war, you do not send more targets over there.”
As for whether or not Trump had started a war, the Senator commented, ” If you can say that it was an assassination, which is an act of violence, not an act of war, what happens when Iran responds and kills our soldiers? Will that be an active war? In the past when the president has sent people to Congress saying war exists, they don’t ask to declare war, they say a state of war exists. So I think that that may be what happens. If the response to this is an excessive and unfortunate attack on U.S. Soldiers, I think that the state of war will exist.”
His biggest fear though, was the possibility for escalation and war.
“I think that there will be an escalation and a war with Iran. As we look at this, it’s hard to see diplomacy going forward in any form or fashion. And there has not been correct fighting between the Iranian militias and us. It is a very messy situation over there, but people want to ignore that the Iranian militias, for all of their harm — and they have attacked Americans in the Iraqi war, but they have been concerned with the same thing we have had which is ISIS.”
He also commented on how “the door has completely shut on diplomacy” and talks were very unlikely to happen with Iran now that Soleimani had been killed.
“I fear that the Iranians will escalate this, and the president has shown prudence in the past, and I think he will keep the option of diplomacy open, but I think the door has completely shut on diplomacy because I do not see any avenue or any way that talks could begin again. And I have been one in favor of talks. But I think unfortunately diplomacy is dead in the Middle East he ran.”
Similarly, the top 2020 Presidential election contenders slammed Trump’s decision to order the drone strikes that killed Soleimani.
“President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,” said former Vice President Joe Biden.
According to Reuters, “[the] protracted conflict could reshape an election that has so far been dominated by domestic issues, such as healthcare and money in politics […] While that could be a plus for the leading Democratic candidates such as Biden, who has stressed his foreign policy experience and credentials, lesser-known contenders could have a harder time being heard.”
“He [Soleimani] has exported global terrorism, and he has blood of American troops on his hands. He has killed hundreds of American troops,” she said.
She called out the Washington Post, who referred to General Soleimani as “revered.”
Breaking news: Airstrike at Baghdad airport kills Iran’s most revered military leader, Qasem Soleimani, Iraqi state television reports https://t.co/NbZW4DaWvD— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 3, 2020
“He should not be revered and The Washington Post should apologize and should retract that statement,” Stefanik said.
Ultimately though, it boils down to this: Was General Soleimani responsible for the deaths of Americans? Can he be considered a terrorist? Did the benefits of killing him outweigh the effects of heightened conflict with Iran? And, in the long run, will this move save or cost American lives?
Republicans generally saw Soleimani as a terrorist and his assassination as a show of strength in the US and a good thing.
Democrats condemn the assassination because of the heightened risk of war, though some see Soleimani as a terrorist, while some see him as more neutral.
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