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Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani helped oversee Iran’s policy of state-sponsored terrorism that killed and injured thousands of people in the Mideast, and his death from a U.S drone strike early Friday was justified — and long overdue, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes said Friday.

“Iran better not do anything more or we will strike you again. I mean, this guy got away with this for way too long.”U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes
Photo of Devin Nunes

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes

But U.S. Rep. Jim Costa said other Americans may now be in “grave danger” after President Donald Trump authorized the general’s death.

And U.S. Rep. TJ Cox said the president must consult with Congress before taking any further action in the Middle East, where tensions are ratcheting ever higher.

Perhaps not surprisingly, support or opposition for Trump’s decision fell along party lines.

Praise or Pan? It’s Political

Nunes, R-Tulare — a longtime Trump supporter and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee — said in an interview on KMJ Radio that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force that Soleimani commanded had moved explosive devices to Iraq during the Gulf War and was responsible for “probably two-thirds” of the U.S. military casualties there. Nunes did not respond to an interview request from GV Wire.

Nunes criticized Democrats for not supporting the president’s decision to kill Soleimani, with some terming it an “assassination.”

“The fact that the Democrats would not be out there saying, thank God — No. 1, thank God this guy is gone. No. 2, Iran better not do anything more or we will strike you again,” Nunes said. “I mean, this guy got away with this for way too long.”

‘Enemy of the United States’

Official congressional portrait of Jim Costa

U.S. Rep. Jim Costa

“He was an enemy of the United States … who deserved to be brought to justice.”U.S. Rep. Jim Costa

Costa, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that Soleimani was correctly characterized as a terrorist who was responsible for many deaths and other casualties around the world. “He was an enemy of the United States … who deserved to be brought to justice,” said Costa, D-Fresno.

But Trump’s decision was made unilaterally without the advance knowledge of U.S. allies in the Mideast and Europe, and apparently without thought for long-term diplomatic solutions, Costa said.

“Our priority is to protect the lives of Americans, many of who are now in grave danger from this action by the President,” Costa said.

“The president has no option but to consult Congress before he takes any other actions, because we must de-escalate before this becomes a full-blown war.”U.S. Rep. TJ Cox

U.S. Rep. TJ Cox

Congress Must Not Be Bypassed

Cox said partisan politics are not the issue. The Trump administration has thus far not provided Congress with either clear objectives or alternatives to an escalation of military force, which also weren’t provided the last time America was “drawn into an unending war,” the Fresno Democrat said in a statement.

He noted that sailors from Lemoore Naval Air Station and other military personnel from the Valley could wind up on the front lines of combat.

“For their safety and for the safety of all Americans, Congress must authorize the use of force when a president brings us to the brink of war,” Cox said. “The president has no option but to consult Congress before he takes any other actions, because we must de-escalate before this becomes a full-blown war.”

Analysis of US Killing of Soleimani

Retired FBI agent and Middle East legal attaché Tom Knowles of Fresno said that the U.S. killing of Soleimani, 62, was an appropriate response by the Trump administration — if the intelligence that said Soleimani planned to kill Americans was correct.

“We, as citizens, have to believe our intelligence is accurate,” Knowles said. “If it’s true, this was the appropriate message to send. It’s a message that says to Iran and anyone filling (Soleimani’s) position that they would have to think twice about attacking us.”

However, Knowles warned that it would be a mistake to underestimate “the influence and sphere” of the Iranian government in the Middle East.

“From the counter-terrorism side, there’s always been a big concern about a direct confrontation with Iran because of the reach of Hezbollah and the number of sleeper Hezbollah members around the world,” he said. “The unknown question is whether those sleeper members who continue to financially and mentally support Hezbollah would, if ordered, engage locally (in terrorism).”

More Troops Heading to Mideast

Photo of a boy holding a portrait of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in the U.S. airstrike in Iraq

A boy carries a portrait of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, prior to the Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday Jan. 3, 2020. Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation” for the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed Tehran’s top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Thousands of additional U.S. troops are heading to the Mideast after Soleimani, 62, and nine others were killed Friday morning in an attack on his convoy at the Baghdad International Airport.

Soleimani was commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force and described as among the most important leaders of Iran, second only to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The U.S. Department of Defense said Soleimani was killed because he was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the Mideast region. He also was responsible for a Dec. 27 rocket attack at a coalition base in Iraq that killed an American contractor and wounded other Americans and Iraqis and for the attack earlier this week on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the Defense Department said.

Americans Told to Leave Iraq

The embassy, which was closed after the attack, on Friday urged all American citizens to depart Iraq immediately.

Meanwhile, the head of the Washington, D.C.-based National Iranian American Council said Soleimani’s killing is an “assassination” that puts the region, and the world, at even greater risk of violence.

Hardliners in Tehran will see it as an act of war and argue forcefully for Iran to respond with violence, NIAC President Jamal Abdi said. While acknowledging that Soleimani bore responsibility for many deaths — he was accused of supporting terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel and Houthi rebels in Yemen — “yet that is neither an authorization for a war nor a just cause for starting one,” Abdi said in a statement.

2 Responses

  1. Mary Helen Barro

    Why didn’t you include Rep. Kevin McCarthy. If McCarthy did not respond to your request for a response, don’t let him off the hook. Report to the public that he either responded or did not respond.

    Reply
  2. David LaMattina

    You know what I truly want to tell you people who are interested in impeachment for the way Donald Trump is as our President and Commander in Chief for the American People, seriously the next time you think about opening your mouth for anything think of this I am a retired Army Ranger and Furthermore ex Navy Seal and I will be the first to say this he has been elected into this position by the American People so SERIOUSLY do your country a solid and support his decision cause you know what how many of you were in the military and how many people in the house have fought overseas and I know you haven’t so if he wants to kill a leader for them I say let him do it I would have loved to hit that button for real Sir. And Furthermore if you aren’t the boots on ground and you are telling him how to run our country seriously sit down cause you know what I remember voting for him and not you and Furthermore this is his country to run so SERIOUSLY sit the f__k Down and let him do his job cause you know what I am tired of stupid people like you who think to a solider that that what you say means anything to me it doesn’t have any bearing on my shoulders so you can either stand by your president or pack up and move out of America cause we don’t want you here either especially the ones who only know to whine and cry to get there way seriously grow a pair come switch places with a Veteran who is active and you tell me after you get in a IED that he didn’t do the right thing. Bet you won’t say he had to go after you are engaged with the enemy for a hour or so you will only wonder why Afghanistan and Iraq isn’t turned into a parking lot already for real Bush should have done that for us but you know what I did 13years and deployed 8 times overseas so I know what I speak of to be what I would do so you know what stand by your president and his actions or pack up and leave cause we don’t want you anymore SERIOUSLY you only ever got something to say as a group but never do you speak up while standing alone so Donald Trump do your thing Sir and Furthermore you need help I’d love to.

    Reply

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