House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday in the wake of President Trump’s decision to order a strike against a top Iranian general and regional troublemaker did not go through Congress.
“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran,” Pelosi said in a statement after the Pentagon confirmed the strike had killed him.
“Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” Pelosi added.
The Quds Force reports directly to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. It is a unit within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that serves to gather intelligence and supports Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Hamas, Yemen’s Houthis, and a variety of Shia militia groups in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Pelosi noted that the incident could provoke “further dangerous escalation of violence” and added that “America–and the world–cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike was necessary because Soleimani was plotting a major attack, adding that the U.S. was aware of “imminent threats to American lives.”
On Friday Pompeo, the former CIA director, told CNN Soleimani “was actively plotting in the region to take actions … that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk.”
Also Friday, President Donald Trump wrote that the general has killed or wounded thousands of Americans over the years.
What’s more, Soleimani “was plotting to kill many more…but got caught” and “was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number,” the president said.
“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,” he wrote.
Trump’s allies in Congress praised the move. They include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Soleimani “had American blood on his hands,” and he welcomed what he called Trump’s “bold action against Iranian aggression,” Graham wrote.
“To the Iranian government: If you want more, you will get more,” Graham said.
I appreciate President @realDonaldTrump’s bold action against Iranian aggression. To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2020