January 6, 2020
Saying that the United States “cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats, and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi castigated President Donald Trump for ordering a January 2 airstrike at Baghdad International Airport in a formal statement issued the same day
Pelosi (D-California) on Thursday said that an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was not authorized and Congress was not consulted on the decision, according to a report by The Hill.
“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,” an irate Pelosi remarked in the statement.
“Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” the top House Democrat said, adding, “Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America—and the world— cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”
Pelosi said that Congress must be briefed on the situation and be informed of the next steps that are being considered.
According to the report by The Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had defended the strike, saying that it was in response to “imminent threats to American lives.”
He said in a CNN interview that Soleimani “was actively plotting in the region to take actions … that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk.”
Iran, meanwhile, has vowed “harsh retaliation” for the airport strike.
The Pentagon announced Thursday that Soleimani had been killed. Iraqi state TV first reported that Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Popular Mobilization Forces, were killed at Baghdad International Airport.
Research contact: @thehill