A lot of foreign-policy wonks and elected officials responded to last night’s strike that killed Qasem Soleimani with an “on the one hand, on the other hand,” tone — expressing satisfaction that a man with blood of so many innocent people and U.S. soldiers on his hands had been killed, but concern for the ramifications of the act.
But not everyone. Here is the statement from House speaker Nancy Pelosi, in its entirety:
“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American servicemembers, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions. 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.”
“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.”
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region.”
From her statement, you would think that Soleimani was just another Iranian military commander.
Regarding Pelosi’s claim that the strike was not authorized, she’s just flat out wrong. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps was designated a terrorist group in April. This was not a strike in Iran, it was a strike in Iraq. There is no doubt about Soleimani’s connection to attacks on Americans, both recently and going back years. Literally, the Iran-backed militiamen who attacked the U.S. Embassy Baghdad wrote “Soleimani is our leader” on the wall. Under the authorization of military force passed by Congress in 2001, “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”