Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed concern Thursday night that President Trump’s decision to kill Iranian general Qassim Soleimani was made recklessly and without regard to the possible forms of Iranian retaliation.
“The Administration’s statement says that its goal is to deter future attack by Iran, but this action almost certainly will have the opposite effect,” Biden said in a lengthy statement on Twitter. “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.”
Biden conceded that Soleimani deserved to die for the death and destruction he’s wrought as commander of the elite Quds Force, but voiced fears that the “administration has not demonstrated at any turn the discipline or long-term vision necessary — and the stakes could not be higher.”
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Following the airstrike that killed Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at the Baghdad airport, the Pentagon said in a statement that the strike was “aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
Appearing on CNN Friday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision was made on an “intelligence-based assessment” that Soleimani was plotting “imminent threats to American lives.” Pompeo also emphasized that the U.S. remained committed to “deescalation” with Iran and asserted that “Americans in the region are much safer today” with Soleimani dead.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the airstrike ordered to kill top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani "saved American lives." Pompeo said earlier this morning the decision to eliminate Soleimani was in response to "imminent threats to American lives." https://t.co/S9VYrZNDv9 pic.twitter.com/RL2eEQfGfq
— CNN (@CNN) January 3, 2020
Biden has sparred with the White House over foreign policy before. During an interview in October, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner responded to Biden’s claims that he was unqualified to serve in the administration by saying much of his job “has actually been cleaning up the messes that Vice President Biden left behind.”
Asked on 60 Minutes specifically about Kushner’s handling of foreign policy on behalf of the president, Biden responded, “What credentials does he bring to that?”
Kushner later replied by arguing that Biden’s own record on foreign policy was questionable.
“We inherited an ISIS caliphate, Iran was strong, Libya was a mess and a lot of our allies felt abandoned. We worked very hard over the last three years to try and rebuild the Middle East and to put it in a much more stable framing,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also released a statement in the wake of the attack, saying that the strike “risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence,” and demanding that “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.”
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. https://t.co/o0R8YVJMNW
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 3, 2020