EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Democratic members of Congress who represent border communities fear the American airstrike that killed an Iranian general in Iraq will raise tensions in the Middle East and endanger U.S. citizens worldwide. They also resent that President Trump did not consult Congress.
“While Trump golfs at his private club in Florida, his reckless actions have endangered the lives of American diplomats and service members around the world, escalated tensions in the region and raised the likelihood of another endless war in the Middle East,” said U.S. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Arizona.
El Paso’s U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, was among lawmakers who on Friday wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper demanding an immediate briefing to Congress.
“We write to express grave concerns over (Thursday’s) U.S. strike in Baghdad, authorized by the President, which resulted in the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani,” says the letter co-signed by Escobar, who sits in the House Armed Services Committee. “This extreme escalation, undertaken without Congressional consultation or approval, greatly endangers American troops, diplomats and allies throughout the region.”
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) added: “No American will mourn the death of Qasem Soleimani. His reign of terror has come to a just end. However, this strike is not only an escalation, but an action that will likely be met with retaliation and possibly foment another war in the Middle East.”
Soleimani led the so-called Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He was killed along with some Iraqi military officers by a missile strike that struck Baghdad International Airport. The Trump administration said he engineered attacks against American troops and allies for years.
But the Democratic lawmakers said a potential war with Iran would come “at great cost to U.S. national security interests and grave risk to the men and women” who serve in the armed forces and diplomatic corps.
U.S. Reps. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Arizona, left, Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Veronica Escobar, D-Texas.
Only U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, the other member of Congress who represents El Paso, expressed support for the President’s decision to green-light the airstrike.
“To my colleagues condemning this decision: the Iranian regime is the culprit, not the victim. They are still the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism and have killed hundreds of thousands, including U.S. troops and over 1,500 of their own people for peacefully protesting,” Hurd said in a series of tweets Friday.
He noted that Soleimani headed “the most dangerous and well-armed terrorist organization in the world, and that the President’s order was an appropriate response to Iran, which was the party that’s been escaling tensions in the region.
“No one wants another war in the Middle East, but we can’t give the Iranian regime cover for further aggression. We must protect American lives and our shared interests with our Sunni Arab and Israeli partners and support the Iranian people in their quest for freedom,” Hurd said.