Senator Ted Cruz wants Democrats to publicly declare their feelings on the Trump Administration’s mission to kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, and his office reports that they have constructed and are circulating a Senate resolution praising the attack.
According to Fox News, Cruz wants Senate Democrats — including a handful of contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — to go on the record on where they stand regarding Soleimani, particularly given that many have expressed concerns and reservations in the wake of the drone strike that left Solemani and a handful of Iranian and Iraqi military officials dead.
Per the senator’s aides who spoke to Fox News on Friday, Cruz’s resolution is “structured and worded the same way as a 2011 resolution commending the Obama Administration” for locating and eliminating terror mastermind and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The resolution, the outlet says, praises “the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Qasem Soleimani.”
Cruz has been a staunch defender of the Administration’s decision to target Soleimani — a decision that President Donald Trump said came about because the intelligence community reported that Soleimani, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of members of the United States military in several Middle East conflicts, was planning “imminent and sinister attacks” against American interests inside Iraq. The head of Iran’s Qud’s Force, the president added, was looking to destabilize Iraq.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion,” Trump said Friday. “[W]hat the U.S. did yesterday should have been done long ago.”
Democrats have, to no one’s surprise, been critical of Trump’s decision, sounding the alarm of “World War III” and accusing the Administration of failing to have a long-term plan following the strike or considering the consequences of eliminating a major player in Middle East conflict.
Several Democrats, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), have accused Trump of “assassinating” a “government official” in violation of international conventions and have vowed to exercise control over Trump’s mission and any further military actions. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has pledged to introduce a Senate resolution of his own, cutting the Trump Administration off from pursuing any further action against Iran until a new “use of force” authorization can be drafted and approved by Congress (something rather unlikely given the partisanship in Congress and particularly in the Democrat-controlled House).
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are reportedly drafting their own competing resolution to Cruz’s, also condemning the Trump Administration’s decision to engage in a “war” with Iran.
“The Senate must not let this President march into another war in the Middle East without debate and authorization from Congress,” Durbin tweeted on Saturday. “Yesterday I joined @timkaine to introduce a resolution preventing Pres. Trump from starting a war with Iran all on his own.”
Kaine added that Congress should “stop President Trump from entangling America in yet another unnecessary war in the Middle East.”
So far, a more intense conflict has not materialized, and experts are quick to point out that there is much room between a few strategic attacks and an all-out global war, headlined by a conflict between the United States and Iran. Iran has, reportedly, continued a string of air attacks on U.S. military bases in Iraq — missile strikes have been ongoing in that region for some months.