U.S. Senators pushed for direct military action against Iran on Sunday after news broke that at least three U.S. soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack carried out by an Iranian-backed terrorist group.
U.S. Central Command said in a statement that “three U.S. service members were killed and 25 injured from a one-way attack [Unmanned Aircraft System] that impacted at a base in northeast Jordan, near the Syria border.” Subsequent reporting said that more than 30 U.S. soldiers were injured in the attack.
President Joe Biden said in a separate statement that the attack was “carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq.”
There was a bipartisan show of support among U.S. senators for the Biden administration to hold Iran directly responsible.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was the most direct in stating what he believes the U.S. should do in response.
“I am calling on the Biden Administration to strike targets of significance inside Iran, not only as reprisal for the killing of our forces, but as deterrence against future aggression,” he said, later adding: “Hit Iran now. Hit them hard.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that Biden’s weakness was “again measured in American lives.”
“We cannot afford to keep responding to this violent aggression with hesitation and half-measures,” he said. “The entire world now watches for signs that the President is finally prepared to exercise American strength to compel Iran to change its behavior. Our enemies are emboldened. And they will remain so until the United States imposes serious, crippling costs – not only on front-line terrorist proxies, but on their Iranian sponsors who wear American blood as a badge of honor.”
“Target Tehran,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), adding that he specifically wanted to see the U.S. target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the IRGC’s Quds Force (IRGC-QF).
“Joe Biden emboldened Iran for years by tolerating attacks on our troops, bribing the ayatollahs with billions of dollars, and appeasing them to no end,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). “He left our troops as sitting ducks and now three are dead and dozens wounded, sadly as I’ve predicted would happen for months. The only answer to these attacks must be devastating military retaliation against Iran’s terrorist forces, both in Iran and across the Middle East.”
“Anything less will confirm Joe Biden as a coward unworthy of being commander-in-chief,” Cotton added.
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) posted on X that “Iran must be held accountable.”
“Yesterday’s deadly attack by Iran-backed militants on U.S. troops in Jordan is reprehensible – and part of a broader pattern of Tehran-enabled aggression across the region,” said Michael Bennet (D-CO). “We must work with our allies and partners to counter Iran’s malign influence.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NV) said, “Those responsible for this horrific attack must be held accountable.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said that Iran was “blatantly questioning U.S. strength” and that “it must end.”
“This is what happens when an administration abandons peace through strength in favor of appeasing the largest state sponsor of terror in the world,” said Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). “The White House must take immediate action, and in doing so, send a clear message to Iran: those who target our brave men and women in uniform will pay the ultimate price.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said that she would work to “ensure that those responsible for attacks on our military are held accountable.”
“It’s time to reestablish deterrence against Iran with a decisive response to these unacceptable strikes,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
“It is time to act with purpose and resolve in response to attacks that have tragically taken the lives of American service members and injured scores more,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). “We must respond to these repeated attacks by Iran & its proxies by striking directly against Iranian targets & its leadership. The Biden administration’s responses thus far have only invited more attacks. It is time to act swiftly and decisively for the whole world to see.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said “enough is enough” and that it was “time for clear and decisive action, and Iran must be held accountable for the malign activities of its proxies.”
“The President needs to order a clear, lethal and overwhelming response that demonstrates to Iran and to the world that whoever targets our men and women in uniform—or supports these attacks—will face the full might of the U.S. military,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK).
“Will Pres Biden finally take decisive action against Iran???” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) posted on X.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) wrote: “Mr. President, it is far past time Iran paid the price for its actions.”
“We must hold Iran accountable for all attacks against Americans, including this one,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) wrote on X: “This is a troubling pattern of Iran-backed groups feeling emboldened and we must hold all of those responsible accountable for attacks on the U.S. and our allies.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blamed Biden directly for the attack on U.S. forces, saying that he “made a Day 1 decision not just to appease the Iranian regime, but indeed to enable the Ayatollah to attack Americans and American interests across the Middle East.”
“They enriched the regime by suspending the enforcement of energy sanctions and looked the other way as Iran built a virtual nuclear arsenal,” he continued. “In recent months Iranian-directed proxies attacked Americans over 170 times across the Middle East, but the Biden administration limited any responses to those proxies.”
“The Trump administration’s liquidation of Qasem Soleimani had established deterrence by shattering the regime’s confidence and signaling that the U.S. would not distinguish between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies,” he continued. “The administration restored the IRGC’s immunity, collapsing that hard-won deterrence. These deliberate, explicit choices by Joe Biden and Biden officials directly led to this weekend’s attack, and they should all be reversed immediately.”