Rand Paul: U.S. Soldiers ‘Deserve Better’ than Undeclared War with Iran

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) participates in a TV interview outside his office at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill February 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sen. Paul made a move to block a budget deal Thursday as the government will run out of …
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reacted Friday to the U.S.’s deadly airstrike on a top Iranian military commander, stating that it would be “feckless” for the country to wage war against the Islamic regime without Congressional authorization.

“President Trump viscerally understands that the toppling of Saddam Hussein made Iran stronger. Soleimani, like Hussein, was an evil man who ordered the killing of Americans. Yet, the question remains, whether his death will lead to more instability in the Middle East or less,” Paul wrote on Twitter. “The question today is whether the assassination of Soleimani will expand the war to endanger the lives of every American soldier or diplomat in the Middle East?”

“If we are to go to war w/ Iran the Constitution dictates that we declare war. A war without a Congressional declaration is a recipe for feckless intermittent eruptions of violence w/ no clear mission for our soldiers,” the senator added. “Our young men and women in the armed services deserve better.”

The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump.

An airstrike killed Soleimani, architect of Iran’s regional security apparatus, at Baghdad’s international airport Friday, Iranian state television and three Iraqi officials said. The attack is expected to draw severe Iranian retaliation against Israel and American interests.

The Defense Department said Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” It also accused Soleimani of approving the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.

A statement released late Thursday by the Pentagon said the strike on Soleimani “was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”

The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, Iraqi officials said. The PMF media arm said the two were killed in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.

Earlier Friday, President Trump tweeted a statement regarding the strike, suggesting the time had come for the U.S. and Iran to hold talks.

“Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!” the president wrote.

“General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught!” he added. “He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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