Army veteran and amputee Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) at a congressional hearing on Iran this week challenged Democrats to name one fallen U.S. service member in the war on terror whose death does not justify taking out Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani.
“If you walk out this hallway, and you take a right and another right and another right, you’re going to come to several beautiful walls that have the names of our fallen service members from the war on terror. And I would ask, can any of you provide me one name on that wall that does not justify killing Soleimani?” he asked Democrats.
“I got two minutes and 30 seconds. I’ll be more than happy to sit here and wait. Somebody provide me with a name on that wall that does not justify his killing,” he added.
After about 15 seconds of silence, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) tried to get Mast to start speaking. “The gentleman may continue,” he said.
“I’m continuing Mr. Chairman,” Mast responded. “I’ve got two minutes remaining. I will sit here and wait for somebody to provide me with a name on that wall that does not justify the killing of Soleimani.”
After more silence, Engel said, “Thank you, Mr. Mast. I think you have made your point,” and tried to move on.
Mast retorted, “Mr. Chairman, I have not yielded back my time.”
Engel then accused him of “disrupting” the hearing and being “out of order.”
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) then yielded Mast a minute of his time. Mast thanked him.
Members sat in silence for the remainder of his time.
Democrats called the hearing after President Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani, who officials and experts say was responsible for flooding Iraq with lethal weapons that killed more than 600 American soldiers in Iraq.
Democrats have questioned the Trump administration’s rationale for killing Soleimani and whether there was intelligence showing that an attack on American forces in the region was indeed “imminent.”
Mast said at the hearing, “I look at Soleimani as a terrorist machine gun nest, really. He’s been spraying rounds at the U.S. for many years on many different fronts.”
“Just because it was taking a breather to reload — that didn’t mean it wasn’t an imminent threat because it wasn’t literally pushing the button on something,” he added.