WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, supports President Donald Trump’s decision to kill the head of an Islamic group the United States designates as a foreign terrorist organization. And the president of Iran said his country will take revenge.
The U.S. Department of Defense issued a release Thursday saying the U.S. military killed Qasem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force in Iran. The strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans, the department said.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the release said. “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”
The department said Mr. Soleimani had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months, including an attack on Dec. 27, which resulted in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel.
The president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, issued a statement Friday morning.
“The flag of General Soleimani in defense of the country’s territorial integrity and the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region will be raised, and the path of resistance to US excesses will continue,” the Iranian president said in the statement. “The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.”
In a statement of support on Friday, Stefanik said Soleimani was responsible for exporting terrorism around the world and targeting American troops.
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“President Trump is reaffirming the proven doctrine of Peace Through Strength,” she said in the statement. “Iran was given multiple warnings and instead chose to continue to escalate tensions and threaten US troops and diplomats. The era of leading from behind with pallets of cash is over. Every American should thank our brave men and women in uniform and our Intelligence Community who executed this successful mission.”
21st Congressional District Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb of Canton released the following statement Friday afternoon:
“Qasem Soleimani is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, including hundreds of Americans. However, our actions have long-term ramifications that have escalated tensions in the region. The consequences of this mission remain largely unknown, but we are already anticipating retaliation. Congress, and Elise Stefanik in particular, as a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence Committee must ensure this Administration puts together a coalition of allies and exhausts all diplomatic efforts before moving forward. The lives of American troops, diplomats and innocent civilians are on the line.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand offered similar advice to the Trump administration:
“Gen. Soleimani was directly responsible for the deaths of many Americans and our allies. But rather than making America and the world safer, President Trump’s impulsive actions have instead moved us closer to war.
“Without seeking congressional authorization or presenting any coherent or clear strategy, President Trump ordered military action that may precipitate another armed conflict in the Middle East. Escalating military actions against Iran has put our service members and Americans abroad in grave risk of retaliation by Iran and its proxies. It is troubling that Americans serving our country have been put in harm’s way again because President Trump did not carefully consider the devastating consequences of war with Iran before ordering this strike.
“Time and again, this president has acted recklessly and without strategy, escalating military risk, breaking his own promises, ignoring the precedent of the last two decades of war, disregarding allies, and throwing away our diplomatic wins. He has allowed North Korea to grow bolder with its nuclear ambitions, abandoned our Kurdish allies in Northern Syria, bullied Ukraine for political gain and has brought us to the brink of war with Iran. This reckless approach to national security and foreign affairs cannot be allowed to continue.
“President Trump must notify Congress immediately and seek authorization based on a clear explanation of the goals of military action, our adversaries and the countries where our service members would be sent into conflict. The Trump administration must brief Congress immediately on any military plans and what steps are being taken to safeguard Americans. And Congress must exercise its constitutional authority before it is too late.”