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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Strike on Iran general was justified, necessary

The reaction was immediate and hostile by Democrats following President Trump’s authorization of a drone airstrike that killed Iran’s top military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a terrorist responsible for the deaths of American troops fighting in the Middle East.

Fort Wayne was the site of one of more than 70 protests Saturday in cities across the nation organized by groups such as CODEPINK and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. But was Thursday’s killing really a “reckless move” as stated by Elizabeth Warren or “a dangerous escalation” as declared by Bernie Sanders, both Democratic presidential candidates?

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Trump for bringing tensions with Iran “to the point of no return,” saying the airstrike might lead to “further dangerous escalation of violence” and that the action was taken without the full consultation of Congress.

The death of Soleimani was justified, and Trump did not need prior congressional authorization because Iran provoked a radical response and the airstrike took place in an area in which the U.S. was lawfully present.

The Pentagon said the president ordered the strike as a “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel,” accusing Soleimani of “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

And the White House said the president had the authority to strike under “applicable statutes,” specifically, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

Soleimani headed Iran’s elite Quds military force and was one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic.

“We have intelligence that shows that he was planning an imminent attack that would have cost American lives, and today America is more safe than it was yesterday by killing Soleimani,” said Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Banks said Iran had provoked the U.S. by “orchestrating” violent riots by Iraqi Shiites last week at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad following U.S. airstrikes on Iran-backed militia in Iraq in response to a militia rocket attack that killed an American contractor.

“That should put anyone else on notice that if you put American lives at risk that we will retaliate and hopefully make it less likely that another endless war will occur,” Banks said.

The partisan divide on this action is much more pronounced than the responses by Republicans when Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 by order of then-President Barack Obama. No one asked whether the attack on the man behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. was warranted. And we stand with those who agree that taking out Soleimani was likewise the right thing to do.

Indiana’s Republican senators, Todd Young and Mike Braun, echoed Banks’ support of Trump’s action.

We certainly don’t think such actions should be taken lightly or without accountability to Congress or the American public. And it is the responsibility of our representatives to question the ramifications of the attack – Iran has vowed to retaliate.

So will Soleimani’s death prompt another war in the Middle East? We think not. Remember, Trump authorized precision strikes against Syria in 2017 and 2018 in retaliation for the apparent chemical attacks on towns in their own country. We have not gone to war with Syria.

A Washington Times editorial stated taking out Soleimani “was a necessary act of deterrence that put Iran in its place. Iran has much more to lose from a war with the U.S., and now Iran knows that any action it takes will be met with severe consequences.”

We share that sentiment.