Press TV – US Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has condemned President Donald Trump for ordering the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, warning that the killing will destabilize the region and puts the US on the path to another war.
Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress expressed outrage over Trump’s ordered strike, saying the Republican president did not obtain congressional approval.
Perhaps the most forceful condemnation came from Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats.
“When I voted against the war in Iraq in 2002, I feared it would lead to greater destabilization of the region,” Sanders tweeted on Thursday. ‘That fear unfortunately turned out to be true.”
“The US has lost approximately 4,500 brave troops, tens of thousands have been wounded, and we’ve spent trillions [in Iraq],” Sanders added.
“Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars. Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.”
Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were killed in US airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad early on Friday.
The US strike took place at the Baghdad International Airport, killing eight other people.
The IRGC confirmed in a statement that Soleimani and al-Muhandis were martyred in the attack carried out by US helicopters. The Iraqi pro-government group also confirmed the incident.
The US Defense Department confirmed the strike, saying it came “at the direction of the president”.
US lawmakers slam Trump for ordering assassination of top Iranian General
US Senator Cory Booker, who like Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate, expressed concern that the consequences of such a strike were not well thought out.
“This is not something that should be done on impulse,” Booker told CNN Thursday night. “It should be done in a larger strategic vision and understanding what the consequences could be in taking out this significant—assassinating someone of such a significant leadership role in Iran.”
US Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress expressed outrage over Trump’s ordered strike, saying the Republican president did not obtain congressional approval.
“We cannot put the lives of American servicemembers, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions,” said US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was the first White House contender to react to the strike, tweeting: ‘War with Iran is the last thing we need and is not the will of the American people. We should be acting to deescalate tensions and protect our people in the region.’
The assassination came as the US military said on Sunday it had carried out strikes in western Iraq against the Kataib Hezbollah group, which is part of the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units.
Iraqi security sources said at least 25 fighters were killed and at least 55 wounded following the air attacks.
Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called the move a “dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region” in a statement on Sunday.
Abdul Mahdi said US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had called him about half an hour before the US raids to tell him of the US intentions to hit Kataib Hezbollah’s bases. He said he asked Esper to call off US plans.
The US raids drew a wave of condemnation from officials and movements across the region, and triggered furious public protests outside the US embassy in Baghdad.