WASHINGTON — A day after a U.S. airstrike in Iraq killed Iranian General Qasem Suleimani, lawmakers say the U.S. needs to prepare for retaliation from Iran.
“I think we ought to be very careful here,” Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., said. “We haven’t given the president authorization to use military force, to take us to war with Iran.”
Congressman Bera who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says the United State’s next move in unclear. “I would take the Iranian threats of retaliation seriously,” he said. “This puts us in a very precarious position.”
Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump say the strike on Suleimani was justified. They say he was planning imminent attacks on American officials and allies.
“It was the time to take this action to disrupt this plot,” Pompeo said. “The risk of doing nothing was enormous.”
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He says Congress was left in the dark on the decision to kill Suleimani. “We certainly do not want, nor is there any authorization for an all-out war against Iran,” Garamendi said.
He says most lawmakers want to avoid escalating violence. “We have taken specific steps to limit that,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone’s itching for an all out conflict with Iran,” Rep. Doug Lamalfa, R-Calif., said. “I think over time we can still reach the people inside Iran.”
Republican Rep. Lamalfa favors outreach to help mobilize Iranian citizens unhappy with their country’s leaders but hasn’t ruled out supporting military action.
“Congress is required to vote on it,” he said. “I’ll be very conscientious on what that vote is going to be.”
The administration plans to brief Congress on the attack early next week.