Qassem Soleimani was one of Iran’s highest-profile military leaders and seen by some as a potential future leader of Iran. He also was the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, a corps the United States has labeled as a terrorist group.
A number of the congressional representatives from Massachusetts weighed in on the airstrike in Iraq in the hours following the attack. Multiple members called the attack “reckless” and emphasized that Congress did not vote to allow the use of military force against Iran.
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Warren, among the Democrats running for the nomination to challenge Trump in the 2020 general election, tweeted in the wake of the attack that she thought it was “reckless.”
Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
Warren followed up with more tweets on Friday.
“We’re on the brink of yet another war in the Middle East—one that would be devastating in terms of lives lost and resources wasted," she wrote in a tweet. "We’re not here by accident. We’re here because a reckless president, his allies, and his administration have spent years pushing us here.”
“Donald Trump ripped up an Iran nuclear deal that was working," she continued. "He’s repeatedly escalated tensions. Now he’s assassinated a senior foreign military official. He’s been marching toward war with Iran since his first days in office—but the American people won’t stand for it.”
“All three of my brothers served in uniform. I know the sacrifices we ask of them and their families. Trump’s actions put every service member and diplomat in the region at risk. This is a moment for vigilance—for Americans to speak up and speak out. No more Middle East wars.”
We’re on the brink of yet another war in the Middle East—one that would be devastating in terms of lives lost and resources wasted. We’re not here by accident. We’re here because a reckless president, his allies, and his administration have spent years pushing us here.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
Senator Ed Markey
Markey is one of only two members of the Massachusetts delegation to have served in the military — he was in the Army Reserve from 1968 to 1973. He may be involved in the follow-up to the attack in his role as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Markey described the killing of Soleimani as “a massive, deliberate, and dangerous escalation of conflict with Iran.”
“Soleimani was responsible for assassinations, terrorism, and the deaths of countless, including Americans," Markey said in a statement. “But President Trump’s decision will make the United States less safe. Rather than deterring new attacks on American interests as the Administration insists, this killing surely invites them. The President just put the lives of every person in the region – U.S. servicemembers and civilians – at immediate risk without an apparent response and follow-on plan or coordination with our allies. We need de-escalation now. We cannot and must not get drawn into a costly war with Iran.”
Markey was also demanding answers from Trump.
“Congress is the only entity that can authorize military force," Markey said in the statement. "President Trump must come immediately to Congress and brief us with details of what imminent threat the administration supposedly was preventing, as well as the diplomatic strategy to avert another military campaign in the Middle East, which would lead to devastating loss in lives and treasure.”
Markey wrote on Twitter that “we will not stand idly by as President Trump drags our country into war.”
No, a president cannot launch a military strike without Congressional authorization.— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) January 3, 2020
No, escalating conflict with Iran does not make Americans safer.
No, we will not stand idly by as President Trump drags our country into war.
No war with Iran. De-escalation now.
Representative Richard Neal
Neal said the airstrike was “done without an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran or the consultation of Congress.”
“That is simply unacceptable,” Neal said in his statement. “Because of this, we are at a dangerous crossroads. The full Congress must be briefed immediately before any other action is taken or any additional troops enter the region. While our highest priority is to protect American lives, we cannot do it at the expense of our service members or those representing us overseas.”
Representative Jim McGovern
In a statement after the strike, McGovern called the attack “a serious and destabilizing escalation that could lead to war.”
“This is a dangerous moment for the United States and the World,” he said in the statement. Like Warren, he also referred to the airstrike as “reckless.”
Representative Lori Trahan
Trahan, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also demanded answers from the administration.
“It’s imperative that the Administration brief Congress on the intelligence that they’ve described as ‘an imminent threat’ to warrant a strike of this magnitude," she said in a statement. “Neither I nor the American people want war with Iran. The Administration’s unilateral decision to escalate conflict with Iran without a cohesive security strategy for the region puts American lives at greater risk – especially our servicemembers and diplomats in the Middle East. The public deserves to know precisely how we’ve come to the brink of armed conflict, and why, if at all, last night’s decision was necessary for our national security.”
Representative Joe Kennedy III
Kennedy sent a short tweet Thursday night from his personal account.
We shouldn’t have gone to war with Iraq then. We shouldn’t go to war with Iran now.— Joe Kennedy III (@joekennedy) January 3, 2020
Kennedy followed up with another tweet Friday morning.
Soleimani was an evil man. He took countless innocent lives. Including Americans.— Joe Kennedy III (@joekennedy) January 3, 2020
But that doesn’t change the fact that a President who was impeached for breaking our laws just moved us closer to war without the consent of the American people.
Representative Katherine Clark
Clark described the situation as “a dangerous escalation in an already chaotic region of the world.”
Soleimani was responsible for horrific violence. But this was a dangerous escalation in an already chaotic region of the world, and it was done without Congress' approval.— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) January 3, 2020
Now this administration must work with Congress to minimize further risk, protect U.S. lives and avoid war. https://t.co/7fZqm4hMNf
Representative Seth Moulton
Moulton is the only member of the Massachusetts delegation to serve on active duty. He did four tours of Iraq as an officer in the Marine Corps and has extensively discussed his military service.
He released a statement after the attack criticizing the Trump administration for having no strategy.
Moulton echoed those sentiments in a tweet Friday afternoon. “This is the biggest escalation of tensions with Iran that I’ve seen in my lifetime, and Trump has no plan," he wrote. "He’s putting us in danger.”
Representative Ayanna Pressley
Pressley also weighed in on Twitter, using the hashtag #NoWarWithIran.
The Occupant was JUST impeached for abuse of power for political gain & now he is leading us to the brink of war because he believes it will help his re-election. We are sick of endless wars. Congress has the sole authority to declare war and we must deescalate. #NoWarWithIran— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) January 3, 2020
Representative Bill Keating
In a statement on Friday, Representative Bill Keating echoed a number of his Democratic colleagues in condemning Soleimani while calling for Trump to brief members of Congress about his Iran strategy.
“No American is going to mourn the loss of Qassim Suleimani, who was responsible for the killing of Americans as well as innocent civilians. The Administration must brief Congress of the legal basis for this action, our coordination with Iraq and our other allies, and most importantly their plan to keep every American service member, diplomat, and civilian oversees - as well as our citizens at home - are safe from retaliation,” Keating said.