Taking a Dangerous Terrorist off the Battlefield
Last week, President Trump made the decision to take Qasem Soleimani — who was the leader of a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization — off the battlefield. Despite some of what you may see in the media, this is a good thing. Soleimani is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, and as Congressman Gallagher noted on Wisconsin Public Radio's The Morning Show, is reported to have been actively plotting to kill more.
Congressman Gallagher, a Marine veteran who twice deployed to Iraq, has discussed the situation with several news outlets. Watch the videos below to see some of his key thoughts.
On Enforcing America's Redline:
"...Iran has systematically escalated and the Trump Administration's response has indeed been very measured. Throughout it all, the President and his advisors said, 'Do not kill Americans.' Soleimani and the Iranians, and the Iranian proxies in Iraq disregarded that redline. This president -- unlike his predecessor -- reenforced that redline. So can we all not unite the country behind this simple idea that if you kill Americans, we will kill you."
On the President's Authority to Strike:
“The President always retains the authority — inherent to Article II — to take defensive action to protect Americans and certainly our troops that are deployed in the region. Those troops are deployed to Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government and pursuant to an AUMF that Congress authorized and has not yet repealed — at least that was the considered legal opinion of the Obama Administration that redeployed troops to Iraq in order to fight ISIS
“Finally I would say these were terrorists...so the President in this case I believe did have the authority to strike. Certainly any sustained operation or sustained ground operation against Iran would require Congressional authorization and I hope we have a debate about the 2002 Iraq AUMF and the 2001 9/11 AUMF and where Congress stands on this going forward.”
On Iran's Weak Position:
"I would further note that Iran is in an increasingly weak position regionally. It's in an increasingly weak position politically and domestically. There are anti-Iran protests in Iraq, in Iran itself, and in Lebanon. So I think we have an opportunity to de-escalate, and Iran should know that we are prepared to respond if our people are threatened."