PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — Members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation are urging the Trump administration to use diplomacy and “de-escalate” to avoid war with Iran, following a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed a top Iranian general.
President Donald Trump said on Friday that the airstrike was necessary to prevent unnecessary loss of life.
“We take comfort knowing his reign of terror is over,” Trump said.
But Sen. Jack Reed believes war with Iran is not inevitable, though the decision will lead to “significant ripple effects” for the United States.
“Now is the time for restraint, diplomacy, and engagement. President Trump should choose that path rather than lurching into another disastrous military conflict in the Middle East,” Reed said in a statement.
“It is hard to see how this contributes to the peace the president claims to want, without some exposition of our strategy or policy,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse added.
Eyewitness News Political Analyst Joe Fleming said the airstrike could impact the upcoming Democratic primary.
“If people see us getting into another war, they may be looking for a Democrat that has foreign policy experience,” Fleming explained.
Rep. David Cicilline is urging the Trump administration to immediately “de-escalate and avoid a deadly conflict with Iran.”
Cicilline also believes Trump should have consulted with Congress before ordering the airstrike.
“There is no question the world is better without [Gen. Qassem] Soleimani, but it’s important to remember we live in a democracy and the responsibility to declare war rests with Congress,” Cicilline said.
Rep. Jim Langevin believes Trump made a “risky calculation,” adding that he is concerned he may have escalated a conflict that could put “our diplomats, civilians, soldiers and allies in direct danger.”
“Amid the aftermath, we must take steps to ensure the safety of American interests and citizens in the region going forward,” Langevin said.
Iran has already vowed harsh retaliation for the airstrike early on Friday that killed Soleimani who had been the architect of its interventions across the Middle East.
Naval War College Professor Marc Genest, an expert on diplomacy and terrorism, believes Iran will likely respond in “asymmetric fashion.”
“It’s a little bit about saber-rattling, what we are doing and saying to the Iranians,” Genest said. “Think carefully before you attack because there will be repercussions.”