Virginia’s senators have handled with steady professionalism President Donald Trump’s order of a drone strike against Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, one of the most prominent and deadly military leaders in the Middle East, last week.
It is arguably Trump’s most consequential act in office, and Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have raised thoughtful, measured questions about how it happened and what comes next — questions with resonance in Hampton Roads, home to tens of thousands of military personnel and their families.
Soleimani led the Quds force, the network of Iranian militias responsible for decades of death and destruction throughout the region. Quds fighters caused or provoked much of the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq and Syria and were responsible for a deadly type of improvised explosive that killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers.
Americans need not shed a tear at Soleimani’s demise — it was a fitting end for someone soaked in blood — but they are right to inquire about the strike, the decision-making process and the administration’s long-term strategy for Iran and the region.
Toward that end, Virginia is fortunate to have two senators doing precisely that.
Warner, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued a statement on Friday that called Soleimani “an enemy of the United States who … should not be mourned” but also expressed concern that Congress was not informed in advance, “not only because it is constitutionally appropriate, and not only because doing so provides the opportunity to secure bipartisan congressional support — but also because that process allows for the airing of outside perspectives that might not otherwise be considered and ensures that tough questions get answered.”
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