News & Politics

Biden Criticizes Trump for Authorizing 'Hugely Escalatory' Airstrike Against Top Iranian Commander

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Peterborough, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, said President Donald Trump “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox” by ordering an airstrike against a top Iranian commander that he predicted would not deter Iran from “future attacks.”

“The Administration’s statement says that its goal is to deter future attack by Iran, but this action almost certainly will have the opposite effect,” Biden said in a statement on Thursday reacting to the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was reportedly killed in Baghdad, Iraq. “He [Trump] owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond.”

Biden said Soleimani “deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region” but “none of that negates the fact that this is a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region.”

According to Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, Soleimani “oversaw operations against US servicemen in Iraq by Shia militias in which hundreds of American servicemen were killed following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.” Trump “authorized five airstrikes on Sunday against targets in Iraq and Syria that were associated with an Iran-backed militia that the US blamed for a recent attack on an American military base in Iraq that resulted in the death of a US contractor and in which several American servicemen were wounded.”

Biden predicted that Iran would “surly respond” to Soleimani’s death in some way even though he is not “privy to the intelligence” that the White House had access to before the airstrike was ordered.

“We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East,” Biden wrote. “I fear this administration has not demonstrated at any turn the discipline or long-term vision necessary — and the stakes could not be higher.”