Early Friday morning, the 62 year-old general and leader of one of Iran’s military forces, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in Baghdad, Iraq, during a targeted airstrike directed by President Donald Trump. While responses from political figures and media personalities varied based mostly along party lines, both U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and U.S. Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee have voiced overwhelming support of the killing.
“Qassem Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack Americans,” Green wrote in a statement. “He had the blood of hundreds of American soldiers on his hands. This is a huge victory for America. This is a huge victory for freedom. Justice has been served. [I am] grateful for the brave men & women who serve in the greatest fighting force in the world and grateful for President Donald J. Trump's swift & decisive actions to make this call in defense of our country.”
A veteran of the Iraq War, Green served as an infantry officer in the Army and was later selected to serve as a flight surgeon, where he would later go on to participate in Operation Red Dawn, the military operation responsible for Saddam Hussein’s capture.
Blackburn was also supportive of the targeted attack, writing in a statement that “[Soleimani’s] “death makes our world safer.”
“The United States of America has proven we will not back down to rogue states like Iran,” Blackburn wrote. “The Quds Force is a terrorist organization and General Qasem Soleimani a terrorist. His death makes our world safer.”
Supporters of the killing argue Soleimani's plans to attack American forces in the Middle East, as well as his responsibility for hundreds of American deaths, was reason enough for the attack. Those critical of the killing, which includes every Democratic presidential candidate, argue the attack will likely worsen U.S.-Iran relations and could potentially lead to an armed conflict.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to the killing on Twitter, vowing revenge for the attacks.
“The flag of General Soleimani in defense of the country's territorial integrity and the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region will be raised, and the path of resistance to US excesses will continue,” Rouhani wrote. “The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.”