- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Iran has indirectly been fighting a war against the United States for decades.

The Kentucky Republican framed the ongoing conflict following the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week as leaving the Senate with a decision about whether to passively watch “as Iran kills Americans” or work with the Trump administration to “stand up to Tehran’s terrorism and shadow wars.”

“Before this news cycle or this presidency, in the decades since the Islamic revolution of 1979, as the White House has changed parties and our administrations have changed strategies, Tehran’s simmering anti-American hatred, proxy violence, and steady support for terrorism worldwide have remained entirely constant through all of these years,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor. “In effect, Iran has been at war with the United States for years. While they have taken pains to avoid a direct conflict, Iran’s authoritarian regime has shown no compunction about kidnapping, torture and killing Americans since its earliest days.”

Mr. McConnell said that the Obama administration’s policy toward Iran “failed demonstrably” as evidenced by the growing lethality of the Iranian regime and that appeasement is not an option.

“I’d ask my Democratic colleagues today, do not rush to lash out at President Trump when he actually demonstrates that he means what he says,” Mr. McConnell said. “When he enforces his red lines, when he takes real action to counter lethal threats against Americans, wishing away tensions with Iran is really not an option. The Iranians have spent decades making that perfectly clear to all of us.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, however, said Tuesday he is “growing increasingly concerned” about the decision to kill Soleimani because the New York Democrat thinks Mr. Trump’s foreign policy is “erratic” and “impulsive.”

“As the president’s circle of advisers has gotten smaller and more insular, as nearly all the dissident voices have been forced out of the administration, there seems to be no one left to tell the president no,” Mr. Schumer said. “At times like this, skeptical voices need to ask the right questions and Congress, Congress must provide a check on the president and assert our constitutional role in matters of war and peace.”

Earlier this week, Mr. Schumer expressed support for blocking funding for any coming military action against Iran and said he backed efforts to force a debate and a vote on future action in Iran.

He also co-authored a letter sent to Mr. Trump last weekend urging the president to make the intelligence behind the drone strike against Soleimani public.

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