Politicians, stars, and regular citizens alike took to Twitter to condemn Donald Trump’s assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, expressing fears it may lead to WWIII.
President Donald Trump‘s unauthorized attack on top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, resulting in his death, has sparked fears that the United States will be launched into another war if the country retaliates, as Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised “severe revenge.” Politically active celebrities, including Rose McGowan, and 2020 presidential candidates took to the president’s platform of choice, Twitter, to condemn the reckless and dangerous decision that could put innocent citizens’ lives at risk for years to come. “Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people,” Rose tweeted following the breaking news. “52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us.”
Trump, who was impeached on December 18, ordered a drone strike at the Baghdad airport in Iraq on January 2, targeting the cars carrying Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Both men, as well as the other passengers in the cars, died on impact. The death of Soleimani, who wasr esponsible for carrying out deadly proxy attacks in the Middle East, becomes a major escalation in tensions between Iran, and the United States and its allies in the area. The US’s relations with Iran were already weak after Trump imposed economic sanctions on the country and slashed the Iran Nuclear Deal, which they were upholding. The issue American leaders have with the drone strike is not that Soleimani was killed. His death comes shortly after supporters of Iranian militia Kataeb Hezbollah rioted at the American Embassy in Baghdad; the US blames the coalition for multiple attacks, including a rocket strike at a base in Iraq that killed a US contractor last week.
It’s that Trump did so without getting Congressional approval or having a plan in place to protect the Americans and allies currently in the region. The Defense Department argues that the Soleimani assassination “was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” though did not go into detail. “Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is running for president against Trump, tweeted. Her fellow 2020 candidate, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), wrote, “We have a president who has no strategic plan when it comes to Iran and has only made that region less stable and less safe.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who opposed the war in Iraq, says that he “will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran. I apologize to no one.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed in a statement that Trump, who was sitting at Mar-a-Lago during the attack, did not have House approval before commanding the assassination: “American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions.”
Alyssa Milano pointed out that Trump tweeted in 2011 that, “In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.” Trump actually tweeted about Obama and Iran four more times between 2011 and 2013. Billy Eichner promoted the words of activist Charlotte Clymer: “Tonight, you will see spineless cowards who never served a goddamn day in uniform wave a flag and cheer on the possibility of sending young people to die in a war against Iran that they would never serve in, started by another coward who watched others sent to die in his place.”
Hundreds of US troops were sent to Iraq just days before the Soleimani attack, despite Trump’s repeated promises to “stop endless wars” and bring the troops home. Ayatollah Khamenei warned January 3 that “a severe revenge awaits those who have tainted their filthy hands with his [Soleimani’s] blood.” Former US special envoy for the coalition to defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that the US should “presume that we are in a state of war with Iran.”