The Pentagon’s top two leaders on Wednesday publicly stood by the Jan. 3 strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani following backlash from some lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the move brought the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that President Trump made the “right call” to carry out the strike that killed Soleimani who had additional plans to kill Americans and was plotting a coup in Iraq.

“I think it’s clear that taking him off the battlefield has set back the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] and the Iranian government with regard to spreading their malign activity throughout the region,” Mr. Esper said.

“By the same action we have restored deterrence to a degree. So for all those things I still believe it was the right call made by the commander in chief,” he continued.

The January decision sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill as many Democratic lawmakers — and some Republicans — insisted the move was an act of war that exceeded Mr. Trump’s authority as commander in chief as Soleimani was a high-level political and military figure in Iran’s government.

Both the House and Senate have since passed legislation that targets Mr. Trump’s abilities to conduct military action in Iran.

Despite some Congressional skepticism of the strike, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the panel he “absolutely” believes Mr. Trump made the right call and “would second the idea that it reestablished deterrence.”

Source » washingtontimes