Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
By U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer

President Donald Trump recently took decisive action to eliminate a major threat to not only our country, but the rest of the world.

General Qassem Soleimani was the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and oversaw Iran’s military activity throughout the Middle East – specifically a campaign that killed hundreds of American troops. He had a history of terrorizing the entire region and specifically targeting Americans.

The vast majority of us can agree that military force should be a last resort, and no U.S. President that I know of relishes the duty of taking human lives. However, when American lives are threatened, we have no choice but to take decisive action. That is exactly what had to happen on Jan. 3.

Just after Christmas, Quds Forces controlled by Soleimani killed an American contractor and injured four American soldiers stationed in Iraq. Four days later on December 31st, a pro-Iranian paramilitary group, also controlled by Soleimani, attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Finally, on Jan. 2, the United States received information regarding another pending attack from the Iranians. As a result, our commander in chief showed the leadership needed for the situation and took the appropriate defensive action in order to protect American lives.

General Soleimani was not new to our military’s radar. Often referred to as the “architect” or “mastermind” behind Iranian military activity and strategy, Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guard were designated a Tier 1 terrorist by the State Department early last year. And since 2007, he has been designated multiple times by the U.S. and other countries as a terror threat, including by the Obama Administration.

In 1980, then-candidate Ronald Reagan outlined his “peace through strength” policy that he believed would restore “a defense capability that provides a margin of safety for America.”

That policy and his leadership led to the dismantling of our biggest threat, the Soviet Union, and cemented the U.S. as the world’s sole superpower. President Trump’s targeting of Soleimani was directly in line with President Reagan’s doctrine. He has made clear to Iran and the world that while the U.S. does not want war, the consequences for attacking Americans are swift and severe.

Last week, House Democrats forced a vote on the House floor to limit President Trump’s ability to take action against terrorists. This vote wasn’t just a disingenuous effort to score political points – Nancy Pelosi and Democrats had no problem with President Obama using drone attacks over 500 times killing thousands of people including dozens of civilians – it was also extremely dangerous for the American people.

When our soldiers are attacked and the United States is facing an imminent threat, the president not only has the right to defend our people, he has the constitutional duty to act. That is exactly what happened.