Rep. Gallagher Defends Slaying of Iranian General
But Wisconsin Congressman opposes attacks on Iran’s cultural sites.
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher on Tuesday defended a U.S. airstrike on a top Iranian official ordered last week by President Donald Trump, but disagreed with the president’s comments about potentially targeting Iranian cultural sites if tensions escalate.
Trump ordered the airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani last Friday. The military action has spurred debate, with critics arguing it will destabilize the region and put innocent American and Iranian lives at risk.
Trump administration officials have said Soleimani was plotting attacks on American diplomats and service members.
Gallagher, a Republican, told WPR’s “The Morning Show” on Tuesday that the United States’ “inaction over the last decade” made the attack on Soleimani necessary.
“The Iranians had consistently attacked commercial shipping vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, they had downed an American drone and they had attacked a Saudi oil facility in Abqaiq and they had received little to no pushback,” Gallagher said. “If you’re interested in establishing deterrents, you can’t sit idly by while Iranian proxies kill Americans.”
The congressman added Soleimani was “an evil man.”
“I do not regret his passing,” he said.
Gallagher said he would have preferred if Congress had been called back into session last week to be briefed on the situation and to debate a possible strike. He blamed Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for failing to call Congress back into session. Others have blamed Trump for acting without Congressional approval.
Gallagher said cultural sites should not be targeted.
“There’s no value, nor is it appropriate, to attack cultural sites,” he said, noting the action would also violate the 1954 Hague Convention, an international treaty signed after World War II’s widespread destruction of culturally important sites. “If we’re going to use the might of the U.S. military and put our armed forces in harm’s way, I think there should be a clear military objective.”
The congressman said an attack on cultural sites could also harm an attempt to “drive a wedge” between the Iranian government and Iranian people.
Gallagher represents Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District. He was elected in 2016.
Listen to the WPR report here.
Congressman Mike Gallagher Praises Iranian Airstrike, Warns Against Targeting Cultural Sites was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.