President Donald J. Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office of the White House Wednesday evening, March 11, 2020, on the country’s expanded response against the global Coronavirus outbreak. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

By Tank Murdoch

(TNS) President Donald Trump has authorized the Pentagon to strike an Iranian militant proxy group after it launched a rocket attack on a base in Iraq earlier this week, killing two American troops.

According to Pentagon officials, the president signed off on the use of lethal force against the Shia militia, believed responsible for the attack on Camp Taji.

“I have spoken with the president,” stated Defense Secretary Mark Esper, One America News reported. “He’s given me the authority to do what we need to do, consistent with his guidance.”

The president’s decision is consistent with his past strategy of responding to Iranian threats and actual attacks with tit-for-tat uses of force. But Congress sees it differently.

The Democrat-led House passed legislation this week that would essentially, and unconstitutionally, strip away some Trump’s authority as commander-in-chief when dealing with Iranian aggression. The GOP-controlled Senate passed similar legislation in February.

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The Wall Street Journal reported:

The House of Representatives passed a resolution that would limit the president’s ability to take military action against Iran without approval from Congress.

The measure passed 227-186, sending the bill to the president’s desk. Six Republicans voted with Democrats in favor. While it directs President Trump to end the use of military force against Iran unless authorized by Congress, it doesn’t prevent the U.S. from defending itself against an imminent attack.

The war powers resolution was sponsored by Sens. Tim Kaine (D., Va.), Mike Lee (R., Utah), Rand Paul (R., Ky.) and Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) in the aftermath of the U.S. strike in January that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. 

As such, the president’s decision to strike the Iran-backed Shia militia is in direct defiance of the legislation. Trump has declined to specify what the U.S. response would be.

“We’ll see what the response is,” he said.

Shortly after the president’s announcement, the U.S. Air Force launched a retaliatory attack against the Iranian-backed terror group in Iraq. According to new reports, U.S. and coalition jets hit multiple targets in four of the country’s provinces, One America News reported.

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As for the retaliatory strike, POLITICO reported:

The airstrikes targeted five Kataib Hezbollah weapons facilities and were aimed at hurting their ability to conduct future attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, according to a Defense Department statement.

The targets included facilities that housed weapons used to target U.S. and coalition troops, according to DoD, which called the strikes “defensive, proportional, and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups.”

“Let me be clear: The U.S. will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests or our allies,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon earlier on Thursday, adding that he spoke to President Donald Trump after the attack and the president gave him “the authority to do what we need to do consistent with his guidance.”

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It’s hard to imagine that the legislation Congress passed to limit Trump’s ability to specifically address threats from Iran did not have a lot to do with the regime ordering the attack against Camp Taji, if for no other reason than to test the president’s resolve.

Now the Iranians know. But two more American soldiers paid for this geopolitical brinksmanship with their lives.


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