This century began with a bang, quite literally as President Donald Trump ordered the killing of the top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was a notorious Iranian general that has been labeled by many as a terrorist. Soleimani led attacks against the United States during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and stirred unrest in neighboring nations.
In 2018, General Joseph Votel, who used to command US forces in the Middle East, stated, “Wherever you see Iranian activity, you see Qasem Soleimani, whether it is in Syria, whether it is in Iraq, whether it is in Yemen, he is there and it is the Quds Force, the organization which he leads, that I think is the principal threat as we look at this and the principal ones that are stoking this destabilizing activity.” Considering this, I supported the president’s decision to order the airstrike that led to Soleimani’s death. If he truly posed a threat to our security, then it had to be taken care of.
The aspect of the whole ordeal that could have been handled better on behalf of the Trump Administration is how they carried it out. No where in the Constitution does it say that Congress has to authorize short-term military action, but it would have been at least fair to notify the relevant members of Congress what was to be carried out. The reasoning behind the airstrikes should have been shared with members of Congress and the threat that Soleimani was posing should have been explained. Should a war have been ignited, as it nearly did, Congress can be with the most relevant information and authorize the allocation of necessary resources.
Despite the fact that a warning of the airstrike was not given before it was carried out, the briefing that members of Congress received led to even more controversy. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee slammed the administration for the security briefing they received. Senator Paul stated that the administration used the 2002 war authorization against Saddam Hussein as the basis for carrying out the attacks while Mike Lee was told to not debate the matter in the Senate. Not only did the administration fail to support their decision, they attempted to obstruct a Constitutional process.
These two things are what are truly splitting apart the public opinion on the matter.
At the end of the day, I can understand why President Trump would have wanted to take action against this dangerous general. Soleimani had posed a threat to American forces and may well have, but the president is still required to explain why he chose to take action and allow for Congress to debate over the matter. It is similar to sentencing a criminal for murdering but still requiring evidence at their trial. You know what they did, but proof needs to be shown as to why they deserve their punishment.
The president made a good decision that benefits the interests of all Americans, I am not taking that away from him. But he needs to figure out how to better execute decisions such as these to get the entire country to support them.
Miguel Arceo is a student athlete at Sebring High School.