WASHINGTON — Hours after the world learned a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killed Qasem Soleimani, one of Iran’s top military commanders, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was on Fox & Friends condemning the attack.

She said President Donald Trump’s decision to take out Soleimani was “very clearly an act of war” that was carried out without congressional approval as required under the constitution.

Gabbard, who is running for president as a Democrat on an anti-war platform, said she worried a conflict with Iran, which has already vowed “severe revenge,” would be deadlier and more expensive than what the U.S. experienced in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announces her run for president.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard quickly came out to condemn the killing of Qasem Soleimani.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

By comparison, she said, those conflicts would “look like a picnic.”

“I don’t believe the American people want to go to war with Iran,” Gabbard said Friday. “They understand how serious this is.”

Trump defended the attack from his Mar-a-Lago resort Friday, saying Soleimani “was plotting imminent and sinister attacks” on American diplomats and military personnel.

He also made clear the U.S. was not seeking “regime change.”

“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said. “We did not take action to start a war.”

Other members of Hawaii’s federal delegation weighed in as well, including U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In a written statement, Hirono described Soleimani as a “reprehensible figure responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service members and thousands of innocent people around the world.”

She warned that the U.S. airstrike would only escalate hostilities and increase the potential for widespread violence in the Middle East.

“In normal times, we could have confidence that the President — fully cognizant of the potential ramifications of this strike — was mobilizing a whole government response and coordinating with our allies to seek a diplomatic outcome. But these are not normal times,” Hirono said.

“Congress must reassert its Constitutional responsibility and demand the president seek authorization prior to any military conflict with Iran,” she added.

Sen. Brian Schatz took to Twitter to air his grievances about the possible ramifications of the airstrike.

He worried about commentary coming from Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove, who both worked for President George W. Bush and were part of the cacophony of conservatives pushing for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

All four members of Hawaii’s federal delegation have voted in one way or another to slow the Trump administration’s march to war with Iran.

In June, Democrats in the Senate failed to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited the U.S. from engaging in unauthorized aggression against Iran.

Both Schatz and Hirono voted in favor of the amendment, which failed on a 50 to 40 vote that fell almost entirely along party lines.

The following month the House passed a similar amendment to the NDAA introduced by U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California. Hawaii Congressman Ed Case voted with 269 of his colleagues to pass the measure. Gabbard did not attend the vote.

Gabbard later voted against the final passage of the NDAA in part because the Iran amendment was not included in the final language.

Case has yet to issue a public statement about the killing of Soleimani.

A brigade is being deployed to Kuwait as a precautionary action, according to a Department of Defense spokesperson. The troops are from the 82nd Airborne Division, which is based out of Fort Bragg.

We need your help . . .

Our small newsroom believes wholeheartedly that news and information is a public service – not something to be hidden behind paywalls or diluted by ads. Your donations ensure that our reporting remains free and accessible to all communities, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. For a limited time become a Civil Beat donor and we’ll throw in a limited-edition Civil Beat t-shirt!

About the Author