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Republican Hawks in Congress Call for Retaliation Against Tehran Following Killing of 3 Soldiers in Jordan

While the perpetrators are still being identified, President Joe Biden has already vowed retribution.

Hawkish elements in Congress are demanding swift and harsh retaliation against an Iran-backed group that killed three U.S. Army soldiers in Jordan.

On the evening of Jan. 27, a drone strike on a U.S. base in Jordan ended in the deaths and injury to more than 30 others. Though it’s unknown who carried out the drone strike, it’s believed to have come from a group based in Syria and backed by Iran.

While the perpetrators are still being identified, President Joe Biden has already vowed retribution.

“We shall respond,” President Biden said during a stop in South Carolina on Jan. 28. Later, the president called for a moment of silence for the fallen troops.

Lawmakers, particularly hawkish Republicans, were also quick to demand retribution, up to and including direct U.S. strikes on Iran. They blamed President Biden’s policies for creating circumstances ripe for such an attack.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a statement chalked the attack up to “failure to deter America’s adversaries.”

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“We cannot afford to keep responding to this violent aggression with hesitation and half-measures,” he said.

“We have known for years that Iran is behind a deadly wave of terror aimed at expelling America from the Middle East and wiping Israel from the map,“ Mr. McConnell added. ”The time to start taking this aggression seriously was long before more brave Americans lost their lives.

“The entire world now watches for signs that the President is finally prepared to exercise American strength to compel Iran to change its behavior,“ Mr. McConnell concluded. ”Our enemies are emboldened. And they will remain so until the United States imposes serious, crippling costs—not only on front-line terrorist proxies, but on their Iranian sponsors who wear American blood as a badge of honor.”

Other Senate Republicans agreed.

“It is time to act with purpose and resolve in response to attacks that have tragically taken the lives of American service members and injured scores more,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Ala.) said in a statement.

He called for an escalation in direct U.S. military action against Iran, one of the most powerful U.S. adversaries in the region that has close ties with communist China.

“We must respond to these repeated attacks by Iran & its proxies by striking directly against Iranian targets & its leadership,” Mr. Wicker said. “The Biden administration’s responses thus far have only invited more attacks. It is time to act swiftly and decisively for the whole world to see.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) echoed the sentiment in a two word post on X calling for the United States to “target Tehran,” Iran’s capital.

Deterrence Measure

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made the same demand.

“I am calling on the Biden Administration to strike targets of significance inside Iran, not only as reprisal for the killing of our forces, but as deterrence against future aggression,” he said.

Mr. Graham said that simply taking out Iranian proxies isn’t enough and “will not deter Iranian aggression.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) accused President Biden of enabling the attack by being too soft on Iran.

“Joe Biden emboldened Iran for years by tolerating attacks on our troops, bribing the ayatollahs with billions of dollars, and appeasing them to no end,” Mr. Cotton said in a statement.

“The only answer to these attacks must be devastating military retaliation against Iran’s terrorist forces, both in Iran and across the Middle East,” Mr. Cotton added. “Anything less will confirm Joe Biden as a coward unworthy of being commander-in-chief.”

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) made the same argument, writing, “This tragedy was avoidable.”

“For years now, Biden has emboldened Iran—sending them billions & tolerating their aggression against our troops,” Mr. Scalise said. “America must show strength.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) was more vague in his statement on the matter, saying only, “America must send a crystal clear message across the globe that attacks on our troops will not be tolerated.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) didn’t go as far as to hold President Biden accountable for the attack, but said, “Every single malignant actor responsible must be held accountable.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hasn’t released a public statement on the attack.

Former President Donald Trump weighed in in a post on Truth Social, calling the attack “a horrible day for America.”

“My most profound sympathies go to the Families of the Brave Servicemembers we have lost. I ask all Americans to join me in praying for those who have been wounded,” President Trump said.

“This brazen attack on the United States is yet another horrific and tragic consequence of Joe Biden’s weakness and surrender.”

While details on who carried out the attack remain murky, it marks a significant escalation in the region, which has been a powder keg since Hamas’s deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

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