The recent airstrikes in Iraq and Syria faced swift criticism from prominent Republican lawmakers who deemed them insufficient, especially in light of the recent deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan.
The U.S. military carried out multiple rounds of retaliatory actions, targeting over 85 sites connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and affiliated militia groups. The Quds Force is Iran’s primary unit responsible for covert operations outside its borders.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Ark.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) expressed their dissatisfaction, emphasizing the need for a new approach to target the actual sponsors of terrorism in the region.
Wicker, the lead Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, urged the commander-in-chief to adopt decisive measures, while McCaul, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for sustained retaliatory strikes and the enforcement of sanctions to cut off terror funding sources.
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voiced concerns about the adequacy of the strikes, with Fischer stating that more substantial steps were necessary to halt Iran’s axis. Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) called for effective deterrence, emphasizing the need for stronger leadership.
In contrast, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the SASC chair, viewed the airstrikes as a strong and proportional response, highlighting that the number of targets exceeded those struck during the prior administration. He emphasized that Iran’s proxy forces in Syria and Iraq had been significantly impacted.
Military veterans from both parties weighed in, with Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, expressing concerns about the depletion of precision munitions needed in the Indo-Pacific. Navy veteran Rep. Jen Kiggans (D-Va.) stressed the importance of the strikes in diminishing Iran’s presence and threats against Americans.
On the other hand, Rep. Austin Scott (D-Ga.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, commended the bravery and skill of CENTCOM in carrying out the airstrikes. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) took issue with President Biden, stating that he had circumvented Congress by ordering the strikes and called for the return of troops, emphasizing the need to follow the constitution.