WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, issued the following statement after the Trump Administration on Thursday night ordered targeted strikes against the Iranian-backed militant group Kata’ib Hezbollah in multiple sites across Iraq. The strikes follow a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base earlier in the week which killed one British and two American service members:
“The United States must always act to protect and defend our service members who risk their lives every day to protect Americans and our values. As we continue to review information regarding these latest strikes, I also strongly condemn the terrorist attack that killed Coalition Forces on Wednesday, including two U.S. service members and one British service member. The United States mourns alongside all of the families who lost their loved ones at Camp Taji, and I sincerely hope our Iraqi partners will continue working closely with us towards our common goal of supporting a stable, secure, and independent Iraq.
“What is clear is that in attributing Wednesday’s attacks to Iranian-backed militia groups, the Trump Administration must admit its efforts to deter Iranian aggression are failing and American service members are paying the ultimate sacrifice. The Administration has a responsibility to inform Congress of increased threats from Iran on Americans, our diplomatic posts and other assets.
“As I have had to repeatedly remind the Trump Administration, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is charged with writing the laws that authorize the use of military force and of oversight of the State Department and the safety of those who work there. A bipartisan majority of Congress has made clear it does not support an unnecessary war with Iran. I expect our committee to be provided any information on the intelligence behind their decisions in Iraq and whether the President intends to seek a clearly defined, diplomatic strategy in concert with our allies to address ongoing, destabilizing activity from Iran and Iranian-backed proxies.”