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Lawmakers fan fears of war by demanding strike on Iran after deadly attack on US troops

"Target Tehran," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said.

Published: January 28, 2024 11:39pm

Multiple U.S. lawmakers are calling for strikes directly on Iran, heightening fears of war in the already tense region after one of Tehran's proxies reportedly launched a drone attack that killed three U.S. Army troops and injured dozens of other service members. 

The Iran-backed Islamic Resistance of Iraq claimed responsibility for the drone attack Sunday, according to Iran-run outlet IRNA, and both President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. will hold those accountable at a time, place and in a manner of their choice.

However, some members of Congress are demanding a response that goes straight to cut off the head of the snake following the latest attack, which comes following more than 150 attacks on U.S. service members in Syria and Iraq by Iranian-backed proxies since Hamas' Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel that killed about 1,200 people, according to The Associated Press

"The only thing the Iranian regime understands is force. Until they pay a price with their infrastructure and their personnel, the attacks on U.S. troops will continue," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday after the attack. "Hit Iran now. Hit them hard."

"Target Tehran," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

When a user asked whether the Texas senator was issuing a call to bomb Iran, he responded, "No. IRGC and Quds Force terrorist facilitators," referring to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, and its special operations unit known as the Quds Force. 

Similarly, Senate Armed Forces Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said on X that the U.S. "must respond to these repeated attacks by Iran & its proxies by striking directly against Iranian targets & its leadership."

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said: "The only answer to these attacks must be devastating military retaliation against Iran's terrorist forces, both in Iran and across the Middle East. Anything less will confirm Joe Biden as a coward unworthy of being commander-in-chief."

In a since-deleted post, Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., wrote on X, "Time to find the next few Soleimanis and vaporize them," in reference to former IRGC leader Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the U.S.

"Are we at war?" Collins said in a separate post.

"Time to kill some terrorists and protect American soldiers! Hey  @POTUS, retaliate now!! Let’s teach the Ayatollah a lesson he won’t forget!" Texas Republican Rep. Brian Babin said on X.

Other Republicans have been less enthusiastic about the idea of a head-to-head conflict with Iran. 

"Joe Biden and his cronies are pushing for hot war," Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said. 

Meanwhile, prominent conservative commentator Tucker Carlson called Cornyn and Graham "f***ing lunatics" for their responses to the attack.

Former President Donald Trump said on Truth Social that if he were president, the fatal attack on U.S. service members would have never occurred, but now under Biden, "we are on the brink of World War 3."

Biden has taken a more soft approach to Iran, including delisting the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization less than a month into his presidency, only to relist the group earlier this month after months of attacks in the Red Sea. 

Additionally, two U.S. Navy SEALs are presumed dead after they went missing earlier this month during a mission to seize Iranian-made weapons on a ship in the Arabian Sea headed toward the Houthi terrorists in Yemen.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.