Rep. Cooper on recent deployment: 'I could not be more worried'

Posted at 3:50 PM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 16:50:56-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thousands of U.S. troops were sent to the Middle East in aftermath of the killing of an Iranian general in a strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

Defense officials said the troops are from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They were in addition to about 700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who deployed to Kuwait after the storming of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters.

President Trump said the order to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was to "stop a war" because Soleimani was reportedly “plotting to kill” many Americans.

The decision raised the concerns of many lawmakers including Tennessee Representative Jim Cooper.

“I am watching the situation closely and will receive classified briefings this week. A close family member has already been deployed to Iraq and I could not be more worried," Cooper said.

Democrats say there should be no further strikes against Iran without Congressional approval. In a letter to House Democratic colleagues Sunday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "The House will introduce and vote on a war powers resolution" this week "to limit the president's military actions regarding Iran."

On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States has made "no decision" about withdrawing troops from Iraq amid heightened tensions with neighboring Iran.

Esper spoke to reporters after a letter from a U.S. Army general circulated that seemed to suggest a withdrawal had been ordered in response to a vote by the Iraqi Parliament over the weekend. Esper says, "There's been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq."

Note: The Associated Press contributed to this report.