Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast took the House floor Tuesday and demanded the name of one fallen service member whose death did not justify the strike on Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
During a House hearing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mast used his time to drive home the point that Soleimani had been responsible for the deaths of multiple American service members. (RELATED: Mark Esper Defends Strike On Soleimani, Says It’s Better Than Having ‘Flag-Draped Coffins Come Home’)
Mast began his statement by conceding that, at the end of the day, the decision to authorize the strike was a choice and compared it to a decision on the battlefield to take out a machine gun nest.
“This is something I have specifically experienced with. Yes, it is a choice to take it out, all day long,” Mast said. “It is not really a choice when you consider that you leave that there and walk around it and ignore it that somebody is going to come across that nest eventually and they’re going to get shot at.”
“You want to ask, is it wise?” he continued. “I think it is probably always defies conventional wisdom to attack a machine gun nest. It does not mean it does not have to be done. You want to ask is it imminent? Just because this machine gun nest may take a moment to reload, that does not mean it is not an imminent threat.”
Mast then brought the conversation back to Soleimani, saying that he had just orchestrated the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and that he had been working to attack American service members for years, arguing that the fact that he wasn’t “pushing the button” at the time of the strike didn’t mean that another attack was not imminent.
“I want to ask a question which some people may call rhetorical,” Mast said, promising to yield his time to any of his colleagues who could answer. “If you walk out this hallway and you take a right and another right and another right, you are going to come to several beautiful walls that have the names of our fallen service members on the War on Terror. I would ask, can any of you provide me one name on that wall that does not justify killing Soleimani. I got 2 minutes and 30 seconds, I will be more than happy to sit here and wait. Somebody provide me the name on the wall that does not justice his killing.”
After a long pause, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said, “The gentleman may continue.”
“I am continuing Mr. Chairman,” Mast replied. “I got 2 minutes remaining, I will sit here and wait for somebody to provide me with the name on that wall that did not justify the killing of Soleimani.” (RELATED: Congressman And Former Vet Shames NFL Players, Says Trump Is ‘Spot On’)
“Thank you Mr. Mast, you made your point,” Engel said.
“Mr. Chairman, I have not yielded back my time,” Mast insisted. “I have a minute and 45 seconds remaining of which I would like to wait for somebody to provide me with the name.”
“I think you made your point. You are out of order,” Engel pressed.
“I will not yield back my time,” Mast shot back. “You are out of order for reclaiming my time.”
“You are out of order. You are out of order Mr. Mast. You made your point,” Engel said again.
After a brief pause, Mast was recognized again and he said, “I know that there was not one name offered that did not justify the killing of Soleimani.”
Mast, who was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) tech, lost both of his legs in Afghanistan while on a mission with the 75th Ranger Regiment in September of 2010.