Rep. Brian Mast — a U.S. Army veteran, double amputee and Purple Heart recipient — asked his colleagues in the House of Representatives on Tuesday to name a fallen service member whose death did not justify the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
“If you walk about this hallway … you’re going to come to several beautiful walls that have the names of our fallen service members from the war on terror,” Mast said. “And I would ask, can any of you provide me with one name on that wall that doesn’t justify killing Soleimani?”
“I got two minutes and 30 seconds. I’ll be more than happy to sit here and wait,” Mast added. “Somebody provide me with a name on that wall that does not justify his killing.”
Mast was speaking on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in defense of the Jan. 3 U.S. airstrike that killed Soleimani and an Iran-backed Iraqi militia leader.
Mast, a former Army bomb technician, was struck by an IED in 2010 during his deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. His injuries required amputation of both legs.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel encouraged Mast to continue speaking, but Mast insisted he was using his time to remain silent for two minutes until his colleagues responded.
“I’m continuing Mr. Chairman,” Mast responded. “I’ve got two minutes remaining. I will sit here and wait for somebody to provide me with a name on that wall that does not justify the killing of Soleimani.”
“Thank you, Mr. Mast. I think you have made your point,” Engel responded and accused Mast of disrupting the hearing.
Rep. Dean Phillips then yielded a minute of his own time to Mast, who thanked Phillips, and the moment of silence ensued.
At the conclusion of the silence, Mast said, “I will note that there was no response of one name offered that did not justify the killing of Soleimani.”
Mast also said at the hearing that he considered Soleimani “as a terrorist machine gun nest” who had been “spraying rounds at the U.S. for many years.”
“Just because it was taking a breather to reload — that didn’t mean it wasn’t an imminent threat because it wasn’t literally pushing the button on something,” he added.