Chuck Ross on January 9, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg suggested Thursday that the United States bears some of the blame for the Iranian military shooting down a commercial airliner while it was at the same time firing ballistic missiles at an Iraqi military base that houses American troops.
“Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat,” Buttigieg tweeted.
“My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all 176 souls lost aboard this flight.”
U.S. officials reportedly believe that Iranian missiles downed the plane, bound for Ukraine, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board.
Officials reportedly believe that Iran accidentally fired at the plane, a Boeing 737.
The Iranian military fired more than a dozen missiles at an Iraqi base as retaliation for President Donald Trump ordering an airstrike on Jan. 2 that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad. Trump’s critics blamed him for escalating tensions with Iran, though the president said he ordered the strike because of Soleimani’s role in supporting an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 29. Trump also said in a statement Friday that Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack on U.S. interests in the Middle East.
The State Department has said that Soleimani and his Quds Force is responsible for the deaths of 603 American service members in Iraq since 2003.
Despite Buttigieg’s claim of a “military tit for tat,” U.S. forces have not responded with force to the missile attack.
The Buttigieg campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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