After Iran bombs 2 air bases, U.S. politicians stress troop safety, end to escalation

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Politicians are reacting to Iran's bombing of two air bases in Iraq housing U.S. military personnel.

Iran launched at least a dozen missiles at Al Asad Air Base and a smaller air base in Erbil in retaliation for the killing of Iran's top military commander. Officials are assessing the damage now. There were no casualties, according to preliminary reports.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, says he wants to hear what President Donald Trump's long-term strategy is. Coons says he hopes the president takes a collaborative approach.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, stressed that Trump must go though Congress before entering a war with Iran, and he says the escalation needs to stop.

Monitoring the situation in Iraq and my thoughts are with our servicemembers, personnel, and all others there tonight.We are quickly heading to a point of no return in the region. We must use diplomacy to deescalate and keep Americans safe at home and abroad. https://t.co/ZTWMVYjpzV

— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBooker) January 8, 2020

I am praying for the safety of our troops in Iraq tonight. While I would have preferred they come home long ago, there is also no excuse for this action by Iran.We need to stop the escalation before it leads to another endless war in the Middle East.

— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 8, 2020

Al Asad translates to "the Lion," and it's been in and out of service for the last couple of decades. The U.S. Marines took it over in 2004. It closed in 2011 then opened again in 2014 to battle ISIS.

There are two large runways and the base has its own power plant as well as a water purification and bottling facility.

The desert base has a 15-mile perimiter and is located about 100 miles west of Baghdad.

There's an indoor swimming pool, movie theater, a post office, and even a Burger King, Cinnabon and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The president and first lady visited the base on Dec. 26, 2018. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife visited the base just before Thanksgiving last year. Many celebrities have been there while visiting the troops.

Currently, the base houses Iraqi forces as well as coalition forces from the U.S. and Great Britian.