Delaware officials, military, civilians react to Iran situation

Surrounded by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Grand Foyer of the White House, in response to Iran firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing US troops. TNS photo

DOVER — Delawareans — elected officials, military members and civilians — reacted to the apparent de-escalation for now of tensions with Iran on Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to indicate no military retaliation was forthcoming after Iran-launched missiles struck Iraqi bases with stationed U.S. troops on Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee member U.S. Sen Chris Coons, D-Delaware, said on Wednesday, “It’s good news that no U.S. service members were killed in Iran’s strike last night, but I remain concerned about how we prevent another Iranian attack from one of its many proxies that they would deny responsibility for.”

A Sen. Coons spokesman referred the Delaware State News to the congressman’s appearance on Fox News on Tuesday night in the aftermath of the strikes.

“My key concern here is both can we keep our diplomats and our armed forces safe in the region, and do we have a strategy?” the senator said at the time.

“Can President Trump deliver to us in Congress a strategy that we can support that will de-escalate this particular situation yet push back on Iran’s malign activity in the region?”

Asked about his idea of an appropriate response, Sen. Coons answered, “The president had a range of options at his disposal and I know some of them would have included either a cyberattack or a lower-level military attack on Iranian capacities or assets.

“I’m just struck by the fact that the killing of (Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem) Soleimani was a very significant escalation and I hope that there has been a thorough plan put together about what the next steps will be because a strong, forceful Iranian response throughout the region was, I think, entirely predictable.”

There’s been no added request for Delaware National Guard support during the ongoing situation in the Middle East, spokesman Capt. Bernie Kale said.

“While we don’t discuss the operational location of our deployed Delaware Guardsmen and women, our deployed members are all OK and accomplishing their missions that they have been trained to do … ” he said.

“All overseas deployments, current or upcoming, have been planned typically a year in advance.”

According to Lt. Lorraine Cho, spokeswoman for the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, “I cannot give specifics on current or future base operations in response to Middle East tensions due to operational security reasons; however, Dover AFB is prepared to respond to any requests from Department of Defense leaders.

“We are continuously supporting a multitude of missions around the world, providing global airlift capabilities to meet the needs of the DoD.”

In a news release, AAA-Mid Atlantic indicated that rising gas prices were not expected due to the tensions. On Tuesday, crude oil spiked to more than $65 per barrel, then dropped to $59.61 following President Trump’s remarks, AAA said.

“In addition to crude oil prices remaining in a moderate range, the U.S. continues to maintain a healthy reserve supply and refineries throughout the region are operating well,” said Ken Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“Barring natural disasters, unforeseen distribution disruptions, or other geo-political developments, we should not see any drastic increases in prices at the pump for the near future.”

Local Facebook responses

On Wednesday, local residents expressed their thoughts through a Sussex Post Facebook page. Among the responses, in part, were:

Kurt Krause: “Well, a lot of you were and never will be in the military. So, an embassy is sovereign ground when attacked its defended like its America. That being said, remember Bengazi? … The guys taken out were part of that. …”

Tori Esham: “Great work President Trump!”

Josh Wharton: “Nice work President Trump. No need to start a war that will cause casualties of many innocent, especially when we can take out key terrorist leaders without putting our guys in direct harm’s way.”

Jack Hudson: “I fail to see how the Iranians firing ballistic missiles at bases we have troops stationed at can be is considered as ‘Iran is Standing Down.’ …”

Abby Fink: “He said just what we needed to hear!! Iran will NEVER have a nuclear weapon!! Thank you, Lord Jesus for our President, Donald J. Trump!”

Ginger Reade-Murani: “He addressed our situation, a-lot of haters are going to pick him apart just like our media no matter what he said or how long he said it. Iran has had a multitude of attacks on us and someone finally said, ‘We had enough,’ …”

Lois Loser: “Not impressed – no policy, no plan, just empty words. As he sniffed through reading the teleprompter, I felt a hollowness that he’s going to do it again …”

Staff reporter Glenn Rolfe contributed to the story.