Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former CIA director and first in his class at West Point, confirmed what intel sources here and in the Middle East had been saying for hours: The attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman were the direct work of the Iranian military.
There is no doubt, no uncertainty, no maybe, the mullahs ordered it.
If there also will be no doubt as to our resolve to keep open vital sea lanes of trade and commerce, of our commitment to our allies, and to our leadership of the Free World we have but one option: Strike and strike hard.
No, not in some boots on the ground long-term dim-witted operation to bring democracy to the Iranian people. Sadly in some respects, Operation Ajax will not be replayed. That responsibility for regime change seems to be up to the people of Iran. Nor is this an uncertain Gulf of Tonkin scenario. This isn’t even the Watch on the Fulda, as it was during my time in uniform. These days, we have many more options on the escalation ladder.
We need a conventional missile and/or naval air strike to hurt the mullahs and make them know there is a big cost to be paid for challenging us in this way. A hit on an oil refinery and another hit on the naval base these assaults were launched from should do the trick nicely. They know they can’t win in a real shootout, so they rely on bluster and covert ops to run their game. Let’s call them out on it.
If they strike back at one of our carriers or other ships, we could in an hour annihilate their ability to project power anywhere past their local kebab shop. And for good measure, probably cripple Hamas and Hezbollah in the process.
You see, like tinhorns generations prior, they are hoping we have forgotten the lessons of Munich or don’t have the will to act on them. It’s the same old story: they see “decadent America” and assume that’s all we are about. Others in the past saw jitterbuggers and made the same mistake.
So they are testing us. They recall Lenin’s maxim, “Probe with the bayonet. When you come to steel, stop. When you come to mush, proceed.” They are betting that Dems like Rep. Omar, who if this happens will openly side with the Iranians, the Dem Party, the left generally, and even some Vichy Republicans like Justin Amash will raise such a ruckus that the president will demure or pay a crippling political price if he goes ahead and acts in the best interests of the Free World.
If so, they have not properly gauged the strategic mettle of Donald Trump or the will of the Americans who support him.
No sane person wants a military conflict. Only a lunatic would act purposely to bring one on. But once vital U.S. interests are threatened, and they certainly are here, if we are to keep the nation secure and prosperous, and that prosperity also depends on the economic viability of our allies and trading partners, then we have the duty to meet the threat and neutralize it. We would not be starting a conflict. That has already happened. However, swift and decisive action may put the mullahs back in their box and avoid a general war.
If, which is possible, by the time you read this the president has decided to do that and our forces are executing his orders, then Godspeed to our men and women in harm’s way.
As it always has been in any free society, they are the ultimate guarantors of our safety and liberty.