Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said the United States could likely destroy Iran’s war-making capabilities by collapsing the Persian Gulf state’s economy without “boots on the ground,” offering his remarks in a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host John Hayward.
President Donald Trump’s foreign policy and national security strategy towards Iran ended a decades-long trend of de facto appeasement of Iranian belligerence, assessed Brooks.
“What’s troubling to me is, we have let the Iranians attack the United States and its citizens — directly or indirectly — for 40 years without fighting back in any kind of substantive way,” Brooks said. “So I’m thankful that President Trump has recognized this problem and tried to address it. By way of example, in the past year, Iran has blown holes in any number of tankers in the Persian Gulf. The news media, unfortunately, has been obsessed with their efforts to impeach President Trump and has not adequately reported that kind of information to the American people so that we can be wiser about what Iran is up to.”
Brooks continued, “There are reports that the military has put out that over 600 American soldiers are dead because of Iran, its surrogates, or Iranian weaponry. It would have been [appropriate] if each time those deaths occurred, the American media had reported that the blood was on the hands of the Iranian government, but unfortunately, the media did not do that, and so recently the American people are starting to wake up to the threat of Iran.”
With respect to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and inter-ballistic missile systems, Brooks reflected on the Cold War doctrine of mutually-assured destruction (MAD) between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. A theocratic-state such as Iran, he argued, cannot be expected to exercise restraint in the use of nuclear weapons in accordance with realist international relations theory.
Hayward asked of Iran’s abilities to harm American interests.
Brooks replied, “[Iran has] the ability to significantly disrupt the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and perhaps penetrate our defenses, and attack, and do damage to American vessels that are stationed in the Persian Gulf. Certainly, they could, with very little resistance, sink tankers and do damage to oil refineries and oil production facilities of the Persian Gulf nations, and that would have a significant adverse effect on many countries throughout the world that are heavily reliant on that Persian Gulf oil.”
“Fortunately, the United States is buffered, somewhat, because we are now a net oil exporter,” added Brooks. “We export more oil than we consume which is not the way it was 20, 30, 40 years ago.”
Brooks noted Iran’s impact on oil prices given oil is a global commodification. “Now, unfortunately, if there is a disruption in oil, all oil prices would go up, and you would see the effect at the pump and with your electrical costs, [and] your heating costs. … They have the capability of hitting American bases and American ships in the immediate vicinity of Iran. They do not, as of this moment, have the ability to launch missiles that would reach American soil in the continental United States, or Alaska, or Hawaii.”
Mansour asked if “regime change” or “nation-building” would be required to neutralize threats from Iran, recalling Trump’s repeated critiques of such policies across his first presidential campaign.
“It depends on what Iran does,” responded Brooks. “So far, they appear to not have inflicted any significant damage on American troops. If we have loss of life, that changes things. In terms of our military capabilities, we could send Iran back to the Stone Age where they are no longer a world terrorist threat. We could destroy their electrical production capabilities, whether it be their transmission lines or their generator facilities. We have the capability of destroying their oil production and refinery capabilities, and for that matter, we have the capability or destroying their uranium enrichment and nuclear weapon development capability.”
Brooks went on, “If we were to do those three things by way of example, then Iran would not be a player on the world stage for decades, at a minimum. They would be lucky if they survive as a country, and it’s highly likely that their government would topple under those circumstances as people started going without the services that they are accustomed to having, particularly food. If you don’t have oil, if you don’t have gasoline, if you don’t have electricity, your economy collapses, and when your economy collapses, your war-making capability collapses.”
Brooks estimated, “It likely would not require boots on the ground. It likely could all be done from afar. The only item I’m uncertain about is the nuclear weapons development capability, and whether we need to have boots on the ground at that particular facility — one or more — in order to ensure that they were totally destroyed. You cannot go after those kinds of facilities in-air.
Brooks concluded, “If you go after nuclear weapons production facilities, you have to be darn sure they are rendered useless and can never be used again, so we might need boots on the ground there in order to inspect and ensure that the damage that we sought to have been done was successful, but that can be an in-and-out kind of circumstances, not a long-term stay
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