However, despite the fact that no one was killed, these were “life-threatening attacks” against the US and the US reserves the right to respond militarily to those attacks.
Indeed, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time that the US would hold the Iranian Regime “accountable” for any attack that injures US personnel or damages US government facilities.
She said: “America will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of American lives.”
Therefore, it is more than reasonable that Bolton requested military options from the Pentagon, even if it reportedly shocked some within the Defense and State Departments.
Of course, the US didn’t end up striking Iran, so why is there so much uproar about Bolton simply examining all the options? That’s his job, after all.
Helen Raleigh, an immigration policy fellow at the Centennial Institute in Colorado, wrote: “I am also shocked. I am shocked that Iran has been a US strategic enemy and has done so much harm to Americans and US assets, yet the Pentagon doesn’t have military options against Iran ready to go. Why hasn’t the United States done anything to teach Tehran not to mess with the United States?”
Raleigh is right. While Iran has not formally declared war on the US, likely aware that the US’s military would crush them in an instant, it has used various proxies to attack the US over the past 40 years; from the 1979 seizure of the Tehran Embassy, to the 1983 suicide bombings in Lebanon, to the support of Iraq militias who killed hundreds of US service personnel from 2003 to 2011.
The US has plenty of evidence to hold Iran responsible, yet it has not, so Iran continues to harm Americans, emboldened by the lack of response.
It is heartening that the US has embraced a new policy towards Iran and that many officials within the Trump administration have advocated for increased sanctions and less diplomatic relations with the terrorist Regime, but they should be ready to attack militarily as well.
Raleigh wrote: “In order to keep America safe, the United States should never rule out military options against Iran, and should let Iran know that the United States is always ready and willing to take such actions.”