Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Friday on CNN’s “NewsNight” that the Biden administration shouldn’t have said we would not target Iran in the latest military strikes in response to attacks on U.S. bases in the Middle East.
Anchor Abby Phillip said, “These strikes according to our reporting appeared to target essentially supply lines used by Iranian backed militias. Is that in your view sending a strong enough message to Iran to cut this out?”
Clapper said, “I doubt it. Abby, I think if the approach is going to be to just punish the militia the proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen et cetera and Lebanon is going to have to be a lot more of these kinds of strikes that’s going to have to take out a lot more of the militia infrastructure when the ultimate objective here is to change the attitude and the behavior of the Iranians, who are calling the shots with these proxies.”
He added, “We’ve stated we are not going to strike in Iran. I kind of wish in a way we left if Iranians wondering what we might do there but if we are going to limit our attacks only to the militia, then we need to be prepared for a long haul, a long slog to take out sufficient infrastructure to get them to change their behavior. So I understand the approach. We are trying to thread a needle here to change a behavior but not to induce a wider war. That’s a tough thing to do.”
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