Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North advised President Donald Trump to “use your big stick” against Iran amid Iran’s ballistic missile strikes on U.S. bases in Iraq on Tuesday night.
In an appearance with Fox’s “Hannity” program with Sean Hannity, North reacted to the Iranian missile strikes. North revived President Teddy Roosevelt’s foreign policy adage, and said: “speak softly and use your big stick, Mr. President.”
North clarified the “big stick” statement, by first advising Trump target both Iranian oil fields and the missile sites responsible for carrying out the launches that targeted two U.S. bases.
North then advised Trump to avoid military measures that require the U.S. to put its personnel into greater harm’s way.
“Make sure, at the back end of this thing, that we’re not using things that are going to put Americans at risk,” North said. “In other words, use standoff weapons. We’ve got them. You can load them aboard B-52s . . . fire cruise missiles, they don’t drop H-bombs.”
North went on to suggest that if the Iranians had a nuclear weapon, they would use it. Meanwhile, any U.S. response should stay confined to hitting Iran’s major oil fields and its missile launch sites.
North said that Trump has positioned forces well against Iranian attacks through prior actions, including convincing Russia not to arm Iran with S-400 missile defense systems and the U.S. efforts to bolster its own missile defense systems in the region.
“That shows me that this president is taking the advice of really smart military people and preparing for the worst and being willing to settle for something a whole lot better than the worst, but a whole lot less than ultimate victory,” North said.
Earlier in his appearance on the news commentary show, North said that if Iran’s continued goal is to pursue terrorism, use ballistic missiles and develop nuclear weapons, than the U.S. policy towards Iran should focus on those specific issues every time the U.S. acts towards Iran.
Trump, on Tuesday night, did not announce an immediate counterstrike against Iran. He instead tweeted indications that the U.S. has not yet documented casualties from the Iranian missile attacks, but that an assessment was still ongoing and that he would provide a more detailed statement on the attacks on Wednesday.
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
Iran has issued its own comments on the attack, warning the U.S. will receive “more painful and cruel responses” from Iran if it fires back.