Yesterday during his press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, President Obama said the administration has asked the Iranians to return the surveillance drone that was downed in Iranian territory last week. “We have asked for it back — we’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said. However the chances that Iran will respond positively to that request appear dim, as Iran’s Defense Minister said today, “Instead of apologizing to the Iranian nation, [the U.S.] is brazenly asking for the drone back.”
Talking with CNN’s Erin Burnett last night, Vice President Cheney offered what he said would’ve been the “right response” — to bomb Iran:
CHENEY: The right response to that would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down and destroy it. You can do that from the air. You can do that with a quick airstrike, and in effect make it impossible for them to benefit from having captured that drone. I was told that the president had three options on his desk. He rejected all of them. [...]
They all involved sending somebody in to try to recover it, or if you can’t do that, admittedly that would be a difficult operation, you certainly could have gone in and destroyed it on the ground with an airstrike. But he didn’t take any of the options. He asked for them to return it. And they aren’t going to do that.
Watch the clip:
Just a “quick airstrike,” Cheney said was all it would take. Nothing fancy. Of course this particularly direction doesn’t take into account how the Iranians might perceive and react to an American bombing campaign on their soil.
It’s also worth noting that early on during the Bush administration — when Cheney was arguably running the foreign policy show — President Bush pursued a similar course that Obama chose with the drone when an American spy-plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet and was forced to land on Chinese territory. Instead of bombing the plane, the United States issued a letter of apology saying it was “very sorry.” The Chinese released the American flight crew and returned the plane in pieces three months later.