A Republican congressman said on Wednesday that if the United States ends up using military force against Iran’s nuclear program, it should do so with nuclear weapons.
GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson made headlines back in October when he said that the U.S. should detonate a nuclear weapon in the Iranian desert to send Tehran a message. But Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) took this line of thinking a step further on C-Span’s Washington Journal Wednesday morning when he suggested that Iran’s nuclear facilities should be the target.
When asked if he thinks war is inevitable with Iran, Hunter said, “I sure hope not,” but said if it happens, the U.S. better go big:
HUNTER: I think a ground war in Iran with American boots on the ground would be a horrible thing and I think people like to toss around the fact that we have to stop them in some way from gaining this nuclear capability. I don’t think it’s inevitable but I think if you have to hit Iran, you don’t put boots on the ground, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and you set them back a decade or two or three. I think that’s the way to do it with a massive aerial bombardment campaign.
Hunter — a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — explained that the U.S. experience in those countries have shaped his view. “I think America now knows its limitations in that area and what we can do and do we want to spend 20 years there after we tear it down to build it back up again so that it isn’t run by a crazy tyrannical leader like has happened in, let’s say Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. Watch the clip:
“To be frank, with Iran’s government, the way that it is driven by radical extremist Muslims, that’s different from self preservation mindset that North Korea has in kind of the old Soviet model, that’s different from Iran’s government,” Hunter said earlier in the segment, espousing the so-callled “martyr state myth.” He added: “When you’ll blow yourself up for your God that makes you more dangerous than the sense of self preservation that most people and most countries have.”
Hunter also supports increasing sanctions on Iran now, despite concerns that doing so would violate the terms of the agreement the P5+1 reached with the Islamic Republic last month over its nuclear program. “I think that we should proceed with sanctions so that the Iranians know that this is not an American deal with them,” he said, “this is a Kerry/Obama deal them and that the rest of Congress is not behind them.” (HT: John T. Bennett)
Kingston Reif of the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation tells Defense News that, if carried out, Hunter’s plan “would have a devastating impact on US national security and dismember US power and standing in the world.”
“That a senior Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee is even suggesting such a possible course of action is the height of reckless irresponsibility and so far out of bounds it is astonishing,” Reif said. “The first use of nuclear weapons against Iran would guarantee a mad Iranian dash to acquire nuclear weapons to deter future such US attacks, likely convince other potential US adversaries in the region and around the world to acquire their own nuclear weapons to ward off a potential future US attack.”