Hurd Joins Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN To Talk Soleimani, Iran
by Will Hurd on January 6, 2020 at 11:51 AM
I joined Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN last night to talk about the killing of Qassem Soleimani and the implications this will have on the escalated conflicts between the U.S. and the Iranian regime.
You can watch the full interview here and read the transcript below.
On the killing of Qassem Soleimani:
Yes, I think this was a good move. This is what happens to heads of terrorist organizations. You gave the layup of what the Iranian government has been doing. You've talked about what Qassem Soleimani has done in the past. When you have an opportunity like this, you take it. And let's be frank: the Iranian government is not the victim here -- they are the culprits. They are the ones, and you know everyone’s talking about how about whether we're at war or not, we've been at war with Iran for 50 years.
And this is an example of if the Iranian government wants to truly have a de-escalation, then guess what? Stop killing Americans. Stop killing our allies. Stop trying to influence the elections in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan, in Yemen. Stop killing your own people who are trying to peacefully protest. Stop lying about your nuclear weapons. These are all things that the Iranian government can do, and if they were to do that? Then yes, let's start having diplomatic conversations with them. And I wish this was something that many of my colleagues and some of our allies in Europe would join us in protesting. Because we should be focusing on the Iranian government's behavior and activities. Because not questioning and criticizing this decision can be viewed as support for the Iranian government, and that is a message that we do not want going to the Iranian regime and the rest of their forces.
On Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), other Democrats describing Soleimani as a top official of a foreign government doing terroristic actions, killing American forces in Iraq and elsewhere:
If you’re doing ‘terroristic actions’, then you’re a terrorist. You can't hide behind a uniform in order to protect yourself and say you're not being a terrorist. This is something that the Iranian government has been doing for a long time. The fact that people want to act like the Iranian government is the victim in this case is to me outrageous.
Yes, this is going to potentially get worse before it gets better, but what is the alternative? Sit and do nothing? Let our Embassy get attacked once more? Let our troops be attacked even further? To allow the Iranian government to continue to oppress their own people? They killed 1,500 people who were unarmed, peacefully protesting in their own country. This is not a government that is a rational government that can sit down at a negotiating table.
And so, we took someone who is the head of the most well-financed, organized terrorist organization in the world and took him off the battlefield. I think today his replacement and the other generals around him are second-guessing some of the decisions that they’re going to make because despite what the Iranian government said about these people want to be martyrs – they don't want to be martyrs. They want to live a long life and now they're thinking again about whether some of these actions that they're trying to take are wise for them.
On regime change as U.S. policy in Iran:
I think the U.S. government and the rest of the international community should be supporting the Iranian people and let the Iranian people decide. We've seen these protests flare up time and time again. We know the economic situation that Iran is facing right now is possibly getting worse. When they finally came to negotiating table before the JCPOA, you know, I do not think that the Iranian government is going to change their behavior because they because someone wants to negotiate with them. Ultimately, I've always learned this in my time in the CIA: be nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys – not the other way around. And again, we should be protecting American lives at every opportunity we can, and if that means pre-emptive action, we should. But we should also be bringing our allies with us, especially in Europe. The Iraqi government right now is headed by an Iranian proxy in essence, and he was doing such a bad job that the Iraqi people stood up and wanted to see change. That was ultimately a good thing. This is one reason why you see the Iranian government increasing their activity in Iraq. But we do need our European allies to join us and show that there is a united front against this terrible regime.