The top US commander in the Middle East, Gen. Frank McKenzie told interviewers on Thursday that he believes Iran remains an “imminent” threat to US forces. He dismissed the idea that a US military buildup in the area had in any way diminished the perceived threat.
“I don’t actually believe the threat has diminished,” McKenzie told interviewers, adding that it “has probably evolved in certain ways. These comments stand in stark contrast to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who recently declared Iran “deterred” by the US buildup.
Pentagon officials have not been very transparent on their estimation of threats, so it is difficult to judge the differences in assessments, or their validity. Gen. McKenzie, however, suggested Iran or its proxies could attack “at any moment.”
These claims seem unrealistic, given everything that is ongoing in the Middle East, and look more than a little self-serving for high-ranking military officials who are seeing another large military budget make its way through Congress and know that talk of a large, “imminent” war would facilitate that bill’s passage.
President Trump has repeatedly insisted he doesn’t want a war with Iran, and while he can’t totally rule one out, he has says there is “no indication” that anything might happen in the first place, severely undercutting the case being made by the generals, and the administration’s hawks.
It also makes it puzzling that Gen. McKenzie chose to praise the Iraqi government for measures to protect US troops, since the meat of his argument is that the threat is not reduced, and official references to Iranian proxies almost always refers to elements within Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, part of the government’s security forces.
36 thoughts on “US Commander Says Iran Remains ‘Imminent Threat’ to US Forces in Middle East”
Here’s some tasty food for thought: if American military forces weren’t in the vicinity of Iran, perhaps Iran wouldn’t be an ‘imminent threat’.
Even more so since the US is waging economic war on Iran.
If Iranian forces had invaded and occupied Canada or Mexico since 2003, then Mr General might have a leg to stand on. As it is, he’s just another pogue.
These generals want combat to break out so they can put more shiny medals on their uniforms.
Their commander in the White House has the power to say no. According to one of its past occupants there is a desk in a room of that building where the buck stops.
Imagine that you are the commander in chief of the Iranian forces. You must ask yourself: “does this General speak for President Trump who wants to talk to us or does he speak for the Pentagon which may want to war with us?” What kind of foreign and military policy is that? I call it madness.
The Resolute Desk in the Oval Office in a virtually separate high-pressure building called the West Wing. The A-bomb shelter is under this area, connected by tunnel to the Residence. Truman ripped out the entire guts of the complex and rebuilt it to Dr. Strangelove-esque specifications in his second term.
Great setting for a megalomaniac to blossom.
Trump said he’s ready to use nukes, not even defensively, and nobody says anything. Most applaud him. The country is off the rails.
DJT never said that, dude. He wants wars to end. If he actually said that, his chances of re-election in 2020 would be slim to none.
It was Bonkers Bolton – not DJT – who said he was ready to use nukes, not even defensively. Most Americans are sick and tired of endless wars and want peace.
I don’t know what you’ve been smoking or drinking, but I strongly suggest you stop and think straight.
Since when does “all options are on the table”, not include war, invasion, or nukes ? Guess you hear what you want to hear.
He has threatened to annihilate both Iran and North Korea. I don’t know if he planned on doing that with conventional weapons but I highly doubt it. In Iran’s case, it’s a stretch to say it was defensively since Iran isn’t capable of attacking the US mainland.
Morgan then asked Trump if he would press the nuclear button, to which Trump replied: “I don’t want to have to think about it, but there may be a time when I do have to think about it.”
A White House military aide left Downing Street carrying the nuclear football shortly after Donald Trump and Theresa May…https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1938870/Video-Military-aide-leaves-Downing-Street-carrying-nuclear-football.html
Withdraw forces from their neighborhood and they won’t be a threat. If Iran put military forces in Mexico and Canada, would they not be a threat to us?
President Trump may not want war with Iran. History shows nations get the war they don’t want: the conflict they need to avoid, the one that destroys the interests they seek to protect.
History tells me that nations go to war because they believe they can win that war. It then often turns out that they cannot which triggers the excuse that hey did not want that war.
That’s mostly true, Dieter. However, the US hasn’t been able to win any major wars post-WWII. The 3-year Korean War ended in a stalemate and an armistice was signed. The US lost the Vietnam War in 1975 when its forces were driven out and Saigon was captured by the NVA and Viet Cong.
In 1991, US and Coalition forces drove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait and destroyed their convoys .. but US and Coalition forces didn’t pursue them once they were back in their own country.
Afghanistan, the destroyer of empires, has never been actually conquered due to its extremely hostile terrain and the tenacity of its warrior tribes. The US, with all of its modern weapons, hasn’t been able to conquer the country for the same reasons the ancient Macedonians, the Brits, and the Soviets failed in their attempts at conquering it.
Eileen, you are applying 19th century military science to the 21st century. When “america was great”, volunteer fire departments would impose segregation by burning down undesirables’ homes. The goal ? Destruction, and a warning. US militancy has left “undesirable nations” rubbled, killed millions of civilians, created untold more millions of refugees. This is what we observe, and this was the plan. It has been wildly successful, in their eyes, which is why they continue.
That’s true, Peter .. It’s also true that DJT doesn’t want war with China and Russia either. He knows that if war comes, he won’t be re-elected next year as well.
The best way to avoid a war with Iran is to simply remove ALL sanctions; then the Iranians will be more than happy to have talks with the US. It’s all of these sanctions that are blocking any chances of negotiations. DJT issued these sanctions; he can also remove them .. It’s that simple. Removing them’s the only demand Iran has given, before negotiations can begin.
The alcoholic, promising to never drink, comes home with 2 gallons of cheap vodka and a small 7-up, says it’s in case freinds come over.
US forces are a threat to Iran and all of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
I remember when we had to kill Anwar al-Awlaki because he was an imminent threat. I think it was a couple of years from the time we said he was an “imminent” threat until we killed him. And “deterring” Iran from doing something should actually mean that they had planned on doing something. We’re an embarrassment in even our selection of words.
Why does Iran bring its territory so close to US forces?
And bad Iraq, having the audacity to have Shia units defend from ISIS when everybody knows Shia means Iran. Too bad the 70% if Shia population of Iraq did not know that it was politically incirrect to fight Sunni takfiris, ISIS, Salafists and Al-Qaeda . You fight thise only when US press says it is OK. And how dim if them to fight off Kurd attempt at secession and keep the country united when Biden saud it should becsplit in three oarts! What thise Iraqis need is the access to our free media.
It’s Iraq’s business – not the meddling US media’s – to decide to have Shia militias defend against ISIS when everyone knows Shia means Iran. This so-called “political correctness” has gone way too far; and this is why the US is in such a mess.
Iran’s a peaceful country that hasn’t attacked its neighbors in nearly 500 years. Iraq, once an enemy of Iran, is now Iran’s ally.
If you park your lard ass fleet in the intersection….sheesh, how did these people get a license in the first place…
Straight from being the superpower issuing threats and engaging in a military buildup focused on Iran, now we’re the scardy-pants worried we might get hit by them at any moment?
There are no bigger cowards on earth than the American military, who hide behind their drones, bombers and armored vehicles and would piss their pants and cry like babies if the roles were ever reversed.
The US is a imminent threat to the world.
With the GOP grip on the helm…
Speaking as a Dem voter in the past, it’s not any better when the GOP isn’t running things, foreign policy-wise.
It’s worse, because charlatans like Obama can get away with committing war crimes without being called to account by most people on the left–the very ones who SHOULD be the strongest antiwar voices.
They seem the same to you because you want them to be the same, rather than studying war authorization votes in congress. How does the recent Yemen votes seem to you…the same ?
This stuff – like Trump’s random tweets – is irrelevant. There’s nothing to be gained from trying to interpret vague random statements from random generals.
We know what the target is: Hezbollah in Lebanon. When it happens, it will be a “surprise” to everyone – probably including Trump and this idiot general – except me.
Israel, the neocons and the CIA (along with the military-industrial complex, the oil companies and the banks) call the shots in the US, not the President or the Pentagon. And we know what they want: war with Iran. Which they can’t have until Hezbollah is degraded. That’s it. End of story. And all the “analysis” that is needed.
So basically, “You’re goddamn right Nova Scotia is still an imminent threat! Now give me that big bag of money…”
It’s the weirdest coincidence – the more troops we ship overseas, the more troops are in harm’s way! It’s almost like there’s some kind of parallel here, but these meatheads are paid to not realize that.
I guess Trump admin and Pentagon think 6 currents wars are not enough,,,esp since we have been in Afganistan almost 18 years. Hell lets screw up another war.
Whenever I hear this “Iran is a threat” propaganda these days, I think of the Progressive insurance commercials about “here comes the wacky new maid.” Substitute that with “Iran is about to attack” and you get the idea. “Iran’s not the threat we wanted, but it’s the threat we’ve got.” “Hey, I’m not a threat, I’m not making nukes, and haven’t started a war with anybody in hundreds of years.” “So, Iran, when are you going to attack?”
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