- Fox and Friends host Pete Hegseth regularly has the president’s ear on military issues and often pushes him to embrace more extreme measures like pardoning convicted war criminals.
- On Wednesday morning, Hegseth used his powerful microphone on Fox to urge Trump to threaten attacks on Iran’s infrastructure, oil production facilities, nuclear facilities, and cultural sites.
- Hegseth appeared to encourage Trump to undermine international law and target Iranian cultural sites if they’re being used to store weapons.
- “If we’re going to fight to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, this regime, then we need to rewrite the rules that are advantageous to us,” he said.
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Fox and Friends host Pete Hegseth is virtually always on President Donald Trump’s side. And when it comes to issues of defence, he regularly has the president’s ear and often pushes him to embrace more extreme measures.
On Wednesday morning, Hegseth used his powerful microphone on Fox to urge Trump to escalate attacks on Iran, which he called “an evil regime.” This came just hours after Iran fired roughly 20 ballistic missiles at US-occupied Iraqi military bases, a retaliatory attack that didn’t result in any US, Iraqi or allied casualties.
Hegseth called on Trump to threaten Iran with attacks on its homeland – including infrastructure, oil production facilities, nuclear facilities, and cultural sites – if it doesn’t end its development of nuclear capabilities, which Iran has now vowed to do in pulling out of the nuclear deal.
“When I hear talk about, well now it’s time to get back to the table and talk, I say they need to come back to the table for talks on their nuclear capabilities. They need to come back limping and begging, not seething,” Hegseth said.
He went on, “What better time than now to say, we’re starting the clock, you’ve got a week, you’ve got X amount of time before we start taking out your energy production facilities. We take out key infrastructure. We take out your missile sites. We take out nuclear developments.”
Hegseth further suggested that US and international laws that prohibit nations from committing war crimes are “rigged to help [Iran] so that we can’t win.”
This comes after Trump said the US would target Iranian cultural sites if the country retaliates against the US – in what would likely be a war crime. The president was forced to walk back that promise on Monday after the secretary of defence said he wouldn’t violate the laws of war.
Those comments prompted an Iranian official to call Trump a “terrorist in a suit” and the Iranian parliament this week designated the US military a terrorist organisation.
But Hegseth appeared to encourage Trump to undermine laws protecting human rights, arguing the US should “rewrite the rules” to be “advantageous to us.” He said that the US should go after cultural sites if they’re being used to store weapons.
The 1954 Hague Convention only permits attacks on cultural sites in “exceptional cases of unavoidable military necessity.” Iran, to be sure, would need an huge amount of space to house the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium or plutonium, or to store nuclear weapons in an hardened magazine, making converting a heritage space like an ancient mosque to this use extremely expensive and unlikely.
“If we want to defeat them, we have to think smart about how these rules – how we navigate within these rules without playing a game that’s rigged to help them so that we can’t win,” he said. “If we’re going to fight to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, this regime, then we need to rewrite the rules that are advantageous to us.”
This isn’t the first time Hegseth has urged the president to disregard the laws of war. The Fox host, who ran for the Senate in Minnesota in 2012, helped convince Trump to reverse Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher’s demotion last summer for posing with the corpse of a captured ISIS fighter Gallagher was accused of stabbing to death.
Without any evidence, Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt speculate that Iran is hiding weapons at cultural sites, which Hegseth uses as a pretext for supporting their destruction (after saying that he does not want to do that.) pic.twitter.com/FRDkjBQ19N
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 8, 2020