Tucker Carlson – yes, that Tucker Carlson – spent his opening three segments last night destroying any and all rationales for a military attack on Iran. He even suggested that the sanctions are counterproductive. Maybe that, along with Donald Trump’s evident credence in Carlson’s counsel, is what put war-lusting Sean Hannity in such a bellicose mood in the following hour.
As I wrote in my last post, The Daily Beast recently reported that Carlson has been directly advising Donald Trump against attacking Iran. Carlson has also sent Trump similar messaging over the air. But last night was the first I’ve seen such a concentrated effort.
Carlson started his show with an appeal to Trump’s vanity: “Donald Trump was one of the rare Republican politicians honest enough to admit” the “dismal failure” of our foreign wars, Carlson said. Also, “The president, to his great credit, appears to be skeptical” of how “the same people who lured us into the Iraq quagmire 16 years ago, are demanding a new war, this one with Iran.”
Then Carlson brought on Fred Fleitz, a former chief of staff to John Bolton. Let’s just say Carlson didn’t mince his words.
CARLSON: Well, we're not deescalating the situation, by definition, right? I mean, we're sending additional troops to the region, which is the definition of escalating the situation. And we're doing it as I think you know, because a lot of the people who are behind it would very much like to see an open conflict with Iran. Why don't we just say that out loud?
CARLSON: But what's the point of all this? I guess I've lost sight of that. I mean, Iran doesn't appear to be a threat to the United States. So there's a lot of talk about how it is. I don't remember any Americans dying in terror attacks backed by Iran since the Iran nuclear deal.
We are energy exporters now, so it's not clear why the Persian Gulf is at the center of our strategic thinking. We face a lot of other threats, namely from China. Why are we so focused on Iran? I'm confused.
CARLSON: But you could very easily see this slipping beyond [Trump’s] control or anyone's control. I mean, we're trying to provoke a war. I mean, again, I don't think anybody watching this carefully, is going to mistake it for something else. I mean, that's what's happening.
We're pushing for a war with Iran, and I'm just wondering, what exactly would we get out of that? And when Americans are killed in that war, what will we say to their families? Why did they die? Because of what cause? I honestly don't understand.
The pièce de résistance came near the end, when Carlson asked "When was the last time Iran committed an act of terror against Americans?" The best Fleitz could come up with was that Iran "was going to be" responsible for a bombing of a train from Toronto to the U.S. in 2011. In other words, as Carlson noted, no Americans have been killed by Iran "in recent memory, in this generation."
Immediately following that interview, Carlson brought back former U.S. Army colonel Douglas Macgregor. You may recall that earlier this week, Macgregor was on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show warning Trump that a war with Iran would kill his re- election chances. Last night, Macgregor doubled down:
MACGREGOR: I think the president understands that an attack on Iran would result in an all-out-war. The notion of limited strikes is absurd. The Iranians would respond with everything they have because their economy is at ruins, their backs are against the wall. He knows that. He doesn't want that, so we should be grateful.
At the same time, I think the president has begun to figure out wars destroy presidencies. War destroyed LBJ. War destroyed ultimately, W -- George W. Bush. He doesn't want to join the pantheon of destroyed and failed presidents that embarked upon wars that ultimately were not supported by the American people.
And again, if the American people don't support it, forget it.
From there, Carlson suggested Trump should ease the sanctions on Iran and - gasp! - work on diplomacy.
CARLSON: Finally, is there some good reason to maintain this level of sanctions against Iran? Are we getting something out of that?
MACGREGOR: Well, I think the idea was to destroy the Iranian economy and to bring the nation to its knees. That's really not what we should be trying to do at this point.
I think the president senses that there is now an opportunity for diplomacy, for a new approach to Iran that could deescalate this set of conditions and produce a positive outcome.
Look, this will ruin our economy if we engage Iran in a war. Iran will instantly have support from around the world. They will be the victims of this limited strike that is being discussed. The limited strike idea is sheer insanity. It will provoke a war. Everyone -- China, Russia, India, many European states will come to the aid of Iran. We will end up with a larger coalition of the willing against us, then we have seen in decades.
Finally, Macgregor suggested Trump “get rid of the warmongers.”
MACGREGOR: I think the president has figured this out. He has got good instincts. But he needs to get rid of the warmongers. He needs to throw these geniuses that want limited strikes out of the Oval Office.
One of those warmongers is unofficial chief of staff Sean Hannity.
Watch Carlson act as a voice of reason in not one, not two, but three segments below, from the June 20, 2019 Tucker Carlson Tonight.
(Transcript excerpts via Fox News)