Decorated military veteran and best-selling author Oliver North tells Newsmax that a military strike against Iran’s nuclear capabilities could be the “only option” this year.
North, who just returned from a trip to the Middle East, also says the conflict in Syria looms as a strategic disaster for the United States and its allies, warns that the appointment of Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense would be a “formula for disaster,” and cautions that cutting defense spending will make the nation more vulnerable to “serious adversaries.”
North served in the U.S. Marines for 22 years and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Ronald Reagan administration.
North now hosts “War Stories with Oliver North” on the Fox News Channel and is the founder of the Freedom Alliance foundation. His latest book is “Heroes Proved.”
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Tuesday, North was asked about the possibility that the country will go over the so-called fiscal cliff and be forced to make significant cuts in defense spending.
“They’re going to take some big cuts in defense,” he says. “Will we have enough at the end of the day in our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard to protect this country? Will we still have any kind of ballistic missile defense?
“They’ve been kicking this can down the road so long, there’s no certainty as to how [much capability] we’re going to have to protect this country from really serious adversaries.
“We’re not just talking about radical Islamists today in one or two countries. We’re talking about an expansion of it all over the Middle East. We’re talking about North Korea with an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting America’s shores from North Korea.
“Think about what it means if the Iranians, the number one customer for North Korean nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles, get that missile.”
Story continues below the video.
Also on America’s defense, North asserts: “They’re talking about making Chuck Hagel, ostensibly a former Republican senator, the secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel is known as one of the great Israeli-phobes of all time and that kind of thing, with America’s only real ally in that part of the world, is a formula for disaster.
“The American people need to tell their member of Congress that we need a strong defense to protect us and to prevent wars. We can’t get away with simply leading from behind and gutting our defenses.”
Israel’s Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Danny Danon, told Newsmax
on Monday that 2013 would be the year Israel addresses the Iranian nuclear threat. North comments: “Let’s go to what the options have been. It’s been diplomatic and economic sanctions. Anybody who thinks those work need to look at the 40-year history of economic sanctions against North Korea.
“In North Korea, grass is a vegetable eaten by the people, and they’ve got nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. So something more stringent than what’s been done to North Korea is going to have to work, otherwise a military strike is the only option.
“One of the ways in which you could affect change is supporting a change of government in Tehran, which the Obama administration has steadfastly refused to do.”
Asked if the United States done enough work with the opposition in Syria to lay the groundwork for a stable government if and when Bashar Assad is removed from power, North tells Newsmax: “Syria could go the way of Libya. The last time I checked, we have four dead Americans in Benghazi because they thought they could work with the opposition. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.”
Asked if Syria could become a strategic disaster threatening Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, and other nations in the region, North responds: “It could happen tomorrow. Consider that they’ve got scud missiles. They’ve got replenished missiles from Russia. They’ve got a major Russian naval base on the coast of Syria. And they’ve now got chemical weapons being mixed that can only be used for a 60-day period. It does not bode well for the people of Syria or our allies in the region.”
Elaborating on the attack on American diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, North says: “Someone in the Congress of the United States needs to ask the right questions. What was the ambassador doing in Benghazi? What was done in the weeks, months and days leading up to that event that would have aided in securing that facility? What was done during that event? That’s far more important than somebody altering the talking points for the ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice.
Turning to Egypt, North tells Newsmax: “[Mohammed] Morsi is not an ally of the United States yet we’re still sending him billions of American foreign aid. We’ve got to ask ourselves, what is it we’re supposed to be doing to support friends in that part of the world and make sure that radical Islam is not what’s going to govern all of the Middle East and the North Coast of Africa.
“The Obama administration has turned a blind eye to radical Islam since before they came to office. If you look at everything that’s transpired since the famous Cairo speech in 2009, it’s all been an embrace of those who are the most radical elements in that part of the world. That is not a good sign for America’s foreign policy.”
North has this comment regarding the massacre in Newtown, Conn., and calls for stricter gun control: “Terrible things happen without firearms. Take the [Alfred] P. Murrah office building in Oklahoma City, blown up with 169 people killed, over 40 of whom were children.”
North also discusses his most recent book, Heroes Proved.
“This is a sequel to three other novels with Peter Newman. This book is still available in time for Christmas, signed in our warehouse waiting to go. Go to olivernorth.com
. Buyers can get a copy of this shipped even to an APO overseas in time for the holidays.
He adds: “This book is a favorite for those who’ve served in the Armed Forces of the United States or those who are serving today.”
In his exclusive Newsmax interview, North also offers his acerbic take on the potential nomination of John Kerry as secretary of State.
North to Newsmax: John Kerry Should Not Be Secretary of State
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.