Robert Wilkie, former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness during the Trump administration, told Newsmax on Friday that Iran's use of proxies to attack U.S. interests in Syria is a direct result of a "schizophrenic" foreign policy from the Biden administration.
On Thursday, Iranian-backed militias were responsible for a drone attack on a coalition base near Hasakah in northeastern Syria. A U.S. contractor was killed, and six other Americans were wounded.
On Friday, there were two simultaneous strikes on U.S. troops in Syria, resulting in one injury to an American. The U.S. has about 900 troops in northern Syria and hundreds of contractors working with Kurdish fighters to keep the fledgling Islamic State from resurging.
"We need to look at the schizophrenic foreign policy of this administration," Wilkie told "The Record With Greta Van Susteren" with guest host John Huddy. "They are supplying the Ukrainians in drips and drabs at the same time that they're coddling the Iranians, asking and begging the Iranians to come back to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars into a discredited nuclear deal.
"So, this administration is playing both sides of that conflict because the Iranians are supplying the Russians [with drones]."
Wilkie said since January 2021, there have been 78 attacks on U.S. interests in Syria with nothing more than "pinprick" responses by the administration. In retaliation for the latest strikes, U.S. forces hit facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, "no group will strike our troops with impunity."
"When the secretary of defense says no one strikes Americans with impunity, he certainly fails to understand what has been happening in Syria to Americans," Wilkie said.
He said during the Trump administration, Trump laid out clear rules about how to engage Iran if its proxies caused U.S. casualties.
"President Trump put out the word, if an American dies, we will escalate," Wilkie said. "An American died, the leader of the Iranian militia in Syria then died. Another American was wounded, then the world's greatest terrorist [Qasem] Soleimani was killed. The next message from the Swiss and the Swedes that went to Tehran said, if another American is hurt, then the supreme leader is in the crosshairs of the United States Air Force.
"That is the kind of thing that kept the Iranians at bay for four years."
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