As Mattis writes, “Attorney General Eric Holder said the bombing plot was ‘directed & approved by elements of the Iranian gov and, specifically, senior members of the Qods Force.’ The Qods were the Special Operations Force of the IRGC, reporting to the top of the Iranian gov.”
“As President Wilson had done, so too should President Obama go before the American public, lay out the evidence, denounce the Iranian regime, and hold it to account.”
Obama declined to echo Wilson’s use of the bully pulpit.
“In my view, we had to hold Iran to account and strike back when attacked. But there was a reason for the administration’s restraint. The administration was secretly negotiating with Iran, although I was not privy to the details at the time.”
Those negotiations would lead to the Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015. Mattis is critical of the agreement, which President Trump withdrew from last year. “In my military judgment, America had undertaken a poorly calculated, long-shot gamble..."
"... At the same time, the administration was lecturing our Arab friends that they had to accommodate Iran as if it were a moderate neighbor in the region and not an enemy committed to their destruction,” Mattis writes.
“As long as its leaders consider Iran less a nation-state than a revolutionary cause, Iran will remain a terrorist threat potentially more dangerous than Al Qaeda or ISIS.”
Mattis says his reaction to the Cafe Milano bomb plot contributed towards Obama’s decision to fire him abruptly.
Obama bent over backwards to please & appease #Iran's mullahs.
"In 2010, I argued strongly against pulling all our troops out of Iraq,” Mattis writes.
Another strategic mistake by Obama aimed at pleasing Tehran.
(Earlier in the book, he recounts a discussion he had on the subject in Baghdad with Vice President Joe Biden, who was in charge of Iraq policy but "ignoring reality" and uninterested in the considered opinion of the general in charge of operations there.)
“In 2011, I urged retaliation against Iran for plotting to blow up a restaurant in our nation’s capital. In 2012, I argued for retaining a small but capable contingent of troops in Afghanistan."
[Obama] chose another option: fire the CENTCOM leader.
And the biggest threat in the region, Mattis says, then as now, was Iran. He predicted the Obama administration’s reluctance to punish Tehran for its bad behavior while the two sides negotiated a nuclear deal would come back to haunt the U.S.
He concludes that “the Iranians had not been held to account, and I anticipated that they would feel emboldened to challenge us more in the future.”
More on the Obama years...