Pete Buttigieg has slammed Donald Trump and his administration for potentially leading the United States into yet another protracted war in the Middle East, claiming the tactic he sees coming from the West Wing mirrors the approach that brought the US into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The warning comes just as the White House has reportedly considered sending some 10,000 troops for a potential conflict with Iran, which Mr Buttigieg said on Wednesday night in New York is “terrifying” because “this White House and this administration has not hesitated to use troops as props.”
Just the next morning, Mr Buttigieg repeated the warning, noting that national security adviser John Bolton was serving the White House when the United States went to war in Iraq on the false premise of securing weapons of mass destruction.
“It is mystifying to me that John Bolton, one of the architects of the Iraq war, probably the greatest American policy disaster of my lifetime, is allowed anywhere near the Situation Room, especially by a president who says, falsely of course, that he was against the Iraq War all along,” Mr Buttigieg, a Navy veteran who deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, said on Thursday in Washington. “It is unbelievable.”
He continued: “And to see the same people taking some of the same steps, I mean they appear to be prosecuting a case, as though we hadn’t seen this movie before, possibly and terrifyingly for domestic political purposes, it makes me think about my time in service and wanting to believe that everybody in the chain of command above me knew what they were doing or at least never came by a decision lightly.”
Mr Trump has claimed that he would seek to exhaust any conflict with Iran through diplomatic means, even as reports of an increased troop presence have been published.
But, even as he has made those claims, his administration has attempted to force Iran into submission, with forceful blocks on the country’s ability to sell oil, and with a classification of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist group.
The US has also deployed ships and bombers to the Persian gulf in anticipation of a potential conflict.