Fox's Sean Hannity urges Trump to use “full force” of America’s military to retaliate against Iran

The call came in the after Iran launched ballistic missiles targeting U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 8, 2020 9:56AM (EST)

Sean Hannity (AP/Jeff Roberson)
Sean Hannity (AP/Jeff Roberson)

Fox News host Sean Hannity urged President Donald Trump to use “the full force” of America’s military to retaliate against Iran after it launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq on Tuesday.

After saying that he had spoken to a high-ranking official who believed that most or all of the missiles in question had missed their targets, and describing how Iran had been “attacking the civilized world” since 1979, Hannity encouraged the president to take action. 

“Do they actually think they can attack Americans and get away with it?” Hannity asked. “I think they need to think again. Do they actually think that they can kill our brave men and women abroad in our embassy and get away with it? Do they think they can fund terrorism all around the globe and get away with that? Do they think they can commit economic terrorism and try and impact the free flow of the lifeblood of every economy in the world and get away with that?”

He added, “There is a massive price to pay. You don't get to do what they did tonight. They have now been begging — the president wanted to talk and wants peace — and they are going to get hit hard. Their hostility will now be met with the full force of the greatest, most advanced, most sophisticated military this world has ever seen. As a former CIA station chief Dan Hoffman pointed out: Any hostile action by Iran would be regime suicide.”

Hannity said he did not support a ground invasion, telling his audience that “I don’t want boots on the ground. We don’t need boots on the ground. The president has been clear he’s not putting boots on the ground.” 

But the Fox News host argued that America could effectively retaliate against Iran with “superior weaponry.” It remains unclear how the Trump administration will respond to the Iranian attacks, though the president said he would make a statement Wednesday morning. 

After Iran said it would attack American “military sites” following the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the president tweeted that "if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture."

After being criticized for threatening to commit a war crime, the president distanced himself from his earlier remarks Tuesday at the White House.

"And we are, according to various laws, I suppose, to be very careful with their cultural heritage. And you know what? If that's what the law is, I like to obey the law. But think of it: They kill our people, they blow up our people — that we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions. But I'm OK with it. It's OK with me."

Trump bragged about his decision to not pursue a military option against Iran back in June after it shot down an unmanned American drone.

"They came and they said, 'Sir, we're ready to go. We'd like a decision,'" Trump recalled to NBC News host Chuck Todd at the time. "I said, 'I want to know something before you go. How many people will be killed, in this case Iranians?' I said, 'How many people are going to be killed?'"

"They said, came back, said, 'Sir, approximately 150.' And I thought about it for a second, and I said, 'You know what? They shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it. And here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead,'" Trump continued. "'And I didn't like it. I didn't think it was — I didn’t think it was proportionate."

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By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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