“If the dust settles, and all we have at the end of it is we’ve taken the world’s top terrorist mastermind off the battlefield and they’ve lobbed a few missiles into the desert and beat their chest for their domestic audience, it’s hard for me to interpret this as anything other than a massive win for the Trump administration.” —Mike Gallagher
In the wake of Iran’s attacks Tuesday night on the United States’ Ayn al-Asad base in Iraq, we talked to Rep. Mike Gallagher—who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and spent several months at the base during his service as a Marine—about what comes next in the region. Gallagher had been briefed on the attack by CIA Director Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at the time of our conversation, a transcript of which is edited for clarity below.
The Dispatch: Obviously we were glad to hear there were no casualties, Iraqi or American, resulting from the Iranian strikes last night. President Trump mentioned in his comments today that various precautions were taken in advance of the attack. Given your experience there, what kind of precautions and preparations would the soldiers at Al-Asad have taken?