Sen. Lindsey Graham, a prominent backer of war with Iran, discusses the airstrike which killed the head of the Iranian special forces near Baghdad last night during a phone interview with "Fox & Friends."
"We killed the most powerful man in Iran short of the Ayatollah," Graham said. "He was the right fist of the Ayatollah and we took the Ayatollah's arm off. But this is not an act of revenge for what he's done in the past. This was a preemptive defensive strike planned to take out the organizer of attacks yet to come. The intelligence was very strong that Soleimani was orchestrating chaos in Iraq at our expense and throughout the region. The president was informed of these potential attacks and he acted. This was a defensive strike to neutralize future attacks that were being planned and executed by Soleimani and the popular mobilization front, the Shiite militias in Iraq."
"I'm trying to do is create deterrence. So this was a preemptive attack to let everybody in the world know from North Korea, just anybody else, that if you come after Americans on President Trump's watch, you do so at your peril. All the things that Soleimani had done in the past were real. But he's not dead today because of what he did in the past. He's dead today because he miscalculated what President Trump would do regarding future attacks. So what are they thinking about in Tehran right now? Revenge. What are they thinking about inside Iraq? All of these Shiite militias are going to have three days of mourning. What kind of command and control do they have regarding Tehran? Who makes the decisions to strike and what kind of strikes are they contemplating? How would you stop retaliation through deterrence? What's the one thing that the regime can't afford to lose?" Graham stated. "The ability to refine oil. So what President Trump has done is up the ante as high as you can up it. He's killed the most consequential military leader in Iran. He's killed the guy who is spreading terror throughout the world. When you say that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism. The question is who leads that effort? It was Soleimani. They will not let this go unanswered."
"But now what will change Iran's calculation? How we respond. They're going to come after us with a vengeance if we do not reset the table pretty quickly. And if I were the president, I would put on the table targets in Iran, not Iraq and Syria, economic targets that would crush the economy. The maximum pressure campaign has worked -- Iranians to refine oil and to then sell it. The oil refineries are the last thing they have in terms of economy."