Former Secretary of State John Kerry tells MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell that it was "always an option" to take out Soleimani, through several administrations, but "people made a judgment that the cost of doing so was not going to change the dynamic sufficiently that it was worth that cost because of the simple reason that we've already seen" with the Trump-Iran crisis.
"There is no way at all that the world is safer, that the United States is safer, that the region is safer, with the steps this president has taken," Kerry said. "The president is so fixated on undoing anything Barack Obama did, that he was willing to run the risk of outright war in the effort to fulfill his fantasy."
FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Well, Lawrence, first of all, the president's opening comment in his speech was about as fatuous and unnecessary a comment as any that I`ve ever heard a president make because the policy of every president previously, including President Obama, was to make certain Iran could not have a nuclear weapon, and, in fact, President Obama succeeded in preventing Iran from having any capacity to build a nuclear weapon without our knowing it.
The Iran nuclear agreement is simply the most exhaustive, verifiable, and transparent nuclear agreement on the face of the planet, which provided us lifetime access to challenge any building we thought Iran might be messing around in and inspect it if we thought it was necessary. And we had the absolute ability with France, Germany, Britain on our side to be able to have a vote that was unimpeachable by China, by Russia, or anybody else to prevent us from doing so.
So what the president has done, Lawrence, is create this crisis. There were no missiles coming at our facilities before he pulled out of this agreement. There were no ships being detained in the Gulf. There was no protester at the gates of the Baghdad embassy. There were no ships being taken hostage.
We were welcomed in Iraq. We were fighting ISIS jointly. We had a foothold in other countries in the region, where now people are voting to say we have to go home.
We`re now – we're at risk. We're now – our diplomats anywhere in that region are at greater risk, and any American citizen I would proffer in that region is at risk. There is no way at all that the world is safer, that the United States is safer, that the region is safer with the steps this president has taken to create a crisis that didn`t have to happen.
There are countless ways he could have gone to the British, the French, the Germans, the Chinese, the Russians, all of whom stayed in this agreement after he pulled out because they understood the strength of it. But on the contrary, there was no way he could have not gone to them and said, you have to join me now in working on the agreement to deal with Yemen, to deal with the missile crisis, to deal with their support of Hezbollah, to deal
with their interference in Iraq, to deal with their threats to Israel. All of that was on the table when we handed over the keys to the president.
But the president is so fixated on undoing anything Barack Obama did, that he was willing to run the risk of outright war in the effort to fulfill his fantasy about this region and about his presidency. It's the most dangerous thing I've seen since the war I fought in, which was lied about and presented such a crisis to our nation.
And I think Americans need to stop and consider the recklessness and impulsiveness of the decision that he made.