‘Joe Biden Is No Ronald Reagan,’ Levin Says After Austin Announces ‘Proportionate’ Response to Attack on U.S. in Iraq

Craig Bannister | December 26, 2023
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size

“Joe Biden is no Ronald Reagan. And that’s the problem,” conservative commentator Mark Levin said Monday, after Pres. Biden’s secretary of defense announced that the U.S. had launched a mere “proportionate” response to an attack on U.S. military in Iraq.

Levin made the observation in a social media post, linking to a Wall Street Journal commentary by retired U.S. Navy Captain William J. Luti, who served when Pres. Ronald Reagan responded after an Iranian mine ripped open a U.S. ship in 1988.

On Monday, Iranian-sponsored militias attacked U.S. personnel at Erbil Air Base, prompting Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to issue a statement that evening reporting that Pres. Biden had directed the U.S. to respond with “proportionate strikes”:

“Today, at President Biden's direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq.

“These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Erbil Air Base earlier today.”

But, as Captain Luti notes in “How We Deterred Iran in the Gulf Last Time,” when the USS Samuel B. Roberts was hit by an Iranian mine while escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, then-President Reagan ordered combined surface-ship and air attacks that devastated the Iranian Navy and ended Iranian aggression:

“[Operation] Praying Mantis remains a case study in strengthening deterrence. Our victory kept Iran’s navy at bay for more than two decades and helped change the course of the Iran-Iraq War, which had upended the region for eight bloody years. Iran never laid mines in the Gulf again.”

Biden’s failure to respond to attacks by retaliating with force that “far outweighs” the harm suffered won’t just fail to deter future attacks on U.S. military – it will actually put them in even greater danger, Captain Luti warns:

“Actually bolstering deterrence requires the political will to impose a cost that far outweighs any gain the [Iranian-sponsored] Houthis could hope to attain. Anything else is posturing that puts our sailors on the defensive and in harm’s way.”