With the United States and Israel as such close allies and defenders of freedom, it is no surprise that American warriors know all about what Israel faces in the way of enemies. JNS' Jackson Richman speaks to one of these veterans, who is also a freshman congressman from Florida, Michael Waltz, with Waltz describing his firsthand experiences with Iranian attempts to harm Israel and the U.S.:
Republican Rep. Michael Waltz, 45, defeated Democrat Nancy Soderberg in the 2018 midterm elections in Florida’s 6th Congressional District to replace Rep. Ron DeSantis, who was elected the state’s governor in a contentious race. Before joining Congress, Waltz served as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer and is the first Green Beret ever elected to Congress. A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, he served a senior role at the Pentagon as the director of Afghanistan policy as well as senior advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney for South Asia and Counter terrorism.
Q: What is your overall stance on the U.S.-Israel relationship?
A: A strong U.S.-Israel relationship is critical—it’s critical to our national security, it’s critical to the region. That ranges from our cultural and historic ties together; our values of democracy, freedom, free press, individual liberties and, of course, defense. I’m a proponent of the qualitative military edge that we’ve committed to our Israeli allies. With me as a member, you’re going to get someone who has walked the walk overseas across the Middle East, across South Asia, across Africa, has a little dirt under the fingernails. So it’s really not just a talking point with me. I don’t think you’re going to find any members who have actively operated against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] and seen what they’re about. I’ve seen firsthand what Iran wants to do in the region not only to Israel as our ally, but to American interests. Bottom line: I think the relationship is critical across the board.
Q: Do you mind elaborating on your experience? You mentioned the IRGC.
A: When I served abroad in Afghanistan, the IRGC was very active with the Taliban, even though they would not have a natural relationship with Iran obviously being Shia, the Taliban being an extremist Sunni organization. But we’ve seen Iran through the IRGC and through the Kuds force, which is its foreign operations force, very effectively have marriages of convenience with surrogates that may not be naturally aligned but have forces that they want to use against the U.S., which is exactly what they were doing with the Taliban through training, through recruiting, and helping them with arming and equipping...