Bush: Give Israel Bunker Busters to Deter Iran
The U.S. administration should increase its military assistance to Israel, not only for defense shields but also provide them with weapons that would create a deterrence against Iran in light of the nuclear deal, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on Saturday.
Participating in a presidential forum hosted by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott on Charleston’s Daniel Island in South Carolina, Bush said he would push to give Israel “access to the most sophisticated military equipment” for offensive security measures, upping their capability of destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“Iran right now does not think we’re serious,” he said. “If we gave [Israel] the capacity to strike – I’m not suggesting that that happen – it would create a deterrent.”
The idea of providing Israel with bunker busters was recently raised by Dennis Ross, the former peace envoy in the Obama administration, and David Petraeus, former Army general and CIA director. “While some may question whether we would act militarily if the Iranians were to dash to a bomb, no one questions whether the Israelis would do so,” the two wrote in a joint Op-Ed for The Washington Post in August.
During the hourlong forum, Bush also spoke about the need of restoring the warm relationship with Israel.
“I’ve been to Israel five times. I’m inspired by its people,” Bush told Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who joined Scott on stage as co-moderator. “The spirit of the place is incredible. That shared values of the State of Israel with this incredibly diverse group; their commitment to entrepreneurial capitalism and innovation. It’s an inspiring place.”
“You know, everybody talks about the rowdiness of our political process. Wow. Go to Israel. That’s a contact sport plus. I mean, it’s like gladiators,” he joked.
Bush claimed that the deterioration in the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is because President Barack Obama has gotten his “feelings hurt or something,” which has “destroyed the relationship with Israel.”
Referring to the WSJ report on Saturday, the Republican presidential hopeful said the next president is going to have to restore the trust between the U.S. and its middle East ally. “When we have gaps between Israel and the United States; when there are doubts about our capabilities and our commitment to them, the rest of the Arab world looks and says, ‘Well, the United States can’t be a serious partner with us. They are not even going to support Israel. We’re going to have to take actions ourselves.’ And what we are going to see is the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Arab world as well, because the U.S. is no longer a trusted ally,” Bush asserted. “We have to restore this [trust]. If we want to create a more peaceful world, America has to lead.”