WFTV alum pushes de­fense sec­re­tary for ac­tion on Iran

Orlando Sentinel - - PEOPLE & ARTS - By Hal Boedeker Email me at [email protected]­lan­dosen­tinel.com. Want more TV and movie news? Go to or­lan­dosen­tinel.com/tvguy.

Be­fore the United States killed an Ira­nian gen­eral in Iraq, Fox News an­chor Le­land Vit­tert on Thurs­day took a hawk­ish ap­proach to ques­tion­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper.

Might Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump have been watch­ing?

Vit­tert, who worked pre­vi­ously as a re­porter at Or­lando’s WFTV-Chan­nel 9, ques­tioned Esper on “Amer­ica’s News­room.” Esper said Iran needed to stop its “bad be­hav­ior” of more than 40 years and start “act­ing like a nor­mal coun­try.”

“It’s a long list of bad be­hav­ior, and I’m glad you brought that up,” Vit­tert told Esper. “It’s a lit­tle bit like a sand­box from grade school. Some­times bul­lies don’t un­der­stand sanc­tions, they don’t un­der­stand tough talk, de­ploy­ment, airstrikes against prox­ies. Bul­lies un­der­stand a punch in the nose. Is there a time that the Ira­nian bul­lies and the ay­a­tol­lahs need a punch in the nose to their lead­er­ship that goes be­yond merely sanc­tions and rhetoric?”

The an­chor sounded more like an ed­i­to­ri­al­ist push­ing for ac­tion than an in­ter­viewer.

Esper said he wouldn’t spec­u­late about the next steps. But he re­it­er­ated that Iran needed to be­have like a nor­mal coun­try. He listed de­mands, such as Iran end­ing its nu­clear pro­gram and hostage tak­ing. But Vit­tert pressed.

“I get the de­mand, sir, but it ap­pears the Ira­nian regime is not re­ally lis­ten­ing,” Vit­tert said. “As you noted, they at­tacked the Saudi oil fa­cil­i­ties and there was not a mil­i­tary re­sponse. They shot down the U.S. drone, and there was not a mil­i­tary re­sponse. So far there’s only been a mil­i­tary re­sponse against their mili­tias in Iraq. Is the idea here that only the loss of U.S. life will re­sult in a U.S. mil­i­tary re­sponse?”

Esper said the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity needed to come to­gether and tell Iran to be­have like a nor­mal coun­try.

Vit­tert said that was a good point, then asked: “Are you wor­ried that the only way they will back down this time and act like a nor­mal coun­try is with an over­whelm­ing U.S. mil­i­tary ac­tion?”

Esper replied: “Well, it’s up to them to de­cide. We’ve told them what they need to do on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions. We’re pre­pared again to de­fend our­selves and de­fend our in­ter­ests. We’ve shown a will­ing­ness to ex­er­cise and use the mil­i­tary to do so.”

The U.S. later killed the Ira­nian gen­eral, and Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo said the ac­tion saved U.S. lives.

“Some­times bul­lies don’t un­der­stand sanc­tions, they don’t un­der­stand tough talk, de­ploy­ment, airstrikes against prox­ies. Bul­lies un­der­stand a punch in the nose.” Le­land Vit­tert, Fox News an­chor who is also an alum of WFTV-Chan­nel 9 in Or­lando.

COUR­TESY

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