“It’s Time to Realize That Our Enemies Have Already Escalated — Our Response Must Be Strong Enough to Restore Deterrence.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke on the Senate floor today about the three American troops killed by Iranian-backed militias in Jordan, as well as President Biden’s failure to deter those attacks. Since October 7, 2023, Iran-backed militias have attacked U.S. troops more than 150 times. 

Senator Fischer called for a response strong enough to restore deterrence and demonstrate that Iran must pay a price for its continued support of terrorism.

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Following is a transcript of Senator Fischer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

I want to talk today about deterrence and escalation.

In 1988, the American frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine in international waters. Thankfully, no American was killed. But wisely, President Reagan didn’t wait for tragedy to occur before acting. Just four days later, the United States destroyed two Iranian oil platforms, three warships, two fighter jets, and multiple other vessels.

The message was clear: if you put American lives in danger, you will be destroyed. There was no escalation. The conflict did not spiral into an uncontained war. Deterrence was restored.

Compare that powerful and effective example of deterrence to where we are today.

Another Iran-backed group, Hamas, attacked our ally Israel on October 7th. The president said that the United States would stand with Israel, and that he would not tell Israel how to conduct its war against this terror. Since then, his administration has all but folded to the demands of those in his party who want to condition aid and support to our ally.

Since October 7th, Iran-backed militias have attacked U.S. troops not once, not twice, but more than 150 times.

President Biden has allowed not days, not weeks, but months of unanswered attacks by Iran-backed Houthis on U.S. ships and civilian cargo vessels in the Red Sea.

What was the inevitable result of the president’s hesitation? The tragic deaths of three American troops at the hands of an Iran-backed militia, with dozens more seriously injured in the attack.

And let’s not forget that two Navy SEALS gave their lives just days before — they died trying to stop Iran from supplying weapons to similar militia groups across the region.

This administration likes to say that it doesn’t want to escalate the situation. President Biden doesn’t want Israel to escalate its justified war and he doesn’t want the United States to escalate our defense of Americans.

His administration has said it wants to avoid escalation so much that it’s beginning to seem like he’s more afraid of being blamed for escalation than he’s afraid of Americans being killed. But we should be clear: The only attacks President Biden is deterring are our own.

It’s time to realize that our enemies have already escalated — our response must be strong enough to restore deterrence. Militants have attacked Israel, targeted civilian ships, and now killed Americans. All funded and supported by Iran.

To stand up for our country, to stand against the murder of Americans, and to stand with Israel, we must clearly demonstrate to Iran that they will pay a price for their continued support of terrorism.

Public reports say that President Biden is considering options for a retaliatory strike against Iranian forces. Whatever he decides to do, it must not follow his now well-established pattern of too little, too late.

President Biden must finally restore credible deterrence — which is the only way to prevent escalation.

Thank you, M. President, I yield the floor.

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