Jan 17, 2022, 11:35 AM
McKenzie: Iran is invincible

TEHRAN, Jan. 17 (MNA) – The outgoing commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. Frank McKenzie, spent his tenure in the West Asia region grappling with Iran’s growing military capabilities.

He watched Iran downing a US expensive drone, striking a US base in western Iraq with missiles and flying state-of-the-art drones, and then he topped it all off with a bitter confession for America: Iran is stronger than ever.

McKenzie’s tenure as the commander of CENTCOM is reaching its end, with President Biden nominating Army Lt. Gen. Michael E. Kurilla to be the next head of US Central Command. McKenzie’s tenure is set to end this spring. Incompetence has been the main reason for replacing McKenzie, who, unlike many other US generals, is accustomed to issuing politically-motivated statements about the state of things in the West Asia region. And Iran has been a common theme in most of his statements.

McKenzie has an incompetent streak. Despite his braggadocio, McKenzie’s track record in the region is marked by incompetence and duplicity. And they are best evidenced in his in-private conversations. 

He and CENTCOM in general often proclaim that their mission in the region is two-pronged: countering terrorism and preserving peace. But this is not the case, according to McKenzie himself. 

In a recent private meeting, McKenzie shed light on the real objectives of CENTCOM. He said clearly said that the duty of CENTCOM is not securing peace as per the motto Peace is our Profession. Instead, the real task that CENTCOM wants to accomplish is to prepare military options for the US when need be.

“I always have a discussion with STRATCOM about the motto ‘peace is our profession’ and I challenge that,” the commander of CENTCOM said in the meeting. “Actually, I think in CENTCOM, we are not saying peace is our profession; rather the ability to deliver powerful combat effects when the United States needs. It is the nature of our profession.”

This stands in stark contrast to what McKenzie has been trying to portray over the course of his tenure. For instance, in late December of 2020, as the first anniversary of the US assassination of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, rolled around, the US began posturing militarily in the region. It flew two American B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf. 

McKenzie sought to depict this show of force mission as a move to protect regional “security and stability.”

“The ability to fly strategic bombers halfway across the world in a nonstop mission, and to rapidly integrate them with multiple regional partners, demonstrates our close working relationships and our shared commitment to regional security and stability,” he said at the time, according to the New York Times. 

But McKenzie miserably failed to deliver “powerful combat effects” for America versus Iran. And by his own account in the private meeting, Iran is now more powerful militarily than ever before.  

In that meeting, McKenzie told his interlocutors that despite US “withering economic” pressure against Iran, it has managed to build “a first-rate ballistic missile force” while under US economic pressure. 

The American general described how was his first real encounter with Iran’s “accurate missiles. And it was at the Ain al-Assad base in western Iraq. After the US assassinated General Soleimani in the early days of 2020, Iran took a first-of-its-kind military action against the United States. Iran launched a retaliatory missile strike against the Ain al-Assad base in revenge for General Soleimani. 

In the meeting, McKenzie admitted that Iran hit “within tens of meters” of its target. The only reason the US didn’t take more casualties, McKenzie confessed, was because its troops in the base had the ability to redeploy before the strike. 

Describing Iran’s growing military capabilities, McKenzie said these capabilities have given Iran an “overmatch ability.”

He pointed to this fact in recent remarks to the New Yorker. He told the publication that Iran achieved “overmatch” —a level of capability in which a country has weaponry that makes it extremely difficult to check or defeat. “Iran’s strategic capacity is now enormous,” McKenzie said. “They’ve got overmatch in the theatre—the ability to overwhelm.”

In other words, Iran is invincible. And that was achieved at a time when McKenzie and his CENTCOM colleagues were doing everything in their power to undermine Iran’s capabilities and influence in the region. 

McKenzie is wrapping up his tenure with remarkable failures. He was sort of fired due to his incompetence in a theatre where he was long operating. He will join the long list of other US officials and commanders who wanted to undermine Iran. They all went while Iran stands tall and will remain so. The case of McKenzie is a lesson for his successor who is expected to face even more daunting challenges than McKenzie faced. McKenzie's confessions also put the focus on the fact that the US presence in the region has become much costlier.  And that, withdrawal may be the best option for the US. 

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 182976

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