It was likely only a matter of time before Joe Biden fell back to some of the habits of his last White House gig, serving as the Vice President during the Obama administration.
During those 8 years, he and then-President Barack Obama were heavily and consistently criticized over their military actions – particularly their enthusiasm for drone strikes that often caused extensive collateral damage.
Now, just 5 weeks into his first term, Biden is back at it.
The U.S. on Thursday conducted its first military action under President Biden, targeting infrastructure used by Iranian-backed militant groups in Syria in response to recent rocket attacks in Iraq. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters traveling with him that he had recommended the strike to Mr. Biden, who authorized it in a phone call on Thursday morning.
“The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American coalition personnel,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement. Iran-backed militias have targeted U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria for years, most recently in a rocket attack on the northern Iraqi city of Erbil last week that wounded four American contractors and one military service member.
The strikes destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point in al Bukamal, Syria, used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada, according to Kirby.
US authorities attempted to claim that there were no casualties, but a Syrian human rights groups declared that 22 people were killed in the strike.
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