After years of kowtowing to Iran, the killing of American troops by Iranian-backed drone strikes in Jordan last week forced Biden to promise a response. However, his subsequent decision to openly broadcast these plans to the media in advance made it clear that Biden was just playing tough and had no real desire to hold Iran accountable.
During the Friday episode CNN’s “Situation Room,” Nick Paton Walsh, CNN’s Chief International Security Corresponden, was quite dismissive of Joe Biden’s retaliatory air strikes. According to Walsh, these strikes “seem to be essentially telegraphed enough to give those on the receiving end enough time to relocate or lessen the damage that potentially could have been done.” He also observed that the strikes were of a smaller scale compared to the strike that resulted in the death of Qasem Soleimani during the Trump administration.
“It may indeed prove to have been the case, but so far, we are looking at, geographically, areas that have been hit before over previous years, and we are, as I say, looking at a telegraphing of a response that will likely have reduced its effectiveness. We’ve heard from the Pentagon saying the weather was potentially behind some of the timing here, too,” he continued.
“But Joe Biden — President Biden — has an exceptionally difficult thing to thread here: he has to show adequate aggression to Iran that three American soldiers are not killed lightly, that Tehran sees consequences for that act,” Walsh continued. “But remember, Alex, we’ve both been around long enough to remember 2019, when attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and other American facilities led to the assassination of the Revolutionary Guard chief Qasem Soleimani by the Trump administration. That was a strident move that many thought would have consequences. It didn’t to the extent many had feared. And so, today’s response, to some degree, is lesser than that, certainly, but it’s done in a very different world, where the Israel-Gaza conflict raging, fears for months, that might potentially have sparked a wider conflagration across the entire region. But it’s clear: Joe Biden doesn’t want that. He has to show strength here militarily in the region at this time, show Iran clearly that it’s capable of a tough military response. But it probably knows too that Iran also doesn’t want an open, full-on conflict here.”
Biden administration sources leaked their retaliation plans to Politico on Monday “Within the administration, top aides are trying to thread a needle,” Jonathan Lemire and Alexander Ward of Politico reported. “Biden is ordering his advisers to present a range of U.S. response options that would forcefully deter other attacks while also not further inflaming a smoldering region, according to two officials granted anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about private deliberations.” The administration subsequently leaked which targets had been approved.
Make no mistake about it. The lives of the three U.S. soldiers killed by Iranian proxies haven’t been avenged, and even Biden’s biggest cheerleaders can see that.