By Quentin Choy
July 1, 2021
President Joe Biden illegally ordered airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in his second military action as president. In statements, the Biden administration justified their airstrikes on facilities in the two countries with the threat that they were used by Iranian-backed militias such as Hezbollah.
This “justification” fails to justify such an excessive use of force, in which the president claimed that the preemptive airstrikes would keep Americans safe.
“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region,” the Pentagon spokesman, John F. Kirby, said in a statement. The most important phrase in Kirby’s statement is that these airstrikes were “defensive” and that they were done “at President Biden’s direction.”
What is defensive about launching airstrikes against countries that haven’t attacked us? Is there something I’m missing?
Pentagon spokesman Kirby also stated that “the United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation — but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.” I’m genuinely confused over what mindset someone has to be in to believe that preemptive airstrikes are defensive and will serve as a “deterrent message” that’s “designed to limit the risk of escalation.
Imagine if another nation launched airstrikes against American military facilities to “limit the risk of escalation” and to “send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.” If North Korea launched preemptive “defensive” airstrikes against military facilities in Hawaii or Guam, no one would buy that flawed justification. The U.S. would denounce the North Korean government and launch a war to overthrow the Kim regime. We know that’s what would happen.
Also, what does it matter that these militias were “Iranian-backed?” Just because a government and its military are funded by another government doesn’t justify attacking them. Would the Israeli and Saudi militaries be classified as “American-backed militias” in the region, justifying attacks from Iran against them?
The classifications and justification for military action around the world only works one way. The slipper only fits on one foot, and that is the foot of the United States. Had any other country tried something like this with so poor of justification, there’s no way they’d get away with it.
No Good Time for Airstrikes
The airstrikes come at a particularly bad time, following a presidential election in Iran, which elected Ebrahim Raisi as its hardline president. Biden’s airstrikes complicate any chances of re-entering the Iran nuclear deal, and they reduce the chances of Iran trusting the United States enough to feel secure without nuclear deterrence. Iran is in between a rock and a hard place. Biden’s reckless decision also makes me question whether or not he will still commit to having U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan in September.
With the U.S. acting aggressively toward them by imposing devastating sanctions and killing generals and officials, Iran knows that it can’t respond with military force, as that would justify regime change. However, if they obtained nuclear weapons to deter further U.S. aggression, the presence of nuclear weapons would justify regime change as neighboring Saddam Hussein saw in 2003 with the invasion of his country.
Hand Some War Powers Back to Congress
Just like under Trump, Congress needs to restrict the president’s war powers justified under Bush’s War on Terror as Obama, Trump, and Biden have been reckless in their usage of military force, none of which was approved by Congress. These men are attacking other countries with our money in our name without our representatives approving the actions.
Airstrikes like this and U.S. presence in the Middle East only complicates things and makes U.S. soldiers abroad less safe. Of course, retaliation is inevitable, and the troops America places there are pawns that if attacked would spark war. The troops must be brought home now, and the Middle East must sort itself out with America out of the picture.
If soldiers are left there as the U.S. prods the region, it’s only a matter of time before the retaliation reaches a breaking point.
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