Sundown Joe's Secretary of Defense Says 'Meh' About Iranian-Sponsored Militia Rocket Attack That Caused Death of an American

AP Photo/Qassim Abdul-Zahra

Last week, Iranian-trained, -equipped, and -directed militia fired a barrage of rockets into the US facility at the al-Asad airbase in Iraq. The rockets caused some damage, resulting in the death of a US citizen working as a contractor for our military.

A barrage of rockets was fired on Wednesday at the Ayn Al Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar Province — one of the last remaining Iraqi bases where U.S. forces are stationed.

An Iraqi security statement and one released by the Pentagon said 10 rockets were launched toward the sprawling base.

A senior Defense Department official said a U.S. contractor had died of an apparent heart attack during the rocket barrage. Officials in Washington did not identify the group responsible for the attack.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the missile defense system at Al Asad “engaged in defense of our forces” and added, “We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the individual who died.”

President Biden was briefed on the attacks, his top spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said. Mr. Biden subsequently discussed the attack in Oval Office comments with reporters, saying, “We’re identifying who’s responsible and will make judgments from that point.”

Even though the contractor who died did so of a heart attack, and no service personnel were killed, the administration may feel the need to respond, Defense Department officials said. “If we determine a response is necessary, we will do so at a time and manner of our choosing,” said John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

“If.” There was a time, not all that long ago, that an attack on US forces was guaranteed to result in a response.

This follows a pattern of increasing militia attacks on US targets in Iraq. I discuss those attacks and the flaccid and laughable response from the Biden bunch in UPDATED: Biden and His Enablers Kowtow to Iranian Attacks on American Facilities and the Media Covers For Him, (the Update was necessitated by the spokesman for US forces in Iraq ragging on me for not making it clear that a US contractor killed was merely a Filipino national and not an American) and Biden’s Day-Late-Dollar-Short Airstrike In Syria Has Probably Made Things Much Worse Than Doing Nothing.

In fact, the reluctance to anger Iran by fingering them (can I say that, given Biden’s history?) as the culprit has created Comedy Gold at the Pentagon.

Q: How do you view the PMF now after targeting Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada?

MR. KIRBY: We’ve long been open and honest about the threats that these — that arise from these rocket attacks that are being perpetrated by some Shia-backed militia. And we’ve not been bashful about calling it out when we’ve seen it. And the only thing I’d add is, just like before we’re going to act appropriately to defend our personnel, our interests and those of our Iraqi partners.

Q: I’m asking about the PMF in general, since the group — these groups are part of the PMF and they’re actually the leaders of these groups are part of the leadership, like Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, the leader of —

MR. KIRBY: I understand — wait, I understand where you’re going. Again, we’re focused on these — the Shia-backed militias that continue to put at risk and to continue to threaten our people and our Iraqi partners. And I don’t have any other additional conversations to read out today.

Q: If I may? When you say Shia backed militias, do you mean Shia militias or Iran backed —

MR. KIRBY: I mean Shia-backed militias.

Q: What does that mean?

MR. KIRBY: Lara?

Q: Thanks John.

Q: No, no, seriously John. I’m —

MR. KIRBY: No seriously. I mean Shia-backed militia.

Q: Like what does that mean, Shia-backed militia? You’re backed by —

MR. KIRBY: I’ve answered your question sir.

The point being that a religious sect can’t “back” a militia. A militia can consist primarily of people from a particular religious group, but it is up to a person, a government, or an organization to “back” a militia. This reluctance to even admit that Iran has any involvement in the rocket attacks is dishonesty and cowardice of the worst kind. It marks a sea change from what had been the official US policy, a policy designed to protect our forces and those supporting them.

Yesterday, Biden’s hyper-woke SecDef, retired general Lloyd Austin (read Opinion: Defense Secretary Austin Plays Politics Right out of the Gate and Has SECDEF Austin Been Planning the 60-Day Stand-Down Since He Was a West Point Cadet?) appeared on ABC’s This Week, and he was asked about the attacks.

 

RADDATZ: I want to move to Iraq.

This week, we saw a second significant attack with those 10 rockets. Do you know who did it? And what kind of responses might we expect?

AUSTIN: Well, we’re still developing the intelligence. We’re encouraging the Iraqis to move as fast as they can to investigate the incident. And they are doing that.

But you can expect that we will always hold people accountable for their acts. We want to make sure that, again, we understand who’s responsible for this. The message to those that would carry out such an attack is that: Expect us to do what’s necessary to defend ourselves.

We will strike, if that’s what we think we need to do, at a time and place of our own choosing. We demand the right to protect our troops.

RADDATZ: Has Iran been given the message that this is not an escalation, when we retaliate?

AUSTIN: I think Iran is fully capable of assessing the strike and the — our activities, and they will draw their own conclusions.

But what they should draw from this, again, is that we’re going to defend our troops, and our response will be thoughtful, it will be appropriate. We would hope that they would choose to do the right things.

This response is somewhere between surreal and obscene. There should be no doubt whatsoever that attacking US forces is a line no one wants to cross. Iraq is so thoroughly surveilled that the idea that the Iraqis have to do some sort of investigation to find the culprits is laughable. This is weakness. This is cowardice. This leadership resulted in the national humiliation of US surface combatants and sailors taken prisoner without firing a shot. This is Joe Biden’s Defense Department. If you voted for this clown, I hope you enjoy what comes next.