Administration officials are obfuscating the airstrikes in Syria that Joe Biden authorized on Thursday without congressional approval. I don’t know why, but I would guess that they’re trying to mislead the American public into believing that our military only attacks others in self-defense or that our government’s violent obsession with maintaining global dominance merely results in the destruction of property, rather than the deaths of real people.
That seems to be what Pentagon chief spokesperson John Kirby wants the press to report. In an interview with the Associated Press, Kirby said that two Air Force F-15E aircraft had launched seven missiles near Boukamal, destroying nearly a dozen facilities, which he claimed had been used by Iranian-backed militia groups that had allegedly attacked “U.S. interests” in Iraq. When pressed, Kirby said that the strikes had resulted in “casualties” but did not specify further. Democracy Now! managed to fill in those blanks, noting that, according to Iranian media, the President’s airstrikes killed 17 people. Several others were wounded in the attack, an Iraqi militia official told the AP.
Speaking to the press, Biden said that he authorized the airstrikes as a warning to Iran. “You can’t act with impunity,” he said, per the AP. “Be careful.” It’s a clever—well, maybe not so clever—sleight of hand on his part, given how he and the U.S. military are the ones attempting to act without impunity in this situation! Those aforementioned “U.S. interests” in Iraq shouldn’t even be there in the first place! As Democracy Now! notes, Iraq’s parliament voted to expel American troops over a year ago—something that the President, much like Donald Trump before him, has ignored.
Several Democrats in Congress have denounced the attack, including Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rep. Ro Khanna of California.
“There is absolutely no justification for a president to authorize a military strike that is not in self-defense against an imminent threat without congressional authorization,” said Khanna, per Democracy Now! “We need to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate.”