Update(1908ET): Public outrage and massive pushback has ensued after in a Monday interview White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre asserted that the three US troops killed by the drone strike in Jordan had died "fighting on behalf of this administration"...that is Biden, rather than America.
"Our deepest, obviously our deepest condolences go out, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the families who lost, uh, three, three brave, uh, three brave, uh, three brave, three folks who are military folks, who are brave, who are always fighting, who are fighting on behalf of, uh, this administration...," Jean-Pierre told MSNBC’s "Morning Joe". She had in the moment tried to quickly correct by adding after "administration"... the words "of the American people, obviously more so, more importantly." Still, it reveals the apparent thinking and approach of this administration. Watch:
Karine Jean-Pierre gives condolences to "three folks who are military folks who are brave who are always fighting, who were fighting on behalf of this administration..." pic.twitter.com/b5ka9hMjR2
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 29, 2024
The three soldiers who gave their lives are simply and casually "folks" - as referenced in the interview. Also, we don't even really have to point this out, but one can only imagine the rage and chaos if the Trump administration had ever claimed that fallen Americans had died for his administration.
Jeremy Redfern, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was one among many who slammed her statements as "disgusting". He tweeted, "Say what you will about this word salad, but the idea that anyone in the military is fighting on behalf of any administration is precisely what is wrong with the DC ruling class."
Below are the identifies of the three Americans who tragically lost their lives, who were all serving in the same Army unit based out of Georgia: Sgt. William Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Spc. Brianna Moffatt, 23, of Savannah.
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Update(1114ET): Some surprising details and admissions have emerged out of the Pentagon on Monday connected to the drone attack on Jordanian base Tower 22, related to the question of how the base's anti-air defenses could have failed so badly. First, in our prior reporting (below), we linked to Moon of Alabama which asked some key questions not being addressed amid the frenzy of international reporting and growing speculation [emphasis ZH]:
The reporting so far does not answer many arising questions. Tower 22 is on the Jordanian side of the boarder but Jordan insists that no attack had happened on its grounds.
Another anomaly are the high rate of wounded from the alleged drone strike. Drones are used in mass in the Ukraine war but the casualties they cause are usually less than a handful per drone.
The highly automated short and medium range air-defenses (C-RAMs, the equivalent of naval Phalanx guns) at the base should be able to shoot down any drone. Why didn't they work?
Later in the day Monday, some of these questions are being answered. The Wall Street Journal cited US officials who spoke to the failure of the base's anti-air defenses:
The U.S. failed to stop a deadly attack on an American military outpost in Jordan because the enemy drone approached its target at the same time a U.S. drone was also returning to base, U.S. officials said Monday.
The return of the U.S. drone led to some confusion over whether the incoming drone was friend or foe, officials have concluded so far.
The enemy drone was launched from Iraq by a militia backed by Tehran, U.S. officials said. The outpost, Tower 22, sits in Jordan, hard on the borders of Iraq and Syria.
In total three US service members died and at least 34 were injured, with eight of these having been medically evacuated to a hospital in Germany.
At a moment some US Congressional hawks are clamoring to start a war with Iran, WSJ writes further, "The U.S. has yet to find evidence thus far that Iran directed the attack, a U.S. defense official said Monday."
Below is an example of a C-RAM in action... this is what ideally should have happened as the inbound enemy drone got closer to the Tower 22 base:
Iran has vehemently denied that it was behind the weekend drone attack on a Jordanian base near the Syrian border, which killed three American troops, and according to a revised figure, injured 34. A one-way drone reportedly slammed into a tent that was housing soldiers at the base, which is why casualties are so high, but questions remain.
Tehran has called the accusations that it was behind the attack "baseless" after President Biden on Sunday vowed, "We shall respond." Within the hours after news of the attack on Jordan's Tower 22 base, there were widespread reports that Iranian allied groups in Iraq and Syria were temporarily evacuating their bases, expanding retaliatory airstrikes.
Iranian allies are now bracing for a major US response to the deadly attack on the Jordanian outpost, according to the Wall Street Journal. Already there's been an apparent Israeli airstrike on a Damascus suburb, resulting in the deaths of two people, said to be targeting an "Iranian-backed group".
Even as Iran has denied involvement, an Iranian-linked group called "Islamic Resistance of Iraq" has taken responsibility for the Jordanian base attack. The core of the 'resistance' coalition in Iraq continues to be Kateeb Hizballah however, as the Washington Post explains further the details:
"Tower 22", the U.S. base in NE Jordan where three American troops were just killed, overlooks a Syrian refugee camp called Rukban, where 15,000 people have been living for years. It is also near the Al-Tanf Garrison, where a couple hundred U.S. troops are based.
This is a crucial node between Iraq and Syria that Iranian militias have long sought to control. There have been several drone attacks on Tanf since Oct. 7. This is a brazen escalation.
The group that will claim responsibility calls themselves the "Islamic Resistance of Iraq," but that's really a post Oct 7 umbrella group of IRGC sponsored militias. The actual attackers were likely Kateeb Hizballah with support of Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujab and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq.
The Washington Post analysis goes on to claim that the Islamic Resistance of Iraq has direct IRGC backing and was formed in order to "target Americans" - also at a moment, the Iraqi government has made clear that it wants US troops out of the country.
Iran appears to be seeking to cool tensions while bracing for potential strikes...
The three US troop deaths constitute the first American military fatalities since Oct.7 and the war in Gaza began, though there have been over 150 attacks targeting US bases and outposts in Iraq and Syria. While the initial assumption has been that the drone was launched from Syria, this has ultimately yet to be determined pending a Pentagon investigation.
Meanwhile, Axios reports that Biden's national security team convened several times on Sunday. Biden and his top officials say that a "significant military response" against pro-Iranian militias is coming. "We don't want war but those who are behind this attack need to feel our response," one unnamed admin official told Axios on Sunday evening.
What remains clear is that the US has once again backed itself into a corner in the Middle East. Sporadic 'deterrent' strikes either on militant camps or Houthi positions related to the Red Sea crisis have not done anything, and yet bigger American military intervention would inevitably lead to another all-out US war in the Middle East and thus a new endless quagmire.
"We don’t want a wider war with Iran, we don’t want a wider war in the region, but we gotta to do what we gotta to do," National security (NSC) spokesman John Kirby said Monday. "We certainly know Iran is backing these groups … we are taking it very seriously." It's never a good sign when the NSC, which is absolutely the most 'insider' of the deep state, shrugs and says "we gotta do what we gotta do..." when it comes to matters of war (which once upon a time required the authorization of the people's direct representatives in Congress).