Joe Biden Says He Has a Response to Sunday’s Drone Attacks

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Jan 30, 2024

After three U.S. soldiers were killed and over 40 injured in a drone attack in Jordan by Iran-backed militants, President Joe Biden is ready to decide how the U.S. will respond to the drone attack.

His response came two days after the attack, which caused the first American deaths in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Biden Says He Is Ready to Respond

ABC News reporters asked Biden if he decided on how he would respond to the attack while the president was leaving the White House to attend a fundraiser in Florida. Biden simply responded, “Yes.”

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U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions while departing the White House on January 30, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden is scheduled to travel to Florida today.

Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Biden and his administration are firm on not looking for a “wider war in the Middle East,” and will be taking action that they deem appropriate to benefit the needs of the American people.

John Kirby Says the U.S. Will Have a “Tiered Approach”

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. might take a “tiered approach” in its response to the drone attack. “Not just a single action, but potentially multiple actions… over a period of time,” Kirby told reporters before he left with Biden to attend the fundraiser in Florida.

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National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby answers questions during the daily White House press briefing on January 29, 2024 in Washington, DC. Kirby answered a range of questions related primarily to a drone strike in Jordan yesterday that killed three U.S. service members, believed to have been carried out by an Iran-backed militia group.

Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

“The guiding principle is making sure that we continue to degrade the kinds of capabilities that these groups have at their disposal to use against our troops and our facilities,” he said.

Biden Can Respond In Several Ways

Kirby reassured the press, saying, “The president will do what he has to do to protect our troops and our facilities and to look after our national security.”

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An overhead image of the U.S. base in Jordan

Source: Google Earth image

Biden has several options on how he can respond, and pressure is building as many criticize Biden’s actions and seemingly lack of response to the drone attack. However, Biden promised to “hold all those responsible.”

The Biden Administration Does Not Want a War

The President stated that Iran is not directly responsible for the attack, but he does note that the country is responsible for arming these proxy groups that committed the drone attack.

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President Joe Biden standing next to the U.S. flag

Source: NASA HQ PHOTO/Flickr

“I do hold them responsible in that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it,” he said. Biden’s words echo that of Kirby, who said at Monday’s White House press briefing, “We are not looking for a war with Iran.”

This Is Not the First Attack

There have been more than 150 attacks on U.S. troops and coalition facilities in Iraq and Syria since October, according to the Pentagon. What makes this drone strike on the U.S. outpost in northeast Jordan alarming is that it was the first to kill U.S. service members.

A chart with the attacks on the U.S. Jordan Base

Source: Institute for Study of War

This drone attack was also the first such attack in Jordan, and the fear is that it is the first of many. The Pentagon has identified the three soldiers killed as Sergeant William Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23.

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There Were Six Drone Strikes Over the Weekend

The U.S. drone strike was one of six attacks since Friday, according to CNN. The enemy drone followed an American drone as it approached, but it was not clear whether the drone intentionally followed the American drone.

A military drone on a base

Source: doctress neutopia/Flickr

The enemy drone flew low, which may have allowed it to evade the base’s air defenses, officials say to CNN. The result left officials at the base believing the drone was one of their own and did not shoot it down to prevent the attack.

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The First American Deaths in the Israel-Hamas Conflict

“This one had lethal consequences in ways that previous ones didn’t,” Kirby said, “but that doesn’t mean that the intent of the previous attacks weren’t also lethal, it’s just that we were able to defeat them.”

U.S. Army Soldier standing next to a flag

Source: NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive/GetArchive

The U.S. has already attacked sites in Iraq associated with militant groups in the past several weeks. In early January, the U.S. targeted a member of the group that U.S. officials said had “U.S. blood on his hands.”

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The Family Members Speak Out

The family of one of the deceased service members, Kennedy Ladon Sanders, told CNN that “they want their daughter to be remembered for her service, sacrifice, and how she lived.”

The 3 service members who were killed in the drone strike on U.S. military base in Jordan.

Source: U.S. Army Reserve Command

“I just want people to remember that, you know, even though her time was short on Earth, she lived her life to the fullest and she enjoyed her life. … Even being deployed she found different things to do to pass her time,” Oneida Oliver-Sanders said Monday on “OutFront.”

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The U.S. Response “Won’t Change Our Situation at All”

When asked how the U.S. should respond to the deadly attack, Oliver-Sanders said, “Whatever is decided will not ease our pain at any level.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby talking on a stage with a blue background

Source: Public Domain Dedication/Picryl

Oliver-Sanders continued: “Kennedy still has battle buddies who are still left there, and I know if it was her decision, she would definitely be very concerned about their safety, so you know, whatever happens, won’t change our situation at all.”

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Remembering the Last Conversation with Her Child

Breonna Alexsondria Moffett’s mother Francine Moffett remembered her daughter and their last conversation before Sunday’s attack. Moffett’s mother says that she “wanted me to send her a package, and I did. And in that package was her real estate book and some clothes.”

Black Rotary Telephone on White Surface

Source: chepté cormani/Pexels

Moffett continued: “But most important that was to her, was her strawberry shortcake snack cakes–and her sunflower seeds. She’s like, ‘Do not forget that.’ She had not had it and that’s what she wanted.”

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The World Is Waiting on Biden’s Response

The world is watching to see what the U.S. will do next. Will Biden’s decision trigger a major escalation in the Middle East that all parties have long been saying that they want to avoid? Or will Biden find another way to hold accountability?

U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions while departing the White House on January 30, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden is scheduled to travel to Florida today.

Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Biden held meetings yesterday with his national security team in the White House Situation Room, which seemed to have ended with an unknown plan.

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