The United States needs to take firm action in response to the drone attack that killed three soldiers in Jordan, two members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation said Tuesday.
“Obviously, this was a tragedy. So clearly, what we are doing is not working,” said Republican House member Tom Cole, who serves on a defense subcommittee.
The drone strike on Sunday was identified as an Iranian-backed attack that injured at least 40 others.
“We have not deterred the attacks and I think the administration is going to have to relook at that, but they are getting a lot of bipartisan pushback,” Cole said.
Cole said current policy “sends the message to Iran that this use of proxies against our soldiers is acceptable. So it will be up to them [Congress] to come up with a more sustained campaign. This tit-for-tat back and forth clearly is not discouraging the activity, in fact it seems to be accelerating it.”
Republican U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin, who sits on the Armed Services committee, said the Biden administration needs to take stronger action.
“Iranian-backed proxies have attacked U.S. personnel over 150 times since October,” Mullin said in a social media post.
“This is what happens when an administration abandons peace through strength in favor of appeasing the largest state sponsor of terror in the world. The White House must take immediate action, and in doing so, send a clear message to Iran: those who target our brave men and women in uniform will pay the ultimate price,” Mullin said.
The U.S. Central Command has reported 80 injuries of U.S. personnel stationed in the Middle East in about 165 attacks in Iraq, Syria and now Jordan since Oct. 17. President Joe Biden said a response is forthcoming.
“And have no doubt — we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing,” Biden said.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said he and Biden will not tolerate targeted attacks on U.S. soldiers.
“I am outraged and deeply saddened by the deaths of three of our U.S. service members and the wounding of other American troops. We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our troops, and our interests,” Austin said.
The fallen soldiers were identified Monday as Sgt. William Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga., Specialist Kennedy Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga., and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga., according to the Defense Department.
The soldiers were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit based out of Fort Moore, according to CNN. The drone hit a housing facility on the military outpost, Tower 22, where many service members were asleep in the early morning hours. It approached about the same time an American drone was returning to the base, leading to uncertainty over whether it was hostile and delaying the response.
Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories by Gaylord News go to GaylordNews.Net.