President Joe Biden authorized his first military action on Thursday: airstrikes on facilities in Syria used by militias linked to Iran.
The airstrikes came in response to attacks on American personnel in Iraq. Criticism was muted on both sides of the aisle, with some questioning whether the airstrikes were authorized under the existing Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Others noted that the airstrikes mark a 180-degree turn for Biden and members of his administration.
Last year, Biden was among those who criticized President Donald Trump’s airstrike on Iranian terrorist General Qasem Soleimani. He called it “a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region,” and claimed — falsely, as it turned out — that the attack would provoke, rather than deter, the Iranian regime.
“We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East,” Biden said — wrongly, again, as peace deals soon emerged.
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Vice President Kamala Harris, then a Senator from California, was also critical of airstrikes by President Trump on the Syrian regime after the U.S. found evidence that dictator Bashar al-Assad was still using chemical weapons:
I strongly support our men and women in uniform and believe we must hold Assad accountable for his unconscionable use of chemical weapons. But I am deeply concerned about the legal rationale of last night’s strikes.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 14, 2018
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who had served in the Obama administration, objected to Trump’s initial airstrike in Syria in 2017, even questioning its legal authority.
Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) April 7, 2017
Other Obama alumni applauded Trump’s move, as it finally enforced Obama’s “red line” against the use of chemical weapons. Obama himself never did so.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.