Are the recent airstrikes in Iraq and Syria really as ‘defensive’ as the Pentagon claims? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Are the recent airstrikes in Iraq and Syria really as ‘defensive’ as the Pentagon claims?

For the past two administrations, U.S. military officials have described airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq and Syria as “defensive” — an odd word to describe bombing targets in another country.

It certainly fits within the vocabulary of American military-speak. After World War II, the Department of War was reorganized into the Department of Defense, which occasionally conducts offensive military operations, such as launching airstrikes against enemy targets.

Most recently, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby described the U.S. military’s attacks on Iranian-backed groups in both Iraq and Syria as “defensive precision airstrikes” following drone attacks on U.S. troops.

“As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense,” Kirby said in a June 27 statement. “The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope.”

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki later told reporters that Article II of the Constitution gave President Joe Biden the legal authority to order the airstrikes “to defend U.S. personnel.”

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