Biden Admin Retaliated 4 Times Against 83 Attacks by Iran and Proxies: Defense Secretary

Biden Admin Retaliated 4 Times Against 83 Attacks by Iran and Proxies: Defense Secretary
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on April 7, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Joseph Lord

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told Congress on March 28 that President Joe Biden’s administration retaliated a total of four times to over 83 attacks by Iran and its proxies.

Austin made the comments during testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“How many attacks has Iran or its proxies launched against American positions in Iraq and Syria since Joe Biden took office?” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) asked Austin.

“83 attacks,” the secretary replied.

“How many times have we retaliated against Iran or its proxies?” Cotton continued.

“We’ve launched four major strikes,” Austin said.

Austin confirmed that those strikes had not caused Iran to back down on aggression against American troops.

History of Tension Between Nations

Though the United States has never formally declared war on Iran, the two nations have often clashed on Middle Eastern battlefields.

The revolutionary Islamic state is often considered one of the United States’ top enemies, along with Russia, China, and North Korea. A top strategic priority for the United States has long been the prevention of Iran gaining access to nuclear weapons, which would pose a substantial threat to U.S. strategic allies in the region.

In 1979, Iran instigated an international crisis when it took over the U.S. embassy and held U.S. citizens hostage for nearly a month and a half.

In 2020, President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Iran responded with missile strikes on U.S. military bases in Iraq.

In recent days, conflict between the two nations has again boiled over.

On March 23, Iranian-backed militants carried out a kamikaze drone strike in northeastern Syria that left one American dead and six others injured. The same day, the United States retaliated with a drone strike on two militant strongholds that left an undisclosed number of enemy combatants dead.

The move caused some controversy, as Congress was not notified of the strike.

During his appearance before the committee, Austin himself confessed that “we should have notified you.”

Speaking on behalf of the Pentagon, John Kirby said that while “we take seriously our obligations to inform ... Congress, time was pretty compressed that day.”

“We did communicate to Congress and I'll just leave it at that,” Kirby added.

The next day, Iran-backed militants conducted a rocket strike on a U.S. base in eastern Syria in retaliation for the U.S. counterattack.

“Have we retaliated for that attack on Friday [March 24]?” Cotton asked.

“We have not yet, senator,” Austin replied.

Since his decision to pull the United States out of Afghanistan, Biden has faced allegations from Republicans of “being soft on” and “emboldening” U.S. enemies like China and Russia. The withdrawal from Afghanistan, ordered and pushed on Biden’s own timetable in August 2021, left the Taliban terrorist organization in possession of billions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment.