Pentagon Pledges Support for Israel as U.S. Death Toll Rises to 11… But There’s a Catch – The Conservative


(Headline USA) The U.S. has already begun delivering critically needed munitions and military equipment to Israel, and the Pentagon is reviewing inventories to see what else can be sent quickly to boost its ally in the three-day-old war with Hamas, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.

Planes have already taken off, said the official, who declined to provide details on the weapons.

The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive shipments, also warned that the U.S. is closely watching Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups, noting that the decision to shift American ships in the region was to deter any of them from entering or expanding the conflict against Israel.

The White House recently approved the unfreezing of $6 billion dollars to Iran for “humanitarian” purposes, which likely will be used in support of funding additional acts of terrorism. It also allowed the release of six former prisoners who may have been linked to espionage involving nuclear secrets or other sensitive military information.

The weapons movement came as President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. death toll in the war has gone up to 11 with additional reports that Americans were “likely” among the estimated 150 hostages taken by the craven terrorists to use as human shields in the hopes of deterring retaliatory airstrikes.

The Pentagon official said the U.S. is “flooding the zone” with calls and other messages so that terrorist groups and hostile nations know they should not question America’s commitment to supporting the defense of Israel. The official, however, would not comment on whether U.S. military forces would be used at all.

Doing so would risk a potential global conflict involving multiple nuclear powers given Iran’s recent alliances with geopolitical rivals like Russia and China as part of the BRICS treaty. It also would put a severe pinch on America’s energy supply, as it is likely to do regardless.

America’s weakened global standing following the botched withdrawal in Afghanistan has paved the way for an ascendant China to become the No. 1 threat to global security, and it has allowed Iran to re-establish its own position as the dominant force in the Middle East, eradicating the diplomatic inroads that former President Donald Trump had made under the Abraham Accords in bringing long-sought peace to Israel with nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, America’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine has drastically depleted its weapons supply, while the Biden administration’s woke policies and vaccine mandates have severely undercut military recruitment in every branch of the Armed Services except for the Marine Corps.

While the Pentagon official claimed the U.S. has the ability to support weapons needs in Ukraine and Israel and maintain security for America, the rapid delivery of munitions to the new war has raised concerns.

Congress must pass more funding quickly for the U.S. to be able to give both Israel and Ukraine the weapons and munitions they both now need, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said Monday.

“The intent is to lean forward in support of Israel,” she said. “But in particular with munitions and the ability to support Israel and Ukraine simultaneously, additional funding is needed to increase our capacity to expand production and then also pay for the munitions themselves.”

There has been a growing reluctance to support the Ukraine war effort, given the country has seen little progress and much of the money appears to have been funneled to its corrupt oligarchs instead of its military.

The Biden administration’s attempt to lump the two together—given the atrocities committed on American citizens and less ambiguous interest in supporting Israel’s defense—may create a complicated political minefield in Washington as Congress struggles to earmark military funding for one but not the other.

It is clear the administration is now facing potentially competing requests from Israel and Ukraine for additional weaponry. And while there is strong bipartisan support in Congress for aid to Israel, the next steps are uncertain, with the House lacking a leader after the ouster of the Republican speaker and the Senate out of town until next week.

Wormuth, speaking at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, said the administration is still “in the early stage of the process of evaluating our ability to support what the IDF needs,” referring to the Israel Defense Forces.

She did not provide details, but Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, told reporters at the conference that conversations are underway about what the U.S. can provide. He said it likely will be a wide range of equipment, from small arms to sophisticated munitions.

Most of the weaponry sent already to help Ukraine has come from Army stocks and defense contractors at a rate that has challenged the global supply chain, and while the Army has recently ramped up production of some critical lines, such as 155 mm ammunition for howitzers, they are not yet at full speed.

With a new ground offensive in Gaza imminent following the Saturday surprise attack by Hamas, Army officials said Monday they were concerned about the ability to meet additional demand for ground munitions and that Congress needed to act quickly to provide help in time.

In addition to the 11 American citizens whose deaths Biden confirmed, an undetermined number of remain unaccounted for. It was not yet clear if the missing are dead, in hiding, or had been taken hostage.

Biden said the U.S. believes it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held hostage by Hamas, but officials are working to confirm that.

“I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts,” Biden said in a statement.

The attack by Hamas has left at least 900 Israelis dead, including more than 250 from an outdoor music festival celebrating peace that the terrorist organization ambushed on Saturday.

In the aftermath of the Hamas attack, the White House has asked Senate leaders to fast track confirmation of President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the next ambassador to Israel, former Obama-era Treasury Secretary and White House chief of staff Jack Lew, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.

The White House has received assurances that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will push forward hearings for Lew, the official added.

The U.S. is currently without an ambassador after the departure of Ambassador Tom Nides in July. Biden nominated Lew in September.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday he has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel.

The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, and its approximately 5,000 sailors and deck of warplanes will be accompanied by cruisers and destroyers in a show of force that is meant to be ready to respond to anything, from possibly interdicting additional weapons from reaching Hamas and conducting surveillance.

The senior Defense Department official said worries about Hezbollah opening a second front of violence against Israel was the main reason for moving the ships to the Eastern Mediterranean. The official said the U.S. is deeply concerned Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups will make the wrong decision to try to “pile on” and widen the war.

Along with the Ford, the U.S. is sending the cruiser USS Normandy and destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt, and the U.S. is augmenting Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region.

The Norfolk, Virginia-based carrier strike group already was in the Mediterranean. Last week it was conducting naval exercises with Italy in the Ionian Sea. The carrier is in its first full deployment.

Senior officials from the Pentagon and State Department briefed senators Sunday night, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said they were assured that the United States was giving Israel “everything they need.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press



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