(Dover) Joe Biden arrived Friday at an air base for the solemn arrival in the United States of the remains of three American soldiers killed in Jordan on Sunday, an attack to which the Democratic president promised to respond — without having gone to the act so far.
The bodies of William Jerome Rivers, Kennedy Ladon Sanders and Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, Georgia state troopers killed by a drone attack near the Syrian border, are received with honors on this base in Dover (Delaware).
This military ritual, during which the remains are unloaded one by one from a military transport plane and loaded into a vehicle, is regulated to the millimeter, also in the presence of the president’s wife, Jill Biden, and officials including the Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin.
Under an overcast sky, the military transport plane is parked on the tarmac, the ramp down, a van parked nearby.
The American army even uses specific vocabulary, speaking of a “solemn transfer” and not of a “ceremony”, and of “caissons” rather than “coffins”.
But, behind the military rigor, it is also a moment of great emotion since the families see, for the first time, the coffins in which their loved ones rest.
Joe and Jill Biden had already, in the same place, attended the repatriation of the bodies of American soldiers who fell during an attack at Kabul airport on August 26, 2021, at the time of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Democrat, whose life was punctuated by personal drama, has a reputation for showing deep empathy when meeting bereaved families.
He called each of the families of the three soldiers who died in Jordan, in particular to ensure that they would accept his presence during the ceremony for the return of the bodies.
A video of one of these exchanges was broadcast by Georgia’s main daily newspaper,Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I know that nothing anyone can say or do can ease your pain, I’ve been there myself. (…) I hold you in my prayers and in my heart,” said the president, whose voice can be heard through the loudspeaker of a telephone, to the parents of soldier Kennedy Sanders.
“I too received a phone call like this,” adds Joe Biden, referring to the call announcing the death in a car accident of his first wife and their daughter, still a baby, in 1972.
He also spoke about the death of his eldest son Beau, a victim of cancer in 2015.
The moment of contemplation on Friday will certainly not put an end to the avalanche of criticism which has fallen on Joe Biden, from his Republican adversaries, since the attack attributed to pro-Iran fighters.
“It took people dying for him to say, OK maybe we need to do something? Is this a joke? » for example attacked Nikki Haley, candidate against former President Donald Trump in the Republican primary, on Thursday.
The latter, arch favorite for the nomination of his party, has already attacked the “weakness” of his democratic opponent, while American forces in the Middle East have suffered numerous attacks since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas. .
The Democratic president, who repeats that he does not want regional escalation or open conflict with Iran, is under pressure to respond firmly to Tehran.
So far, he has only indicated that he has decided on the method of response. The American executive specified that the reprisals would be multiple, aimed at different targets, and spread over time.