JERUSALEM, Isr. – Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem on Sunday, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton criticized President Donald J. Trump’s last-minute decision to call off an attack on Iranian missile and radar encampments, saying the president should have taken the drone’s “human value” into consideration when deciding on an appropriate response.
Citing an internal Department of Defense memorandum, Mr. Bolton said “Pentagon actuarial tables” estimate the $220 million RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone –the type allegedly shot down over Iranian airspace last Thursday– is worth approximately thirty-three American lives. “It is incomprehensible that this administration would allow an unprovoked attack on thirty-three American soldiers to go unpunished,” Bolton charged.
A copy of the internal Pentagon report obtained by The Jerusalem Post states that the “human value” of a single American soldier serving in the Middle East is approximately $6.5 million. Meanwhile, American service members deployed to Europe or Asia are valued at less than half that number, while soldiers stationed within the continental United States are valued at slightly less than $48,000. In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense told Real News Right Now that the internal memo was prepared “for insurance purposes only.”
In a rare admission on Sunday, President Trump’s national security adviser praised former president Barack Obama, saying that “at the very least” he understood the value of the drone. “Despite his many shortcomings, [President Obama] had a close, personal relationship with them. In particular, he held a deep affinity for our fleet of Predator drones,” Mr. Bolton recalled, continuing, “They shared an unbreakable bond – something President Trump has not yet developed.”
Mr. Bolton went on to compare the Iranian downing of an unmanned surveillance drone to assault on a police K-9 or horse. “A heinous attack such as this is legally considered assault on a police officer,” Bolton said, adding that U.S. service members afford the same level of respect and camaraderie toward drones as American law enforcement officers afford their service animals. “An attack on one is an attack on all,” Mr. Bolton declared amid raucous applause.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is in the Persian Gulf this week, echoed Mr. Bolton’s sentiment, saying the remote operator of the downed Global Hawk surveillance drone suffered carpal tunnel in the aftermath of the Iranian missile strike. “We must not let this courageous young man’s suffering be in vain,” Secretary Pompeo told the Associated Press. The drone operator is undergoing treatment at a Veterans Affairs facility and is expected to make a full recovery.