Kirby says Israel taking actions to protect civilians that ‘I’m not sure our own military would take’

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby insisted that Israel is going to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties in its war on the Hamas terror organization.

In remarks during Tuesday’s daily press briefing, the retired Navy rear admiral responded to a reporter’s question about the death toll in Gaza with an answer that seemed to suggest that the U.S. military wouldn’t do as much to protect civilians, an answer that he may wish that he could take a mulligan on.

Kirby was grilled over the numbers that have served as the basis for the ongoing demands that President Joe Biden exert pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a ceasefire, and in his response to The Hill’s Niall Stanage, the newly promoted spox gave an answer that would draw criticism for seeming to throw the U.S. military under the bus.

(Video: Grabien)

“I just want to circle back to my colleague — I think it was Nadia — asked a few minutes ago about the civilian casualties,” the reporter asked, following up on an earlier question from a press colleague. “And you said Israel has been ‘receptive’ to our concerns and for months, we have heard people at that podium talk about, ‘The civilian death toll is too high.’  It was too high at 5,000, 10,000, 15,000. Around 28,000 people have been killed. What does the White House base the assessment that Israel is receptive to its concerns?”

Kirby responded, “As I said, we have seen them take actions — sometimes actions that — that even I’m not sure our own military would take, in terms of informing civilian populations ahead of operations where to go, where not to go. They have taken steps.”

“Now, obviously, those steps, while noteworthy, haven’t been enough to reduce the civilian casualties, which is why the President spoke so forthrightly about it yesterday and why we’re going to continue to do everything we can to press the Israelis to be more careful,” he said.

Kirby’s apparent belief that the U.S. military is less concerned about civilian life than the Israelis didn’t go over well with many on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Kirby, reportedly a favorite of Biden, was recently bumped up to the position of assistant to the president from deputy assistant with his new title being White House national security communications adviser.

“Admiral Kirby’s decades of high level national security experience and his clear, strategic insights make him a deeply valued communicator and adviser on this team,” senior advisor to the president Anita Dunn said in a statement. “President Biden is proud to have John leading national security message coordination across the administration as we continue to make a forceful case for our national security interests at home and in the world.”

Chris Donaldson


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