The Biden administration found itself backtracking on President Joe Biden’s comments about the U.S. military’s readiness for war. Biden received criticism after suggesting that the Department of Defense was running low on ammunition due to the conflict in Ukraine.
In response to the backlash, a White House official clarified that the military maintains specific reserves of weapons systems and ammunition for contingencies or military conflicts. The aid sent to Ukraine exceeds these requirements, meaning that the U.S. itself is not running out of ammunition. The statement aimed to address concerns about the country’s preparedness and dispel any notion of an ammunition shortage.
Biden’s remarks were made during an interview with Fareed Zakaria when he was questioned about his decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine. The use of such weapons has been a subject of controversy, with many countries, including NATO allies, banning them. Zakaria referred to the concerns about potential war crimes associated with cluster munitions and asked why Biden decided to supply them.
The president responded by mentioning the Ukrainian military’s shortage of ammunition, particularly the 155-millimeter weapons. However, the subsequent correction from the White House emphasized that the U.S. has sufficient reserves of ammunition and the aid sent to Ukraine is in addition to those requirements.
China’s state-run propaganda outlet, the Global Times, capitalized on Biden’s gaffe to promote anti-American sentiment on social media. The outlet pointed to the purported ammo shortage as already known and suggested that Biden used it as a justification for providing cluster bombs, which could potentially harm civilians.
Even within his own party, Biden faced criticism from prominent figures like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democratic presidential candidate. Kennedy expressed concern over the implication that the U.S. is running out of munitions and interpreted it as a pretext for increased military spending. He advocated for diplomatic alternatives and called for negotiations to de-escalate the situation.
The need for a clarification from the White House and the diverse range of critics reflect the controversy surrounding Biden’s remarks and highlight the importance of precise and accurate statements, especially when it comes to matters of national security.