U.S. Troops in Jordan Ambushed During Drone Confusion

The drone attack that killed three Americans at a military outpost in Jordan on Sunday occurred amid confusion about the approaching craft, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
“The enemy drone approached its target at the same time a U.S. drone was also returning to base,” the paper reported, leading to “some confusion over whether the incoming drone was friend or foe.” It was not friendly and the attack left 40 American troop members wounded in addition to the three killed.
The three soldiers killed were Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, and Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, the Pentagon reported Monday.
The attack risks dragging the U.S. further into the chaos that’s engulfed much of the Middle East in the months since Hamas’ October attack on Israel. As Reason’s Robby Soave detailed on Monday, some hawkish Republicans have unsurprisingly used Sunday’s attack to call for greater bloodshed.
So far, the Biden administration seems to be resisting those calls.
“We do not seek another war. We do not seek to escalate,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Monday. “But we will absolutely do what is required to protect ourselves, to continue that mission, and to respond appropriately to these attacks.”
Despite (or perhaps because of) those assurances, the continued presence of American troops in the region might unintentionally tilt toward escalation.
“The attacks underscore how much these residual U.S. deployments have entailed costs and risks far out of proportion to any positive gains they can achieve,” argues Paul Pillar, a fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Pillar writes that the ongoing presence of American troops in the Middle East creates the risk of escalation and is “a needless vulnerability that ought to be ended sooner rather than later.”
Former President Donald Trump wants a huge tax increase on imports from China—which means, of course, that American individuals and businesses buying those goods will foot the bill.
“Privately, Trump has discussed with advisers the possibility of imposing a flat 60 percent tariff on all Chinese imports,” The Washington Post reported on Sunday. That would be a significant escalation of Trump’s first-term trade wars, which saw the average tariff on imports from China climb from about 3 percent to more than 12 percent (due to a variety of changes Trump imposed, including hiking tariffs on steel, aluminum, solar panels, and many industrial and consumer goods imported from China). Studies show that Americans paid roughly 93 percent of the tariff costs, despite Trump’s repeated and ongoing claims that higher tariffs are a way of extracting payments from China.
Trump’s plan for 60 percent tariffs on goods from China “would harm U.S. farmers, manufacturers, and consumers (especially those with low incomes); upend supply chains and impose significant costs as businesses deal with resulting fragmentation; and create a world in which the United States is increasingly left behind on the global stage,” writes Erika York, a senior economist at the Tax Foundation. “It would be an abomination.”
Previously, the former president floated the idea of imposing a new 10 percent tariff on all imports to the U.S., regardless of the country of origin. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s chief rival for the GOP nomination, hit back against that idea during a Monday appearance on CNBC:
It’s definitely a bit weird to see Republican voters rushing to embrace a candidate who is vowing to hike their taxes, but that’s where we are.
Elon Musk claims his company successfully implanted a device inside a human brain.
Neuralink gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials last year. The company’s website says it is recruiting candidates for a first clinical trial of a device that “is designed to interpret a person’s neural activity, so they can operate a computer or smartphone by simply intending to move—no wires or physical movement are required.”
Musk has a history of exaggeration and his claims about Neuralink should be treated skeptically until confirmed by doctors and others connected to the company’s work. If true, however, this could be a very big deal, as Neuralink’s tech has tremendous potential to allow individuals with physical disabilities to interact with the online world, and communicate more easily in the physical world as well.

Scenes from Virginia: One of the arguments for building a new arena and luring Washington’s basketball and hockey teams across the Potomac River is that the development will generate new economic activity and tax revenue in Virginia. But the proposed legislation authorizing the project would allow the stadium authority to keep all the tax revenue generated by the new development:
So taxpayers will subsidize the arena’s construction with money that could be used for actual public needs, and then the new tax revenue generated by the arena (which could also be used for public needs) will be kept by the corporate entity that owns the arena. Huh, can’t imagine why there’s so much local opposition to that arrangement.