Biden’s policies in the region represent a restoration of Obama’s policies.

American servicemembers are dead, Iran’s proxies killed them, and President Joe Biden’s weak policies are to blame.

Iranian-backed militants operating out of Syria or Iraq finally hit their mark over the weekend, using drones to kill three U.S. servicemembers in Jordan while wounding 25 more. The American military presence, some 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel, are on the Jordanian border to prevent a resurgence of the deadly and virulent ISIS Sunni Islamist terror network while safeguarding Syrian refugees. And the attacks on U.S. forces in the region continue.

With Biden’s “proportional response” against the Iranian proxy Houthi rebels in Yemen having failed to deter them, or their sponsor Iran, one might be excused for asking a basic question: What’s the plan?

Biden’s policies in the region represent a restoration of Obama’s policies—namely, the appeasement of Iran’s theocratic regime in the hopes that the mullahs might be dissuaded from deploying nuclear missiles. Iran serving as a regional counterbalance to a robust Israel was also a concern of Obama’s—something that seems particularly antiquarian in the wake of Hamas’ (another Iranian proxy) Oct. 7 Bronze Age barbarities. A more pedestrian, election year, concern is to keep the flow of Middle Eastern oil uninterrupted to shield Bidenflation-weary consumers from further energy price hikes.

Strategist Edward Luttwak succinctly summarized Obama’s Law, “Iran can attack at will but must never be attacked.”

All Americans should expect or at least hope that the Biden administration is fully cognizant of its regional objectives and the risks for U.S. forces operating there. A major factor in ensuring the ongoing safety of American servicemembers should be the robust use of war games.

War games are employed by military planners for two main reasons: to better understand the situation and anticipate what the enemy might do.

In the leadup to the Imperial Japanese Navy’s disastrous attempt to seize Midway, senior Japanese officers war gamed the attack. It ended in failure several times, but senior officers insisted that Japan’s aircraft carriers be refloated. One month after the Japan’s tabletop exercises, the Battle of Midway ended with the sinking of all four of the Japanese aircraft carriers committed to the operation at the cost of one U.S. Navy carrier.

In March 1987, the Kuwaiti government sought protection for its oil tankers that were being targeted by Iran in an expansion of the Iran-Iraq War being played out with attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf. America agreed to reflag some tankers, requiring the ships to include an American captain, and at least half of the crew had to be American as well, before the U.S. Navy would escort the ships in the hostile waters off the coast of Iran.

The convoy effort was code-named Operation Earnest Will. Just before it started in July 1987, two week-long war games were conducted in the basement of the Pentagon. The war games explored two contingencies, with the Green team offering a more robust military-centric response and the Blue team a more State Department-oriented “proportional response” strategy. I participated in the Green team as a young Reagan appointee. By the end of the exercise, the Green team’s more aggressive reaction to Iranian attacks resulted in 50 American dead, wounded, or captured. The Blue team’s more tentative path allowed Iran to control the pace of escalation with the result being 1,500 American casualties.

When an Iranian mine nearly sunk the USS Samuel B. Roberts, a destroyer, in April 1988, the U.S. swung into action. Four days later, on April 14, the U.S. Navy unleashed its largest surface engagement since World War II, codenamed Operation Praying Mantis. The Navy sank an Iranian frigate, a gunboat, and various other vessels as well as destroyed two militarized offshore oil platforms. The Iranians suffered 56 dead. Two U.S. helicopter crew were lost to unknown causes.

The successful U.S. naval operation was one of the factors that brought Iran to the peace table and ended the Iran-Iraq War.

That the Reagan administration followed the Green team operational concept, with the resultant modest loss of American life, as compared to taking the timid Blue team path, is highly relevant to today’s situation.

There are three possibilities regarding the Biden team’s use of war gaming to anticipate Iran’s attacks by proxy. First, it’s possible no war gaming was conducted or was improperly conducted. Second, it’s possible that war games were conducted but not communicated up the chain of command as the results were understood to be unwelcome. And third, it’s possible that the war games were conducted, the results communicated, and then subsequently ignored, with the predicable loss of American servicemembers seen as a collateral price that had to be paid in furtherance of “Obama’s Law.”

War gaming is a serious tool of both statecraft and war. Ignoring the results of war gaming is perilous. Ignoring the results because they don’t comport with your ideology amounts to criminal malpractice.