After Iran shot down an American drone, Trump said they had made a big mistake and many people expected some sort of military response. On Friday morning, Trump claimed that our bombers were on the way to Iran on his order when he changed his mind with only 10 minutes to go and called off the attack. Then the story from both him and other administration officials started to unravel.
Early in the day, the president said he called off the counterattack at the last minute because it would kill 150 people in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned surveillance drone. “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,” he tweeted.
But administration officials said Trump was told earlier Thursday how many casualties could occur if a strike on Iran was carried out, and that he had given the green light to prepare for the operation Thursday morning…
Trump’s morning tweets appeared to gloss over the fact that he was the one, as commander in chief, who had ordered the retaliation against Iran in the first place.
Trump administration officials, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security decisions, said the president approved the strikes after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier in the day shot down the Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk, a move Trump described as a “very big mistake.”
And then Trump changed his story:
This whole recent escalation in tensions with Iran just reeks of confusion, if not outright dishonesty. Trump says Iran bombed those oil tankers; Iran says they didn’t. There is precious little evidence that it was Iran, and who do you find more credible here? It’s sad that we might think our own president is less credible than the Iranian mullahs, but I can’t figure out what Iran would have had to gain from bombing those tankers. How would it possibly benefit them? Trump, on the other hand, has a clear incentive to claim they did as part of his campaign to turn Iran into America’s greatest enemy and threat. We can’t know for sure, of course, but I think I find Iran’s denial more credible than Trump’s accusation.
But in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd for “Meet the Press,” the president said he hadn’t given final approval to any strikes and that no planes were in the air.
“Nothing was green lighted until the very end because things change,” Trump said in the interview.
And again with the shooting down of the drone. Iran says it was over their airspace; Trump says it was in international waters. But again, what incentive would Iran have to shoot down an American drone if it wasn’t encroaching on their territory? They don’t want a war with us, they know it would pretty much destroy them. After Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, they’ve shown a great deal of restraint in continuing to comply with its terms so as not to provoke an escalation. Trump’s incentive to drum up a reason for war is obvious. Hell, he spelled it out himself when he claimed no fewer than six times during Obama’s time in office that Obama would launch a war with Iran to distract attention from his failures and bad poll numbers. As with practically everything Trump says, this is major league projection.
I just hope we don’t start bombing or firing cruise missiles at Iran and risk destabilizing the entire region. The results could be catastrophic for all involved. But he has both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton pushing him relentlessly to launch a military attack. Bolton practically fondles himself at the thought of it. And I sure as hell don’t trust Trump to be the voice of reason.