In June of this year, President Donald Trump ordered a military strike against Iran, in retaliation for that nation bringing down a U.S. drone over disputed waters.
Minutes before that mission was set to commence, Trump unexpectedly called off the order. His eventual justification for canceling it was due to being alerted to the casualty count that would come about if it were carried out.
“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights (sic) when I asked, how many will die,” Trump wrote in set of tweets months ago, according to reporting from Reuters. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General.”
Trump added that the strike would “not [be] proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” and canceled it at that point.
Many called the circumstances disturbing or dubious at that point. This week, however, a former Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden believes Trump’s stated rationale is bogus.
Retired Admiral William McRaven explained to reporters this week that he had difficulties believing Trump’s explanation, and cited his own experience in the military why he believed Trump wasn’t being truthful, CNN reported.
Architect of bin Laden raid doubts #Trump really called off #Iran strikes at last minute CNN Washington (CNN) Retired Adm. William McRaven, a former Navy SEAL who led #US Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, said… https://t.co/ePEtPhnXKZ #Oil #Iranian #Military pic.twitter.com/ePaOQDka2V
— Saeed Valadbaygi (@SaeedBaygi) August 1, 2019
“When I heard, after the fact, that it was only at the last minute that the President realized there would be casualties, frankly, I find that hard to believe because the casualty count is almost always part of the military’s briefing when it comes to a strike on a target,” McRaven said.
The former admiral added that Trump’s explanation, if true, creates bigger problems than it seemingly resolved.
“This idea that it was only through the President’s restraint that we got as far as we did, I think the bigger question is: Why did we get that far?” he asked. “I am hard-pressed to believe that he was not briefed ahead of time about what the casualties would be.”
Many theories abound, but one possible reason that Trump sought to order, then call back, a strike on Iran could be that he wanted to seem presidential or appear strong in the face of a squabble with Tehran.
Indeed, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com, Trump suggested in the past, when his predecessor was in command of the military, that a strike on Iran would come about in order to help him win an election.
“In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran,” Trump tweeted in 2011, almost one year before the former president was re-elected. Obama did not start such a war, within that one year or after, with Iran.