I truly want to believe Donald Trump’s statement that he called off a strike against Iran because it wasn’t “proportionate.”
I want to believe that he asked about the potential for civilian casualties and then decided the strike was too heavy a punishment against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran had shot down a drone aircraft over international waters. The Iranians allege the craft, which was unarmed, was flying in its territorial air space.
Trump then sought to retaliate for the shooting down of a U.S. military asset. He said our forces were “cocked and loaded.” He said he was set to send the craft against the Iranian targets, but then he thought differently about it.
The brass told him there would be civilian casualties, possibly 150 people, Trump said.
So he backed off.
Do I believe him? Do I take him at his word, that he’s telling us the truth? Hah! How is that even possible, given this individual’s penchant for prevarication?
I am left to presume the president is giving it to us straight, absent any public rebuke from the military brass that took part in developing the response.
I stand at the moment highly relieved that the president didn’t heed the advice from the uber-hawks among his national security team who argued for a military strike that might have produced a seriously dangerous response from a seriously rogue nation.