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Trump stops planned U.S. strike on Iran, says it was “not proportionate” of a response

June 21, 2019

On Friday morning, President Donald Trump said that the U.S. military had been “cocked & loaded” for a military strike against Iran on Thursday night, but that he stopped the move with 10 minutes to spare when he was informed by a general that 150 people would likely die in the attack.

“….On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in international waters,” Trump tweeted. “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not….”

“….proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Trump said Iran was a “much weakened nation” due to his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama. Trump cited his sanctions and Iran’s economic struggles as a sign of his plan’s effectiveness. He also said sanctions were added on Thursday night, without elaborating on them.

“Sanctions are biting & more added last night,” the president tweeted. “Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed the president that the sanctions on Iran were causing the long term effect the administration had intended to cause. According to a U.S. official, Pompeo favored a military response to the downed U.S. drone, but stressing the effects of the sanctions appeared to veer Trump away from a military option.

Republican lawmakers have been split on President Trump’s decision to tweet military plans.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming criticized the president’s tweets, comparing them to former President Barack Obama’s public disclosures of striking Syria for its chemical weapons usage in 2013.

Cheney said, “The failure to respond to this kind of direct provocation that we’ve seen now from the Iranians, in particular over the last several weeks, could in fact be a very serious mistake.”

Though Cheney didn’t directly blame Trump, she expressed concerns about his decision to block the strike.

Cheney said leaders must “recognize that weakness is provocative, and that a world in which response to attacks on American assets is to pull back, or to accept the attack, is a world in which America won’t be able to successfully defend our interests.”

Democratic lawmakers have also criticized the president’s decision.

On Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted, “Donald Trump promised to bring our troops home. Instead he has pulled out of a deal that was working and instigated another unnecessary conflict. There is no justification for further escalating this crisis – we need to step back from the brink of war.”

Democratic Representative Ted Lieu of California tweeted, “Deeply concerned that @realDonaldTrump has no idea what he is doing, especially in foreign policy.”

Lieu added, “Also very troubled we are reading about these high level US decisions about Iran in the media. The national security leaks from the Trump Administration are mind boggling.”

Later, Lieu tweeted in support of the president’s decision to block the strike but criticized the president’s process in deciding on a military option.

“Dear @realDonaldTrump: I agree with your decision to not use military force against Iran. In the future, you should ask questions about how many people will die before you order a strike in the first place.”

President Trump has so far adhered to one of his key campaign promises of not starting any new wars.

– MK. II

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