Trump Calls Off Military Strike on Iran

A US Navy missile tracking ship transiting the Strait of Hormuz last year.Jonathan Clay via ZUMA

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The New York Times reports that President Trump was nearly ready to authorize a military strike on Iran that would have taken place around 9 pm Eastern time, but then….

As late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations. Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.

The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said.

This is . . . unusual. I’m not surprised it leaked, since an awful lot of people had to have known about it, but I wonder what caused Trump to pull back?

My own guess is that for all his bluster, Trump is genuinely afraid of getting into a war. It’s one of his few good qualities.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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