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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