Sunday, September 22, 2019

Here's what Trump, his advisers, and the US military were talking about striking after Iran shot down a US drone

President Donald Trump speaks following a meeting on infrastructure at Trump Tower, August 15, 2017 in New York City.
 Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump recently had to decide how best to respond to alleged Iranian attacks on Saudi oil sites. He opted for tougher sanctions rather than a military strike.
  • A few months earlier, the president faced a similar dilemma after Iran shot down a very expensive US drone.
  • While the Pentagon, according to The New York Times, argued in favor of a casualty-free strike on an Iranian missile boat that would be evacuated prior to its sinking, Trump's more hawkish advisers called for a strike on Iranian missile and radar sites.
  • The president called the strikes off shortly before they were to occur, he revealed later, claiming that the attack would have killed 150 people and would have been disproportionate.
President Donald Trump recently faced a dilemma on how best to respond to act of alleged Iranian aggression against Saudi Arabia's oil facilities. A few months earlier, he struggled with a similar conundrum after Iran shot down a US drone.
In June, amid heightened US-Iran tensions, Iranian forces shot down a US Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft — a roughly $130 million RQ-4A Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) drone.
Hours after the attack on the unmanned aircraft, the president gathered his team to discuss possible responses, The New York Times reported.
The Pentagon reportedly preferred a strike on an Iranian missile boat. The crew would have been ordered to abandon ship and been filmed doing so, and then the US military would have sunk the vessel. The military's plan would have allowed the US to retaliate without inflicting casualties, making it a more proportional response to the downing of a drone.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, however, called for a strike on Iranian soil. Officials, according to The Times, decided to target three Iranian missile batteries and radar installations.
A "comprehensive list" of targets was put together, but it was determined that only a handful of targets could be hit if the attack was to be carried out quickly.

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