As Tensions With Iran Escalated, Trump Opted for Most Extreme Measure

  
Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  38 comments

As Tensions With Iran Escalated, Trump Opted for Most Extreme Measure
While senior officials argue the drone strike was warranted to prevent future attacks, some in the administration remain skeptical about the rationale for the attack.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T




In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him — which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq — on the menu they presented to President Trump.

They didn’t think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable.

After initially rejecting the Suleimani option on Dec. 28 and authorizing airstrikes on an Iranian-backed Shia militia group instead, a few days later Mr. Trump watched, fuming, as television reports showed Iranian-backed attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad, according to Defense Department and administration officials.






By late Thursday, the president had gone for the extreme option. Top Pentagon officials were stunned.

Mr. Trump made the decision, senior officials said on Saturday, despite disputes in the administration about the significance of what some officials said was a new stream of intelligence that warned of threats to American embassies, consulates and military personnel in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. General Suleimani had just completed a tour of his forces in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and was planning an “imminent” attack that could claim hundreds of lives, those officials said.



“Days, weeks,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday, when asked how imminent any attacks could be, without offering more detail other than to say that new information about unspecified plotting was “clear and unambiguous.”

But some officials voiced private skepticism about the rationale for a strike on General Suleimani, who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops over the years. According to one United States official, the new intelligence indicated “a normal Monday in the Middle East” — Dec. 30 — and General Suleimani’s travels amounted to “business as usual.”

That official described the intelligence as thin and said that General Suleimani’s attack was not imminent because of communications the United States had between Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and General Suleimani showing that the ayatollah had not yet approved any plans by the general for an attack. The ayatollah, according to the communications, had asked General Suleimani to come to Tehran for further discussions at least a week before his death.







Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence were two of the most hawkish voices arguing for a response to Iranian aggression, according to administration officials. Mr. Pence’s office helped run herd on meetings and conference calls held by officials in the run-up to the strike.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and General Milley declined to comment for this article, but General Milley’s spokeswoman, Col. DeDe Halfhill, said, without elaborating, that “some of the characterizations being asserted by other sources are false” and that she would not discuss conversations between General Milley and the president.

The fallout from Mr. Trump’s targeted killing is now underway. On Saturday in Iraq, the American military was on alert as tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through the streets of Baghdad and calls accelerated to eject the United States from the country. United States Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, said there were two rocket attacks near Iraqi bases that host American troops, but no one was injured.

In Iran, the ayatollah vowed “forceful revenge” as the country mourned the death of General Suleimani.

In Palm Beach, Fla., Mr. Trump lashed back, promising to strike 52 sites across Iran — representing the number of American hostages taken by Iran in 1979 — if Iran attacked Americans or American interests. On Saturday night,   Mr. Trump warned on Twitter   that some sites were “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

The president issued those warnings after American spy agencies on Saturday detected that Iranian ballistic missile units across the country had gone to a heightened state of readiness, a United States official said on Saturday night.

Other officials said it was unclear whether Iran was dispersing its ballistic missile units — the heart of the Iranian military — to avoid American attack, or was mobilizing the units for a major strike against American targets or allies in the region in retaliation for General Suleimani’s death.





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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago
General Milley and Mr. Esper traveled on Sunday to Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach resort, a day after officials presented the president with an initial list of options for how to deal with escalating violence against American targets in Iraq.

The options included strikes on Iranian ships or missile facilities or against Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq. The Pentagon also tacked on the choice of targeting General Suleimani, mainly to make other options seem reasonable.

Mr. Trump chose strikes against militia groups. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that airstrikes approved by the president had struck three locations in Iraq and two in Syria controlled by the group, Kataib Hezbollah.

Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said the targets included weapons storage facilities and command posts used to attack American and partner forces. About two dozen militia fighters were killed.
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“These were on remote sites,” General Milley told reporters on Friday in his Pentagon office. “There was no collateral damage.”

But the Iranians viewed the strikes as out of proportion to their attack on the Iraqi base and Iraqis, largely members of Iranian-backed militias, staged violent protests outside the American Embassy in Baghdad. Mr. Trump, who aides said had on his mind the specter of the 2012 attacks on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, became increasingly angry as he watched television images of pro-Iranian demonstrators storming the embassy. Aides said he worried that no response would look weak after repeated threats by the United States.

When Mr. Trump chose the option of killing General Suleimani, top military officials, flabbergasted, were immediately alarmed about the prospect of Iranian retaliatory strikes on American troops in the region. It is unclear if General Milley or Mr. Esper pushed back on the president’s decision.

Over the next several days, the military’s Special Operations Command looked for an opportunity to hit General Suleimani, who operated in the open and was treated like a celebrity in many places he visited in the Middle East. Military and intelligence officials said the strike drew on information from secret informants, electronic intercepts, reconnaissance aircraft and other surveillance tools.

The option that was eventually approved depended on who would greet General Suleimani at his expected arrival on Friday at Baghdad International Airport. If he was met by Iraqi government officials allied with Americans, one American official said, the strike would be called off. But the official said it was a “clean party,” meaning members of Kataib Hezbollah, including its leader,   Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis . Mr. Trump authorized the killing at about 5 p.m. on Thursday, officials said.

On Friday, missiles fired from an American MQ-9 Reaper blew up General Suleimani’s convoy as it departed the airport.
 
 
 
XDm9mm
2  XDm9mm    3 weeks ago

Be thankful for President Trump taking out a terrorist.

We could have someone like Bill Clinton who admitted on 9/10/2001 that he was remorseful that he didn't take out Osama bin Laden.   In case anyone has forgotten that was one day before the worst terrorist attack on this country.  9/11/2001.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  XDm9mm @2    3 weeks ago

It appears that Trump chose to kill the Iranian general, the number two person in their chain of command, and someone believed to have been in line to become the president of Iran, because he was watching the US Embassy in Baghdad being attacked on television and grew upset. 

Congress should demand to see the intelligence of planned attacks on the US troops and installations that Trump and his subordinates are claiming was the basis for killing Sulemani.  According to reports, these threats were "razor thin". 

 
 
 
MUVA
2.1.1  MUVA  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    3 weeks ago

It looks like you have been watching CNN this morning and they formed a opinion for you as usual . 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  MUVA @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

I read the long article in the New York Times, and have seen some of the things on the morning shows. 

Where are you getting your information? From Trump's twitter feed and followers? lol. 

 
 
 
WallyW
2.1.3  WallyW  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    3 weeks ago
According to reports, these threats were "razor thin". 
What  reports?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  WallyW @2.1.3    3 weeks ago

Do your own research Wally. Don't be lazy. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.5  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  WallyW @2.1.3    3 weeks ago

Wally, will you try and answer something for me? In the New York Times story this morning ,it says that Trump was given a list of options by the Secretary of Defense as to how he could respond to the assault on the US embassy in Baghdad. One of the options was to kill General Sulemani, and that is what Trump chose and then the military intelligence people went about locating him. 

This seems to be at odds with the story that Sulemani was killed to prevent specific 'imminent' terrorist attacks on American troops and interests in the region. 

If Trump picked killing Sulemani from a list of "options", then it wasnt done to prevent a terrorist attack, was it? 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
2.1.6  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.5    3 weeks ago

 it wasn't done to prevent a terrorist attack, was it? 

If anything, it will most likely cause more, many within our own borders.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
2.1.7  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.5    3 weeks ago

If you can't back up some ambiguous claim with a legitimate source, then you probably don't have one.

So what should Trump have done....send more pallets of cash and profusely apologize, like the cowering appeaser Obama?

Iran has been escalating tensions for some time now, it's time to show some strength instead of liberal weakness. .

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
2.1.8  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    3 weeks ago
to kill the Iranian general, the number two person in their chain of command

Question: why was irans number two guy in iraq?

 
 
 
Ronin2
2.1.9  Ronin2  replied to  The Magic Eight Ball @2.1.8    3 weeks ago

Planning out, and organizing, more attacks on US personnel of course. No one is denying he was doing anything else. Not even the anti Trump left.

What has their panties in a bunch is Trump did something well within his power; and they hate Trump. Not other rationale applies.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
3  The Magic Eight Ball    3 weeks ago
Trump watched, fuming, as television reports showed Iranian-backed attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad,

and you were not fuming?  you were ok with that? seriously?

after benghazi hillary said it is more important to figure out why they did it than to bring them to justice.

is this the appropriate strategy?

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
4  The Magic Eight Ball    3 weeks ago

yepp trump fuked up. 

he should have just blamed the attack of our embassy on a movie.

and then everything would have been peachy... LOL

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
5  The Magic Eight Ball    3 weeks ago
which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq — 

all liberal bs starts with a false premise and there it is.

Here is an IQ TEST I found online.  multiple choice - pick one.

which of the following solutions is most extreme?

  • invade iran for regime change (with millions of boots on the ground)
  • nuke iran and just watch it burn.
  • kill the people responsible in iraq
 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  The Magic Eight Ball @5    3 weeks ago

You dont understand the material in the news story. 

The killing of Gen. Sulemani  was the most extreme option on the list that was presented to Trump as a response to the storming of the US embassy in Baghdad. 

nuking Iran , etc, was not on that list. 

The false premise is all yours. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
5.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    3 weeks ago

It was just him and few flunkies that got vaporized. Trumps action are not aimed at the Iranian people, most of whom applaud this action.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
5.1.2  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    3 weeks ago
You dont understand the material in the news story

I understood every word. I also know bs when I see it.

nuking Iran , etc, was not on that list.

and that, is bs john, all options are always on the table.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.1.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  The Magic Eight Ball @5.1.2    3 weeks ago

Evidently you are not capable of, or are not willing to discuss the seeded article. 

It is clear what "most extreme option" means in this seed.  It is not "nuking" or invading Iran. 

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
5.1.4  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1.3    3 weeks ago
or are not willing to discuss the seeded article

discussing an article and agreeing with it are two different things john.

you simply can not defend the articles bs.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
5.1.5  1stwarrior  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1.3    3 weeks ago

You would've had a great job with Johnny Carson as his back-up "Amazing Karnak" John.

You have absolutely no idea WHAT options were on the table and what options are still available.

Quit talking like you know stuff - especially stuff about how the U.S. handles threats of any sort.  You don't.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.1.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  1stwarrior @5.1.5    3 weeks ago

The New York Times article says that trump chose the most extreme option.  Or do you prefer we believe whatever Sean Hannity or Alex Jones says?

Trump defenders run around like chickens with their heads cut off and then try to blame "liberals" or the media, Blame trump for god's sake. He is the one misleading you every day. 

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
5.1.7  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1.6    3 weeks ago
The New York Times article says that trump chose the most extreme option.  

the nyt said... and everyone should just believe them... LOL

no seriously... too funny :)

 

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
5.1.8  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1.6    3 weeks ago
Trump defenders run around like chickens with their heads cut off and then try to blame "liberals" or the media, Blame trump for god's sake. He is the one misleading you every day.

you need more gas in your light.

cheers :)

 
 
 
Texan1211
5.1.9  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1.6    3 weeks ago
he New York Times article says that trump chose the most extreme option.  Or do you prefer we believe whatever Sean Hannity or Alex Jones says?

And what if he did choose the most extreme option? 

That is why they are called OPTIONS. They are on the table. If you aren't ever going to use the "most extreme option", then it really is NOT an option at all.

I don't get why Americans are pissed that we took out some terrorists.

I just don't fucking get why that would piss any AMERICANS off.

Doing nothing resulted in American deaths, and would have continued to result in American deaths. Oh, the horror of DOING SOMETHING about it!

SMMFH at idiots pissed over this.

 
 
 
loki12
5.1.10  loki12  replied to  Texan1211 @5.1.9    3 weeks ago
SMMFH at idiots pissed over this.

256

 
 
 
loki12
5.1.11  loki12  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1.6    3 weeks ago
The New York Times article says that trump chose the most extreme option.

The same NY Times that posted the 17 intelligence agencies bullshit?

The Same NY times that reported a parody account as real News from North Korea?

The same NY times that claimed Sessions and not Lynch told Comey to call it a matter in the email investigation to cover Obama's ass?

Is that the NY times you are quoting John?  They lied to you again,  Exactly what were the options presented to trump in detail? if you can't answer this you are believing a known liar with no proof.....Because trump.

Any body with an common sense would know the most extreme option would have been a direct attack on Irans supreme leader.  So once again the Times is full of shit. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
5.1.12  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    3 weeks ago

nuking Iran , etc, was not on that list

Want to bet that it is on a separate list of Trump's?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
6  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

Maybe we should have given Iran billions of dollars and a path to a nuke. Then they’d love us for sure,,right?

That was chamberlain’s  mistake. He was too tough on hitler.  Always give terrorists what they want and be thankful they didn’t kill more people. Maybe we should declare the US an Islamic republic and hope that maybe then iran will stop killing Americans.

 
 
 
Texan1211
7  Texan1211    3 weeks ago

Why does it seem like almost half of America is pissed that we took out a terrorist?

No, we do NOT know all the ramifications of his death. No, we do NOT know for sure how Iran will respond.

However, we DO know what doing nothing was accomplishing. Suliemani's track record is complete with the blood of Americans. We know for a FACT that he planned, orchestrated, financed, and plotted many attacks on US interests, resulting in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands.

I am glad our President found it reprehensible that this man was allowed to flourish for years with nary so much as a scratch. I am glad we had a President with some fucking balls.

I will not mourn the asshole's death.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
7.1  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  Texan1211 @7    3 weeks ago
Why does it seem like almost half of America is pissed that we took out a terrorist?

they're not.... LOL  "online" only makes it look that way.

online, the butthurt left always yells the loudest.

 
 
 
Texan1211
7.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  The Magic Eight Ball @7.1    3 weeks ago

I was watching MSNBC for kicks the other night when the attack happened. It was pretty funny seeing all the Democratic politicians claiming that the dude was a "real bad guy that deserved it" but were so worried about what Iran might do. The news people were aghast that we had actually dared to kill a known terrorist.

None of the news people offered a single alternative. So I suppose their plan was to let him live and continue killing Americans.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
7.1.2  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  Texan1211 @7.1.1    3 weeks ago
So I suppose their plan was to let him live and continue killing Americans.

its all fairly simple...

  1. we say it is more important to bring them to justice than it is to understand why they did it. 
  2.   the left says it is more important to figure out why they did it than to bring them to justice.

so yepp. the left would not have punished the people responsible.

they would have only suggested aromatherapy and a nice chat about why they attacked our embassy. so we don't do whatever pissed them off again.

 
 
 
loki12
8  loki12    3 weeks ago

Remind me if I'm wrong, wasn't that POS terrorist Soleimani banned from leaving Iran according to UN sanctions? So the POS violated UN sanctions, Responsible for murdering Americans, and the left supports letting him live and supports killing an American by another president because...............Trump. 

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
8.1  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  loki12 @8    3 weeks ago

you nailed it.

cheers :)

 
 
 
Texan1211
8.2  Texan1211  replied to  loki12 @8    3 weeks ago

He was banned from travel outside of Iran.

Just another FU to the international community from Iran.

Just this time, someone actually had the gonads to do something effective instead of telling him "Bad boy, Sit in the corner".

To me, sanctions should have been placed on every place he travelled to while under the ban.

 
 
 
loki12
8.2.1  loki12  replied to  Texan1211 @8.2    3 weeks ago
To me, sanctions should have been placed on every place he travelled to while under the ban.

No reason I can see where that can't be implemented, On the plus side, his family won't have to go through the heart breaking experience of scattering his ashes.  

 
 
 
loki12
9  loki12    3 weeks ago

This sums up the response between the 2 Presidents.

256

It explains a lot, the democrats answer is to always throw money at a problem.

 
 
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