Trump confirms US military was ‘cocked and loaded’ for retaliatory strike against Iran


JUNE 21, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump on Friday confirmed that the U.S. military was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran after the country shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, but backed off at the last minute.

In a series of tweets, Trump said he opted not to follow through because he felt the response would not be “proportionate” to the Iranian action.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights 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 tweeted.

“I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

The New York Times reported late Thursday that the president had ordered a strike overnight against Iran on missile and radar sites, but pulled back.

The reversal capped a day of mounting tensions between the U.S. and Tehran, which some lawmakers fear could escalate into a conflict. The White House held a briefing with congressional leaders on Thursday afternoon, though attendees were largely mum on its contents.

Iran shot down a U.S. Navy surveillance drone late Wednesday, with the two sides disputing where it occurred.

Tehran has said the drone was flying over Iranian airspace, while American officials have been adamant the aircraft was in international airspace.

Trump called Iran’s action a “very big mistake,” but indicated he was reluctant to escalate the situation because no Americans were killed.

“I have a feeling that it was a mistake made by somebody who shouldn’t have been doing something that they did,” Trump said Wednesday during an Oval Office meeting with the Canadian prime minister. “I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth.”

Trump and his advisers have taken a hard line against Iran, raising the specter of conflict. The president pulled out of the Obama-era nuclear deal that offered Tehran sanctions relief for limits on its nuclear program, and the Trump administration has imposed numerous sanctions in the year since.

“They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Now they are Bust!”

But the president has sought to balance the increasing potential to engage Iran militarily with his campaign pledge to disengage the U.S. from foreign conflicts by saying in recent weeks he hopes Iranian officials will want to talk.

Iranian officials have shown no interest in coming to the table thus far, arguing the U.S. can’t be trusted.

Courtesy/Source: The Hill