that might deserve a second look
June 24, 2019

There might be more to President Trump's decision to withhold a military strike against Iran last week, The Washington Post reports.

Trump said he aborted the strike after learning that an estimated 150 Iranians would die, which he deemed disproportionate to Tehran shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone. White House officials reportedly said Trump had actually been told the number of potential casualties before he called off the raid, but Trump said he was given "very odd numbers" and wanted a more accurate estimate.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump was receiving casualty assessments "throughout," but he backed up his boss, saying that there were more specific projections provided to the president in the later stages.

But therein lies the bigger issue, Ned Price, former President Barack Obama's special assistant on national security, told the Post's Greg Sargent. Price said that the president should have received the specific information at the outset.

"The vice president seems to acknowledge that the estimates sent to the president changed over time," Price said. He questioned whether Trump's advisers "may be orchestrating a process that not only filters but potentially manipulates information making its way to the president."

It is possible, but not typical, that Trump might not have been briefed on a casualty estimate change until late in the game. So, Sargent concludes, either Trump was given the 150 casualty estimate earlier then he said, raising doubt over his reasoning for calling off the strike, or his advisers were giving him potentially-manipulated information. Either way, Sargent argues, "more scrutiny is warranted." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

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