With Iran Attack Reversal, Did President Trump Break Pledge to Never ‘Telegraph’ Military Operations?

During a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Trump responded to questions about Iran shooting down a United States surveillance drone. (Credit: Erin Schaff/The New York Times)
During a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Trump responded to questions about Iran shooting down a United States surveillance drone. (Credit: Erin Schaff/The New York Times)trump

Iran’s military got a glimpse of how President Donald Trump would attack their country despite his years-old pledge never to “telegraph” U.S. military operations to an enemy.

My administration will not telegraph exact military plans to the enemy,” then-candidate Donald Trump said on Aug. 15, 2016 — less than three months before he was elected president.

“I have often said that Gen. [Douglas] MacArthur and Gen. [George] Patton would be in a state of shock if they were alive today to see the way President Obama and [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton try to recklessly announce their every move before it happens – like they did in Iraq – so that the enemy can prepare and adapt,” Trump said in 2016.

As President Trump a year later, he repeated his mantra when laying out his strategy for the conflict in Afghanistan.

“I’ve said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin, or end, military options. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities,” he said. “Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”

Yet, by moving U.S. Navy ships Thursday into combat positions and launching American military aircraft and then declaring on Twitter Friday he had called off missile launches just 10 minutes before they were scheduled, Trump showed the posture the military takes when when it is about to strike.

Though he did not give away the timing of planned strikes during public comments, Iranian leaders could have gleaned intelligence about U.S. ship and aircraft tactics and their capabilities before Trump issued the cancel order.

“He basically called them up and told them what he was going to do,” said Daniel Davis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and now is a senior fellow at Defense Priorities think tank.

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SOURCE: John T. Bennett
Roll Call