Trump Called Off Attack on Iran With 10 Minutes to Spare

Trump decided attack was not proportionate after told it would kill 150

On Thursday evening, long-standing fears of a US war with Iran came worryingly close to reality. President Trump discussed the matter on Friday, revealing that he called off the attack with a mere 10 minutes to spare.

Trump had signed off on attack Iran earlier on Thursday, to the point that the planes were already in the air and en route to hit three Iranian targets when he changed his mind. US military and diplomatic officials, and those in the know, were awaiting an attack that ultimately never came.

10 minutes from striking is worryingly close, and Trump’s disclosures on the matter are troubling. Apparently it was only at this late hour that Trump came around to asking for specifics on how many Iranians his order would kill. The generals told him approximately 150.

This was the game-changer, and Trump was nominally ordering this attack over the shoot down of a single US surveillance drone, and he rightly noticed that killing 150 people was not very proportionate to that, fortunately, he called the attack off before the first missiles were fired.

Trump went on to issue a flurry of Tweets saying Iran would never be allowed to have nuclear weapons, which of course this entire almost-attack had not a thing to do with. He also bragged about how much damage the US sanctions have done to Iran and how weakened Iran already is.

Troublingly though, administration hawks were still able to get Trump to sign off on the attack earlier on Thursday, and his assurances on Twitter suggest that the loss of the single drone really didn’t enter into it as a big issue for him. This raises ongoing concerns that having called off the Thursday attack, Trump might be sold on a lesser attack at any time, or at least something nominally different that gets carried out before he gets around to asking about the casualties.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of