Megan Rose, Robert Faturechi, and T. Christian Miller at Pro-Publica write—Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened:
Just before sunset on Jan. 12, 2016, 10 American sailors strayed into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, a navigation error with potentially grave consequences. On their way to a spying mission, the Americans had set sail from Kuwait to Bahrain. It was a long-distance trek that some senior commanders in the Navy’s 5th Fleet had warned they were neither equipped nor trained to execute.
Surrounded by four boats operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S. sailors, in two small gunboats, surrendered rather than opening fire. The officer in charge of the mission later said he understood that had a firefight erupted, it could well have provoked a wider conflict and scuttled the controversial nuclear deal the two countries were poised to implement in mere days.
The Navy dialed up an elaborate rescue mission to free the sailors from tiny Farsi Island involving fighter jets and a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group. But the return of the sailors was ultimately secured peacefully. The nuclear deal went forward with the U.S. providing sanctions relief and unfreezing billions in Iranian assets in exchange for Tehran’s promise to curb its nuclear ambitions.
President Donald Trump explicitly invoked the 2016 incident last week as he weighed actions against Iran amid rising tensions. Trump told Time magazine that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had mishandled the high-stakes confrontation, a mistake he would not make. “The only reason the sailors were let go is that we started making massive payments to them the following day,” Trump said. “Otherwise the sailors would still be there.”
But a ProPublica investigation makes clear that Trump’s repeated claims about the captured sailors—Obama’s weakness; that the money was improper—obscure the more troubling realities exposed by the Navy’s 2016 debacle in the Persian Gulf. The Farsi Island mission was a gross failure, involving issues that have plagued the Navy in recent years: inadequate training, poor leadership, and a disinclination to heed the warnings of its men and women about the true extent of its vulnerabilities. [...]
Over the weekend, the details of Iran’s downing of an unmanned American drone that further escalated the confrontation remained unclear, but it seemed possible the Navy had again mistakenly entered Iran’s territory. Iran insists the plane had penetrated its airspace; the United States says it was in international territory. Last week, The New York Times quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying Trump had pulled back in part because of emerging evidence that the Global Hawk drone or a second, manned U.S. spy plane may have indeed breached Iranian territory. Trump cited the high number of possible Iranian casualties. [...] Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups
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“Every time someone gives you a formula for what you should be and what you should do, they’re giving you a pair of handcuffs.” ~~Junot Díaz, 2016
TWEET OF THE DAY
"The media needs to create new Ã¢Â€ÂœTrump Rules,Ã¢Â€Â where when the president tells a clear lie the interview does NOT move on until either he is forced to admit to that lie, or he walks out of the interview like the immature man-child that he is." https://t.co/31ZN5OYu7g
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) June 24, 2019
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2004—The Cheney Coup:
Whoa, how did I almost miss this?
After the 9-11 attacks, Cheney sent Bush away and took control of the US response to the attacks. He essentially staged a coup, taking over as "commander in chief." This information was contained in a draft report from the 9-11 Commission.
America was under attack, and somebody had to make a decision. Dick Cheney, huddled in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center under the White House, had just urged the traveling George W. Bush not to return to Washington. The president had left Florida aboard Air Force One at 9:55 a.m. on 9/11 "with no destination at take-off," as last week's 9-11 Commission report noted. Nor had Bush given any known instructions on how to respond to the attacks. Now Cheney faced another huge decision on a morning in which every minute seemed monumental. The two airliners had already crashed into the Twin Towers, another into the Pentagon. Combat air patrols were aloft, and a military aide was asking for shoot-down authority, telling Cheney that a fourth plane was "80 miles out" from Washington. Cheney didn't flinch, the report said. "In about the time it takes a batter to decide to swing," he gave the order to shoot it down, telling others the president had "signed off on the concept" during a brief phone chat. When the plane was 60 miles out, Cheney was again informed and again he ordered: take it out.
Then Joshua Bolton, after what he described in testimony as "a quiet moment," spoke up. Bolton, the White House deputy chief of staff, asked the veep to get back in touch with the president to "confirm the engage order." Bolton was clearly subordinate to Cheney, but "he had not heard any prior conversation on the subject with the president," the 9/11 report notes. Nor did the real-time notes taken by two others in the room, Cheney's chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby—who is known for his meticulous record-keeping--or Cheney's wife, Lynne, reflect that such a phone call between Bush and Cheney occurred or that such a major decision as shooting down a U.S. airliner was discussed. Bush and Cheney later testified the president gave the order. And national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice and a military aide said they remembered a call, but gave few specifics. The report concluded "there is no documentary evidence for this call."
This is startling information. The vice president ordered the president sent away and took control of the government.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin rounds up a tough news weekend. The baby jails story lingers, and Trump's interviewers don't seem interested in the optics of him raping columnists, so we're stuck instead with dissecting his more mundane "voter fraud" lies.
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