Report: White House Looking at Military Options for Iran

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The New York Times first reported last night that the White House been been reviewing plans to deploy as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East in response to unspecified threats from Iran.

According to the Times, the review was ordered by none other than Trump's national security adviser John Bolton.

WASHINGTON — At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.

The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said. [...]

The high-level review of the Pentagon’s plans was presented during a meeting about broader Iran policy. It was held days after what the Trump administration described, without evidence, as new intelligence indicating that Iran was mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack American forces.

Some officials who spoke to the New York Times say this review and the leaking of it to the press were simply an intentional "scare tactic" meant to intimidate Iran, not a real plan for a dramatic escalation.

I don't necessarily find that very comforting. Trump responded to the Times report this afternoon by doubling down on it.

“I think it’s fake news, OK?” Trump said of the Times report. “Now would I do that? Absolutely. But I have not planned for that. If we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.

When reading reports like this, my first gut reaction is to think of my best friend who is a reservist; someone who could be called up and taken away from her loved ones to fight another pointless war.

My second reaction is to consider the enormous, overwhelming costs that Republican control of the government inevitably leads to.

Spending over a trillion dollars on tax cuts for the rich and then queuing up another war that could cost trillions is the only thing Republicans know how to do even when the Republican in the oval office is Trump.

In hindsight, maybe we'll look back at the totality of the Trump regime and not see it as dramatically different from the Bush administration in its consequences.

  • muselet

    120,000 is a weird number of servicemembers to deploy to the Middle East.

    It’s far too many for a purely-defensive mission (protecting US forces in the region against ooh! scary! Iran), and it’s far too few to fight the war John Bolton so badly wants.

    It reminds me of this exchange from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

    ZAPHOD: What are they, clinically thick?

    FORD: I think they’re very clever. They’re trying to confuse us to death.