“The Donald’s” decision to call off the airstrike on Iran was the right decision to make. His narrative about when and why he made the decision is not credible. The when could be verified by checking USN operations logs so I have little doubt that he called it off when he says he did. I also agree with him when he says that killing 150 Iranians in response to losing an unmanned drone would be disproportionate. The problem is he must have known the casualty estimate long before the strike was ready to go. The US had contingency plans drawn up for when the Iranians destroyed an important asset in the region. All they needed to do after the loss of the drone was to review and adjust those plans. Those plans would have included casualty estimates and those estimates would have been one of the first points briefed when presenting strike options to the President.

So here is my view of what happened. Iran shot down a US surveillance drone. Within hours the President is briefed on options for US action in response. Those options included casualty estimates. Trump decides which one to pursue – in this case the air strike that is aborted at the last minute because, in Trump’s words, “A General said the casualties would be 150 people”. Trump has not said when he heard that, maybe he heard it during the original brief and pondered over it until the 11th hour. Maybe he wasn’t paying attention during the brief and it only registered once he was reminded of it as the planes were preparing to launch. Maybe he authorized the strike while planning all along to cancel at the last minute so he could look like the good guy. Only he knows. The rest of us are left to speculate about his motive based on his record of falsehoods, prevarications, trying to be unpredictable and stupidity.