Back in June, the United States and Iran appeared to be on the brink of war. After a U.S. drone was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, President Donald Trump reportedly approved air strikes on Iran before calling them off, per The Inquisitr.
“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,” Trump explained on Twitter. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
But Newsweek reports that retired Admiral William McRaven finds Trump’s story hard to believe. He claims that — having been involved in similar situations “countless times” — both Trump and his National Security Adviser John Bolton would have undergone an extensive briefing on the range of the strike options and their impact.
“When I heard, after the fact, that it was only at the last minute that the president realized there would be casualties, frankly I find that hard to believe,” McRaven said.
“The casualty count is almost always part of the military’s briefing when it comes to a strike on a target.”
McRaven asked how the U.S. could get so far through the attack process before Trump raised the question of civilian casualties. He also added that shooting down a drone is a situation that should not risk uncontrolled escalation.
Retired admiral attacked by Trump says president's account of Iran near-strike is "hard to believe" https://t.co/XzmA4WcXS2
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 1, 2019
Regardless, tensions between the U.S. and Iran remain high in the wake of Trump pulling out of a nuclear deal with the Middle Eastern country. Former special counsel Robert Mueller warned Americans of disinformation efforts from Russia, as well as other countries — which include Iran. Per The Inquisitr, disinformation researchers, such as FireEye, claim that Iranians are using fake online profiles called “sock puppets,” which were reportedly used by Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
With multiple foreign countries showing their willingness to use disinformation to influence the U.S. for their own political gain, Lee Foster, head of the cybersecurity team at FireEye, suggests that the U.S. must gain a better grasp of the problem to prevent countries like Iran from negatively affecting North America.
But according to the Pew Research Center, the extent to which Americans perceive Iran as a threat to the U.S. varies depending on political beliefs, as does views on issues like Russia and climate change.
Conversely, the majority of Americans agree that China’s power and influence is a threat to the U.S. — regardless of their political affiliation.