Former CIA Director John Brennan on Friday applauded President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel an air strike against Iran that would have led to 150 fatalities.
Brennan, an outspoken critic of the president’s, said in an interview on MSNBC that Trump’s decision to cancel the strike avoided setting off a “very dangerous escalatory spiral” between the U.S. and Iran.
“But I do applaud Trump’s decision not to carry out what would have been a disproportionate strike that would have led to 150 or so fatalities, and that could have had a very dangerous escalatory spiral following it that could have brought that region to greater military conflict,” said Brennan.
Trump had initially approved a plan on Thursday to strike Iran in response to the Islamist regime downing an unmanned drone earlier this week. But Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview airing Friday that he reversed course at the last minute after a military adviser said that as many as 150 Iranians could die as a result of the strike. (RELATED: Trump Says He Did Not Give Final Approval For Strike On Iran)
“I thought about it for a second and I said, ‘You know what, they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it,’ and here we are sitting with a 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said, ‘go ahead,'” Trump told Chuck Todd.
“And I didn’t like it, I didn’t think, I didn’t think it was proportionate.”
Brennan, who has accused Trump in the past of being “treasonous” in his dealings with Russia, credited Trump for both scuttling the attack and explaining the rationale behind his decision.
“So I do think that Trump recognized that he needed to explain to his critics exactly why he pulled back,” said Brennan.
“And again, I give him credit, and I rarely do that, but I give him credit for being almost the adult in the room because of the war hawks like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo who are pushing towards this confrontation that is not in anyone’s interest, especially the United States.”
Bolton, the national security adviser, and Pompeo, the secretary of state, reportedly supported the plan to carry out the strike.
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