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article imageOp-Ed: US media critical of Trump's lack of response to drone downing

By Ken Hanly     Jun 22, 2019 in Politics
Mainstream US media is for the most part united in criticism of Trump's decision to call off planned attacks on Iran in response to the downing of a US drone.
In an article in Antiwar.com Jason DItz notes that earlier in the week US media outlets had articles representing different approaches as to how to handle increase US-Iran tensions. However, by Friday this had changed after the downing of a US Global Hawk drone by Iran on Thursday. Iran claimed it the drone had passed over its territory and was on a spying mission whereas the US claims it was an unprovoked attack over international waters.
After attack many thought the US would respond militarily
No doubt hawks within the US administration thought there would be a strong US military response and perhaps the beginning of a war with Iran the type of situation they desired. However, at the last minute it is claimed that Trump decided to not respond via a planned attack.
Trump defends his decision
Trump defended his decision by noting that the planned response could kill up to 150 Iranians and would not be proportional as the drone downing killed no Americans. Trump makes a valid point but the press or most of the press seems to ignore this. Trump also tried to portray the attack as a serious mistake and not intentional. Of course Trump assumes that the drone was not over Iranian air space. This is questionable. Most likely the plane was on a spy mission as claimed by the Iranians and the Iranians have managed to recover wreckage from the drone before Americans were able to. This suggests it was perhaps within Iranian air space.
Many media articles critical of Trump's failure to respond militarily
Although Trump's decision could be seen as reducing tension and avoiding raising them resulting in dangerous and damaging conflict with Iran, articles such as that in USA Today are negative accusing Trump of not following through saying: "Trump's decision to order military action against targets in Iran – only to cancel the operation at the last minute – follows a familiar pattern: Threaten, pull back, confuse friends and foes alike." Of course one of his threats was to withdraw all US troops right away from Syria but as has happened numerous times Trump's dovish moves are challenged by hawks within his administration and he gives in.
He has followed the hawks marching orders often on Iran sending more troops and threatening Iran if US interests are attacked. His fault now seems not so much to be his inconsistency but his not giving in to the hawks who want war. The media in effect supports the trend towards violence and warfare rather than reduction in tensions. Kari Schake in the Atlantic even speaks of damaging America's credibility. Yet if Iran is correct than they were simply protecting their territory from US spying. Of course it is not allowed for US media to look at events that way.
NBC news criticized Trump for indecision and said that it would embolden Iran. It might embolden Iran to take any further action necessary to defend its territory. A recent article in the Hill notes that an Iranian general claimed that the US was warned about the drone several times but there was no reply. NBC news adds quotes from selected critics of Trump's decision not to attack: ""Trump has given the impression he lost his nerve, when he should've responded swiftly but measuredly already a couple weeks ago," said Michael Makovsky, president of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America who was a senior aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in President George W. Bush's administration."
CNN's Samantha Vinograd added to the chorus claiming that the Trump decisions hurts US credibility and shows that Trump cannot make up his mind. Some CNN reporters claim that lawmakers are on edge and the situation is more perilous. Somehow the fact that a US response could very well provoke a counter-response from Iran never seems to enter their heads. US actions are apparently never provocative nor do they make the situation more perilous.
It is true that Trump often makes bellicose statements and does not always follow through. This may be seen as a fault but sometimes it is a blessing. That may very well be the case with his decision not to attack Iran and perhaps provoke a violent response and the demand for a further response from the US. It seems that not just hawks but the mainstream media sponsor a more warlike US position.
Tucker Carlson on Fox News
One exception to the criticism of Trump can be found in Tucker Carlson's response on Fox News that praises Trump for avoiding war and does discuss the proportionality argument. The appended video shows Tucker's response.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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