My Salon column this morning:
Bright and early Thursday morning, President Trump angrily declared on Twitter: "Iran made a very big mistake!" He had obviously heard the news that Iran's Revolutionary Guards had shot down a very expensive American unmanned drone over international waters. (You know how he feels about money.) It was obviously some kind of threat but not too much later he met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and told the assembled press corps that he had "a feeling ... that it was a mistake made by somebody," giving the impression that he either knew this wasn't an act ordered by the top Iranian brass or was just trying to offer them a way out.
Later in the evening, this happened:
According to the New York Times, the operation was already underway with planes in the air and ships in position to fire missiles just before dawn on Friday. As of this writing nobody seems sure what prompted Trump to pull back when he did. There's no word on whether or not it was due to a change in the situation or simply another of his impulsive actions. The fact that the news media found out about it so quickly argues for the latter. People don't leak something like that unless they are shocked by what went down.