Every day the mound of unfortunate events, underneath which us scribblers have been burred since Jan 20, grows taller, wider, and heavier. Here’s something you probably missed in all the confusion of the Trump Administration’s tumultuous first days.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, with support from his allies on Trump’s contentious National Security Council, was prepared to engage in military action against Iran, potentially resulting in a naval firefight, a mere week after Trump took office. What ultimately stayed his hand, according to a February report from The New York Times (later reiterated by Slate columnist Osita Nwanevu), were leaks of the impending operation.
Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was exploring whether the Navy could intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen. The potential interdiction seemed in keeping with recent instructions from Mr. Trump, reinforced in meetings with Mr. Mattis and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, to crack …