Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane blasted the report that the Trump administration has updated plans to send more than 100,000 troops to counter Iran if necessary.
“It’s a distortion of what really happens,” he said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.” “The president doesn’t even know what they are talking about.”
At the White House, Trump, who has repeatedly argued for avoiding long-term conflicts in the Mideast, discounted the report claiming the U.S. has updated plans that could send up to 120,000 troops to counter Iran if it attacked American forces.
Keane also pushed back on claims the Trump administration is sliding toward war with Iran. Keane said the Trump administration isn’t looking for a regime change or a war, and that the president wants to negotiate with Iran and make better diplomatic deals.
He added, “President Trump is measured in dealing with Iran.”
Last week, U.S. officials said they had detected signs of Iranian preparations for potential attacks on U.S. forces and interests in the Mideast, but Washington has not spelled out that threat.
The U.S. has about 5,000 troops in Iraq and about 2,000 in Syria as part of the coalition campaign to defeat the Islamic State group there. It also has long had a variety of air and naval forces stationed in Bahrain, Qatar and elsewhere in the Gulf, partly to support military operations against IS and partly as a counter to Iranian influence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.