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April 17, 1988
Came home early & had lunch at the White House. Colin had called me late Sat. & told me the Chiefs were ready to brief me on our P. Gulf retaliation. We are going to blow up two & possibly 3 oil platforms—3 of our ships doing job. Also one Iranian Naval vessel. In each case we’ll give time for their people to get off. We seek no killing—just the destruction of the targets. So our people will come to the W.H. at 8:30 P.M. Then at 9 P.M. 5 Congressional leaders will join us & be notified. Then at 1 A.M. tomorrow morning our time the action takes place.
In the meantime I have to get dressed up for a sitting with the painter who is doing my W.H. portrait at 2:30 P.M. this afternoon. That only took an hour.
At 8:30 P.M. our gang from Geo. B. Geo. S. Howard, Ken, Colin, Frank C. Admiral Crowe & a few more came by & we had the final briefing on our retaliation for Irans hostile acts in the P. Gulf (Our frigate hit an Iranian Mine). Then at 9:00 P.M. Cong. leaders—Jim W. Robt. B. Tom Foley—all Dems. & Bob Dole & Bob Michel joined us. We told them what we planned—made it clear I had given no order yet & so we consulted. They appreciated that I would have limited our strike—limiting us to oil platforms & no ships. At end of meeting I gave order to take out the platforms & the ship or ships after giving a chance for crews to abandon ship. We didn’t want to kill—but to destroy those properties. At 1 A.M. our time the operation began.