-March 4, 2017
The level of President Donald Trump’s absolute incompetence is further compounded with each and every detail which has emerged from his actions before, during, and following his initial, botched raid in Yemen, which resulted in the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.
Every aspect of this story reeks of sheer ineptitude. According to aides, The Donald is not fond of intelligence briefings. Or of reading in general. He wants pictures and bullet points; but prefers to simply binge watch Fox News instead. As such, he was briefed on the proposed Yemen raid by Defense Secretary General Mattis over dinner, and approved of the mission when told that Obama declined out of caution due to a lack of intelligence.
Obama’s caution was just. Given said lack of intelligence, the raid was a failure from the jump. There were far more inhabitants at the site than previously known. As such, in addition to Owens, six other service members were injured, and a $70m helicopter destroyed and abandoned. Worse, dozens of innocent civilians were also killed, nine of which were children, including an eight year old girl, Nawar al-Awlaki, who happened to be a US citizen, and whose 16 year old brother, Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki, had been coincidently killed six years earlier in a drone strike approved by Obama (in addition to their father, Anwar).
Trump didn’t care enough to even be in the Situation Room during the raid. Rather, he tweeted about his coming appearance on the Christian Broadcast Network, which was soon deleted. As result of the failed mission, the Yemeni government informed the US that we are no longer allowed to carry out such raids without prior approval – an embarrassing slap in the face to Trump. It would not be the first embarrassment. The target of the raid, Qassim al-Rimi, took to the internet to brag how he had shit on Trump.
The Trump administration has floundered and flailed about in the aftermath. They’ve tried blaming the failed mission on everyone from Obama to the military. They’ve tried claiming that the failed mission was a resounding success, insisting that the target of the mission was not really al-Rimi, but that it was actually an intelligence raid which will supposedly prevent many, many deaths in the future. They tried using the body of Owens as a shield, charging anyone criticizing the failed mission with dishonoring his death. Owens’ father, a veteran himself, refused to meet with Trump at the casket arrival. As such, Trump brought Owens wife to his first congressional address, forcing the new widow into an awkward and uncomfortable four minutes of choreographed Donald-smiling and Ivanka-touching.
To recap: Trump approved a mission that was lacking in intelligence over dinner because he wanted to one-up Obama, yet was still more interested in twitter. A Navy SEAL was killed, a $70m chopper destroyed, dozens of civilians killed, including an eight year old girl. The target of the mission escaped and laughed at us. Yemen had to step in and intervene. Trump blamed everyone else for his failure; then used the SEAL’s dead body, and his widow, as a shield from not only investigation, but from mere criticism.
And rather than take a moment to learn from his mistakes, Trump announced that he was giving authority to his generals to carry out such raids in the future – that way he can take credit for successful missions, and simply blame the generals for any and all failures.