Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He maintained that questioning the "success" of the recent botched counterterrorism raid in Yemen was doing a "disservice" to the servicemember who died during it.

Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed during the first military operation authorized by Donald Trump, an assault on an al-Qaeda compound in Yemen. The raid also killed an 8-year-old American girl, and approximately 30 Yemeni civilians, including women and children. A $75 million aircraft was destroyed and three other US military personnel injured. The raid failed to achieve its objective when its target, al-Qaeda leader Qassam al-Rimi, escaped

Trump authorized the raid after a briefing over dinner attended by his son-in-law and political adviser, rather than a formal assessment in the Situation Room, and did not observe its progress as is customary during such operations. Shortly afterwards, military officials criticized Trump's disinterestedness in a shocking breach of protocol. Their concerns were echoed across the political spectrum, including by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). 

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer today called the raid "absolutely a success."

So why is that so bad?

  • When American soldiers and citizens are killed in a military action, it is a disservice to them not to ask questions about the civilian leadership whose orders they followed.
  • It's bad if a president doesn't seem willing or able to acknowledge any mistake, even when innocent lives are lost.