Misplaced Blame on Trump for Yemen Raid Ignores Deeper Problems by Christopher D. Kolenda, The Hill
Some U.S. military officials, Reuters reports, blame President Trump for approving a military raid “without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.” This is wrong headed, potentially damaging to civil-military relations, and masks deeper problems with U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens died of wounds received on January 29th during a raid in Yemen. Three others were also wounded. 14 al Qaeda militants were reportedly killed as were over a dozen civilians. This was Trump’s first covert military action.
In keeping with Washington’s toxic political environment, Trump opponents seized upon this as evidence the president carelessly put American troops in harm’s way. This is nonsense.
The special operations plan was reviewed by the Pentagon and recommended for Trump’s approval. If the commander on the ground believed the intelligence and support were insufficient, he could have aborted the mission. Trump did not force an unwilling SEAL team into a dangerous raid. He was approving what the military said should be done.
For any military official to blame Trump for the raid’s technical and operational problems is as unacceptable as it is factually untrue. Such conduct undermines trust and damages the military’s credibility. It also creates an impression that officials seek presidential approval for operations with the intention of avoiding blame if things go wrong.
The raid raises bigger questions that the president should ask his national security team…