Donald Trump’s botched Yemen raid left 30 civilians — including an 8-year-old American girl and other women and children — dead, as well as a Navy SEAL. Trump has been largely silent about the death of William “Ryan” Owens, and with good reason: it was his negligence that caused it.
An 11-year-old child was the first to be struck by a bullet after he heard a commotion outside. Many more children as young as three months old would lose their lives in the bloodbath that was Trump’s first military operation. Trump, in his haste to approve the operation over dinner without adequate “intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations” according to military officials, failed to kill his primary target. All that we have to show from the botched mission are a few training videos the Trump administration touted as evidence of their success. The videos have been available on YouTube for a decade.
The mission was so poorly-executed that Yemen withdrew permission for the United States to conduct anti-terrorism ground operations within its borders — because Trump can not be trusted.
And for what was effectively an attempt for The Donald to boost his fragile ego, Owens lost his life.
Since the failed mission, the Trump administration has been using the slain SEAL to silence detractors, indicating that any opposition to the failed operation was somehow an assault on Owens himself — and his father has spoken out to tell Trump where he can stick that line of rhetoric.
“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation. I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation.”
The elder Owens says that when he heard Trump was coming to ‘pay respects’ to his son — a clear attempt to politicize the death his terrible decision making caused — he was not pleased. The Miami Herald reports:
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens said Friday, speaking out for the first time in an interview with the Miami Herald.
Owens, also a military veteran, was troubled by Trump’s harsh treatment of a Gold Star family during his presidential campaign. Now Owens was a Gold Star parent, and he said he had deep reservations about the way the decision was made to launch what would be his son’s last mission.
Ryan and as many as 29 civilians were killed Jan. 28 in the anti-terrorism mission in Yemen. What was intended as a lightning raid to grab cellphones, laptops and other information about terrorists turned into a nearly hour-long firefight in which “everything went wrong,” according to U.S. military officials who spoke to the New York Times.
Bill Owens said he was assured that his son, who was shot, was killed early in the fight. It was the first military counter-terrorist operation approved by the new president, who signed the go-ahead Jan. 26 — six days into his term.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why? For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?’’
“I’d like some answers about all the things that happened in the timeline that led up to it. I know what the timeline is, and it bothers me a lot,” Owens says. One aspect in particular is that Donald Trump signed his Muslim ban the day before the raid. As Yemen was one of the affected countries, he wonders if it may have affected friendly forces who were assisting with the raid:
“It just doesn’t make any sense to do something to antagonize an ally when you’re going to conduct a mission in that country. Did we alienate some of the people working with them, translators or support people. Maybe they decided to release information to jeopardize the mission.”
Owens says he has no political agenda; he just wants the truth — as do the rest of us.
Featured image via screengrab