In a segment of Fox News' "Fox & Friends," President Donald Trump was asked to comment on a botched Yemen mission that left a Navy SEAL officer dead. His answer wasn't very comforting, The Huffington Post reports.
Bill Owens, the slain officer's father, is now demanding an investigation into his son's death, saying he couldn't bear to meet Trump at the airport as the dead soldier's casket arrived in a military plane.
When asked to comment, Trump referred to “they” as the ones who were responsible for this tragedy. In this case, he meant the military.
“This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do,” the president told the hosts.
"They came to see me. They explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected. My generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.
... This was something that they were looking at for a long time doing, and according to [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis it was a very successful mission."
Claiming that the military had been able to get “tremendous amounts of information” from this particular raid, Trump failed to mention that he actually approved the raid, despite his claims.
Earlier this month, White House press secretary Sean Spicer called the raid “highly successful,” adding that anyone who undermines “the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens.” But U.S. officials told NBC News on Monday that this particular military action yielded no significant intelligence.
Before Trump, presidents traditionally assumed the blame for misguided military actions, even while under scrutiny for making mistakes that cost people's lives, The Huffington Post notes. Trump appears to be the first to dismiss any responsibility.
Only time will tell if all future military raids that result in fatalities will be blamed on somebody else, or whether the president will take credit for the ones where only alleged terrorists die.
After all, most similar military campaigns produce more innocent deaths than actual justice because intelligence is usually faulty, and the United States continues to be involved in conflicts abroad that have nothing to do with actual national security.
Time to either rethink the strategy or stop with the nonsense.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlo Allegri