Just a week after assuming office, President Donald Trump gave a go-ahead to the first covert counterterrorism operation in Yemen — it turned out to be a disaster.
The strike, which was carried out without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations, killed 36-year-old U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens along with several civilians and children.
The raid also killed an 8-year-old girl who suffered for two hours after being hit by a bullet.
Soon after the incident, Trump made an unannounced trip to Delaware’s Dover Air Base to attend the return Owens' remains.
Bill Owens, father of the 36-year-old U.S. Navy SEAL, said he refused to meet Trump when he came to receive the casket carrying his son. He also criticized Trump’s administration over the raid’s timing and called out for an investigation into its planning.
“I want an investigation. The government owes my son an investigation. I'm sorry; I don't want to see him. I told them I don't want to meet the president," he said.
"I told them I didn't want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn't let me talk to him," added Owens.
Owens also questioned Trump administration’s timing.
"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into his administration? Why?” he said.
"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?" he added.
According to the White House, the raid was aimed at capturing information on potential al-Qaida militants. It was planned during former President Barack Obama’s tenure but he never gave a go-ahead for it.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that she believes that the president would support the idea of an investigation.
“I can't imagine what this father is going through. His son is a true American hero, and we should forever be in his son's debt,” she said.
The White House spokeswoman further added, “The mission has a lot of different critics, but it did yield a substantial amount of very important intel and resources that helped save American lives and other lives.”
Awed by this father's courage telling his story. No surprise, whatsoever, that a man of this character and integrity raised a Navy SEAL. https://t.co/B3YA2I9plo— Rich Davis (@rdavis6310) February 26, 2017
COURAGEOUS FATHER OF DEAD NAVY SEAL SPEAKS OUT WHERE IS THE GOP INVESTIGATING THIS DEATH https://t.co/Nhxof5cKSI— Better world (@Betterw05759703) February 26, 2017