National Security Desk / February 3, 2017

The Truth About the ‘Botched’ Yemen Raid

The episode wasn’t the result of sheer negligence.

There are accusations being fomented by the Leftmedia that claim President Donald Trump’s first counterterrorism order resulted in a disastrous yet preventable episode in Yemen — the consequence, we’re now being told, of sheer negligence. Tragically, the operation took the life of SEAL Team Six’s Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens and other innocent bystanders. But the situation all came to a head when Reuters reported that “U.S. military officials [said] Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.” This appears to be a blatant attempt to smear Trump’s reputation and further portray him as unsuited for the role of commander in chief.

First, The New York Times says, “Barack Obama’s national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended.” In other words, the attack was planned before Trump even entered the Oval Office. So it wasn’t some hastily concocted operation.

Second, veteran David French. who has actual experience in combat, warns against buying the Leftmedia’s narrative. He writes, “Absent truly extraordinary circumstances not outlined in the report, these officials seem to be relying on reporters’ ignorance and willingness to believe anything about Trump … to deflect criticism of a dangerous operation that turned out to be even more dangerous than anticipated. That happens in war. It happened all the time when I was in Iraq.”

“People who haven’t been exposed to war with jihadists tend to think of firefights as precise affairs,” French continues. “Instead, they’re extraordinarily destructive, and the battle is waged against an enemy who intentionally and flagrantly violates the laws of war.” In conclusion: “None of this sounds unusual. … [I]t’s an impressive feat of arms to assault an alert enemy in a prepared defensive position, defeat that enemy, and leave with valuable intelligence. So, no, don’t believe claims that Trump botched the raid in Yemen. He didn’t plan the operation, and we don’t want him planning operations. We want presidents to rely on professionals. But those same professionals will tell you that war is terrible by its very nature, and no president can guarantee victory without cost.”

By the way, the media outlets peddling these dubious reports are the same outlets that did everything they could to avoid covering Benghazi. Which truly was a preventable disaster.

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