by Cassy Fiano | February 9, 2017 11:20 am
Donald Trump’s first military operation has received a lot of attention. Navy SEALs raided an al Qaeda compound in Yemen, netting some intelligence, but it also came at a heavy cost. The SEALs took on multiple casualties, with some SEALs wounded and one losing his life. John McCain spoke out about the raid and now, the Trump administration has responded.
According to McCain, the Yemen raid was not a success after a classified briefing. “I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success,” McCain said. “When you lose a $75 million airplane and, more importantly, an American life is lost … I don’t believe you can call it a success.”
But, McCain clarified, that is not an attack on the SEALs who participated. “Many years ago, when I was imprisoned in North Vietnam, there was an attempt to rescue the POWs,” McCain explained. “Unfortunately, the prison had been evacuated, but the brave men who took — risked their lives in an effort to rescue us prisoners of war were genuine American heroes. Because the mission failed did not in any way diminish their courage and willingness to help their fellow Americans who were help captive. Mr. Spicer should know that story.”
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Still, it didn’t take long for Press Secretary Sean Spicer to retaliate to McCain’s remarks, calling them a “disservice” Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, the SEAL who died in the raid. “The life of Chief Ryan Owens was done in service to his country and we owe him and his family a great debt for the information we received during that raid,” Spicer said on Wednesday. “I think any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions that he took. Full stop.”
Disagreeing with McCain, Spicer said the raid was a “success.” “I think anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens,” Spicer argued. “The raid — the action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success. American lives will be saved because of it. Future attacks will be prevented.”
It’s interesting to note that Spicer does not explain how the raid was a success, when there were multiple casualties, we lost military equipment and instead of capturing or killing al Qaeda leaders, we instead only were able to recover things like laptops and cell phones. That may be helpful, but it is a low bar if this is being called a “success.”
And the Trump administration really needs to stop reacting like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum every time they’re criticized. Criticism comes with the job. Not every decision will be the right one. Deal with it.
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