On Sunday, President Donald Trump authorized the first military raid of his presidency on a branch of al Qaeda in Yemen. The Pentagon has since reported the deaths of 14 militants during the operation, but U.S. Central Command on Wednesday announced that an “investigative panel “concluded that civilian non-combatants were likely killed,” including several children.
Central Command has stated that it “seeks to determine if there were any still-undetected civilian casualties in the ferocious firefight.” U.S. military officials have anonymously told Reuters that 15 Yemeni women and children were killed in the attack.
From The New York Times:
The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed.
But the mission’s casualties raise doubts about the months of detailed planning that went into the operation during the Obama administration and whether the right questions were raised before its approval. Typically, the president’s advisers lay out the risks, but Pentagon officials declined to characterize any discussions with Mr. Trump.
The same U.S. military officials have told Reuters that this “covert counterterrorism operation” was approved by President Trump “without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.” In essence, civilian deaths and casualties as well as the deaths of children could have been avoided had our new commander-in-chief adequately educated himself on the situation.
At this point, Trump’s adamant and unabashed refusal to read briefings is well-known. According to one repot by the New York Times last month, just days ahead of his inauguration, Trump had yet to read a single page of the Obama administration’s prepared 1,000 pages of “classified material on North Korea’s nuclear program, the military campaign against the Islamic State, tensions in the South China Sea, and every other kind of threat the new team could face in its first weeks in office.” Trump has also stated that he likes his briefings with “as little [words] as possible.”
In this sense, it’s no surprise whatsoever that less than two weeks in office, a military raid authorized by Trump has already gone disastrously wrong. As president, Trump’s laziness and arrogant presumption to know everything now have life or death consequences. Just days before leaving office, former President Obama himself delayed approval for the raid, Reuters reports.
Still, Central Command spokesman Colonel John Thomas brushed off the incident with the statement: “Any operation where you are going to put operators on the ground has inherent risks.”
Trump himself has yet to formally issue a statement on the attack authorized by him resulting in handfuls of civilian deaths. This Wednesday, he traveled to the Dover Air Force base to meet the family of a U.S. Navy Seal killed in Sunday’s attack.
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