by Sharon Rondeau

(Mar. 1, 2017) — An Associated Press article on Wednesday discussing Trump’s invocation of the death of William “Ryan” Owens in Yemen in early February during a raid for intelligence raises the specter that it was done to “deflect criticism of his decision to approve a failed military operation and to turn around his administration’s shaky start with a gesture that sought to unify a deeply divided country.”

However, an AP story dated February 2 already indicated as “archived” reported that “White House press secretary Sean Spicer says planning for the raid originated under President Barack Obama’s team. He says the plan was first sent to the Defense Department the day before the November 2016 presidential election.”

The AP’s full account of Spicer’s remarks on the subject reads:

The White House says President Donald Trump was briefed about plans for a raid by U.S. special operations forces in Yemen four days after his inauguration, and he authorized the plan last week.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says planning for the raid originated under President Barack Obama’s team. He says the plan was first sent to the Defense Department the day before the November 2016 presidential election.

Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the assault, and three other U.S. service members were wounded in the firefight with militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. That’s the group’s Yemen affiliate.

Spicer says it’s difficult to call it a success because of Owens’ death, but the administration considers it a “successful operation.”

Wednesday’s report attempted to cast doubt on Trump’s and Spicer’s assertions that the Yemen raid yielded useful intelligence by quoting commentators who speculated that Trump’s hosting of Owens’s wife, Carryn, during his address to Congress on Tuesday night was politically-calculated.

CNN, which is markedly anti-Trump, reported on Tuesday that “President Donald Trump appeared to put responsibility on his generals for the death of a Navy SEAL in a mission he approved,” repeating Trump’s comments made during an interview with Fox & Friends’ three co-anchors:

This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something that was, you know, just they wanted to do. They came to see me. They explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected,” he said. “My generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades I believe. And they lost Ryan.

As CNN noted, Trump also said during the interview, “Again this was something that they were looking at for a long time doing, and according to Gen. Mattis it was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information.”

Trump repeated that claim during his Tuesday night address.

Although CNN said it had not received a response from the Pentagon and the White House regarding Trump’s interview comments as of press time, it also reported:

A White House official told CNN on Sunday that the mission was thoroughly vetted and planning had begun months before under the Obama administration.

The official said Mattis reviewed the operation’s plans for several days and added that the ground commander decided to proceed with the mission despite knowing the team had “lost the element of surprise.”

Related stories high on the Yahoo! search engine on Wednesday night include Politico’s “Trump plays empathizer-in-chief with Yemen raid widow …,” “Trump passes blame for Yemen raid to his generals: ‘They …” found at the Cortez Journal but written by the AP; and the same story published at The Washington Post as the original source.

Newsweek quoted Trump as having said of the raid, “This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something that was they wanted to do. They came to see me, they explained what they wanted to do, the generals—who are very respected, my generals are the most respected we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan,” which is slightly different than the quote provided by CNN.

“Preparations for the mission began during the administration of former U.S. president Barack Obama, but Obama refrained from authorizing the raid,” Newsweek wrote.

Newsweek referred to Owens as a “U.S. soldier,” but he was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy.

The mainstream media largely did not report that during the Obama regime, the number of overseas military deaths increased sharply, reportedly due to the changed Rules of Engagement which prevented soldiers from pre-emptively shooting perceived enemies before they themselves became targets.

On September 11, 2013, CNS News reported:

Twelve years ago today, nineteen al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners and flew them into the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

In the war that Congress authorized against al Qaeda only three days after that attack, the vast majority of the U.S. casualties have occurred in the last four and a half years during the presidency of Barack Obama.

In fact, according to the database of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan, 73 percent of all U.S. Afghan War casualties have occurred since Jan. 20, 2009 when Obama was inaugurated.

Some of those deaths occurred in Extortion 17, which involved the 2011 take-down of a Chinook helicopter wherein 30 U.S. special operators died and which the mainstream media spent little time reporting.

The Washington Times termed the deadly incident “the worst one-day loss of military life in the war on terror.”

This writer was able to find reportage of the tragedy by The Washington Times, WTKR, The Daily Caller, and several alternative media sources.

Where was the AP on that story?

On December 5, 2013, The Washington Times reported:

The number of U.S. battlefield fatalities exceeded the rate at which troop strength surged in 2009 and 2010, prompting national security analysts to assert that coinciding stricter rules of engagement led to more deaths.

A connection between the sharp increase in American deaths and restrictive rules of engagement is difficult to confirm. More deaths surely stemmed from ramped-up counterterrorism raids and the Taliban’s response with more homemade bombs, the No. 1 killer of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

But it is clear that the rules of engagement, which restrain troops from firing in order to spare civilian casualties, cut back on airstrikes and artillery strikes — the types of support that protect troops during raids and ambushes.

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.