The truth behind President Trump’s disastrous first covert military operation is finally coming out – and it’s just proving that Trump’s impulsive decision was an even bigger failure than we previously thought. The Daily Beast is reporting that the raid on a Yemeni base controlled by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Tanẓīm al-Qā‘idah fī Jazīrat al-‘Arab, or AQAP) was actually targeting the leader of AQAP, Qassim al-Rimi, who might not have been present at all.
Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens and nearly thirty civilians – including ten children – were killed during the botched raid, which was ordered by Trump despite there being “insufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations. As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists. One of the three U.S. officials said on-the-ground surveillance of the compound was ‘minimal, at best.‘”
The lack of surveillance and operation intelligence was why it is still unclear if al-Rimi was even at the base at all. To rub salt in the wound, al-Rimi released an audio message in which he called for vengeance for the slaughtered innocents and insulted Donald Trump. “The White House’s new fool has received a painful blow at your hands in his first outing on your land” roared al-Rimi in a message to his followers that military experts say is authentic.
The White House stands by its claim that it was a “successful operation by all standards” when in fact it was a failure by every conceivable standard. Thirty innocents died; a US soldier died, a $75 million MV Osprey crashed and had to be destroyed to keep it out of enemy hands, and the target of the operation might not have even been present. A pregnant woman was shot in the stomach and an eight-year-old child took a bullet in the neck. All three died of their injuries.
Since this was clearly a “capture” mission, it also brings up the question of what Trump would have done with al-Rimi if he had taken him alive.
While it helps explain why the mission was undertaken in the first place, the fact that Trump gave the green light without knowing if the target was even present – and then not even bothering to stay in the Situation Room to oversee the mission, instead preferring to mindlessly tweet about how the New York Times is “fake news.”
If this is what success looks like in Trump’s America, I’m terrified to see what defeat might be.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.