William Owens, the father of the Navy Seal William “Ryan” Owens, who was killed in President Trump’s disastrous January 25 raid in Yemen, wants answers.
Owens wants to know why the five-day-old president felt the need to put American lives at risk after 2 years of there being no boots on the ground.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why?” he asked. “For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?”
The mission, which was allegedly aimed at capturing al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qassim al-Rimi, was an abject disaster. The militants were somehow tipped off and prepared for the attack; instead of a quick-in-and-out mission, the SEAL team found themselves assaulting a heavily fortified compound and embroiled in a ferocious firefight.
Trump was quick to the call the mission a success, saying the troops gathered “important intelligence that will assist the US in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world.” Yet the military admitted that “everything went wrong.” Military veteran and Republican Senator John McCain called the mission a “failure.”
The administration’s confidence can’t be too high, however, because they won’t agree to an investigation into the raid because “it would tarnish the memory of Owens’ death.” It is reprehensible to see Trump try to dodge responsibility for his own incompetence by invoking Owens’ death.
“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” Owens’ father remarked. “I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation.”
When Owens’ body was flown back to the US, his father refused to meet with the president as the military transferred the body back to his family.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him,” Owens recalled explaining to the chaplain. “I told them I don’t want to meet the president.”
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him.”
It’s not surprising, seeing that Owens’ feels Trump holds a great deal of responsibility for the careless and ultimately fruitless military operation, especially only a day after Trump antagonized the entire Muslim global community with his unconstitutional and un-American travel ban.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to do something to antagonize an ally when you’re going to conduct a mission in that country,” he insisted.
“I don’t want anybody to think I have an agenda, because I don’t. I just want the truth,” Owens insisted.
Throughout his campaign and his inauguration speech Trump promised to fight “Islamic terrorism” and it seems that only five days into his presidency he decided to flex some muscle and put on a show.
Trump has promised transparency from his administration, but seems unwilling to take responsibility for the 29 innocents – including ten children and a pregnant mother – who were killed during the raid, nor tell the truth to the family of the man he got killed by sending them on a poorly-prepared mission.
Trump owes an investigation to the family of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, who paid the ultimate price for Trump’s impulsive decision. Since Trump spent the past year and a half demanding answers about the attack on Benghazi, we deserve to know why Trump gave the go-ahead for the mission and why it was such a disaster.
Dan Arel is a bestselling author of The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is an award-winning journalist and host of the Danthropology Podcast.