Stop Blaming Trump for the “botched” SEAL Raid on Al-Qaeda in Yemen

The Naval Special Warfare Development group, also known as SEAL team 6, recently conducted a raid against an Al-Qaeda compound in Yemen for the purpose of capturing intelligence which could be used to deter future terrorist plots.

During the raid, civilians were caught in the ensuing gunfight and killed, one SEAL (William Owens) was killed, and a $70 million Osprey crashed and had to be destroyed. (The SEALs did, however, kill a senior Al-Qaeda leader plus ~14 militants and reportedly captured important intelligence.)

Media outlets like Reuters and the Guardian have been laying the blame for operational failures at Trump’s feet, saying the raid was poorly planned. Many on the left are treating this situation as damning evidence against Trump, saying the operational failures are all his fault and a result of his lack of expertise.

However, this tier one raid didn’t just fall out of the sky, it had been in the works for months, even before Trump came into office. According to ABC News, “The operation was planned for months and forces were positioned in waters off Yemen by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command days before Trump was sworn in as the 45th president on Jan. 20, in anticipation of a quick approval by his White House for launching it on a moonless night a week later.”

Moreover, it’s not as if Trump’s involvement in the mission was anything but extremely narrow. All he had to do was give the final go ahead, and his decision was based off of the advice of his National Security and Military Advisers. Former Marine General and current Secretary of State James Mattis, for example, had already approved the plan before Trump even saw it, according to CNN.

So the mission was approved by the Pentagon, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Trump’s military and national security advisers, and so forth. This was a carefully planned operation that had been in the works for months, the risks and chances of success were seriously assessed beforehand.

This was not some op that was hastily thrown together and carelessly approved by Trump without consulting the experts (as seemingly many on the left believe.) Rather, the reality is that things go wrong all the time and that battle plans rarely survive contact with the enemy.

Sometimes, helicopters malfunction and crash. Sometimes, civilians are in places they weren’t expected to be. Sometimes those civilians quickly become combatants. Etc.

If we are to believe the people politicizing this botched raid, it would imply that Naval Special Warfare Command, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Mattis, and so on all approved of a raid are all guilty of the same extreme incompetence that President Trump is accused of.

What’s more likely? That all these experts and military commands are wrong, or that the people accusing Trump of incompetence on social media are doing so for political reasons and actually don’t understand the first thing about planning and conducting Special Operations?

There is plenty to criticize Trump for, but this “criticism” of him is nonsense.

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