So, ya’ll heard about the (arguably) disastrous raid in Yemen right? The one in which one commando and several civilians including children were killed, 3 other commandos were injured, and one of our multi million dollar aircrafts needed to be blown up. Right, so there’s more to this story and it’s making me insane.
Now, not every decision about combat ops are going to be great ones for any president and there’s always a chance of things going wrong and people getting injured or killed. It’s happened to even the best, most conscientious of leaders. But, that is not necessarily what happened here. And to top it off, the administration is lying about aspects in order to shift blame from them to Obama. Well, I’m calling bullshit and am super pissed that it’s not getting more coverage.
In this one action and their response to the outcome, the administration has demonstrated much to us, if only we are paying attention. The decision to go ahead with the raid was made by Trump at dinner, not in the Situation Room or any other room in the White House that is used for official business. There seems to be multiple conflicting stories about how much deliberation there was leading up to the decision, who may or may not have weighed in on the decision, and just generally if it was handled properly or with enough care.
While the military discussed various options for actions in Yemen, the 44th president felt such action “represented a significant escalation of US involvement in Yemen,” as one senior government official under Obama said. – By Dan Merica, Ryan Browne and Jeff Zeleny, CNN
One big thing to consider here is that although this plan obviously made it’s way through a long chain and was initiated by Central Command (because that’s what they do, come up with military plans and submit them for approval), it was not simply a “routine” mission. One of the issues here that should have been weighed heavily by Trump and his team was the fact that it meant an escalation of our presence in Yemen, from one more about air raids and support, to actual boots on the ground. That’s usually the kind of thing that deserves much consideration from the highest levels, beyond DOD.
And this brings me to one of the main issues I’m having surrounding this event. It feels to me that Trump is being impertinent, neglectful, distracted, unfocused, and negligent when it comes to decisions about our military forces. And that is sure to piss me off! Lets not forget that we’re talking about one of the biggest, most powerful, most well-funded military forces on the planet. And that force includes millions of American service members. Every decision he makes about our military and how it’ll be used affects the lives of the service members involved, their families, the tax-payers who fund it, citizens of the countries we send them into, as well as our relations around the world. These are not decisions that should be made lightly, or without a proper system in place to dictate how such decisions will be made.
As a former military wife I feel like it is a blatant disregard for the lives of our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen/women, and the lives of their families. It is also recklessly flippant about the lives of civilians in affected areas. This alone should outrage much of Trumps base of supporters who, at least in outward appearance, tend to be very concerned with our service members and vets. Shouldn’t those “true patriots” be concerned about a Commander-in-Chief who seems to have absolutely no clue what he’s doing, possibly no concern about what he’s doing, no plan for doing it better, and who is not surrounding himself with the best and the brightest, but the worst of the lot instead? Where is their outrage about this? One thing I’ve learned through looking into this story is that different presidents have had different methods, or chains, or levels of involvement in making these kinds of decisions. And that’s ok, so long as those are well thought out ways of doing things that they believe are the most effective and safe. Apparently there was dislike among some people of the long chain of approval Obama had set up for proposed operations because they felt it took the power out of the hands of very well trained capable officers who are actually involved in these issues on a daily basis. But, I assume Obama certainly had the country’s best interest in mind and was trying to mitigate hasty decision making and encourage thorough vetting of recommendations through a chain that involved people from several different departments, with several different backgrounds, with the hope being diversity makes it certain the operation will be considered from ALL sides. Not just one side with no or little thought to other possible problems or ramifications. But, even if you disagree with Obama’s system, at least he had one that seemed to be thoughtful, carefully crafted, and one that includes an inherent checks & balances component. From the outside it appears as if Trump has no formal system in place to handle these decisions. There certainly is not a flow chart handy that would show (accurately) the process by which the president will make, or assign someone to make, these kinds of decisions.
My second issue with this that I wish news was paying more attention to is the blatantly false reporting by Sean Spicer that Obama had green-lighted this mission. Several sources directly involved in those decisions under Obama refute that claim. “Obama did not make any decisions because he thought it represented an expansion of the war in Yemen and believed the Trump administration should assess how to proceed” – said Colin Kahl, a National Security official in that administration, who was directly involved in decision making about such matters. Here he is on Rachel Maddow’s show Friday evening. He clearly knows what he’s talking about, has facts on his side, and does a great job of setting the stage for us to be able to compare the two (Obama and Trump’s) systems (or lack thereof) for making such decisions. I was FIRED UP after seeing this interview.
So I ask you good reader, shouldn’t the national news, including Faux News (which after about a 10 minutes search on their site I was unable to find any mention of these parts of the story, and actually very little mention at all of the raid), be covering this more intently? Whether this is or isn’t Trump’s “fault” isn’t even really the question. It’s this: going forward can we trust that the Trump administration will be doing everything in their power to make good, sound decisions when it comes to military force? Will they set up a system that makes sense and that would appear to be due diligence? Because if not, and these decisions are being made by people like Bannon who have no place at that table, then I at least will feel completely justified in blaming Trump personally for any failed or flawed mission.
p.s. An added element to this story is the release of a video, which the Pentagon said was “Valuable Intel” they got from this raid. Yeah, well if you call a decade old video “valuable intel” then I suppose. It was a botched raid that ended with a botched explanation and a botched release meant to prove how valuable the mission was.