Reader Jason sent me a link to this article that has more on the raid by the US forces, authorized by Donald Trump, that killed innocent people in Yemen that I wrote about a few days ago. Among the dead was an 8-year old girl whose father and 16-year old brother, both US citizens, had been murdered in separate attacks authorized by then president Obama.
It appears that it was a hurried decision that resulted in many things going wrong. As usual, the US military first denied that there were any civilian casualties (remember that they always lie in the beginning so that the public gets an important first impression in their favor), before later grudgingly acknowledging the truth, though even then they reveal the damaging information slowly and incrementally. They are also focusing on the dead US Navy seal to garner sympathy for themselves as well as trying to avert sympathy for the dead by suggesting that the women and children were being used as shields.
The mission was approved over dinner five days after the presidential inauguration by Trump and his closest advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his special adviser and former Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon, as well as defence secretary General Jim Mattis.
Both the New York Times and Reuters carried quotes from unnamed military officials that seemed to shift blame for the mission to Trump and his inner team. It would be an extraordinary development for a president, who is commander-in-chief, to be briefed against in such detail.
The briefings suggested that one thing after another went wrong from the start of the mission, with the Yemen villagers seemingly alerted to the impending raid by drones flying lower than usual.
The special forces, apparently lacking full intelligence, were confronted by heavily-fortified positions, including landmines, and faced heavy gunfire from buildings all around during the 50-minute firefight. One of the US planes sent in to help had to be left behind and was deliberately destroyed.
US military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.
It looks like the military is trying to shift blame to the White House
U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient 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.
As Marcus Ranum suggested, it seems like the US is operating on the belief that if we bomb other countries enough and kill enough of their civilians, then at some point they will love us.