Donald Trump and United States Navy SEALs dad William Owens are at odds over a failed raid that killed the Special Forces operative, with the fallen seaman’s father claiming that Trump has used his son’s death as a publicity stunt, the Miami Herald is reporting.
On January 28 — just days into Donald Trump’s administration — the Navy SEALS carried out a raid on a target in Yemen, according to a New York Times report from the time. The raid was supposed to be a quick operation; commandos were to grab some computers and other devices believed to contain sensitive information, then be gone in an instant.
— Bilal Zenab Ahmed (@pakistanarchy) February 17, 2017
Instead, however, “everything” went wrong, and what was to be a quick in-and-out turned into an hour-long firefight. When the dust was settled, several Americans and Yemenis were wounded, and several Yemeni women and children were killed. Also killed was one American Navy SEAL: William “Ryan” Owens.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 26, 2017
Owens’ father, Bill, was at home in the Miami suburbs when he heard the knock on the door that every military parent dreads. A few hours later, Bill and a few family members were at Dover Air Force base to receive the flag-draped casket containing the body of his son.
Ordinarily, such things are attended by military dignitaries, sometimes even the president himself. And in this particular case, President Trump, as well as wife Melania and daughter Ivanka, were also there.
Bill Owens wanted no part of that. He told the military chaplain on duty that he would prefer that Trump and his family stay in another room while he mourned his son.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him. I told them I don’t want to meet the President.”
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Owens wants an investigation. Specifically, he wants to know why Trump sent in commandos when U.S. operations had been carried out by drone strikes and other remote warfare up until the failed raid that killed his son.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why? 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 Trump administration, for its part, calls the raid a success and insists that anyone who criticizes it dishonors Ryan Owens’ memory — a claim which Bill Owens rejects.
“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation. I want an investigation…. The government owes my son an investigation.”
The White House, however, pointed out that the Department of Defense always carries out an investigation, as a matter of course, whenever a military operation results in casualties.
In a statement made available via CNN, White House spokesman Michael Short insisted that Ryan Owens merely did his part to keep America safe.
“The mission he participated in yielded valuable intelligence in the ongoing fight against radical Islamic terrorism. The United States is safer today thanks to his bravery and years of faithful service in uniform. We will be forever in his debt.”
Do you believe that Donald Trump is using U.S. Navy SEAL Ryan Owens’ death as a cover for his administration’s failings in the botched Yemen raid?
[Featured Image by Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images]