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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Congressman Trey Gowdy must respond- What Happened in Yemen?

Navy Seal Team 6 and the family of Senior Chief Petty Officer Owens deserve the response from a Congressional investigation!

Ironically, Congressman Trey Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, was obsessive in his seemingly endless investigation about what happened when Ambassador Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Libya. Yet, Gowdy has been incognito about the failed Yemen raid in January 2017, an operation that was obviously faulted by failed intelligence.

Trey Gowdy official congressional photo.jpg

Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was relentless about his obsessive investigation of the Benghazi tragedy, but with no conclusive outcome, after spending millions of tax dollars to get absolutely nowhere. Nevertheless, Representative Gowdy has done nothing to investigate what happened in the failed Yemen raid when Seal Team 6 intelligence was clearly compromised, in January 2017.
Some military leaders are blaming the ambitious Donald Trump for the decision to send Seal Team 6 into Yemen, a mistake, because he wanted to prove his leadership. It was a knee jerk decision, a way to demonstrate executive authority as quickly as possible, especially improtant because street demonstrations led by The Women's March were already growing in protest to the Trump loss of the popular vote in the 2106 election.

NewYorkMag reports:

Questions emerged about what went wrong in the U.S. military raid against Al Qaeda in Yemen when Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL, was killed in the operation and three other U.S. service members were injured, a raid ordered by Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration.

Nawar Al-Awlaki, the 8-year-old daughter of American Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki, was also killed, and local reports say as many as 30 people died. The raid was the first operation approved by President Trump.

Earlier this week, a senior military official told NBC News that “almost everything went wrong” during the mission. The aim was to detain Yemeni tribal leaders working with Al Qaeda and gather phones and computers that could yield intelligence. But Navy SEALS found themselves in an intense 50-minute firefight, with Al Qaeda fighters using women and children as cover, and some of the women firing at the commandos.

Airstrikes were called in to take out the Al Qaeda fighters, and then two MV-22 Ospreys were sent in to extract the SEALs. One experienced a “hard landing,” injuring crew members, and the $75 million aircraft had to be destroyed by a precision-guided bomb to keep it from falling into enemy hands.

Now several military officials are suggesting that President Trump was to blame. Per Reuters:
U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counter terrorism 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.

U.S. Central Command spokesman Colonel John Thomas responded, “CENTCOM asks for operations we believe have a good chance for success, and when we ask for authorization we certainly believe there is a chance of successful operations based on our planning.” He also noted, “Any operation where you are going to put operators on the ground has inherent risks.”

The Obama administration spent months planning the raid, but the New York Times reports that President Obama did not authorize the attack because the Pentagon wanted to conduct the attack on a moonless night, which wouldn’t happen again during his term.

One of the three officials told Reuters, “The decision was made … to leave it to the incoming administration, partly in the hope that more and better intelligence could be collected.

The Times said Trump decided to approve the raid during a dinner attended by Defense Secretary James Mattis, Vice-President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Top advisers Jared Kushner and Steven Bannon (a failed jrUSN passed over for advancement Navy officer) were also present.

The Reuters report does not offer any more detail on whether the officials fault the Obama administration for inadequate prep work as well, or what exactly they think the Trump team should have done differently. But the Times notes that Flynn “has said that it wants to speed the decision-making when it comes to such strikes, delegating more power to lower-level officials so that the military may respond more quickly.” And the Pentagon has been working on plans to move faster against Al Qaeda in Yemen.

It’s significant that three military sources were willing to suggest President Trump was too hasty, particularly when the administration is having public disagreements with the State Department, the acting attorney general, and other public agencies. 

But so far it’s not clear what — if anything — could have been done to prevent the tragic events in Yemen. (MaineWriter- Respectfully disagree with Reuters.  A military drone would've been the appropriate action to take on this Al Qaeda compound in Yemen. It would've accomplished the outcome of taking out Al Qaeda leaders and saved the heroes in Seal Team 6 from feeling insecure about inability of the Commander in Chief to make thoughtful decisions.) 

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