Allahpundit puzzles over the Reuters account of a raid in Yemen that was botched by Trump because he didn't... what?
The grim Reuters allegation is this:
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.
So now Trump is expected to weigh in on the appropriate level of ground support?!? And maybe eyeball some satellite photos? As Allahpundit notes. General Mattis, now SecDef, has some experience here. Gen. Dunford, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor Flynn, formerly a Lt. General who oversaw raids like this for a living, were also in the final meeting. Please.
IMHO the Commander in Chief approves these missions, or rejects them, based on the possible rewards and any risks associated with the country in question (Yemen, here), other allies, and US and world opinion. If the Defense Department submitted a half-baked plan after months of effort, well, that's on them. More reasonably, these are dangerous missions and sometimes things happen. E.g., the last known raid in Yemen, Dec 2014, failed to rescue the targeted hostages:
2 Hostages Killed in Yemen as U.S. Rescue Effort Fails
Or in Syria, Oct 2015:
US special forces soldier is killed in Isis hostage rescue mission in Iraq
Almost done. Back to AllahP:
What’s missing from any of the reporting is the suggestion that Defense warned the Trump White House that they weren’t ready to roll but the White House demanded action anyway. Until that evidence is produced, why should we assume that Trump is the negligent party?
OK, into the Bonus Round for outrageous reporting. Here is the Guardian, picked up by The Week:
Saturday's Navy SEAL raid in Yemen — which resulted in the death of an 8-year-old American girl and a U.S. naval officer — had previously been rejected by former President Barack Obama, The Guardian reports. President Trump approved of the raid in his first military strike as commander-in-chief:
[Colonel John] Thomas said he did not know why the prior administration did not authorize the operation, but said the Obama administration had effectively exercised a "pocket veto" over it.
A former official said the operation had been reviewed several times, but the underlying intelligence was not judged strong enough to justify the risks, and the case was left to the incoming Trump administration to make its own judgment. [The Guardian]
Oh, brother. CNN addresses the veto claim specifically: