The Father Of The Navy SEAL Who Was Killed In A Trump-Approved Mission Refused To Meet With The President

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Mere days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the president approved a counterterror operation in Yemen, which resulted in the first-known combat death (of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens) under his presidency. Very quickly, U.S. military officials revealed that everything went wrong in the raid, which was greenlit as a “boots on the ground” operation rather than an airstrike. Now, the father of the Navy SEAL who was killed reveals that he was so disgusted by the botched operation that he refused to speak with Trump at the ceremony honoring his son.

William Owens (a military veteran) says he “cringed at the thought of having to shake the hand” of Trump, who surprised the family by attending the small ceremony. Indeed, the press pool went nuts that day when Trump went off schedule and didn’t disclose why he took off in Marine One. Owens admitted that he was upset by Trump’s previous trashing of the Gold Star Khan family, and now that Owens found himself in the shoes of the Khans, he wasn’t about to meet with Trump. He also has plenty of questions about the “stupid mission” and wants to know why it was executed as a ground operation:

“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him … 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?”

In the early days after the botched operation, Trump lashed out at Senator John McCain (who is, of course, a former POW with plenty of expertise on the subject). The president tried to argue that Congress shouldn’t criticize military missions, and he called McCain a loser in the process. Owens didn’t appreciate this tantrum. “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” he stated. “The government owes my son an investigation.”

The Miami Herald‘s interview of William Owens also includes an incredible profile of Ryan Owens, who knew from a very early age that he wanted to serve his country. His military tenure spanned three presidents, and at age 37, he’d already served for half of his life on risky operations but adored his job, which often kept him away from home. Owens’ father lamented, “I always kept hoping that we would eventually make up for lost time, but that’s not going to happen.”

In the raid’s aftermath, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that the operation was “successful,” despite over 25 non-combatant deaths, including an 8-year-old American girl. In addition, the actual (secret) target of the raid, Qassim al-Rimi, Al-Qaeda leader of the Arabian Peninsula, was apparently not even on the scene as anticipated. He remains alive and well and has mocked Trump, which doesn’t sound all that successful.

(Via Miami Herald)