President Trump received loads of criticism for approving a counterterrorism raid in Yemen that went terribly wrong. Dozens of non-combatants died, and the raid produced the first-known combat death under his presidency. The White House continues to insist that the mission was a success, but U.S. military officials revealed that no significant intelligence was yielded, and the raid also failed to take out the “secret” intended target (an Al-Qaeda leader). And since Trump cannot handle criticism, the incoming solution here — according to a Daily Beast report — appears to be removing him from the decision-making process altogether.
In short, the White House wants change, and that response doesn’t include recognizing that Trump approved the mission over dinner and with limited expertise. Rather, the strategy appears to be insulating Trump from further jabs in the case of more failed military operations. Ideally, this would also prevent Trump from being grilled over these failures, which has resulted in even more criticism, especially after some interpreted a Monday Fox & Friends segment as Trump blaming the generals. He really did blame the Obama administration, even though Trump greenlit the mission, but the Daily Beast says the White House has a plan:
The White House is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon to greenlight anti-terrorist operations like the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen that cost the life of a Navy SEAL, to step up the war on the so-called Islamic State, multiple U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast.
President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants his defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, to have a freer hand to launch time-sensitive missions quickly, ending what U.S. officials say could be a long approval process under President Barack Obama that critics claimed stalled some missions by hours or days.
In declared war zones, U.S. commanders have the authority to make such calls, but outside such war zones, in ungoverned or unstable places like Somalia, Libya, or Yemen, it can take permissions all the way up to the Oval Office to launch a drone or a special operations team.
In other words, Trump’s team realizes that the president’s gung-ho plan to massively increase military spending by $54 billion annually (which is 80% of Russia’s entire military budget) will result in more SNAFUs. So, they want to make sure that Trump isn’t seen as the accountable party if the war against ISIS meets complications.
This desire is especially strong after a Gold Star Father refused to meet Trump because he put on a “grand display” in Yemen (where a “boots on the ground” U.S. operation hasn’t happened in years). That’s exactly the kind of crushing blow that the White House wants to avoid, especially since it’s not every day that Trump can attempt to wave the wand with a “presidential” speech when a military mission goes awry. Now, Trump won’t even have to blame the generals — since the Pentagon would shoulder the entire burden — and he can simply go back to Making America Great Again.