Opinion: Don’t cower behind the sacrifice of the fallen

sean-spicer

It’s pretty clear that last month’s attempted raid in Yemen was a failure. Security was compromised before U.S. forces reached their target, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL on his 12th deployment overseas, was killed along with as many as 20 civilians, and several other U.S. military personnel were wounded. One potential target of the raid, Al Qaida leader Qassim al-Rimi, is still at large and is now mocking the Americans for his escape, and the official Yemen government — our ally — says it wants a reassessment of the raid’s planning.

But let’s be straight here: I don’t think it’s either wise or fair to try to turn this into a major political issue, as Republicans did so shamelessly with the Benghazi tragedy. These are risky operations by their very nature, and sometimes things go wrong in ways impossible to anticipate. If President Trump and his staff pushed the plan into action for political reasons, as a way to dramatize their new, more muscular approach to terrorism, then yes, the responsibility is on them. On the other hand, if the Joint Chiefs of Staff and military professionals presented the plan to civilian leadership as mature and ready to go, it’s hard to second-guess Trump for approving it. And with all the anonymous finger-pointing going on, we have no clear idea which version is more correct.

However, when the discussion turns to how the Trump administration has conducted itself in the wake of the raid, things are much more clearcut. Immediately after the raid’s results were announced, for example, Trump officials began to claim that much of the planning for the operation had been conducted under the Obama administration, suggesting that’s where the fault might lie.

In the first place, you don’t start spreading the blame if you really think the operartion was a success. And more importantly, that is not how these things work. President Obama did not make the decision to send those men into battle; Trump did.  When the late Chief Owens and his SEAL colleagues undertook their mission, they did so knowing there might be consequences and they bravely accepted those consequences. The same should be true of the civilian political leadership that sent them on that mission. You made the decision; you accept the consequences, good or bad. That’s leadership.

And then there’s the performance of White House spokesman Sean Spicer in a Wednesday press briefing.

“(The raid) is absolutely a success,” Spicer insisted. “I think anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens. … we owe him and his family a great debt for the information that we received during that raid.  I think any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions that he took.  Full stop.”

That’s just infuriating. The Vietnam War turned into a futile, misbegotten farce, but to state that obvious fact is not an insult to the 59,000 Americans whose names are listed on The Wall.  The invasion of Iraq was the single worst foreign policy decision in American history, but saying that is not an attack on the 4,491 U.S. service personnel killed in that effort.

Do not use the body of the fallen to shield yourself from criticism.  Do not hide behind the sacrifice of braver men because you don’t want to take the heat for your own actions.

It’s the coward’s way out.

Full stop.

UPDATE: President Trump has now joined the party, also arguing that Sen. John McCain and other critics of the raid have no right to voice their opinion.

 

Reader Comments 0

1565 comments
YouLibs
YouLibs

Sheets and this time it's not about Trump.



Just kidding. :)

Dschurer
Dschurer

we had a class act now we have a class bully.

gotalife
gotalife

trump is facing the same problem as Obama.

Getting congress to work.

The snowflakes hate work.

Classof98
Classof98

I rarely agree with Bookman, but I do agree with this column.  The only quibble I have is comparing this raid to Benghazi. A planned raid is not the equivalent of being the victim of an attack. And the conservatives I know were more upset about Susan Rice and HRC spreading a blatant lie, which they knew to be untrue even as they were telling it, that the attack was caused by an anti-Muslim YouTube video. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

ABOUT TRUMP'S EPA DEPARTMENT from the Facebook sharing by a retired teacher, whom I respect, who worked in Washington, D.C. as an educator before her retirement:


"Sharing with permission. From an Environmental Protection Agency staffer:
"So I work at the EPA and yeah it's as bad as you are hearing: The entire agency is under lockdown, the website, facebook, twitter, you name it is static and can't be updated. All reports, findings, permits and studies are frozen and not to be released. No presentations or meetings with outside groups are to be scheduled.
Any Press contacting us are to be directed to the Press Office which is also silenced and will give no response.
All grants and contracts are frozen from the contractors working on Superfund sites to grad school students working on their thesis.
We are still doing our work, writing reports, doing cancer modeling for pesticides hoping that this is temporary and we will be able to serve the public soon. But many of us are worried about an ideologically-fueled purging and if you use any federal data I advise you gather what you can now.
We have been told the website is being reworked to reflect the new administration's policy.
Feel free to copy and paste, you all pay for the government and you should know what's going on. I am posting this as a fellow citizen and not in any sort of official capacity."
If you share (please do), please do so with copy and paste."

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Johnny is a racist.  Johnny is a racist.

I'm beginning to think the only place you people have encountered a true racist is in history books and the church pew. 

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

Dude, I grew up in rural ga. Nuff said...

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Gentlemen. Valentine's Day is coming. This is a public service announcement. Valentine's Day is like a tap-in, in golf. Take the birdie. Do something nice for the lady.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

Send a text message a few days late...😘

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I'm just trying to give some Rick James advice. Now you made it tawdry.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@JeffreyEav

Sorry. I'm a believer in leadership by example. And considering our dear leader, I guess I'm reevaluating what is and is not acceptable behavior!

TBS
TBS

Well if you are giving Rick James advice then you aren't talking about wives or girlfriends.

He sang about Super Freaks.. the kind you don't take home to mother

TBS
TBS

And Mary Jane well she wasn't a woman.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@JeffreyEav 

Sending flowers to her place of employment racks up a lot of husband points...

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@JeffreyEav

Where do you think would be an appropriate place to grab them, considering the occasion and the example that has been set by our dear leader? 

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

I really like the

avatar AJC has

given me.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Trump is learning foreign policy. He avoided a war with China by not starting one.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

OK boys and girls, pay attention.

The next move on the immigration ban will be a new EO that does not include the green card and existing visa holders that were eventually let in under the existing EO.

That nulls and voids the one in the court, more specifically defines the intent which is strictly in accordance with the statue.

Washington and Minnesota will have to refile with the courts.

The court will find for Trump.

End, set, match.

BTW, the idea comes from Jay Sekulow with a little theatre from yours truly.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb you wish.

Third engagement on the horizon.

Worse case scenario Trump lets the stay stand and uses it politically.

If that is the case, your side best be on your knees praying no terrorists attacks that can be traced to immigrants.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

And your degenerate side will be hoping for one.

TBS
TBS

Might be the case but we know where it stands as of right now

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb Its over


The xenophobic fascists lost this one. Better move on to the next fight. Because this one 


Its over.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LordHelpUs Yup


Never mind you are more likely to be hit by lightning than killed by a refugee.


Its amazing  how these people have folks like Johnny wetting the bed.


At the root of it folks like Trump and Johnny are racists. They dont like other races. Pure and simple.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Hundreds of jeering, shouting, angry voters, jam-packed in a high school auditorium, lashed GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz at his town hall meeting in the heart of red-state Utah.

Something is going on out there. 


I mean....Utah ????

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar yea, LibProgs are using Tea Party tactics over Obamacare good bye.

See, you can learn something if you pay attention.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Looking forward to

2020 Trump is playing

to his base. Also

positioning Ivanka

for entry to his

administration with

a possible look to

her run for President

in 2024, maybe

against Chelsea.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

The Clinton name

got 65 million

votes in 2016.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

...and millions in

political donations

Kamchak
Kamchak

@DownInAlbany 

 I sure hope that Trump doesn't have specific intelligence from his security briefings that precipitated his immigration EO. 

Maybe Bannon relayed reports of a Muslim prayer rug found at the Arizona border.

ROFLMAO!

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 I sure hope that Trump doesn't have specific intelligence from his security briefings that precipitated his immigration EO.


Me too. But from what I have heard he doesnt really attend those. 


He watches cable news all day. Doesnt really read much. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Hedley_Lammar

"Much." I would submit he doesn't read at all, save for newspaper headlines in really, really large type.

Peachs
Peachs

A little bitty fear let me down / Spoiled my act as a clown

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

"“In interviews, nearly two dozen people who’ve spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration said that his mood has careened between surprise and anger as he’s faced the predictable realities of governing, from congressional delays over his cabinet nominations and legal fights holding up his aggressive initiatives to staff in-fighting and leaks,” according to a Politico report."


I give Trumster Fire 3 months, tops.