Society

Trump Does Not Accept Blame For SEAL's Death

| by Jordan Smith

President Donald Trump has refused to accept responsibility for the death of navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens while on a mission in Yemen in January.

Bill Owens, Ryan's father, has demanded an investigation be conducted into his son's death, The Huffington Post reported.

U.S. Navy SEALS attacked an affiliate of al-Qaida in Yemen in the mission. Along with Ryan, several civilians lost their lives during a gun battle.

Asked about the operation on Fox News, Trump stated the military was responsible for the mission's results.

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"This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do," Trump said, The Huffington Post reported. "They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do … the generals … who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we've had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan."

Bill said he could not bear to meet Trump when Ryan's body arrived home in a casket.

"I want an investigation," he said in an interview, CNN reported. "The government owes my son an investigation."

Trump acknowledged the importance of the issue.

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"I can understand people saying that. ... 'What's worse?' There's nothing worse," added Trump. "This was something that they were looking at for a long time doing, and according to [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis it was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information."

The Huffington Post reported that Trump's refusal to accept responsibility for the death of Ryan represented a break from the traditional response of past presidents to military casualties. It noted the use by former President Harry Truman of the phrase "The buck stops here," which he kept on a sign in his office.

Government officials said earlier in February that the Yemen raid yielded "actionable intelligence," reports The Huffington Post. But on Feb. 27, officials told NBC that no significant information had been obtained.

Officials who spoke to CNN challenged the NBC report. All agreed that a large amount of intelligence had been recovered on al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), but there was no definitive answer as to how useful it may turn out to be.

"That intelligence can possibly be used to conduct further strikes or raids to inhibit AQAP," one official added, CNN reported.

Ahead of Trump's address to Congress Feb. 28, the White House asked the Pentagon to provide it with information that could be made public about the Yemen raid.

A senior administration official said the raid is not mentioned in the latest draft of the speech, but added that a reference to it could still be included before the text is finalized.

Sources: The Huffington Post, CNN / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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