There are a couple of ways of looking at President Donald Trump’s first military action: It’s a disaster, or, It’s not quite a disaster. Mohammed Ghobari and Phil Stewart explain, for Reuters:
A U.S. commando died and three others were wounded carrying out a deadly dawn raid on the al Qaeda militant group in southern Yemen on Sunday, in the first military operation authorized by President Donald Trump.
The U.S. military said it killed 14 militants in a raid on a powerful al Qaeda branch that has been a frequent target of U.S. drone strikes. Medics at the scene, however, said around 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed.
Two more U.S. servicemen were injured when an American military aircraft was sent to evacuate the wounded commandos but came under fire and had to be “intentionally destroyed in place,” the Pentagon said.
The new U.S. president called the operation a success and said intelligence gathered during the operation would help the United States fight terrorism.
The New York Times brings more detail:
One American commando was killed and three others were wounded in a fierce firefight early Sunday with Qaeda militants in central Yemen, the military said on Sunday. It was the first counterterrorism operation authorized by President Trump since he took office, and the commando was the first United States service member to die in the yearslong shadow war against Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate.
Members of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 carried out the surprise dawn attack, and the military said that about 14 Qaeda fighters were killed during a nearly hourlong battle. A Qaeda leader―a brother-in-law of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric and top Qaeda leader in Yemen, who died in a drone strike in 2011―was believed to have been killed.
After initially denying that there were any civilian casualties, American officials said they were assessing reports that women and children had died in the attack.
And that last, of course, is what the world is seeing; the Reuters report includes this moment:
Eight-year-old [Anwaar] Anwar al-Awlaki, the daughter of U.S.-born Yemeni preacher and al Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, was among the children killed in the raid, according to her grandfather. Her father was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
“She was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours,” Nasser al-Awlaki told Reuters. “Why kill children? This is the new (U.S.) administration―it’s very sad, a big crime.”
Meanwhile, Iranian propaganda outlet PressTV turned to Australian conspiracist Max Igan in order to find an “analyst” to call the raid “absolutely disgraceful”, and there is a certain amount of irony there, since, to the one, Iran doesn’t need to stoop so low as alt-historians to find complaint with American action in Yemen.
Image note: Top ― A woman in Sana, Yemen, on Sunday walking past a graffiti protesting United States military operations in the war-torn country. (Detail of undated photo by Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency) Right ― Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser for veterans organizations, 28 January 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Detail of photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for msnbc)
“US raid on Yemen terrible, absolutely disgraceful: Analyst”. PressTV. 29 January 2017.
Ghobari, Mohammed and Phil Stewart. “Commando dies in U.S. raid in Yemen, first military op OK’d by Trump”. Reuters. 29 January 2017.
Schmitt, Eric. “U.S. Commando Killed in Yemen in Trump’s First Counterterrorism Operation”. The New York Times. 29 January 2017.