Yemen

Trump's First Counter-Terrorism Operation Leads to U.S. Combat Death in Yemen

It's the first such death on the new president's watch.

|

Ibrahem Qasim

A U.S. commando died yesterday during the first counter-terrorism operation authorized by President Trump, The New York Times is reporting. The death marks the first combat death under the new administration. Three other Americans were wounded during the early morning raid against Al-Qaeda in the Bayda Province of Yemen. More than a dozen Al-Qaeda fighters are believed to be dead, including the brother-in-law of Anwar al-Awlaki, the late leader of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and Abdulrauf al Dhahab, a top Al-Qaeda leader.

"In a successful raid against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) headquarters, brave U.S. forces were instrumental in killing an estimated 14 AQAP members and capturing important intelligence that will assist the U.S. in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world," Trump said in a statement. "Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism. My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries."

The military's Joint Special Operations Command had been planning a counter-terrorism operation for months under the Obama administration, but the decision to execute the mission was passed on to the presidential successor, according to the Times. Computer materials that might contain information about future terrorist plots were the main targets of the mission.

Per The Washington Post, reports of civilian casualties are being investigated. U.S. officials initially indicated that no civilian deaths could be confirmed, but a Yenemi official claims that at least eight women and seven children were killed during the raid, including the 8-year-old daughter of the late Anwar al-Awlaki.

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2015 between the Houthi rebels, a minority Shia group from the Northern region of Yemen, and President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia has been leading a military coalition in support of President Hadi, with logistical and intelligence support from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. The U.S. has conducted several drone strikes on AQAP targets in the past.

According to the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 7,469 casualties and 40,483 injuries have occurred because of the conflict, though the number is likely higher due to underreporting caused by a lack of functioning health facilities. Saudi Arabia has been accused of violations by Human Rights Watch, which also condemned the United States in a recent report.

Meanwhile, Fox News reports that Trump has signed a directive ordering the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, to devise a plan within 30 days to defeat ISIS.

Advertisement

NEXT: Trump's Travel Ban Says This Iranian Grandmother Is Too Dangerous to Visit Her American Grandchild

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Is anyone really surprised. If you thought Trump was gonna be less warmongery than Obama, you are a fool.

    1. Is two weeks too early to tell? Nah, it’s Trump. Let’s start yelling ‘war criminal’ now

      1. This is a nice way for you to ease into defending him. Then, in a few months, when civilians are getting killed, you won’t feel as much cognitive dissonance when you defend your leader.

        1. Oh wait, civilians already got killed. Sorry about the slight unease you might experience. Or not.

          1. He even managed to kill Abdulrahman al-Awlaki’s little sister. I expect John to start screaming about this atrocity in three…two…

            1. It is a goddamn atrocity for an American citizen to be killed without due process whether it be muderdrone or bullet through the neck.

              Just thought I’d throw that out there.

        2. I’m not defending him. I oppose our drone wars, but you don’t think it’s a coincidence that suddenly this became news after eight years of neglect? Hypocrisy should not be noted?

          1. “Suddenly.” See below.

          2. If your point was that Obama’s war crimes got a free pass, you should have said that. That is not what you said. And even so, Obama is outta there. Let’s not be like the progs yelling “Booosh” as a defense against Obama.

            1. Too late.

            2. So we should make-up our minds after two weeks then?

      2. Basically after Bush and Obama, both running on less war, I’m of the opinion that every politician should be considered a war criminal until proven otherwise.

    2. Perhaps so, Chipper, but I’m not seeing this as particularly warmongery. FTFA:

      The military’s Joint Special Operations Command had been planning a counter-terrorism operation for months under the Obama administration…

      So, yeah, Trump authorized this, but it’s the type of thing the US has been doing for years – small, surgical mission against jihadis. And the jihadis are at war with us. This isn’t some nation-building BS, or a law enforcement operation that should have been taken on by locals.

      But he does have his first combat death, so welcome to Command Club.

      1. it’s the type of thing the US has been doing for years – small, surgical mission against jihadis

        How dare you?

        Libya = Iraq! — EXACTLY ALIKE!!! DERP! BLOOP! ARGLE_BARGLE!

        1. Whatever dumb point you’re trying to make, it has nothing to do with Tonio’s post. Troll harder.

      2. “the type of thing the US has been doing for years”

        I’m confused, it’s clearly a point against the actions, but it is presented as if a point in support of the actions…

  2. “Tonight’s news: “Trump now has American blood on his hands.”

  3. a Yenemi official claims that at least eight women and seven children were killed during the raid, including the 8-year-old daughter of the late Anwar al-Awlaki.

    Trump said he was going to bomb the shit out of them and kill their families – did he get the chance to waterboard any of them? How much of their oil did he take? See, that vulgar bastard actually talked in public about what he was gonna do instead of keeping it on the down low like Obama. It’s only icky if you talk about it.

    1. Yeah, it sucks about the kids. I don’t know at what point you have to say “no we can’t do that because kids might get hurt.” Because if you have a total ban on operations that *might* kill kids then you incentivize the jihadis to use kids as human shields – more than they already do, that is.

      1. Jesus Christ, Tonio. It’s OK kids got killed, because if we have a problem with this, terrorists might use them as human shields? Holy fuck.

        1. No I didn’t say that. You are guilty of the same hysterical overreaction and conflation of which progs are guilty.

          It’s never OK that we kill innocent children.

          My question was – what is the acceptable risk threshold. Because it’s never going to be zero.

          1. So it’s never “OK,” but it’s sometimes “acceptable.”

            1. “This war differs from other wars, in this particular. We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.”

              — Guess who

              1. The Night’s King?

            2. you are being dumb. Every war has collateral damage….its part of war.

      2. Well, there is that whole thing in the Constitution about Congress declaring war and the general idea that if you’re dropping bombs in a given area it’s that there’s a declaration of war in effect and not just a note from Congress saying “do whatever you want”. Absent a declaration of war, you really aren’t supposed to be killing anybody at all.

        1. Meh. Technically, Congress never issued a declaration of war for fighting on the Barbary coast, but they did direct the President to ?employ such of the armed vessels of the United States as may be judged requisite? for protecting effectually the commerce and seamen thereof on the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean and adjoining seas. So even during the Founders’ time, it was possible to conduct military action in foreign territory without a declaration of war.

  4. So are you guys on some new JournoList? Few to no mentions about Yemen until the most recent election. Now every news outlet seems to have rediscovered that there are wars still going on.

    1. It may be Yemen’s turn. So weeks seem to be all Syria,some Iraq,the Libya ect.You can’t expect the media to cover all the places U.S.. troops are in all at once, If their going in order the Afgans are up next/

    2. Top Hillary Clinton Adviser Thinks U.S. Should Attack Iran To Benefit Saudi Interests In Yemen
      Indications point to more and grander military interventions under a President Clinton.
      Anthony L. Fisher|10.31.2016

      U.S. Looking to Escalate War in Yemen?
      U.S. destroyer launches missiles at Yemen radar sites after missiles from Yemen miss destroyer.
      Ed Krayewski|10.13.2016

      America’s Proxy War in Yemen
      Still being largely ignored.
      Ed Krayewski|9.26.2016

      Saudi Arabia’s Alleged 9/11 Connection Just One of Many Reasons the U.S. Ally is a Problem
      It’s past time to have the “Where is this relationship going?” conversation.
      Anthony L. Fisher|4.19.2016

      The U.S. Should Stop Supporting the War in Yemen
      The moral case for restraint.
      Trevor Thrall & John Glaser|2.17.2016

      5 Quagmires President Obama (Probably) Won’t Address in His Last SOTU
      Messes for a legacy.
      Ed Krayewski|1.12.2016

      Donald Trump Displays Profound Foreign Policy Incoherence on O’Reilly Factor
      GOP frontrunner says voters want “unpredictability.”
      Anthony L. Fisher|1.5.2016

      Why Does Obama Help the Saudis Murder Yemenis?
      Obama wades further into Yemen.
      Sheldon Richman|4.23.2015

      1. What the Hell Are We Doing in Yemen?
        The Obama administration is assisting Saudi Arabia in creating a humanitarian catastrophe in the Middle East’s poorest country.
        Sheldon Richman|4.16.2015

        American Foreign Policy Only Puts Us In More Danger
        We would be safer from terrorism without the U.S. government.
        Sheldon Richman|4.2.2015

        Shiite Fighters Pull Out of Anti-ISIS Fight Over U.S. Participation
        Ed Krayewski|3.27.2015

        Yemen Falls Out of U.S. Counterterrorism Menagerie
        Coming civil war could lead to favorable environment for Al Qaeda and other terrorists.
        Ed Krayewski|3.24.2015

        That Time the Pentagon Lost Track of $500 Million Worth of Weapons in Yemen
        Nick Gillespie|3.19.2015

        Yemen Rebels Dissolve Parliament, Complete Takeover of Country?U.S. Seeks a ‘Stable’ Yemen
        The Houthi militia entered Sana’a late last year and now controls a swath of territory in north Yemen. Al Qaeda continues operating in the south
        Ed Krayewski|2.6.2015

        Yemen on Verge of Collapse? Different Approach, Similar Results
        Houthi rebels have stormed the presidential palace in Yemen, also home of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
        Ed Krayewski|1.21.2015

        1. I’m aware of Reason’s articles about Yemen. That was more of a general point about how other outlets have suddenly discovered that there is a war in Yemen.

          It seems to be fashionable now to pretend as if the attitudes of some over the past eight years should have no bearing on their positions today. I don’t think it speaks well about a messenger who suddenly changes tone after eight years of silence

        2. [golf clap]

    3. Liberals who are anti-war hibernate whenever a democrat is in charge. Sure, it may SEEM like a massive, hypocritical bias, but it’s actually just how their species functions.

      1. And watch the right-wing anti-war crowd go into hibernation, now that Trump is in power. Pat Buchanan and Lew Rockwell are fluffing up their pillows as we speak.

        1. I highly doubt that. Buchanan, Raimondo, and everyone at the American Conservative was extremely critical of President Bush.

          You are completely wrong on this point. The anti-war Right is far, far, far more principled than the faux anti-war Left.

          1. That be true.

  5. RE: Trump’s First Counter-Terrorism Operation Leads to U.S. Combat Death in Yemen
    It’s the first such death on the new president’s watch.

    Not to worry.
    Knowing Trump’s ego, there will be a lot more American combat deaths overseas to come.
    You just have to have a little faith in the president.

    1. You do realize most of the military members wants to be deployed to war zones? Well at least in the Marine Corps. It is a bitter fight in the Marine Corps to get on a deployment to Iraq and Afghan and MEUs but combat deployments were the big fuss to get on. Everyone was hoping shit would hit the fan in Libya so Marines could go fight.

      1. this was 2007-2012 period when deployments were on the down turn. People were getting bored and hazing was getting worse and people were dying to deploy.

  6. The military’s Joint Special Operations Command had been planning a counter-terrorism operation for months under the Obama administration, but the decision to execute the mission was passed on to the presidential successor

    The Bay of Pigs model.

    1. “This is a shit-sandwich, let him eat it.”

  7. How is fucking up like this MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN?

    1. You talking about the successful combat mission?

      1. Been having those for 8 years.

        MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! ITS A SHIT-HOLE NOW!

        1. You really need to change your handle to Obama’s Buttplug; truth-in-advertising applies to shills like you.

    2. It’s great if you bought 30k worth of front month UVXY calls last week. I assure you that one of us did.

  8. I have pants shitting fatigue.

    Like I’m trapped in a nation sized airplane with 100 million crying babies.

    1. Agree. My schadenfreude is gone. I know find the whining tedious.

  9. Do we still have an embargo on these poor people who import 80 to90% of their food? All while, Saudis bomb their infrastructure for any domestic production and distribution.

    Like not allowing folks in the country is undignifying, but starving the same people and what evs..

    Like it’s getting bad there from what I hear.. holodomor type stuff

  10. Why are we doing the Saudis’ dirty work again? Didn’t they export all the Wahabbists so they wouldn’t have to mess with them?

    Side note, my wife seemed really surprised when we were talking about the travel ban and she said, “what are they supposed to do” about the refugees. And I said, “well, if they’re male and adult, they should fight with as much violence as they are capable of to kill the people who are destroying their homes.” It had never occurred to her that people might resist oppression through violence instead of just fleeing.* She’s completely apolitical, so I spent about 2 miles of a 10 mile run giving her background on why even though Trump is a populist tool, this is a bipartisan problem. It was probably the 2 miles that went fastest for me and slowest for her.

    *Not that 99.99% of people affected are new refugees. Or even 95% current Greatest Game refugees from the post-proxy period starting in 1991.

    1. “Didn’t they export all the Wahabbists so they wouldn’t have to mess with them?”

      Well, no, they ARE Wahhabists. They just export the worst ones, while still pushing the Wahhabi movement as a whole.

    2. this reminds me that video of the Hungarian trucker someone just posted the other week. It really pisses me off.

  11. And soon, I’m sure, the Liberal Anti-War folks, after waking up from hibernation, will jump in to question why we are in Yemen.

    1. Because Trump! or BOOOOSH!

  12. I just remember in 2008 when Obama was running against Boooosh! and talking about all the bad things he was doing, Bush gave a speech in which he suggested that as President he maybe knew a thing or two Senator Obama didn’t know. Obama scoffed at the idea, saying the Senate got the exact same intelligence briefings as the Prez. After he became President, Obama allowed as how he knew a few things now that he didn’t know then and suggested his critics might take into consideration that it wasn’t as easy as it looked extricating yourself from the tar baby.

    So here’s Trump, the guy with the simple plan to defeat ISIS, asking the Pentagon to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS, the same Pentagon he’d derided by saying he knew more than the generals did. Is he just testing them to see if they are smart enough to come up with the same simple plan he’s known all along and if they don’t pass the test he’s going to fire them all? Because God knows I don’t expect Trump to admit that, well, he maybe kinda sorta needed the Pentagon’s advice because it turns out maybe he’s not as all-knowing as he thought he was in regards to ISIS and maybe his simple plan wasn’t going to work out as magnificently as all his other plans like he thought it would. In other words, I ain’t holding my breath waiting for Trump to even hint that maybe he was wrong or just talking out his ass. About anything. Ever.

  13. Meanwhile, Fox News reports that Trump has signed a directive ordering the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, to devise a plan within 30 days to defeat ISIS.

    A plan to defeat ISIS? Damn, that’s brilliant! What will he come up with next?

    1. I wonder what these guys think when they get these kind of requests…

  14. A U.S. commando died yesterday during the first counter-terrorism operation authorized by President Trump, The New York Times is reporting.

    Produced and planned under Obama.

    However, I really wish Trump had simply refused to authorize any military actions like this. I would have.

    1. I don’t think he ever said we wouldn’t fight Al Qaeda or ISIS, he just said he won’t fight people that aren’t a threat to the US. While this happened in Yemen, it wasn’t the typical “help Wahabbis bomb Shia” bullshit, so the jury’s still out there.

  15. I see we can expect to get rolling American and civilian death tolls again, now that the president has an (R) after his name.

    At least Reason has been consistent in their coverage of the awfulness.

  16. So which is it?

    is Trump supposed to suspend long-standing operations like the drone wars, or is he supposed to let long-standing operations stand, like the visas for people from Islamist crapholes?

  17. Can somebody send me the link to the New York Times article commemorating the first American military casualty under Barack Obama? I can’t seem to find it.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.