Donald Trump

Critiquing Trump's First War on Terror Raid? That's 'Emboldening the Enemy.'

'Shut up,' the president explained.


Sen. McCain
Mike Theiler/UPI/Newscom

Donald Trump campaigned partly on blasting the way previous presidents (both George W. Bush and Barack Obama) have handled the war on terror. They were disasters, he says. They were examples of America "not winning" anymore. Criticism of the management of the war on terror was a regular feature of his presidential campaign.

But he's president now so STFU with that sort of thing.

We know that many things went wrong with the first terror-focused military raid ordered under the Trump presidency in Yemen. A Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens, was killed in the raid, as were several civilians, including the American-born 8-year-old daughter of terror organizer Anwar al-Awlaki.

Whether the collateral damage of the raid designates it as a failure is the subject of an open debate right now, one that President Trump suddenly is not interested in having.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) declined to see the raid as a success, pointing to Owens' death and the loss of an expensive plane as problems. He has since backtracked just a little bit and acknowledged that some objectives may have been fulfilled, while not willing to declare a raid where a Navy SEAL died as a "success."

White House Spokesman Sean Spicer declared previously that anybody seeing the raid as anything less than a success owed the deceased Owens an apology. This is typical posturing—politicians attempting to deflect criticism away from their leadership and control over military action by suggesting that it is an attack on those who were injured or killed while carrying it out.

A little less normal, but is very clearly now going to be a feature of this administration, is Trump turning to Twitter to complain about it. Suddenly, now that he is president it's the criticism of the war on terror that's the problem!

Critiquing Trump's choices in fighting the war on terror is "emboldening the enemy." One suspects that we're going to see this get trotted out a lot, completely oblivious and uncaring that Trump's foreign policy platform during the campaign revolved around doing the very same thing he's complaining about now.

And there's so much more criticism to come. He complains about America getting "bogged down in conflict," an attitude toward foreign military interventionism during the campaign that not a few libertarians appreciated. But today, again Trump complained that America's military action in Iraq didn't result in getting control over any oil wells. It's an overly simplistic attitude. Critics point out that it would violate international law. Trump probably doesn't care about that, but it would certainly get American even further "bogged down" in the politics and management of the country.