The Middle East is in revolt. Entire countries are heaving with the stress of constant warfare. Violent Islamists seem intent on destroying each other. Yemen in particular is fraught with strife as civil war wreaks havoc in the country and terrorism runs rampant. A deadly SEAL Team 6 raid on a Yemeni compound demonstrated that the small country is far more combat ready than U.S intelligence knew.
The controversial raid saw multiple civilian casualties, the death of Navy Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, and the loss of an expensive aircraft. However, that does not mean that the raid was ill-advised or that our serviceman were unprepared. War is ugly. Battles don’t unfold exactly as predicted.
Yet it is true that the rebels were extremely prepared. The terrorists apparently have more sophisticated battle plans than could be expected.
“At a certain point, this becomes more kinetic than we expected. But that doesn’t mean there was a compromise. Perhaps the folks in the compound were more trained, prepared for a fight, not this fight, but a fight. Maybe they were more ready to fight, and they had established firing positions perhaps more than we would have expected,” an anonymous military official told The Washington Times.
“Not compromised,” he continued, “but at a state of preparedness to enter into a fight that was probably unanticipated. When you talk about lessons learned, that is one of them. Maybe for any future such things that might occur in Yemen, we’ll probably put that into our knowledge and assumptions of what you might expect.”
Contrary to rumors, the mission was not compromised. Intelligence officers gathered correct information. Special Operations forces had conducted only one ground raid against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Lack of experience hindered the operation.
AQAP is an inveterate enemy of the U.S. Their goal is our annihilation. That’s why President Trump included Yemen in his proposed travel ban. It has nothing to do with bigotry or Islamaphobia, and everything to do with common sense.
Large swaths of the Yemeni population desire to destroy us. Of course there are plenty of people with a good heart in the country as well. However, their government is so fractured that they’re unable to properly screen them. How can U.S Customs determine if someone is dangerous if their own government can’t?
“That’s kind of getting onto enemy techniques, tactics and procedures,” the military source told The Times. “That goes beyond intelligence I think that is almost battlefield experience. How is it that they are going to respond? And we don’t have a lot in Yemen of that kind of experience because we haven’t done many of these raids. Intelligence sort of implies, a connotation of, the typical that you bring to it.”
“You make a planning assumption, and a planning assumption might be you can bypass or just give one quick check and not expect to receive any resistance from that location In a case like this, women picked up guns and started firing. That assumption may have been a little too optimistic on those locations.”
Yemen poses a real threat to American safety. AQAP is one of the most dangerous organizations in the world, and they’re growing in strength and popularity. Trump’s administration understands the threat far better than his predecessors did.
Under Trump’s leadership, the military carried out more airstrikes in Yemen in one month than they did during any year of Obama’s presidency. Former national security adviser Susan Rice adopted a slow, plodding approach that allowed al Qaeda to thrive. Military officials were often frustrated by Washington’s reluctance to take action.
“U.S. forces will continue to target [AQAP] militants and facilities in order to disrupt the terrorist organization’s plots and ultimately to protect American lives,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Davis told reporters in early March.
“They’ve taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks against the United States,” he added. “We’ll continue to work with the government of Yemen and our partners on the ground to defeat [the organization] and deny it the ability to operate.”
We now know more about AQAP than ever before. January’s raid resulted in U.S officers retrieving vital information about how the group operates. Trump’s aggressive military strategy is already proving to be far more effective than Obama’s hesitancy.
“Did we get everything in a perfect scenario, everything that we would have hoped for? No, because the firefight time on the ground was more limited than a perfect world it would have been. Yes, there was information and it is still being exploited and it is being used to fill out our understanding of their network, how they work, their training,” explained an anonymous military official.
Al Qaeda is stronger than it ever has been. We cannot allow this to continue. Trump knows what needs to be done. It’s time for Americans to support him.