Though a raid on Sunday that left two Americans dead was rumored to be a mission approved by Barack Obama before he left office, officials have confirmed it was actually Donald Trump’s first clandestine strike. Like everything else he’s been responsible for this week, it was a mess.
NBC News reports that the raid in Yemen was conducted by the super-secret Joint Special Operations Command. The purpose of the attack was to capture computer equipment from al Qaeda, which the United States officially called gathering “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.”
An official told NBC, “Almost everything went wrong.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis had to leave one of Washington’s biggest annual social events, the Alfalfa Club Dinner, to deal with the repercussions, according to the official. He did not return.
Several SEALs were injured when the MV-22 Osprey bringing them to the site landed badly, and the aircraft had to be destroyed. SEAL Team 6 member Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the ensuing gunfire. Several noncombatants were killed, though the exact number is in debate. One of those shot was an 8-year-old American girl named Nawar al-Awlaki, sometimes called Nora. Nora’s father was Anwar al-Awlaki, a man born in New Mexico who was killed by a drone strike in 2011. Anwar al-Awlaki was considered by the U.S. military to be a major threat, and perhaps the successor to Osama Bin Laden.
Pentagon officials state that 14 were killed in the raid and “numerous” civilians. Nora’s grandfather and Yemen’s former agriculture minister, Nasser al-Awlaki, stated that the number being circulated in Yemen put the number of people dead at 59.