I wanted to wait for some time before giving my reaction to the raid in Yemen. Mostly to have a clearer picture of how the raid actually went and partly to see how other people would react to it and see what I saw. First of what actually happened? Seal team 6 ran a raid in Yemen. The goal was to capture some data and to kill some high ranking Al Qaeda leaders. When they got to the area they met some resistance which may have been heavier than expected. The Seal team had one member killed and 3 wounded with 1 aircraft destroyed. In exchange some high ranking Al Qaeda members were killed, along with the terrorists some women and children were killed as well. The Seal team members claim some of the women were firing back at them. Some data was recovered as well.
The media, predictably with anything related to Trump claims that this is a massive failure of an operation. This is actually a success in my book.
One of the main reasons that the media lists the raid as a failure is that it killed women and children. Including the American born child of terrorist Al Zarkawi. This may sound cruel to everyone but this is a feature not a bug. One of our main challenges when dealing with terrorists is that they consistently use human shields. It is not a coincidence that these people were surrounded by women and children. That is by design. The terrorists know that America will not target them if they are surrounded by enough women and children that is why they make the conscious choice to have them there. In fact it looks like the higher the rank of the terrorist the more women and children they are surrounded with.
Targeting the terrorists even if they have human shields around them sends a powerful message to them. We will not give them any quarter any longer. They can surround themselves with all the sacrificial lambs that they want and we will still go after them. Once they find it no longer works maybe they will stop using human shields as well. Allowing the troops to engage while there are human shields also tells the terrorists that we have relaxed the rules of engagement and will be giving the troops more freedom in engagement. This is exactly what we need to finally make some headway with terrorism.
A navy seal was killed. It is always tragic when a soldier is killed but it does not mean that the mission is an automatic failure. In fact as we widen our scope of acceptable targets we may suffer even more casualties. In return we do exponentially more damage to the terrorists. The alternative of course is status quo , where we fight the same war on terror for 15 years with no progress. Just in this raid alone we killed some very senior Al Qaeda figures.
Due to the loss of their civilians Yemen has withdrawn permission for US troops to conduct operations in their soil. Most people count this as a loss and I see a collective hand wringing from the perpetually outraged left as well. The reality is we lost Yemen as an ally when we supported Saudi Arabia invading them. Yemen is well aware that the civilians injured were used as human shields by the terrorists. They just never had another opportunity to feign outrage as the last operation we ran there happened before Saudi Arabia invaded them. Since both of their national interests ran against each other we had to select which one to support and in the wider scheme of things Saudi Arabia was mor important.
This operation signifies that we are finally ready and willing to fight terrorists and eradicate them at all costs. Mattis and Trump are off to a great start in their new crusade against terror and I wish them more success.