While eating lunch today and watching CNN I caught a portion of the White House news conference. Sean Spicer was asked about the recent declaration by the government of Yemen that the US will no longer be allowed conduct military operations in their country without first consulting with their government. The question asked was whether that indicated that the special operations raid which prompted that declaration should still be regarded as a success.
As you will recall a Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens, was killed and three other SEAL’s were wounded in that battle and a transport aircraft which suffered a hard landing and had to be destroyed. Medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed.
Spicer responded that yes, the raid was a success and that anyone who said otherwise did a disservice to the sacrifice of Ryan Owens. He repeated that statement several time. As a former military officer, I was absolutely disgusted. Had I been there in the briefing room I would have challenged him and asked, “If the raid had not been a success, would Chief Owens still not be heroic and the supreme sacrifice for his country?”
Whether or not military exercises are successful has nothing to do with the honor we should attribute to military heroes like Chief Owens who give up their lives to keep the rest us safe. Men like Ryan Owens do not choose the missions on which they are sent to and it is often difficult to predict of the exact circumstances they will encounter. The validity of their sacrifice should never depend on the whether those who sent them into harms way made good decisions or not.
If I had the opportunity to confront Sean Spicer I would tell him this: “Sean, you are a miserable coward for hiding behind the death of an American hero who gave everything for our country.”