After Senator John McCain criticized Donald Trump’s first military operation as president (also, first military operation in his life), Trump went on another Twitter tirade:
Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy! He’s been losing so….
…long he doesn’t know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in – bogged down in conflict all over the place. Our hero..
..Ryan died on a winning mission ( according to General Mattis), not a “failure.” Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!
McCain stated, that he would “not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success.” That American life was identified as Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois.
Now, in Trump’s tweet he makes a big point of mentioning the death of Owens (whom he refers to as “Ryan”), but doing that is a cheap move on Trump’s part and cheapens Owens’ ultimate sacrifice.
For one, the success or failure of a mission does not determine the nobility of a service members sacrifice. Many good men and women have died on missions that have been less than successful. This does not diminish their sacrifices. Thousands have died in George Bush’s war in Iraq, a war based on either inept intel or a lie, depending on your point of view. That fact does not diminish their sacrifices.
And I agree with McCain. We can’t call an intelligence gathering mission a complete success when we’ve lost one of our own (as well as noncombatant civilians). Not all missions are successful. Shit happens. It’s important not to whitewash everything and call them “successes.” Trump, as the Commander-in-Chief, has the weight of every service member on his shoulders, and by calling this operation a “success” he is deflecting this awesome responsibility (notice how he added the “according to General Mattis” in his tweet–responsibility shifting much?). Additionally, and more frighteningly, consider: does Trump actually think this operation was a success? Is he so reckless with our service members’ lives? Was the intel worth this sailor’s death?
Secondly, it is appalling that Trump is using Owens’ death to further his own political agenda. Out of all the bullshit Trump tweets, he never tweeted about Owens’ sacrifice until it was time to advertise his attendance of Owens’ transfer on 2 Feb (with his daughter Ivanka he had to mention, which is weird):
Attending Chief Ryan Owens’ Dignified Transfer yesterday with my daughter Ivanka was my great honor. To a great and brave man – thank you!
I guess Trump had other things to tweet about when Owens died. But Trump doesn’t mention Owens unless it is either to a) promote himself, or b) attack others. His next mention of Owens in his Twitter feed is in conjunction with an attack on McCain.
Although military service is not a requirement to being a good president, appreciation of the military is. Trump has never served. He is not a warrior. Nor has he any appreciation for the service of our military, unless it is to incorrectly think of them as “constituents,” which they are not. Trump likes to think of himself as a fighter, but he’s not; he’s a big, spoiled baby and he hasn’t the intestinal fortitude for the responsibility to be commander-in-chief. The sad thing is, he won’t ever realize it. It’s the nation and the world that will suffer.