Father of SEAL killed in botched Yemen raid denounces the president

President Trump was on the receiving end of harsh words from Ryan Owens' grieving father

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 27, 2017 6:42PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump's botched Yemen raid is now being criticized by an American whom it impacted directly and tragically.  Bill Owens, the father of the Navy SEAL killed in the military action and a veteran himself, expressed his anger to The Miami Herald.

"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why?" Owens told The Herald.  "For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?’"

Owens said he did not want President Trump to deflect an investigation under the guise of respecting son's sacrifice. "Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation. I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation."

In addition, Owens relayed that he had no intention of meeting President Trump, who offered to meet the grieving parents as they received their son's body at Dover Air Force Base.
"I told [the chaplain]I don’t want to meet the President," he said. "I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him."
The Yemen raid also resulted in the deaths of 14 terrorists and a number of non-combat civilians, including the 8-year-old daughter of infamous terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by the American military in a 2011 drone strike.
Trump's raid has also been criticized by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who said, "When you lose a $75 million airplane and, more importantly, American lives are lost and wounded, I don’t believe that you can call it a success." Trump characteristically replied with a series of tweets.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Ryan Owens Yemen