Dead SEAL’s fa­ther calls for probe of Ye­men raid

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

FORT LAUD­ERDALE, Fla. — The fa­ther of a Navy SEAL killed dur­ing an anti-ter­ror­ism raid in Ye­men is de­mand­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into its plan­ning and crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion for its tim­ing.

Bill Owens told The Mi­ami Her­ald in a story pub­lished Sun­day that he re­fused to meet with Trump when both went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to re­ceive the cas­ket car­ry­ing Owens’ son, Chief Spe­cial War­fare Of­fi­cer Wil­liam “Ryan” Owens.

“I want an in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said Bill Owens, a re­tired Fort Laud­erdale po­lice de­tec­tive and vet­eran. “The govern­ment owes my son an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

White House spokesman Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said Sun­day on ABC’s This Week that she be­lieves the pres­i­dent would sup­port an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I can’t imag­ine what this fa­ther is go­ing through,” she said. “His son is a true Amer­i­can hero, and we should for­ever be in his son’s debt.”

The younger Owens, a 36-year-old mar­ried fa­ther of three, was the lone U.S. fa­tal­ity in the Jan. 27 raid on a sus­pected al-Qaida com­pound. Ap­prox­i­mately 16 civil­ians and 14 mil­i­tants died in the raid, which the Pen­tagon said was aimed at cap­tur­ing in­for­ma­tion on po­ten­tial al-Qaida at­tacks against the U.S. and its al­lies.

The el­der Owens told the Her­ald that he re­fused to meet with the pres­i­dent be­cause the fam­ily had re­quested a pri­vate cer­e­mony.

“I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him,” Owens re­called telling the chap­lain who in­formed him that Trump was on his way from Wash­ing­ton. “I told them I don’t want to meet the pres­i­dent.”

Owens said he was also trou­bled by the crit­i­cism Trump lev­eled at Khizr and Ghaz­ala Kahn, an Amer­i­can Mus­lim fam­ily whose son, an Army of­fi­cer, died in Iraq in 2004. The cou­ple had crit­i­cized him at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion last sum­mer. Owens also ques­tioned why the pres­i­dent ap­proved the raid a week af­ter tak­ing of­fice.

“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my con­science wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens told the 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? For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Ye­men — ev­ery­thing was

“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?”

— Bill Owens, fa­ther of Chief Spe­cial War­fare Of­fi­cer Wil­liam “Ryan” Owens

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?”

San­ders de­fended the raid on This Week. The White House says the raid was planned dur­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, but the for­mer pres­i­dent’s aides have said he hadn’t given the go-ahead be­cause it would have been an es­ca­la­tion of U.S. in­volve­ment in the war-torn Arab coun­try.

“The mis­sion has a lot of dif­fer­ent crit­ics, but it did yield a sub­stan­tial amount of very im­por­tant in­tel and re­sources that helped save Amer­i­can lives and other lives,” San­ders said.

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