New Evidence Contradicts Pentagon’s Account of Yemen Raid
Alex Emmons, Intercept, Mar 9 2017
Gen Votel (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty)
CENTCOM commander Gen Votel told Congress on Thursday that he found no signs of “poor decision-making or bad judgment” in a January raid in Yemen that killed 10 children and at least six women, as well as a Navy SEAL. Votel says:
made the determination that there was no need for an additional investigation into this particular operation.
Earlier on Thursday, The Intercept published its own investigation of the raid based on eyewitnesses, including a 5-year-old who described how his mother was gunned down while trying to flee what other family members said was indiscriminate gunfire from a helicopter. The White House has tried to shame the raid’s critics into silence. Last month, Sean Spicer told reporters “anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [commits] a disservice.” Pres Trump tweeted the next day:
Media coverage has largely focused on Owens, the fallen Navy SEAL, and whether the raid produced intelligence, not on the massacre or village, which is now mostly abandoned. After Owens’s father told Trump “not to hide behind my son’s death,” Trump invited Owens’ wife to the Capitol for his first joint address to Congress. Trump insisted the raid was a “massive success,” and was showered with praise by media pundits for paying tribute to the widow. The Pentagon’s internal reviews often result in absolution for atrocities. In 2010, for example, Pindo grunts killed seven people, including a pregnant women, after ambushing an Afghan village celebrating a birth. The Pentagon’s review found that it was an “appropriate” use of force and soldiers faced no disciplinary measures. After Pindostan bombed a hospital in Afghanistan in 2015, the Pentagon’s investigation blamed “human error” and said the grunts were “unaware” of what they were hitting. Votel told reporters the raid targeted but failed to kill a senior AQAP official. The Trump administration has previously maintained that the purpose of the raid was to gather intelligence by seizing AQAP electronics.