Shortly after the President Trump-authorized commando raid on Yemen, Fox News led the mainstream media in reporting on the great “treasure trove” of intelligence that was seized at the compound. With the claimed killing of a senior al-Qaeda official, the mission was proclaimed a success.
Soon the initial triumphalist reporting on the raid gave way to a much darker reality: an American was killed, millions of dollars in US military equipment destroyed, at least a dozen innocent women and children were killed, US military cover had been blown before the attack, the mission was poorly planned, the mission had been turned down twice by President Obama only to be dusted off by President Trump, and so on.
Worse, the raid was probably not on a hardened al-Qaeda compound, as Centcom claimed, but, as the Telegraph writes, on a ramshackle, impoverished village:
But information from US military officials speaking on condition of anonymity, human rights groups and sources on the ground build a different, contradictory, picture, in which massive fire power was brought to bear on a ramshackle village against targets of limited importance in the so called ‘war on terror.’
By this account, the reinforced al-Qaeda ‘headquarters’ was a two room residence crammed in among other houses in the village; the ‘determined enemies.’ which the Pentagon said included women in ‘prepared fighting positions’ were scared residents firing weapons into the night in panic; and the value of the intelligence gathered is still being assessed.
And what about that treasure trove of intelligence? Facing increasing pressure over the botched raid, the Pentagon earlier today released a videotitled “Courses for Destroying The Cross,” to prove just how important was the cache that had been seized.
But the botched part of the botched raid kept botching. It turns out that, as the Telegraph put it, the “video released by Pentagon to prove Donald Trump’s deadly Yemen raid was successful is a decade old and available online.”
So this valuable information could have been been retrieved by a guy with a laptop on YouTube and tens of millions of dollars as well as scores of innocent lives spared. That is why US interventionism is a bad idea. It produces bad results.
We can only hope that the young Trump Administration will learn from this black eye and very quickly retreat from its increasingly aggressive positioning in the Middle East. A president elected on the promise that he would start no new wars is swaggering us into something his panting advisors cannot, in their blind enthusiasm, even imagine.
Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.