Daughter of American citizen Anwar Awlaki, killed in US airstrike Jan. 29th
President Trump eluded the White House press corps today to helicopter off to Dover Air Force Base for the arrival of the body of Chief Petty Officer William (Ryan) Owens, who was killed in a US commando raid in Yemen over the weekend. It was the first on-the-ground US military operation authorized by President Trump since he took office on January 20th.
While Trump was mourning the first American military casualty of his presidency, families in Yemen were mourning the deaths of their civilian relatives in the US raid. At least 16 women and children were killed in the US military attack on Yemen.
The Pentagon at first did not admit any civilian casualties in the raid. Then, when pictures (caution) made their way to the Internet of slaughtered women and children, the Pentagon adjusted its story to make the outlandish claim that al-Qaeda had recruited women into its fighting ranks and it was those women who were killed in combat.
The women killed in the raid were not innocent civilians, claimed Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis, “there were a lot of female combatants who were part of this.” The spokesman further stated, “take reports of female casualties with a grain of salt. Not all female casualties are civilian casualties. In many cases, and certainly in this one, females can be legitimate combatants.”
The excuse fell flat. In fact just last September, al-Qaeda criticized ISIS in its online magazine for allowing women to take part in combat.
Finally, after rounds of denial and cockamamie stories, the Pentagon came clean. In a statement late this afternoon, the US Central Command admitted that “a team designated by the operational task force commander has concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen Jan. 20. Casualties may include children.”
The Pentagon continued to insist, however, that there were women engaged in combat during the firefight.
We should recall that while the US claims it is attacking Yemen because of al-Qaeda’s presence in the country, the US has strongly backed Saudi Arabia’s war on the Shia-related Houthis who are mortal enemies of the Sunni jihadist al-Qaeda.
In fact, the US war in Yemen looks more like a US proxy war against Iran – a proxy war that may soon become a real war. Just today the President Trump’s National Security Advisor warned Iran over a Houthi retaliatory strike on a Saudi warship off of Yemen’s coast. Blaming Iran for the Houthi attack on a Saudi warship is bogus: as investigative reporter Gareth Porter pointed out today, even the US intelligence community has rejected the notion that the Houthis are an Iran proxy.
War goes on it never ends…