One American commando was killed and three others injured in a fierce firefight overnight with Qaeda militants in central Yemen, a senior American official said Sunday morning. The raid was the first counterterrorism operation approved by President Trump since he took office nine days ago.
Commandos flying in Osprey aircraft carried out the surprise dawn attack in Bayda Province in a ground raid that lasted just under an hour. The target was a building or series of buildings that contained information that counterterrorism officials had deemed valuable enough to warrant a ground operation rather than an airstrike, the American official said.
Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of the Pentagon’s Central Command, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite service members. The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.”
I’m not opposed to military casualties being given front page billing. If you get killed in the service of your nation the least you have a right to expect is some acknowledgement of your sacrifice. And in a society based on democratic principles, the public, acting through its elected representatives, has the right and the duty to decide whether our policy goals are worth the lives of the young men and women we send off to accomplish those goals. What I am opposed to is the media using military casualties as a cudgel to beat Republican presidents while failing to acknowledge that they even happen when a Democrat is in the the White House.
It isn’t like the Obama years have been bloodless:
2016… 19 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
2015… 28 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
2014… 60 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
2013… 132 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
2012…314 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
2011… 467 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
2010… 559 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
2009… 459 US servicemembers died in combat operations.
At some point, shortly after January 20, 2009, deaths in combat ceased to be a concern to the US media. But now that there is a Republican in the White House, we can expect to be kept much more up to date on military casualties.