A War Against Responsibility
On the February 28th edition of the right-wing television show, Fox & Friends, President Trump shirked responsibility for the Death of Navy Seal Ryan Owens. Chief Special Warfare fighter William Ryan Owens was killed in action one month ago, during an ill-fated ground operation against Al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula militants, in Yemen. Throughout our national history, presidents have ordered service members into operations which have led to military casualties during times of conflict. It has become a sad fact of American life: there are brave men and women in uniform who lay down their lives for their country, at the behest of the Commander in Chief. As an unspoken rule, the President is given the benefit of the doubt that his military decisions are made with the best interests of the country in mind, even in times where loss of life from service personnel is possible. Such confidence bestowed on the president comes at a price. He is expected to take responsibility for military raids he ordered, no matter the outcome.
In the Fox & Friends interview, when confronted with the information the father of the fallen War Fighter did not want to speak with him, Mr. Trump seemed to separate himself from the military leadership and decision making process that lead to the mission. Mr. Trump stated, “Well this was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they just…wanted to do. They came to see me, they explained what they wanted to do, the generals.” He went on to say, “And they lost Ryan.”
In an unprecedented verbal schism with the military, Mr. Trump seemed to take no responsibility for the military operation which he ultimately authorized and laid the outcome at the feet of his generals. Parsing language is a common tool used when dissecting the words of a sitting president. It must be objectively stated, this public estrangement is uncommon between the President of the United States and the military, which is under his command.