William 'Ryan' Owens and Nawar Anwar al-Awlaki

Remember how Donald Trump was going to make sure that America's fight against terrorism would get a lot smarter and better and winning-er, because under Barack Obama the war on terror was just terrible? In his inaugural address, Trump even said the magic words "radical Islamic terrorism," which should have automatically ensured that we would win every engagement. Oddly, that seems not to have been the case in Sunday's raid on an al Qaeda camp in Yemen, during which an American SEAL was killed along with dozens of civilians, including an 8-year-old girl, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Al Qaeda leader killed in a drone strike in 2011.

The raid was intended to seize computer equipment from the terrorist network al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and according to a "senior U.S. military official" who spoke to NBC News, the operation was not a leftover mission from Barack Obama's administration, but was in fact the first clandestine strike authorized by President Trump. Despite Trump's absolute certainty that he would be a much smarter, better Commander in Chief than Obama, the raid was subject to all the mistakes and uncertainties of any military operation, and as the official told NBC, "Almost everything went wrong." Since the fog of war only happens to other, inferior leaders, we're sure Trump will eventually find a way to blame Obama for the mistakes.

Or maybe he'll just hope nobody pays attention, since his administration has plenty of monumental domestic fuckups to occupy the press right now, and the last we'll hear about the raid will be Sean Spicer's assertion on CNN this weekend that "we carried out a very successful raid against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which resulted in the death of an estimate 14 AQAP members and the capture of important intelligence that will better enable us to counter and prevent future terrorist plots." Spicer offered thoughts and prayers for the family of the "fallen American hero" -- later identified as Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens -- and took credit for the deaths of the terrorists, but conveniently forgot to mention the civilian casualties.

If you're looking for more operational details of what went wrong, both the NBC story and the Military Times have plenty; in addition to the death of Owens, six Americans were injured, and the force lost a $70 million MV-22 Osprey in a "hard landing"; after the tilt-rotor aircraft was determined to be unflyable, it was destroyed by a follow-up U.S. airstrike. We're going to focus instead on all those civilian casualties which were not supposed to happen, starting with an eight-year-old American citizen, Nawar al-Awlaki, who was also known as Nora. So far, it would appear a lot of American kids -- at least two so far -- are getting caught in the way of Trump's winning against Islamic Terror. Here are the details from NBC News, which notes its source said the civilian deaths were unintentional:

The girl's grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, Yemen's former agriculture minister, told NBC News a different story. He identified his granddaughter as the dead girl from a photo taken at the scene of the raid but based his description on what happened at the camp on conversations with what he characterized as Yemeni sources.

"My granddaughter was staying for a while with her mother, so when the attack came, they were sitting in the house, and a bullet struck her in her neck at 2:30 past midnight. Other children in the same house were killed," al-Awlaki said. He said the girl died two hours after being shot.

"They [the SEALs] entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house. There is an assumption there was a woman [in the house] from Saudi Arabia who was with al Qaeda. All we know is that she was a children's teacher."

Al-Awlaki said the girl and her mother had fled the Yemeni capital, Sa'ana, where he lives, to escape the heavy shelling.

The Pentagon says only that "numerous" civilians were killed, while NBC reports Yemeni officials said as many as 59 fighters and civilians were killed in the raid.

The civilian casualties -- like the Trump administration's travel ban -- is likely to turn into terrific propaganda for terrorists, since local populations simply don't understand that to make America safe, we have to kill as many bad guys as possible, and if some civilians get in the way, that's just how it goes.

Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University's Center on National Security, said the girl's death will be a boon to al Qaeda propagandists.

"The perception will be that it's not enough to kill al-Awlaki — that the U.S. had to kill the entire family," she said.

Nora is the second of Anwar Al Awlaki's children to be killed in a U.S. raid; two weeks after the 2011 drone strike that killed the American-born Al Qaeda leader, his 16-year-ld son Abdulrahman was also killed in a drone strike, although U.S. officials say he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time; the actual target of that strike was another al Qaeda leader. But even if both children were "collateral damage," Ms. Greenberg says the death of Nora al-Awlaki is likely to play into AQAP's propaganda:

She noted that as part of propaganda efforts, terrorist groups have begun to circulate photographs of children reputedly killed by U.S. forces. Photos of Nawar al-Awlaki alive and dead are already circulating widely in Arab media.

According to the New York Times, a Defense Department spokesman said the raid resulted in "valuable captured materials from the site that will help us gain a deep insight into the planning to help prevent terror attacks," so that probably makes the civilian casualties OK. A Yemeni official put the number of children killed in the raid at seven, ranging in age from three to 13. The Times cited American military officials who blame terrorist groups "for putting family members, including women and children, at risk by sheltering them in compounds or bunkers that are the targets of airstrikes or commando raids."

The Pentagon says it goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, even cancelling raids or drone strikes if military planners believe there's too high a risk of civilian deaths. If there ever is an investigation of this raid -- as some human rights groups have called for -- one question that should probably be looked at is whether President Trump authorized it even though there was a high chance of civilian deaths. We're only asking. After all, this is the guy who said we need to "take out" terrorists' families. If we were real White House reporters, we'd ask if the Trump administration has changed the rules of engagement or the assessment of possible risk to civilians in raids. Not that anyone's getting too het up about some civilian casualties. Americans were good with drone strikes on wedding parties in Afghanistan, so we'll probably be happy with more terrorists' kids getting accidentally shot through the neck, too.

We're so sick of winning already.

[NBC News / NYT / Military Times / Navy Times]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Arkansas Republican Senator and evil Pinocchio turned into a real live boy Tom Cotton appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" to discuss the attacks on oil tankers on the Gulf of Oman. And while the world is still trying to confirm IF Iran perpetrated the attacks due to conflicting accounts (the US says it was Iran with mines; the Japanese shipping operator says it was a “flying object"), that hasn't stopped GOP politicians like Cotton from trying to turn this into the justification they've been looking for, for great good glorious WAR.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have long been defined as a hawk on Iran. You see these recent attacks, these are commercial vessels not military installations. What kind of response is warranted?

: Well Iran for 40 years has engaged in this kind of attacks going back to the 1980s. In fact Ronald Reagan had to reflag a lot of vessels going through the Persian Gulf and ultimately take military action against Iran in 1988. These unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike.

: Are you- you're comparing the tanker war in the '80s to now and saying that that's the kind of military response you want to see?

COTTON: We can make a military wreck- response in a time and in a manner of our choosing. But yes, unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The goddamn “Tanker Wars"?! Oh ... you mean when, during the Iraq-Iran War, we waited until Kuwait formally asked for our assistance to escort Saddam Hussein's oil? When Reagan, without approval from Congress, reflagged Kuwaiti vessels? When Reagan got us involved in the Iraq-Iran War leading to a daylong naval battle between Iran and the US, known as Operation Praying Mantis? The conflict we jumped into that led to our mistaking an Iran Air commercial jetliner for an Iranian F-14, shooting it down and killing all 290 people onboard, including 66 children? That's what you want to repeat, Tom Cotton?! Also, whatever happened to our ally, Saddam Hussein?

They say that those who don't learn from history repeat it. Tom Cotton is here to prove Republicans never learn. Watch the video below for yourself:

Cotton says "unprovoked attacks to oil profits" from Iran "warrant a retaliatory military strike"

While Tom Cotton was justifying a war with Iran on CBS, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was having a surprisingly harder time on “Fox News Sunday" than he did on CBS when he transparently insinuated what the Trump administration really cares about with Iran ( "Texas Tea").

Pompeo: Trump doesn't war with Iran but will "defend American OIL interests"

Seems Pompeo was upset that his “beating the drums of war" shtick was being interrupted to have to answer about Trump admitting (more like bragging) it was okay to take foreign assistance (and then walking it back when all the killjoys said it was illegal). After playing the ABC News clip, Chris Wallace asked a very pointed yet direct question. Pompeo's answer, however, was far from both:

WALLACE: Is accepting oppo research from a foreign government right or wrong?

POMPEO: Chris, you know you asked me not to call any of your questions today ridiculous ... You came really close right there. (awkward giggle) President Trump has been very clear. He ... he clarified his remarks later. He ... he made it very clear. Even in his first comment. He said "I'd do both." He said he'd call the FBI ...

WALLACE: He said "Maybe I'd do both."

POMPEO: President Trump has been very clear. That he will always make sure that he gets it right for the American people and I'm confident he'll do that here as well.

It was at this moment Pompeo thought he was golden because he's on Fox News and they never follow up! But clearly he forgot Chris Wallace doesn't play like that.

WALLACE: At the risk of getting your ire, the President told "Fox and Friends" on Friday, and I agree, he kind of walked it back...

POMPEO: He didn't walk it back.

: Yes, he did. Because he said "maybe" on Thursday. And then on Friday, on "Fox and Friends," he said "he'd listen first AND then if the information was bad that he would take it to the FBI or the Attorney General." But he also made it clear to George Stephanopolous that he did not see this as "foreign interference." And I want to play a clip of the President's own words ...

Then Wallace played ANOTHER clip of Trump's idiotic words back to Pompeo. Then he asks Pompeo one more time:

WALLACE: He says "it's not interference, it's information." The country, sir, and I don't need to tell you, has a long history dating back to George Washington in saying that foreign interference in our elections is unacceptable. POMPEO: Chris, President Trump believes that too. I have nothing further to add. I came on to talk about foreign policy and I think that's the third time you've asked me about a Washington ... piece of ... silliness. That's just, that's just a story that's inconsistent with what I've seen from President Trump do every single day.

After an awkward pause and visible anger in Pompeo's face (really, do watch), Chris Wallace calls it a day ... but remembers to remind Pompeo he's a thin-skinned baby:

WALLACE: I will leave it there. I think I only asked you twice but that's alright Mr. Secretary. Thank you. Thanks for your time and Happy Father's Day, sir.

Watch the video below for yourself.

And that's all for this week in Trump's collusion and "wag the dog"/Saudi oil interest war chants. So let's end with a couple of pictures of my new puppy, Harley Quinn!

Might as well have one last nice thing before our next war or stolen election. Have a week!

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