Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to step down as President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor after being caught in a lie about premature Russian connections.
Sadly but not surprisingly, during his brief tenure he advised Trump to approve a crazy, first week of the administration commando-raid in Yemen. The poorly planned cowboy stunt had wisely been vetoed by President Barack Obama despite repeated requests from the military to green light the caper.
Every president has to personally approve these risky, illegal –remember the U.S. violated the sovereignty of another nation, which is against international law– raids.
The disastrous results included at least 30 so-called “collateral damage” civilian deaths and the loss of a Navy Seal. While Trump used the sailor’s widow to milk applause for his first speech before the joint session of Congress the soldier’s furious father refused to even meet with the President.
He called for a congressional investigation into why, in his own words, the “stupid” mission was ordered in the first place.
American Presidents need to be responsible and accountable, particularly in matters relating to war and peace. They need to be skeptical of the generals’ claims that every operation is a “piece of cake.” A failure can destroy a Presidency.
The Vietnamese New Year “Tet” offensive forced
Lyndon B. Johnson to end his presidency by not seeking re-election.
Jimmy Carter accepted the blame for the failed attempt to rescue the Iran hostages during his re-election campaign.
Similarly, John F. Kennedy took personal responsibility for the Cuban Bay of Pigs disaster, even though that proxy commando invasion really had been planned and approved by his predecessor General Eisenhower.
He stared down his own pack of generals, and refused to throw good money after bad, to send American troops to win an already lost struggle. Kenneye learned to be skeptical about the plans of the military, a lesson that many still believe may have cost him his life.
Of course, Trump doesn’t agree with his predecessor “Give ‘Em Hell” Harry Truman, who, when discussing accountability and the presidency once said, “the buck stops here.”
Trump has already blamed the generals for the death of the sailor.