The United States lost a Navy SEAL this past week in a raid in Yemen that went wrong. In addition to the loss of the SEAL and a $75 million aircraft, it also appears that several innocent civilian lives were lost—never a good thing, and even worse when one of those innocent civilians appears to have been an 8-year-old girl.
Unnamed military officials told Reuters that “Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations.”
I was born a few years after the end of the Vietnam War, but never in my own memory has the political opposition to the sitting president been this intense. No president in my lifetime has become so unpopular, so fast. Yes, there was a lot of domestic opposition to President Bush, which culminated in the 2006 midterms, and yes, Republicans in the Obama years used a wave of Tea Party resentment to obstruct the president’s agenda, but this really and truly is something different. I was catching up with a friend in Congress, a Democrat, earlier this week, and he described the anger of his base as something he had never seen before.
So take a deep breath, because I’m about to tell many of you something you do not want to hear: Blaming Trump for what happened is both inappropriate and counterproductive. There are some good reasons to disapprove of this president: He is a man of demonstrated low character whose first few weeks in office have weakened both the international alliances and American values that have preserved our preeminent place in the world for over a century. Keep your powder dry for those things—but not this.