Neither Owens' heroism nor the sacrifice of his death are diminished by the success of the raid in which he died. But as I wrote earlier today, this spectacle from President Trump last night was transparently constructed in order to repurpose Owens' widow's palpable grief into a heat shield to ward any effort to question the wisdom of the raid or Investigate what happened and why.
Mattis will have to answer for himself if his public statement matches the real after action assessment. But it is noteworthy that Trump laundered his apparent deception through Mattis.
Military missions go wrong. It is always the President's responsibility. But that doesn't mean it's the President's fault. President Trump has displayed an uncanny refusal to take any responsibility for what happened in this raid, even going so far as to all but deny that he even authorized it. As he said yesterday morning: “This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do. They came to see me, they explained what they wanted to do ― the generals ― who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan."
This is a moment when we'll see how just how earnest the press is about holding the President to account. This 'presidential' moment was the most shameless kind of exploitation and it would seem a straight up lie.