Bill Owens has called for an investigation into what he called the “stupid mission” that cost his son his life
The father of a Navy Seal who was killed in a raid in Yemen has called for an investigation into the “stupid mission” and criticised the Trump administration for its planning and timing.
Retired Fort Lauderdale police detective and veteran, Bill Owens has told the Miami Herald that he refused to meet with the US president when his son’s remains were returned home to America.
Navy Seal William “Ryan” Owens' remains were carried in a flag-draped casket onto the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base as President Donald Trump paid his respects alongside his daughter Ivanka.
When he was informed that President Trump would be attending the ceremony, Mr Owens said he told officials he did not want to make a scene but, “my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him.”
“I told them I don’t want to meet the President,” he said.
A father of three, 36-year-old Owens was the only US fatality in the January 29th raid on a suspected al-Qaida compound in the Arabian Peninsula.
As many as 25 civilians - including at least eight women and nine children - reportedly died in the raid, which the Pentagon said was intended as a lightning raid to grab cellphones, laptops and other information about terrorists.
The Pentagon said 14 militants were killed.
Military officials who spoke to the New York Times said the raid quickly ran into trouble after the Navy Seal’s cover was blown - with the US commandos receiving enemy fire from all sides.
The White House says the raid was planned during the Obama administration, but the former president never gave the go-ahead because it would have meant an escalation of US involvement in the war-torn and destitute country.
A former official said the operation had been reviewed several times but the underlying intelligence was not judged strong enough to justify the risks.
The White House has said President Trump was briefed about the operation over dinner by former national security advisor Michael Flynn - and signed the memo authorising it the following day, 26th January.
A day after the raid, White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, told media representatives the president was not in the White House Situation Room as the raid progressed.
President Trump was tweeting about a forthcoming interview with the Christian Broadcast Netwrrok while the raid was ongoing.
"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into his administration?” Mr Owens said in the Miami Herald. “Why?”
“For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life.
“Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?"
The retired Fort Lauderdale police detective and veteran said the US government “owes my son an investigation.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that Mr Owens is a “true American hero” adding that she believed President Trump would support an investigation into the raid.