- Jeffrey Sachsa leading economist and the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He’s the author of many books, including, most recently, Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable. The book’s foreword is by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
During President Trump’s speech to Congress last night, he also honored Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who was killed in a botched raid on a Yemeni village that also left 25 civilians dead, including nine children under the age of 13. Last night, Trump referred to the raid as being “highly successful” and spoke directly to Ryan’s widow, Carryn Owens. After a two-minute standing ovation, Trump said, “And Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he’s very happy, because I think he just broke a record.” Trump made no reference to the 25 civilians killed in the raid, nor to the criticisms leveled by Owens’s father, who has questioned why the raid was ever approved.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to foreign policy. During Trump’s speech to Congress, he also honored Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who was killed in a botched raid on a Yemeni village that also left 25 civilians dead, including nine children under the age of 13. Last night, Trump referred to the raid as being “highly successful.”
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I just spoke to our great General Mattis, just now, who reconfirmed that—and I quote—”Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy.” Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: By far the longest standing ovation of the night—it may have been the longest standing ovation of any joint session of Congress event—a standing ovation for Ryan Owens’ widow, Carryn Owens, who fought back tears, looked to the heavens. Trump then went off script and addressed her directly.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he’s very happy because I think he just broke a record.
AMY GOODMAN: However, in a taped interview with Fox & Friends that aired earlier in the day, Trump blamed Owens’ death on the generals. So, Owens’ father, Bill Owens, refused to meet with President Trump at Dover Air Force Base when both President Trump and the Owens family came to greet the body of Ryan. His father has called for an investigation into his son’s death. Speaking to the Miami Herald, Bill Owens said his conscience wouldn’t let him meet with Trump, and has said, quote, “Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?” Professor Sachs, what about what took place, the attacks by Sean Spicer and President Trump around anyone who dared to question the raid? I believe Sean Spicer said at one of his press briefings, “Anyone who questions this has to answer to Owens’ family, has to apologize to Owens’ family.”
JEFFREY SACHS: Remember, what the U.S. national security state says on almost any occasion is filled with lies. Let’s know what this raid was about, how many children were killed, why are we fighting on the ground in Yemen in the first place, who approved that, what is all of this about. None of that is said. This is the sheerest foolishness, what happened last night. Of course, you can get people to stand and cheer. It’s sad to see a widow. But for foreign policy terms? This is blatant lies, complete hiding of what’s really going on throughout the Middle East, where the U.S. is fighting covert wars all over the place. And within the first week of office, Trump added this raid, which apparently killed a large number of children and women.
AMY GOODMAN: And, apparently, President Obama had not signed off on for something like two years—although, under President Obama, the drone strikes in Yemen and other places have been unprecedented.
LINDA SARSOUR: Yes.
JEFFREY SACHS: The truth is, whoever is president, that’s where the buck stops. And when John Kennedy did the disastrous Bay of Pigs, that was held over from the Eisenhower administration, he said, “I take full responsibility for it.” Trump never takes responsibility for anything. That’s a—
AMY GOODMAN: It’s either Obama or the generals.
JEFFREY SACHS: That’s a psychological fact with him, which he seems incapable of taking responsibility.
AMY GOODMAN: Even before Bill Owens’ son was killed, before Ryan was killed, he was infuriated by Trump, according to his interview in the Miami Herald, by Trump’s attack on a Gold Star family, on Khizr Khan.