ABC News — American journalist Luke Somers was killed Friday during a desperate attempt by U.S. commandos to free him from al Qaeda in Yemen – a mission that failed in part because American forces were spotted prematurely by a militant who was apparently relieving himself, according to a counter-terrorism official with knowledge of the operation.
Somers and Pierre Korkie, a South African hostage, were “executed” by their captors before the American team could get to them, another defense official said.
“The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of Luke Somers at the hands of al Qaeda terrorists during a rescue operation conducted by U.S. forces in Yemen,” Obama said. “Earlier this week, a video released by his terrorist captors announced that Luke would be killed within 72 hours. Other information also indicated Luke’s life was in imminent danger. Based on this assessment, and as soon as there was reliable intelligence and an operational plan, I authorized a rescue attempt yesterday.”
“On behalf of the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to Luke’s family and to his loved ones,” the President said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 8, 2014
There’s a lot of chatter about this right now. We made a call to attempt to rescue these hostages in Yemen. It didn’t go as planned, and they were executed. The family is kind of blasting the U.S.’ rescue attempt, claiming Somers would have wanted more dialogue.
My thoughts? Yeah, we’d all want more dialogue. But when al Qaeda gives you 72 hours, you have to give this mission the green light. With what ISIS has been doing to hostages in Syria and Iraq for the past several months, you have to assume you have 72 hours to rescue said hostage. That’s it. There’s no negotiating. There’s no exchanges. There’s no options. You either get in there and save our boys or they get executed.
I get that the family is hurting and they’re going to question any and all decisions that led to their son being murdered. But, at the end of the day, you have to at least try. The mission failed, yes. But at least we tried. Several guys put their lives on the line to try to save these hostages. It didn’t work out this time, but they’ll keep doing that as long as there are scumbags out there taking hostages.
Tough outcome. Sad tragedy. But the right call, me thinks.