Former Sen. Joe Lieberman disputed the Trump administration's claim last month's raid on Yemen was a success because a Navy SEAL was among those who died in the attack.
"War is hell — and there is always disappointments and failed operations in war," Lieberman, 74, who represented Connecticut for 24 years, told Jake Tapper on CNN on Thursday. "In this case, the administration says it gained some intelligence, it gained some other movement forward.
"So, OK, it wasn't a total failure, but you can't call it a success either — because we lost a soldier, others were wounded and some bystanders, innocent civilians, were killed," he said.
Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, a Navy SEAL, died Jan. 28 from wounds suffered during that weekend's raid on an al-Qaida base in Yemen.
Owens, 36, from Peoria, Ill., was the first known U.S. military combat casualty since President Donald Trump took office Jan. 20.
Four other American troops were injured in the firefight — and al-Qaida leaders said 25 people, including 11 women and children, were killed.
The Trump administration has labeled the raid a success despite the losses, with White House spokesman Sean Spicer telling reporters Wednesday: "It's absolutely a success — and anyone who suggests it's not is a disservice to Ryan Owens."
Arizona Sen. John McCain has ripped the White House for the raid — calling it a "failure" — and President Donald Trump has slammed the Vietnam War veteran on Twitter for his remarks.
Lieberman told Tapper "in any fight between McCain and anybody else, I'm going to be with McCain.
"He's really a dear friend, and I think a great public servant."
Regarding President Trump's travel ban affecting seven majority-Muslim countries, Lieberman said he would have preferred the administration "had done this in a more focused way.
"Instead of banning everybody from this series of countries — closing off the country to refugees, which is not our history — I wish President Trump had said to Gen. [John] Kelly at Homeland Security, 'give me a program that I can put into action as quickly as possible' that will do what the president has called extreme vetting.
"I think this costs America more than it saved us in security."
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