Senator John McCain responds strongly to White House comments on Yemen raid critics

Senator John McCain has responded strongly to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's comments on Wednesday that those characterizing the Yemen raid as not successful are doing a "disservice" to a Navy SEAL who lost his life.

In an interview with NBC News, McCain recounted an incident to explain his point that the outcome of the mission doesn't reflect the bravery of those who risk their lives.

RELATED: John McCain military capture and rescue

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John McCain military capture and rescue
A photo taken by a French cameraman in 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain lying on a bed in a Hanoi hospital as he was being given medical care for his injuries. John McCain was captured in 1967 at a lake in Hanoi after his Navy warplane was downed by the Northern Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War.
P368426 01: (File Photo) Senator John Mccain Is Pulled Out Of A Hanoi Lake By North Vietnamese Army Soldiers And Civilians October 26, 1967 In Hanoi, North Vietnam. Mccain's A-4E Skyhawk Was Shot Down By A Surface-To-Air Missile. Mccain Broke Both Arms And His Right Knee Upon Ejection And Lost Consciousness Until He Hit The Water. (Photo By Getty Images)
P368426 04: (File Photo) Senator John Mccain In A Hanoi Hospital During The Vietnam War November, 1967. (Photo By Getty Images)
P368426 06: (File Photo) A Statue Commemorating October 26, 1967, The Day Lt. Cmdr. John Mccain Was Captured By The North Vietnamese Army, Stands In Hanoi, North Vietnam. (Photo By Getty Images)
P368426 05: (File Photo) A Mug Shot Of Senator John Mccain As A P.O.W. Taken By The North Vietnamese Sometime Between 1967-73 (Photo By Getty Images)
HANOI, VIET NAM: This file picture taken in 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain lying on a bed in a Hanoi hospital as he was being given medical care for his injuries. McCain was captured in 1967 at a lake in Hanoi after his Navy warplane was downed by the Northern Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War. One of his rescuers said 24 February 2000, McCain was well treated after being pulled from the lake by villagers. McCain said that upon capture he was beaten by an angry mob and bayoneted in the groin. (B/W ONLY) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)
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McCain said, "Many years ago, when I was imprisoned in North Vietnam, there was an attempt to rescue the POWs. Unfortunately, the prison had been evacuated, but the brave men who...risked their lives in an effort to rescue us prisoners of war were genuine American heroes."

McCain continued, "Because the mission failed, (it) did not in any way diminish their bravery and courage or willingness to help their fellow Americans who were held captive. Mr. Spicer should know that story."

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During a press conference Wednesday, Spicer had said, "I think anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] disservice to the life of Chief Owens."

Spicer was referring to McCain's statement from Tuesday, which noted, in part, "Every military operation has objectives. And while many of the objectives of the recent raid in Yemen were met, I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success."

The raid also claimed the lives of "an eight-year-old girl, 14 al Qaeda militants, and about 30 other civilians," according to Business Insider.

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