When three army Green Berets die from “contact” (not combat!) with hostile forces, shouldn’t we know why they were there?
Three Green Berets were killed in Niger. Unlike when Barack Obama was commander-in-chief, the mainstream media is questioning what the White House and Pentagon are doing in Africa that was worth three American lives. As much as conservatives hate the mainstream media, they might think that the question is worth asking.
The Washington Post reports, “A deadly ambush in Niger raises tough questions for Trump’s Pentagon.”
“Training operations have picked up in recent years, and with this incident, the U.S. seems to be getting closer and closer to combat operations,” said Andrew Lebovich, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
U.S. forces have expanded efforts in Niger, military officials have said, as part of a growing presence in the Sahel region. The vast expanse of desert stretches across the continent, and affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have taken advantage of instability in Libya, where arms and fighters flow into a region difficult to govern.
Nearly 800 U.S. personnel are assigned to posts in Niger, officials said, mostly at two sites focused on gathering aerial reconnaissance for Nigerien forces. About 300 to the south in Cameroon provide logistical and intelligence support.
This expansion is a potential tension point for President Trump, who has sought to facilitate the Pentagon’s counterterrorism objectives while calling for scaling back the U.S. military global footprint because his political base does not see such missions as vital to the national interest.
Those impulses appear to collide in the Sahel, putting the Pentagon and the White House in the difficult position of explaining to the American public how three elite soldiers were killed on a mission that many did not previously know existed.
On Thursday, the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, Dana White, said the soldiers died, along with a “partner nation member,” from enemy contact, although she was careful to avoid the word “combat.”
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