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Pentagon: Americans deserve more information on Niger attack

by Evan Wilt
Posted 10/23/17, 05:43 pm

WASHINGTON—Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, promised on Monday to provide more details about the Oct. 4 attack in Niger that left four U.S. service members dead. But during an afternoon news conference he offered little new information about what he called a “complex” situation. “We owe the families and the American people transparency and we intend to deliver just that,” Dunford said. At least 800 U.S. soldiers are in Niger supporting a French-led mission to defeat regional terror groups Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram. Dunford said the four soldiers were on a reconnaissance mission and the ambush came from local tribal fighters associated with ISIS. Several lawmakers said over the weekend they didn’t know the United States even had a military operation in Niger, although U.S. troops have been in the country off and on for 20 years. Dunford promised to double his communication effort to Congress. The Pentagon has an investigation underway to give a detailed report to the families of the fallen service members. Many questions still remain, Dunford said, and he expects to answer those at the end of the investigation, which does not have a deadline. One pending inquiry will focus on why it took two days to recover Sgt. La David Johnson’s body after the attack.

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Evan Wilt

Evan is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD reporter.

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  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Tue, 10/24/2017 01:26 pm

    If anyone who reads this has some expertise in the matter, I am curious to know what information about this battle can safely be divulged publicly, once the investigation is over, politics aside.  Not why we are there in the first place, but exactly what happened during the battle, and what might have been done better.

  • RadioResearcher
    Posted: Tue, 10/24/2017 02:55 pm

    This article illustrates the presumptuousness of the American media and their demanding devotees among the American public when it comes to the loss of US troops in combat situations.  I cannot imagine a comment like "We owe the families and the American people transparency and we intend to deliver just that" being uttered as a priority by a high-level command officer during World War II - or even during my own war in Vietnam - every time a combat loss occurred.  The fact is, soldiers get killed during military operations, during Congressionally-declared wars and clandestine or other unconventional conflicts such as this  one.  The families should receive sufficient information so that they are reconciled to the nature of the loss during their period of grieving.  As far as the rest of the American population is concerned, they should not be granted a vested interest solely because of media-fostered morbid curiosity and implied political agendae.  The military has better and more important things to do than enable such voyeurism.  I, for one, entrust military decisions and resulting losses to the professionals.