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Soldier’s death in Niger stokes questions, anger

by Evan Wilt
Posted 10/23/17, 11:30 am

WASHINGTON—While President Donald Trump and the widow of a U.S. soldier who died in Niger continue their public feud, lawmakers are raising questions about how and why the military operation that killed Sgt. La David Johnson went wrong. Johnson was one of four soldiers killed Oct. 4 in an ambush in Niger. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told MSNBC on Sunday he wasn’t aware the United States had 1,000 soldiers stationed in Niger until the attack. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., admitted to MSNBC he also was ignorant to the Niger military operation. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are scheduled to testify Oct. 30 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about Niger and whether Congress needs to vote on a new authorization of use of military force. Trump denied Monday he forgot Johnson’s name during a condolence call with his widow. “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” Trump tweeted Monday morning. Myeshia Johnson told Good Morning America Trump’s response to her husband’s death angered her: “I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?”

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Evan Wilt

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

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  •  David Troup's picture
    David Troup
    Posted: Mon, 10/23/2017 06:39 pm

    Sadly, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL), along with Sgt. La David Johnson's widow colluded to use this tragedy to politicize and ambush President Trump.  As a former Army Sgt. I would not have wanted my sacrifice to be politicized in this way.  What was Congresswoman Wilson doing in the Johnson's home listening to the President's call on speaker phone?  If it had been a Republican congressman listening in on a speaker phone when a democratic president called, the press would have been outraged.  Of course Democratic presidents never make those calls.  Knowing the dedication of soldiers like Sgt. Johnson, I don't think he would have been happy to have this develop this way.  What makes it more suspicious is that Congresswoman Wilson repeatedly voted against any effort to support veterans and the military.  Military personnel die tragically on a regular basis, in accidents stateside and in actions abroad.

    Former president Carter remarked about the aborted Iranian hostage rescue in which 8 soldiers were killed, " “I wish I’d sent one more helicopter to get the hostages and we would have rescued them and I would have been re-elected.” Is that what this is about for Democrats?  In his case, 8 servicemen died on his watch.  In President Trump's case, he was ambushed while trying to comfort the widow of a fallen soldier, who's death he had nothing to do with; while a sitting Democratic Congresswoman uses what she considers political incorrectness to create a side show that actually detracts from Sgt Johnson's heroism and sacrifice.

    Now it will take a while to sort through all the blaming and recriminations of what happened and why it happened.  There are thousands of contingencies and unexpected circumstances that simply can't be planned for.  We’ll have to wait for the DC Fog of War to clear before we might know what happened.  Given the lying mainstream press, we may never know, unless a news agency like World lets us know.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Tue, 10/24/2017 02:06 pm

    In fairness, Pres. Carter's full quote in context is, "I wish I’d sent one more helicopter to get the hostages, and we would have rescued them, and I would have been reelected. But that may have interfered with the foundation of The Carter Center. And if I had to choose between four more years and The Carter Center, I think I would choose The Carter Center."

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Tue, 10/24/2017 02:07 pm

    Accidental re-post.