Peter Certo asks the same question SLL asked in “Pay Any Price.” From Certo at antiwar.com:
In our military-revering culture, it’s a strange thing for a president to start a war of words with the grieving families of slain soldiers.
Strange, yes. But from Donald Trump’s campaign season feud with the parents of Humayun Khan, who died protecting fellow soldiers in Iraq, to his recent feud with the mourning widow of La David Johnson, who died on patrol in Niger, it’s no longer surprising.
At root in the latest spat is a comment Trump made to La David’s widow Myeshia Johnson: “He knew what he signed up for.” Myeshia thought that remark was disrespectful – she later said it “made me cry.”
Beyond insensitive, though, there’s a good chance it simply wasn’t true.
Why, after all, should La David have expected to die in a dusty corner of Niger – a Saharan country most Americans (and, one suspects, their president) couldn’t find on a map? And where the U.S. isn’t actually at war?
If you were surprised to learn the U.S. has nearly a thousand troops in Niger, you’re not alone. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Armed Forces Committee, told NBC he “had no idea.” Neither did Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat.
Well, the surprises may keep coming.
The New York Times notes tthat the U.S. now has “over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories.” Count it again: 172 countries, out of 193 UN member states.
Most of us remain at least dimly aware that we still have thousands of troops in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Cold War outposts like Japan, South Korea, and Germany. But what about the 160-plus others? And where are the nearly 38,000 troops whose location the Pentagon lists as “unknown”?
To continue reading: A US Soldier Died in Niger. What on Earth Are We Doing There?