The growing scandal of Trump's deadly botched mission in Niger is raising very disturbing questions the White House is refusing to answer.
Donald Trump sent in a private aviation contractor — instead of the U.S. military — to evacuate four soldiers killed in action in Niger, according to a troubling new report.
Even more disturbing, the body of Sgt. La David Johnson was reportedly left behind when the bodies of the three other soldiers were retrieved from the scene. His remains were recovered two days after the extraction by Nigerien troops.
Four Americans were killed in the surprise attack by forces believed to be connected to ISIS. Long after their deaths were revealed, Trump refused to speak about them in public. He has continued to boast that ISIS is giving up in the months since he became president, yet the terrorist group was freely able to launch its bloody mission.
Meanwhile, the story about what really happened has continued to change. Originally, it was not disclosed that as commander in chief, Trump had given the green light to outsource the job of retrieving the bodies to private contractors instead of the military.
U.S. Africa Command spokesperson Robyn Mack said Texas-based Berry Aviation was "on alert during the incident and conducted casualty evacuation and transport for US and partner forces."
A growing number of congressional members are demanding to know the details of the botched military mission conducted on Trump’s orders. Republican Sen. John McCain say the Pentagon has kept them in the dark on the mission and the apparent cover-up of the fallout.
The use of a private contractor is in line with Trump’s approach to military affairs, as espoused by his adviser Erik Prince. Prince was the head of Blackwater, the infamous mercenary group that George W. Bush handed $1 billion to for proving “private security” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater was also accused of abusing Iraqis and engaging in torture.
Prince is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and has had Trump's ear on military planning, pushing for the increased privatization of American military operations — actions that have often blown back on Americans in the past.
Private groups operate at a profit in war zones, and when they break international law and abuse local civilians, Americans are blamed. When retaliation is initiated, all Americans become a target.
Questions continue to swirl around the failed mission, including why Trump authorized it, why it was so underpowered, why the soldiers lacked air cover in the field, and on and on.
When Johnson’s body finally did make it home, his grieving family was then subjected to Trump refusing to acknowledge his sacrifice for days on end while golfing. When he finally did call the family, he insulted Johnson’s pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, and told her he “knew what he signed up for.”
The entire operation — from Trump’s authorization to the ongoing deception, cover-up, and insults that have colored the aftermath — has become a black eye for America.