Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 25 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/22/17

Too Many Troubling Questions About the death of Sgt. La David Johnson

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   2 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message earl ofari hutchinson
Become a Fan
  (10 fans)

The troubling questions about the death of Sgt. La David Johnson in Niger didn't begin and certainly won't and shouldn't end with the bungled call that Trump made to Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson. Apart from the furor it ignited and the war of words between White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Black Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, the call did make Johnson and his death front page news. That's just the start.

The official reason Johnson and three other US servicemen were killed is that they were ambushed by purportedly Shahab, ISIS or Al-Qaeda fighters while on a training mission with Niger army forces. This narrative may change over time only because the military has kept a tight, need-not-to-know, lid on the mission and the action. Officially, the nearly 1000 US troops who have been in the country since 2013 are there to train the Niger forces in counter-terrorism tactics and operations.

Though Johnson was not a Green Beret, he was part of special forces units in the country. The other three soldiers killed were Green Beret forces that operate in the country. Their missions are the most hush hush of all. The question of why Johnson and any other American troops are there is a question that wasn't asked before Johnson's death, but now is. The answer is just as murky. Again, officially, it's to train army forces there in counter-terrorist actions. Why US special forces operatives are on the front line engaging in combat, or snooping for alleged terrorist operatives, or even if there are any terrorist forces nesting there is unknown. Johnson's death won't be enough to get the Pentagon to answer those questions.

The infamous call that Trump made to Johnson's widow came fully two weeks after Johnson, and the three Green Berets were killed. Why did it take so long? How much did Trump really know about the operation that Johnson was involved with? If Trump did insult Johnson's widow by saying he "knew what he signed up for," that shows far more than crude, crass, insensitivity. It hints that Trump really didn't know much about US involvement in the country. He certainly didn't seem to know Sergeant Johnson's name. According to Johnson's mother who listened to the call he kept referring to Johnson in speaking to Mrs. Johnson as "your guy."

Johnson's death also opens yet another deeply troubling issue which was bound to surface, Trump's call or not. Johnson is an African-American special forces soldier. He was the only African-American among those killed in the attack. There were accounts that he was left behind in the attack. The Pentagon has been tight-lipped on this as well. It has neither confirmed or denied whether this was the case.

If there is truth to this, then there's more questions. Was Johnson's separation from the other soldiers killed just an inadvertent happenstance in the fog of war? If so, why did it take two days more to find his body? And was, as some reports have it, was his body mutilated? This latter gruesome possibility was fanned by the report that his widow had him interred in a closed casket.

The big issue though for many is race. There is no evidence the Pentagon treated Johnson's death any different than any other fallen soldier. More than likely the delay in recovering his body was due to the fluid and chaotic state of a combat scene. It was the gross insensitivity of Trump toward his widow that made race the issue in the death. This was fueled by the prideful statement by Defense Secretary James Mattis that "the U.S. military does not leave troops behind." This boost seemed to fly squarely in the face of the fact that Johnson apparently was left behind whether accidental or otherwise.

Mattis's bold assertion would be jumped all over by some in the press and the public considering what happened to Johnson. But he quickly scotched these questions and doubts by simply demanding that no one question the actions of US troops. Presumably by that he meant no questions will be answered about the actions of US forces wherever they are.

So, did Trump and the military hide, cover-up, or were simply ignorant of what Johnson and the other Green Berets were doing at the time of their ambush? This is a troubling question that hasn't been answered. As for the bumbling Trump call, Trump loudly protested that it was deliberately misrepresented, and that he cares deeply for the troops. As proof of that there was no issue made of his call to the families of the other three slain servicemen. Whether that's true, it's a question that only the families can answer.

The one indisputable fact is that Johnson and the others were killed. Neither their families or the American public really know the full story why. Maybe that even includes, the man who should know, Trump.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. His latest book is, The Trump Challenge to Black America (Middle Passage Press) will be released in August. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Interesting 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Earl Ofari Hutchinson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and political analyst. He has authored ten books; his articles are published in newspapers and magazines nationally in the United States. Three of his books have been published in other (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The House is duty-bound to Bring Articles of Impeachment against Clarence Thomas

Critical Race Theory Yet another Strawman Issue

Think of the Two Decade Embarrassment of Thomas We Would Have Been Spared If We had known about Thomas's Porn Alleged Ob

Tea Party Now a Huge GOP Liability

The Awful Transformation of Bernie Sanders

Clarence Thomas Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief with Weiner Downfall

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend