Representative Ilhan Omar, the Somali-born Muslim who represents Minnesota’s Fifth District, is in hot water again for extremist remarks, but these weren’t about Israelis, American Jews and all their “Benjamins,” as she so indelicately put it.
This time, in a tweet from 2017, she called American GIs terrorists without, of course, actually using the word.
Omar was speaking about American GIs that Mark Bowden memorialized in his gripping book about their fight against the Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War.
In Omar’s telling, the Americans were the bad guys.
John Rossomando of the Investigative Project on Terrorism dug up the tweet and explained that Omar was answering a Twitter user who called the Battle of Mogadishu and the Somali-militia killings of U.S. soldiers “the worst terrorist attack in Somalia history.”
Omar, Twitter finger ready, fired off an answer: "In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan.”
So Omar believes that Americans were the bad guys in Somalia.
Rossomondo correctly observed the second most obvious error in Omar’s tweet.
Only 133 Somali militiamen died in the fighting with U.S. Rangers and Delta Force soldiers, Capt. Haad, a representative of the Somali National Alliance (SNA) said in a 2001 interview with Author Mark Bowden. He estimated 500 Somali deaths.... Others put the Somali death toll closer to 1,000. A 2000 Rand Corporation report estimated 300 noncombatants were killed.
But beyond Omar’s shenanigans with the body count is the bigger error: the idea that the Americans were again, terrorists — the bad guys.
Writing at The Federalist, Kyle Lamb, a Mogadishu veteran, explained not just the truth about the matter but the rich irony of Omar’s calling his comrades murderers.
“Task Force Ranger was the 1993 military effort ordered by President Bill Clinton to capture Aidid and his lieutenants so the U.N. could deliver food and medical aid without fear of being attacked or killed by Aidid’s forces,” he wrote. Those GIs didn’t go to Omar’s homeland, which her own people turned into a seething cauldron of mayhem and murder, for “fame or fortune,” he continued, or “because of a deep desire to visit the God-forsaken nation of Somalia.”
The ingrate congresswoman seems to have forgotten “they were deployed to support peacekeepers who were desperate to rescue the country from starvation and the ravages of civil war. To do that, they had to capture the men responsible for it.”
In other words, those fighting men were in Somalia to help people like Omar:
By the time Task Force Ranger had been launched, Aidid’s network of drug-addled, Khat-dealing gun runners had taken over Mogadishu and were doing everything they could to oppress any and all rival clans, including that of Omar, the Majeerteen. In other words, we were sent halfway across the world to help protect people just like Omar and her family. Nineteen incredible men gave their lives defending her country while serving ours. They deserve to be lauded for their service, not attacked for it.
Michael Durant, the Black Hawk copilot who went down, was none too happy about Omar’s remarks either. When Aidid’s forces shot down Durant’s chopper, two Delta Force operators, Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon, gave their lives to keep Aidad’s crazed militiamen from capturing the wounded warrant officer. The Somalis defiled the bodies of the Delta men and dragged them through the streets, and Aidid held Durant captive for 11 days until a prisoner exchange. Shughart and Gordon received the Medal of Honor.
“We and our political leadership should be proud of what we did there,” Durant told Rossomondo. “We put our most precious resource on the line to help starving people. In return, my friends' remains and those of my comrades were dragged through the streets.”
Durant, who wears two Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, said he didn’t “hold all Somalis accountable for the actions of a few, but I certainly take issue with the remarks of Congresswoman Omar.”
Maybe the congresswoman should read something about the history of her own country.
The crew of Super 64 a month before the Battle of Mogadishu: U.S. Army