Veterans of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu reacted strongly to Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota claiming they were responsible for deaths of “thousands” of people from her native Somalia, while serving on a United Nations peace-keeping mission.
“Danny McKnight, who was the Ranger colonel who commanded U.S. troops, and Kyle Lamb, who was a Delta Force operator, said they were in Somalia in part to protect the Majerteen, Omar’s tribe, from the ruthless warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid and his powerful Habar Gidir clan,” the Washington Examiner reported.
In a recently resurfaced 2017 tweet, Omar, then a Minnesota state legislator, wrote, “In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan.”
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 16, 2017
The tweet was in response to another user charging that then-Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota was wrong when he wrote Somalia had just experienced its worst terror attack when Islamic terrorists killed 230 people.
Rather, the anonymous user wrote the worst attack was 24 years before during the Battle of Mogadishu, when 19 U.S. military were killed and 73 wounded.
This fight in October 1993 was the subject, in part, of the 2001 film “Black Hawk Down.”
The Twitter user explained earlier this week he meant “the worst in the sense it was US troops on a humanitarian mission. Any decent American citizen would agree with my sentiment,” The Daily Mail reported.
On the day of the original tweet in 2017, Ron Harris, a Democratic National Committee leader, responded, “‘All lives matter,’ even though 230 is more than 10 times 19.”
It was to that tweet Omar replied, claiming Americans were responsible for the deaths of “thousands” of Somalis.
Fox News reported, though the number of deaths is uncertain, “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War” author Mark Bowden estimated roughly 500 Somalis died in the Battle of Mogadishu, while the Rand Corporation put the number at 300 civilian deaths. The highest estimates are approximately 1,000.
Omar’s family immigrated to the U.S. during this time frame when she was 12, from a refugee camp in Kenya, where they had fled four years before to escape the violence and starvation in Somalia, Time reported.
“In helping her tribe, we had to eliminate those who were bad,” Lamb told the Washington Examiner.
“She should be thankful we were there to help her people.” McKnight, who was shot in the neck and arm, added. “I really am offended, truly offended, by her comment and her thought that thousands were killed by us. Not true. Not true at all.”
Mike Durant — a Black Hawk pilot who was captured and badly beaten after his chopper was shot down — also took issue with Omar’s sentiment.
He told the Investigative Project on Terrorism: “As a nation, we and our political leadership should be proud of what we did there. 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.
“I do not hold all Somalis accountable for the actions of a few, but I certainly take issue with the remarks of Congresswoman Omar.”
Zuhdi Jasser — president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who served as a U.S. Navy physician in Operation Restore Hope earlier in 1993 — says he cannot even watch the film “Black Hawk Down” because he knew some of the soldiers killed in the battle.
“My ship deployed to Mogadishu, and we were there to help after a famine,” he told Investigative Project on Terrorism.
“I’m particularly offended as an American and as a Muslim that nobody holds her accountable for these radical views that really view our soldiers as the problem rather than the solution,” said Navy physician and @AIFDemocracy president Zuhdi Jasser https://t.co/CsGO0NCAgA
— M. Zuhdi Jasser زهدي جاسر (@DrZuhdiJasser) April 23, 2019
Jasser believes Omar’s comments further a false narrative that the American military is a malforce in the world.
“I’m particularly offended as an American and as a Muslim that nobody is holding her accountable for these radical views that really view our soldiers as the problem rather than the solution.”
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