Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is at the center of yet another controversy after an investigative report found a 2017 tweet where she appeared to criticize the role of American troops during the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia in 1993.
Early during the presidency of Bill Clinton, American forces became involved in a brief conflict after Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid attacked U.N. peacekeepers. The battle lasted 18 hours and resulted in the deaths of 18 American soldiers and hundreds of Somali people. During the battle, two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, setting the basis for the film “Black Hawk Down.”
Following a back and forth between two Twitter users about the horrific 2017 bombings in Mogadishu that left hundreds dead, Omar joined in with another Twitter user and appeared to compare the casualties from the terrorist attack to the actions taken by “American forces” at the Battle of Mogadishu.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 16, 2017
The tweet — which was dug up by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) — was widely criticized on social media. Many were outraged that Omar appeared to compare the actions taken by American soldiers to that of a horrific terrorist attack.
This is a 2017 tweet, in the interest of full disclosure.
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) April 22, 2019
I keep reading this tweet exchange from Ilhan Omar and it keeps getting worse pic.twitter.com/jT5OuFHQt6
— Jack Posobiec ✝️ (@JackPosobiec) April 22, 2019
Ilhan Omar’s take on the 19 Americans killed during the Battle of Mogadishu, when US soldiers faced off against massive militia loyal to a Somali warlord. Makes it quite clear she’s not on our side—>
H/t @jrossman12 https://t.co/F52W5HlOeN
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) April 22, 2019
She watches Black Hawk Down and roots for the other side. https://t.co/cFO5dwEHPM
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) April 22, 2019
Others questioned her placement on the Foreign Affairs Committee, given her policy outlook on the mission run by Clinton during the Battle of Mogadishu.
Who knew the House Foreign Affairs Committee existed to promote foreign narratives https://t.co/DHI3Z9HQcQ
— Benjamin Weingarten (@bhweingarten) April 22, 2019
Are you a United States Congresswoman? https://t.co/iNpM6swcO3
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) April 22, 2019
Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durant was shot down during the Battle of Mogadishu. He told IPT that Omar was wrong to place the blame for casualties on Americans instead of the warlord, saying:
“Losses taken on the Somali side came as a result of their attempts to ambush our ground convoy and flight of aircraft. Our forces, being vastly outnumbered, fought to save their own lives. All the Somali militia had to do was walk away, but they persisted.”
Durant also noted that he “takes issue” with Omar’s words because he believes the mission helped to end the suffering of some Somali people, risking American lives in the process.
“As a nation, we and our political leadership should be proud of what we did there,” Durant told IPT. “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.”
This is not the first time Omar has been criticized for her past remarks. As IJR previously reported, Omar drew criticisms for the use of anti-Semitic tropes and flippant language about the attacks on September 11.