Mystery in Niger

Lack of Answers Surrounding Niger Tragedy Reflects Badly on U.S

Sarah Reinbrecht, Scarlet Staff

For anyone unable to keep up with the constantly updated news cycle, on Oct. 4, four U.S. troops were ambushed and subsequently killed in Niger. Much of the media attention surrounding this incident has focused on President Donald Trump’s botched phone call with one of the widows of the fallen soldiers. However, others are more frustrated by the limited information and thus the limited understanding of the actual incident.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford recently provided an updated account on the situation, and he admitted that he does not know “how this attack unfolded.” Other specific details about the situation are still unclear.

Vox paralleled this incident with the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Both incidents were shrouded in confusion about the details of the attacks as well as why U.S. forces were stationed in those countries to begin with. Thankfully, it does not seem as though these mysterious situations are common. Yet when the most militarily advanced country witnesses two tragedies of a similar nature in the span of five years and does not have a complete understanding of the situation, it is an embarrassment to said country. Therefore, the United States needs to improve its tactics in order to ensure that when a tragedy occurs, everyone is able to have a complete understanding of the situation.

According to, the United States spent $598.5 billion on the military in 2015. If the United States is going to invest in their military to the extent they currently are, it needs to be apparent that that investment is worthwhile. When more than one military incident occurs in a span of five years that leaves questions unanswered, it reflects badly on the United States. The U.S. military should not lack answers about a situation that caused the death of four soldiers while receiving billions of dollars.

It is understood that these situations can be complicated. However, the U.S. military has enough resources that it should be able to create a comprehensive understanding of any given situation. Further, for the families the soldiers left behind, ignorance is not bliss. They deserve answers that the best military in the world should be able to find.

Arguably, the United States should not have forces in Niger, or in any African country. Though the forces are intended to assist African forces in fighting terrorism, they are at risk of bringing more harm than good, “The Intercept” argued.

Whether the United States sends military forces into a country is a decision that our leaders should deliberate carefully. If they decide to send forces into a country, especially if those forces may sow more problems, than at the very least the United States military should be able to communicate understanding of any situation that occurs.