One of the fascinating aspects of the Delta Force raid that finally ended Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi is the fact that an Army K9 dog chased the terrorist chieftain and three of his children into a tunnel. Cornered at the end of the tunnel, Al Baghdadi detonated his bomb vest, killing himself and his children and injuring the Army dog.
Fortunately, the dog, at first unnamed, was only slightly hurt and was able to return to active duty in short order. Shortly after, the White House posted a picture of the dog, a Belgian Malinois, on social media. The dog became an instant hero to Americans of all political persuasions.
According to NPR, military dogs train with their handlers for weeks and often parachute out of planes, are lowered by ropes from helicopters, and swim to shore off of boats and submarines. They are skilled in sniffing out IEDs and enemy terrorists and come equipped with night vision equipment and video cameras so that their human handlers can see what they see in real-time when they are slipped from the leash. The tradition of taking dogs into combat dates back at least to the ancient Romans.
No doubt aware of how popular the dog was, the White House posted an obviously photoshopped picture of the dog being awarded a medal by President Trump. According to Fox News, while most people got the joke, some in the mainstream media were not so quick to understand that the White House was having a little fun.
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post assigned reporters to investigate the photo and determine whether or not it was real. Both newspapers were shocked to find out that it was not and duly noted as such in their stories.
Some mainstream media outlets were less than amused. The Huffington Post’s S.V. Date sniffed, “Fine, just the president of the United States disseminating a doctored image created by a right-wing propaganda site.”
Clara Jeffrey of Mother Jones added that the president was “S——-g on the vets again, but in a whole new way.”
Slate had a different take on the matter. The piece noted that Trump does not have a White House dog and suggested a reason why.
“As outlets like the Washington Post have pointed out, the president has consistently used the term ‘dog’ as a dehumanizing insult his tenure in the White House. Indeed, in announcing the operation’s success, Trump said that al-Baghdadi ‘died like a dog’ (this was before Conan’s role became a public part of the story).”
The piece went on to accuse the president of being a germophobe who does not like dogs period though he was said not to be above using dogs and dog memes in his business enterprises.
Two problems exist for the above thesis.
Regarding Al Baghdadi, Trump clearly recognized that dogs are considered unclean in the Muslim world. He was trolling the now-dead terrorist chieftain and was diminishing whatever glory he might have achieved by blowing himself up.
Second, it should be noted that former President Bill Clinton did not acquire an official White House dog, a chocolate lab named Buddy, until the start of his second term.
In any case, the hoopla over the photoshopped image of Trump and the dog elicited merciless mockery on social media. Fox News’ Kat Timpf was especially acerbic.
“I have voted libertarian my entire life, but then I saw that Donald Trump had an official ceremony for the dog that killed the ISIS guy. He gave him a medal and everything! I saw a PHOTO on the INTERNET! From now on, I refuse to even speak to anyone who is not wearing a MAGA hat.”
Ironically, it looks like Conan, as the dog is called, presumably after the muscular warrior played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and not the red-haired late-night talk show host is headed to the White House anyway.
“Thank you Daily Wire. Very cute recreation, but the ‘live’ version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week!”
No word yet as to whether the president is going to decorate Conan. Perhaps a few treats and belly rubs instead.