Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has sparked outrage for a 2017 tweet that appeared to criticize U.S. forces for killing “thousands” of Somalis during the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” mission—a death toll that is widely disputed.
The tweet is recirculating on social media after journalist John Rossomando of The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) dug up the October 2017 post on April 22. Omar, a Somali refugee, was at the time rebuffing a Twitter user who asserted that the Battle of Mogadishu, which left 18 U.S. soldiers dead and another 73 wounded, was the “worst terrorist attack in Somalia history.”
“In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan,” Omar, then a Minnesota legislator, sent a tweet in reply.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 16, 2017
Omar has been criticized for omitting important context about the 1993 incident and for exaggerating the number of Somalis killed.
In an op-ed published in The Federalist, Sgt. Maj. Kyle E. Lamb, a veteran who served in the Battle of Mogadishu, described Omar’s 2017 comments as “disgusting” as “she [had] attacked the men who helped defend from starvation and civil war the country she abandoned in the early 1990s.”
“The American soldiers Omar attacked in her tweet—the men of Task Force Ranger—weren’t sent to Somalia for fame or fortune,” Lamb wrote in his op-ed.
“They weren’t there because of a deep desire to visit the God-forsaken nation of Somalia. 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,” he added.
Moreover, other prominent commentators expressed outrage over her tweet.
“Uh, why did @IlhanMN go full “blame America” moral relativism on Black Hawk Down…?” Josh Hammer, editor-at-large with The Daily Wire, wrote.
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) April 22, 2019
“I keep reading this tweet exchange from Ilhan Omar and it keeps getting worse,” Jack Posobiec, One America News host, said.
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 U.S. soldiers faced off against massive militia loyal to a Somali warlord. Makes it quite clear she’s not on our side,” Jordan Schachtel, from the Conservative Review, wrote.
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
Moreover, analysts are still debating the number of Somalis who were killed during the incident. A representative of the Somali National Alliance said during a 2001 interview that 133 Somali militiamen were killed, while author Mark Bowden, who wrote “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War” estimated more than 500 deaths. Additionally, a 2000 Rand Corporation report estimated that 300 civilians were killed while other analysts estimate that almost 1,000 Somalis were killed, according to IPT.
This isn’t the first time Omar has come under fire for her past remarks. She was condemned for trivializing the 9/11 attacks as “some people did something” last month at a Council on American-Islamic Relations fundraiser and for her comments made in an old interview, in which she described acts of terrorism as a reaction to “our involvement in other people’s affairs,” when talking about the 2013 al-Shabab attack on a Kenyan shopping mall.