US President Donald Trump provided a particularly colourful account of Baghdadi’s death, who apparently blew himself up last Saturday in his hide-out in Syria during a nighttime raid by American troops.
Daesh* chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “died like a dog” after trying to escape down “a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way”.
He “spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him”.
That’s the detail Donald Trump offered on Sunday morning – hours after the self-styled ‘caliph’, cornered by US forces in northern Syria, allegedly ended his life by detonating a suicide vest. Apparently, nobody else was ever made aware of these details.
Pressed specifically on the “whimpering” line on Monday, Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley both failed to corroborate Trump’s account.
Esper said he didn’t “have those details” while Milley said he knew that Trump “had planned to talk to … unit members, but I don’t know what the source of that was”.
It is possible that Trump spoke directly with some of the troops who carried out the raid, but the question remains whether the top commanders could be left out of such a conversation.
The New York Times reports that the drone footage of the raid which aired in the Situation Room had no audio, which means Trump couldn’t hear Baghdadi’s voice while watching the footage in…