It was a story that had everything – an evil villain, a top-secret mission to take him out and an injured hero that everyone could relate to on account of it being a rather cute dog.
Yet somehow President Donald Trump has managed to turn the role of a fluffy Belgian Malinois in the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, into an absolute circus.
How you ask? By tweeting this:
The first thing that should be noted is it’s not his picture – he’s just swiped it from a conservative news website and not even bothered to hide the watermark.
The latest development in the saga comes just days after one of Trump’s most jaw-dropping press conferences to date, which is saying something.
American military dogs chased Baghdadi to the end of a tunnel, where he was “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” Trump said from the White House as he announced the death of the Islamic State leader.
He said many ISIS fighters were killed but no US personnel suffered injuries in the operation ― save for one military dog that followed Baghdadi into the tunnel and was wounded.
“A ‘canine’, as they call it. I call it a dog. A beautiful dog — a talented dog was injured and brought back,” Trump said in tribute.
But in the very same press conference, Trump said: “[Baghdadi] died like a dog. He died like a coward.”
Cowards or heroes? Make your mind up mate.
Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters the animal “performed a tremendous service” in the Saturday night raid.
Al-Baghdadi set off an explosion that killed himself and three children and apparently wounded the dog.
Gen Milley said the dog was “slightly wounded” but is now recovering and has returned to duty at an undisclosed location.
He said the US is protecting the dog’s identify by keeping any information about the canine classified for now.
The US military commonly uses the Belgian Malinois to guide and protect troops, search out enemy forces and look for explosives.