'An Endless War’: Why 4 U.S. Soldiers Died in a Remote African Desert by Rukmini Callimachi, Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt, Alan Blinder and Thomas Gibbons-Neff – New York Times
… The deaths set off a political storm in Washington, erupting into a bitter debate over how the families of fallen soldiers should be treated by their commander in chief. In a call with one of the families after the ambush, President Trump was accused of diminishing the loss, telling the soldier’s widow that “he knew what he signed up for.” Mr. Trump angrily disputed the claim, leading to a public feud.
But beyond the rancor, dozens of interviews with current and former officials, soldiers who survived the ambush and villagers who witnessed it point to a series of intelligence failures and strategic miscalculations that left the American soldiers far from base, in hostile territory longer than planned, with no backup or air support, on a mission they had not expected to perform.
They had set out on Oct. 3, prepared for a routine, low-risk patrol with little chance of encountering the enemy. But while they were out in the desert, American intelligence officials caught a break — the possible location of a local terrorist leader who, by some accounts, is linked to the kidnapping of an American citizen. A separate assault team was quickly assembled, ready to swoop in on the terrorist camp by helicopter. But the raid was scrapped at the last minute, and the Americans on patrol were sent in its place.
They didn’t find any militants. Instead, the militants found them…