Trump Plays Host to Special War Hero – Conan the War Dog
Military heroes have visited the White House to be thanked by their commander-in-chief certainly since the administration of Thomas Jefferson. In modern times, such visits have been recorded for the edification of the American people by video and still cameras, the better for them to understand the heroism and sacrifice of men and women who place their bodies between unfriendly strangers and the rest of us.
However, never before, very likely, has the White House been visited by a hero quite like Conan, a military war dog, who was the last sight that Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi saw before he detonated his bomb vest, taking himself and two of his children to the afterlife. Conan was slightly injured in the explosion but was soon declared fit for duty.
After giving Conan a plaque and a medal, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, First Melania Trump, and the dog’s handler presented the hero war dog to the media gathered in the Rose Garden. According to Politico:
“Conan’s surprise appearance came one day before Trump is set to participate in the annual pardoning of Thanksgiving turkeys. The president and first lady Melania Trump flanked the dog on either side as Trump spoke to the press, while Vice President Mike Pence hung back and petted Conan as the dog sat happily by the legs of its handler, smiling and unfazed by the nearby swarm of press.”
Dogs have been used in wat since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Generally, dogs were used as sentries or on patrol, but on occasion, they took to the battlefield along with their human handlers. The Romans used Molossus dogs that were specially trained for combat. Molossus dogs eventually became the modern pit bull.
The United States used dogs as scouts as early as the Seminole Wars in the early 1800s. War dogs came into their own during the World Wars, used for scouts, guard duty, and for search and rescue.
Conan is a war dog attached to the United States Army Delta Force and participated in the October 27, 2019 raid on the compound in Syria then occupied by Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the self-styled “caliph” of the Islamic States, which as one-time occupied parts of Syria and Iraq. By the time of the raid, the Islamic State had been destroyed as a contiguous territory controlled by ISIS, a terrorist army that had, at one time, inspired atrocities as far away as Paris, France, Orlando, Florida, and San Bernardino, California.
Conan is a male Belgian Malinois, specially trained to support Delta Force commandos in military operations. He was not, as many thought, named after Conan the Barbarian, but rather the late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien because of his shaggy hair.
During the raid, Conan was injured from having been exposed to live electric wires but has since fully recovered. He is famous for having chased down Al Baghdadi and two of his children through a tunnel. Conan cornered the terrorist chieftain who, rather than allow himself to be captured, detonated a bomb vest, killing himself and his two children.
The operation that ended Al Baghdadi was called Operation Kayla, after a young aid worker named Kayla Jean Mueller, who had been captured by ISIS. Mueller was raped and tortured by Al Baghdadi and eventually murdered. Tragically, the Obama White House knew Kayla’s location, according to Fox News, but delayed ordering her rescue for seven weeks, demanding further intelligence. By the time that seven weeks had passed, Kayla and several other hostages had been dispersed to other, unknown locations. The rescue team consisting of Navy SEALs and Delta Force believed that the original intelligence was sufficient to mount a rescue operation.
President Trump was filled with fulsome praise for Conan, according to Politico.
“The dog is incredible. Actually incredible,” Trump said. “We spent some good time with it. So brilliant and so smart.” Trump also noted that he’d met in the Oval Office with some of the two-legged participants in the Baghdadi raid, noting that “for obvious reasons, they can’t be out in front of the media.”
Since the Al Baghdadi raid, Conan has participated in several other raids. It does not look like he will be retiring from military service anytime soon.