Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno released a statement of condolence on Tuesday following the mass shooting that killed Army Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene and wounded at least 15 others. The soldiers, ambushed at a military training academy west of Kabul, were professionals committed to their jobs, Odierno said, and “it is their service and sacrifice that define us as an Army.”
But the shooting has been met with silence from another member of Greene’s chain of command: President Obama. The commander in chief has said nothing about the incident, leaving it to the Defense Department and his own press secretary, Josh Earnest, to discuss it. Earnest said Tuesday that Obama had called Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, for the latest information, and added that it was a “painful reminder of the service and sacrifice that our men and women in uniform make every day for this country.”
Obama made several public appearances Wednesday, including at the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit. He didn’t address the issue in any of them.
CNN’s Jake Tapper addressed the president’s approach in a brief piece Wednesday afternoon. Checkpoint also looked into it, and was told by a national security official that the administration does not want to signal that the death of a general officer merited a different response that any other service member’s would. As a general matter, the official said, the White House wants it to be known that every loss of life is tragic.