Trump Announced Conan the U.S. Army Dog Will Visit the White House Next Week

Donald Trump has confirmed news that Conan, the U.S. army dog involved in the raid of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be visiting the White House at an unspecified time next week.

"Thank you Daily Wire. Very cute recreation, but the "live" version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week," Trump tweeted alongside a photoshopped image of the president placing paw-shaped medal around the dog's neck.

Thank you Daily Wire. Very cute recreation, but the “live” version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019

This follows a statement from Katie Rogers, the White House correspondent for The New York Times, breaking the news that Conan had an invitation to the White House on Monday—"The president wants to meet him," she tweeted.

DOG UPDATE: The dog who aided the ISIS raid has an invitation to the White House “whenever he can get over here,” per senior official. The president wants to meet him.

— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) October 28, 2019

The visit honors Conan's role in Saturday's raid, which resulted in the suicide of Islamic State leader Baghdadi. During a top-secret military operation revealed by Newsweek, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three children.

At a press briefing on Sunday, Trump said that no U.S. personnel had been killed in the raid but one service dog (Conan) had been injured. He later tweeted a declassified picture of the "wonderful" dog that did "such a GREAT JOB" in Saturday's mission.

A senior Pentagon source told Newsweek the dog was called Conan, after the comedian and talk show host Conan O'Brien.

conan dog
Conan the Belgian Malinois involved in the raid Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will be visiting the White House next week, says Trump. US Army

Conan is a Belgian Malinois, a breed prized by the U.S. military for its smarts and aggression on command, Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association, told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

It is similar to the German Shepherd, another preferred breed of the U.S. military, but is smaller and has shorter hair—characteristics better suited to the hot climate and desserts of the Middle East, NPR reports.

Malinois were also used in the raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, former leader of al Qaeda, in 2011. Cairo the dog served as part of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6, helping to secure the perimeter so soldiers could move towards their target.

According to The United States War Dog Association Inc, the U.S. military dogs for their "superhuman" visual and olfactory abilities as well as their ability to enter places humans cannot and capacity to subdue or intimidate enemies quicker using non-lethal force than a human might.

"Dual-purpose" dogs, like the Malinois and German Shepherd, may be used for patrol work and detection work, and may also be used to do some basic scouting. Other breeds like the Labrador or Golden Retriever may be used for specialized tasks, such as the sniffing out of explosives and narcotics.

According to the U.S. military website, the concept of launching specific military working dog-training programs took off during World War I, with armies in Germany and the U.K. starting their own programs in the early years of the 20th century.

The War Dog Program was established in the U.S. in 1943 with the requisition of 11,000 dogs and has remained a supporting force in almost all major conflicts since.

One of the program's more idiosyncratic customs is that every military dog is a non-commissioned officer and holds a rank higher than his or her handler—to prevent handlers mistreating their canine, so the thought process goes.

Conan was working alongside personnel in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (or Delta Force) and is said to be making a good recovery.

army dog
An U.S. soldier and his army dog at the Kandahar Air Base, on December 8, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. MARK WILSON/AFP/Getty