U.S.

Obama Breaks His Silence On General's Death

President Obama was criticized for not publicly addressing Maj. Gen. Harold Greene's death sooner. Emerging reports give a reason for his silence.

Obama Breaks His Silence On General's Death
The White House
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Maj. Gen. Harold Greene's death in an apparent insider attack made him the first U.S. general killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But as his body was brought back to the U.S. Thursday in a silent procession, one person was criticized for not speaking — President Obama. (Video via NBC)

Obama's speech at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum on the same day as Greene's death was full of laughter and made no mention of the tragedy. (Video via The White House)

A day after discovering more facts related to Greene's murder, the president stuck to the scheduled topic — still U.S.-Africa relations — at a press conference Wednesday. (Video via The White House)

His silence drew tremendous criticism, especially from conservative bloggers who say it is not only his role as leader of the nation to address tragedies, but also his role as commander in chief to acknowledge the sacrifice of his soldiers.

But he broke his silence Thursday in a speech before signing into law a bill on veterans' health care.

OBAMA VIA THE WHITE HOUSE: "Our prayers are with the Greene family, as they are with all the gold-star families and those who have sacrificed so much for our nation."

Prior to that statement, CNN's Jake Tapper cited an anonymous national security source who said the administration does not wish to single out Gen. Greene's death because of his high rank. Tapper paraphrased the source's message, writing, "Every loss of life is equally tragic."

The Washington Post looked into it as well and reports the same finding: that the administration doesn't want to appear to value one American life over another.

If true, it's unclear what changed — if anything — prior to Obama's mention of Greene Thursday.

There have been 39 American combat deaths in 2014, and some might point out the media has not called on Obama to address all of them. 

This video includes a photo from Getty Images.