Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Graham and Schumer lied. The 'secret' war in Niger was only a secret to us

"There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare." -- Sun Tzu
The secret war in Niger, Mali and Chad that left 4 U.S. soldiers dead last week, was a secret only to the American people. Members of congress knew, or damn well should have known about it but are now pleading ignorance for fear that this could be their "Bengazi".

While we often dismiss Trump as a psychopathic know-nothing who has no idea where any of these countries are and apparently thinks there's a country in Africa called "Nambia", members of congress  can't cop to that. Trump's troop buildup in Niger had their tacit support.

Even though congress willingly surrendered its constitutional war powers back during the Korean and Vietnam "conflicts", it still oversees the gigantic Pentagon budget and gladly funds foreign military adventures like the current ones in Africa, regardless of the consequences here at home and without any public debate.

Now, with the growing scandal around the deaths and the maligning of the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson and Rep. Frederica Wilson in a racist and disrespectful manner by Trump and Kelly, these spineless senators and congressmen are running for the hills, claiming that they were never informed about this illegal, deadly and expensive mission. This includes both war-mongering neocon Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (a close ally of Sen. John McCain) and liberal Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is a likely presidential candidate in 2020 and who doesn't want to admit that this was originally Obama's war.

The Pentagon (not the CIA) claims it regularly informs Congress on the deployment and movement of American troops conducting counterterrorism actions in Niger and other African countries as well as in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere. And there's lots of evidence that it does knowing full well that the money tap to the military-industrial complex is always open.

Obama first sent troops to Niger in 2013, supposedly to assist the French who were in their former colony to protect their own neo-colonial interests and engage with al Quaeda-backed rebels in neighboring Mali. It was also part of Obama's new "small footprint" strategy for conducting the so-called "global war on terrorism". The Obama strategy called for a shift from massive numbers of boots on the ground to reliance on drone warfare and mercenaries to protect "U.S. interests" around the world. A huge drone base in Niger would stand as a model for ongoing U.S. presence in Africa.

At the time, Obama notified congress in a letter to Speaker John Boehner that the Pentagon would deploy 40 troops in order to conduct reconnaissance flights, set up a drone base, and facilitate intelligence-gathering for French forces. As to Graham and Schumer pleading ignorance about the major current involvement of nearly 1,000 troops under Pres. Trump, there's evidence that they are lying.

Yesterday, on the Today show, Republican Sen. Bob Corker told Lauer and Guthrie that he (and they) knew about the build-up in Niger.
"I received the congressional notification in June. They likely did too. Maybe they just somehow didn't see that or notice. But at the time there were six or seven hundred troops there and as time goes on, you know, these things expand."
Yes they do.

Graham's denial on Meet the Press,  is most revealing. He's one of the Pentagon's main advocates for the never-ending global war on terrorism that recognizes no borders, money or time limitations. He wants to let the generals decide on where and when troops need to be committed.
 "It's a generational struggle. If you don't think it's a generational struggle, you don't understand the war. If you think it's limited in Mideast, you don't understand the theology. It is spreading throughout the world, particularly Africa.
"And if you think it's going to be done in a short period of time, or if you can't -- if you take off means of how you fight this war, there is an authorization to use force tomorrow that limited the war based on time, geography and means, I would vote against it because the war is now morphing. It's going to places that we haven't heard of before," Graham said.
"We're going to follow the terrorists wherever they go," he continued. "We're going to use whatever means we need to, with partners to destroy them, in whatever time it takes it takes, and most people are not ready for that, but I am."
I'll end here by saying, let's cut the pleading ignorance bullshit. The U.S. involvement in western Africa is part and parcel of the eternal war strategy that has made this country the main purveyor of war in the world, certainly since Vietnam and up through Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a strategy, whether done through massive troop engagement or drone warfare, that is destroying thousands of lives and bankrupting our schools and communities.

Let's call it for what it is -- Imperialism.

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