Sunday, August 9, 2020

Did you know there are U.S. soldiers fighting and dying in Africa? Why?

U.S. training combat forces in Africa

It's called AFRICOM. You didn't hear or read much about its secret war in Africa until three years ago when four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger and earlier this year when Spc. Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, from the Chicago suburb of Hazel Crest was killed in combat in Kenya. But it's a serious and costly imperialist military adventure.

Last week, the Pentagon admitted for the third time that its bombing campaign against terrorist groups in Somalia, which has been underway for more than a decade, had caused civilian casualties there. The U.S. military has carried out more than 180 airstrikes in Somalia since 2017, 42 of them in 2020.

There are currently about 7,500  U.S. troops and 1,000 DoD civilians or contractors (mercenaries) based throughout Africa, who are primarily tasked with training as well as combat missions. Most operate from Camp Lemonnier, a permanent and growing U.S. base in Djibouti, which is used as a staging ground and command center for special operations missions across the continent, The U.S. has another 200 troops in Kenya and roughly 100 "nonuniformed personnel".

AFRICOM'S self-proclaimed mission?
U.S. Africa Command, with partners, counters transnational threats and malign actors, strengthens security forces and responds to crises in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability, and prosperity.
But AFRICOM's unstated purpose also has to do with U.S. global strategic contention with Russia and China than it does with fighting terrorism. China now has 52 embassies in Africa — a 24 percent increase from 2012.

AFRICOM didn't start with Trump's administration but goes back to Clinton in the late 90s and was escalated by Bush and then Pres. Obama in 2004. Trump, with his "America First" approach to foreign policy, has actually been committed to a 10% "drawdown" of troops on the African continent despite the objection of hawks like John Bolton and Steve Bannon.

U.S. military adventures in Africa will likely continue and increase under a hawkish, anti-China Biden administration especially with Susan Rice or Tammy Duckworth as his V.P. or in a key foreign policy position.

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.

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