The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewTom Engelhardt Archive
Nick Turse: Special Ops - 133 Countries Down, 17 to Go?
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Give them credit. As TomDispatch’s Nick Turse has so vividly reported over the last decade, America’s previously “elite” Special Operations forces — once small, specially trained units in a large military — have now essentially become a military in their own right, all 70,000 of them (larger, in fact, than many national armed forces). And they are more or less everywhere, more or less all the time. They aren’t just “elite” forces anymore; they’re America’s secret military, which, as Turse has shown, is increasingly deployed to something startlingly close to all the countries on the planet (aside from a few obvious ones like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea). They are raiding and fighting from Syria to Afghanistan, Somalia to Niger. They are training allied special ops types and other forces across the globe. It’s increasingly hard to think of places where they don’t show up, even, for instance, in a rain-soaked cave that recently trapped 12 Thai soccer players and their coach. And here’s the good news: if a bill sponsored by Congressman Richard Hudson, whose North Carolina district includes Fort Bragg (home of U.S. Army Special Operations Command), passes in Congress, the more America’s special operators deploy in combat-like ways to places that the IRS doesn’t consider war zones (but indeed are), the more likely that they and their families will… yep, get a special tax break for their efforts! (War, what is it good for?)

And they aren’t just “operators” anymore. They’re path-breakers in the “science” of war. As they fight terrorists around the globe, for instance, they’re developing “loitering munitions” in their Maritime Precision Engagement program that will act as “suicide drones” (operated from speedboats). Hey, if ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the rest of that crew have their version of suicide drones — humans with explosives strapped to them, not to speak of off-the-shelf drones — why shouldn’t the U.S. military have the technological equivalent? Or what about the “talking paper” for which the special ops group that focuses on “psychological operations” already has a prototype? That paper, somewhat thicker than the usual kind and embedded with micro-circuitry, dropped into the jungles or backlands of the planet, should prove a perfect way to deliver a 30-second recorded message to illiterate enemy troops in some embattled country about how to defect or surrender.

But let Turse take over the story now and, in his latest update on the spread of Washington’s special operators and the wars that seem to accompany them, fill you in on their latest doings on a planet increasingly made for (and by) them.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
Hide One CommentLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. It’s increasingly hard to think of places where they don’t show up, even, for instance, in a rain-soaked cave that recently trapped 12 Thai soccer players and their coach.

    Just to clarify, the US should not have used trained rescue specialists to help in the rescue of the 12 innocent kids?

    Like it or not, when things like this happen, the military usually does have the best training and equipment to deal with these emergencies.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
Current Commenter says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Tom Engelhardt Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create You
Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower