The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewTom Engelhardt Archive
Nick Turse: A Red Scare in the Gray Zone
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll 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 three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Memo to Senator John McCain: Senator, the other day I noticed that, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, you threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for information about the recent attack in Niger that killed four American soldiers. “There’s a mindset over there that they’re a unicameral government,” you said. “It was easier under Obama… We are coequal branches of government; we should be informed at all times. We’re just not getting the information in the timely fashion that we need.”

How true! But let me make one small suggestion. If you really want to know what led to those deaths in Niger, the first place you might consider looking — no subpoena needed — is this very website, TomDispatch. Or, to be more specific, Nick Turse’s coverage of the way U.S. Africa Command and American Special Operations forces have, with a certain stealth but also without significant coverage in the mainstream media, extended the war on terror deep into Africa. He alone has covered this story and the secret bases, widespread “training missions” (like the one in Niger), and barely noticed wars being fought there since at least 2012, when I was already writing this of his work:

“So here’s another question: Who decided in 2007 that a U.S. Africa Command should be set up to begin a process of turning that continent into a web of U.S. bases and other operations? Who decided that every Islamist rebel group in Africa, no matter how local or locally focused, was a threat to the U.S., calling for a military response? Certainly not the American people, who know nothing about this, who were never asked if expanding the U.S. global military mission to Africa was something they favored, who never heard the slightest debate, or even a single peep from Washington on the subject.”

By 2013, in a passage that sounds eerily up to date as we read of ISIS-allied militants on the lawless Niger-Mali border, he was already reporting that

“while correlation doesn’t equal causation, there is ample evidence to suggest the United States has facilitated a terror diaspora, imperiling nations and endangering peoples across Africa. In the wake of 9/11, Pentagon officials were hard-pressed to show evidence of a major African terror threat. Today, the continent is thick with militant groups that are increasingly crossing borders, sowing insecurity, and throwing the limits of U.S. power into broad relief. After 10 years of U.S. operations to promote stability by military means, the results have been the opposite. Africa has become blowback central.”

Four years later, when the Niger events occurred, nothing had changed, except that the U.S. military had moved, again with little attention (except from Turse), even deeper into the heart of Africa, setting up a remarkable array of bases and outposts of every sort (including two drone bases in Niger).


So here’s another tip for you, Senator McCain, when it comes to a completely different area of the world. Please understand. I’m just trying to save you the need for yet more subpoenas in, say, 2020. Instead, check out Turse’s piece today on the way in which U.S. Special Operations forces have quietly moved not into Africa this time, but into Europe, in country after country in the former borderlands of the Soviet Union. It’s a story that — I give you my guarantee on this, Senator — will make the news one of these days, just as the war on terror in Africa has done recently and, if you keep up with Turse, you’ll be among the few in the know ahead of time.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Africa, American Military 
Current Commenter

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