By Dr. Harold Pease
A year ago last October, I wrote of President Barack Obama’s clandestine operation in central Africa called Operation Lightning Thunder, involving 100 U.S. military “advisers,” sent by the President to help capture the allusive child abuser Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Congress was informed of the engagement by letter October 14, 2011, but reportedly troops were already on site two days before, so the letter was decidedly not asking for permission to use armed forces in a foreign country as is required by the Constitution. I wrote then that our involvement would escalate but I had no idea that it was to include all 54 African nations.
Of course, nothing more was said of Kony who was never found, making it now appear that he was but an excuse for our penetration of the continent with forces from Afghanistan as we wind down our involvement there. An expanded military presence in Africa must have started with George W. Bush, his last two years in office, as “about a dozen air bases have been established in Africa since 2007” (“US expands secret intelligence operations is Africa” Washington Post, June 13, 2007).
The Washington Post reported last June, “The U.S. military is expanding its secret intelligence operations across Africa, establishing a network of small air bases to spy on terrorists hideouts from the fringes of the Sahara to jungle terrain along the equator, according to documents and people involved in the project.” Presently they use small private planes equipped “with hidden sensors that can record full motion video, track infrared heat patterns, and vacuum up radio and cellphone signals, the planes refuel on isolated airstrips … extending their effective flight range by thousands of miles.” The operations have intensified in recent months under Obama, the Post revealed, and include commando units who “train foreign security forces and perform aid missions, but they also include teams dedicated to tracking and killing suspected terrorists.”
In a recent article, “White House widening covert war in North Africa,” AP reported that an expanded U. S. role is anticipated and that Delta Force units eventually “will form the backbone of a military task force responsible for combating al-Qaida and other terrorist groups across the region with an arsenal that includes drones.” Col. Tim Nye, Special Operations Command spokesman “would not discuss the missions and or locations of its counter-terrorist forces’ except to say that special operations troops are in 75 countries daily conducting missions” (October 2, 2012, by Kimberly Dozier). Conducting daily missions in 75 countries!!! That was what was reported. Where is Congress?
Some of us remember when the Soviets invited Cuban mercenaries to “Sovietize” the African continent in the mid 1970’s to help offset Cuban debt to the USSR. More than 25,000 Cuban troops were in Angola in 1975 and “advisors” were in neighboring countries as well. The world was not favorably impressed with this blatant communist overreach of military power. Nor is it today as we seek to enlarge our colonial control over Africa on the pretense that we are only defending America.
Global Research was even more explicit. In an article “America’s Shadow Wars in Africa” it went into greater detail (Nick Turse, July 13, 2012). Although Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, with “more than 2,000 U.S. personnel stationed there” is the “Pentagon’s showpiece African base,” there are many “nodes” of U.S. military presence elsewhere: three in Kenya, two in Uganda, two in Central African Republic, one in South Sudan, and one in Ethiopia. They specifically named the places. “Outposts of all sorts are sprouting continent-wide, connected by a sprawling shadow logistics network. Most American bases in Africa are still small and austere, but growing ever larger and more permanent in appearance,” they wrote. Add to this the extensive counter-terrorism training provided by the United States in Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Lesotho, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia. With respect to the size of U.S. forces on the continent at any one given time, they added, “On an average basis, there are approximately 5,000 U.S. Military and DoD [Department of Defense] personnel working across the continent.”
With respect to just why we need a military presence in every country in Africa, AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham said, “The absolute imperative for the United States military [is] to protect America, Americans, and American interests … [to] protect us from threats that may emerge from the African continent.” No thought is given to protecting them from us. If this is our mindset why not conquer all continents? Perhaps it is. Perhaps this is the New World Order that is referenced by so many. We certainly appear to be the world’s policeman. Unfortunately our presence creates perpetual enemies, which creates perpetual war. Someone benefits from this “colonial styled occupation” but it is neither you nor I.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.