MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

US Counterterror Missions Across the Planet

Posted by M. C. on February 20, 2019

US Counterterror Mi$$ion$

https://original.antiwar.com/Stephanie_Savell/2019/02/19/us-counterterror-missions-across-the-planet/

by  and 

Each year, through a vast constellation of global training exercises, operations, facilities, and schools, the United States trains around 200,000 foreign soldiers, police, and other personnel. From 2003 to 2010, for example, the U.S. carried out this training regime at no fewer than 471 locations in 120 countries and on every continent but Antarctica. Most of it goes on behind closed doors, far from public view. And almost all of it escapes independent scrutiny. Is the training effective? Does it achieve the desired results? Is it worth the cost? Does it conform to U.S. laws? It’s often difficult to glean basic information about what types of training are taking place, let alone the results.

Recently, for example, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) told Yahoo News – unequivocally – that the U.S. does not “conduct exercises with members of the [Saudi-led coalition] to prepare for combat operations in Yemen.” While CENTCOM admitted to providing “training” to the coalition, it called that assistance “limited non-combat support.” Internal military documents, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, told an entirely different story however. Air Force files state, just as unequivocally, that the United States has trained members of the Saudi-led coalition “for combat operations in Yemen.” (Senator Elizabeth Warren has now demanded answers about the discrepancy.)

Yemen is just one of the many countries where the U.S. provides counterterrorism assistance. So where else is the U.S. carrying out these missions?

Combat or “Training” and “Assisting”?

The major obstacle to creating our database, my research team would discover, was that the U.S. government is often so secretive about its war on terror. The Constitution gives Congress the right and responsibility to declare war, offering the citizens of this country, at least in theory, some means of input. And yet, in the name of operational security, the military classifies most information about its counterterror activities abroad.


The U.S. is fighting its global war on terror in 40% of the world’s nations

(Stephanie Savell, Costs of War Project, originally published in the February issue ofSmithsonian magazine)

This is particularly true of missions in which there are American boots on the ground engaging in direct action against militants, a reality, my team and I found, in 14 different countries in the last two years. The list includes Afghanistan and Syria, of course, but also some lesser known and unexpected places like Libya, Tunisia, Somalia, Mali, and Kenya. Officially, many of these are labeled “train, advise, and assist” missions, in which the U.S. military ostensibly works to support local militaries fighting groups that Washington labels terrorist organizations. Unofficially, the line between “assistance” and combat turns out to be, at best, blurry.

Some outstanding investigative journalists have documented the way this shadow war has been playing out, predominantly in Africa. In Niger in October 2017, as journalists subsequently revealed, what was officially a training mission proved to be a “kill or capture” operation directed at a suspected terrorist.

Such missions occur regularly. In Kenya, for instance, American service members are actively hunting the militants of al-Shabaab, a US-designated terrorist group. In Tunisia, there was at least one outright battle between joint U.S.-Tunisian forces and al-Qaeda militants. Indeed, two U.S. service members were later awarded medals of valor for their actions there, a clue that led journalists to discover that there had been a battle in the first place.

In yet other African countries, U.S. Special Operations forces have planned and controlled missions, operating in “cooperation with” – but actually in charge of – their African counterparts. In creating our database, we erred on the side of caution, only documenting combat in countries where we had at least two credible sources of proof, and checking in with experts and journalists who could provide us with additional information. In other words, American troops have undoubtedly been engaged in combat in even more places than we’ve been able to document…

Be seeing you

CIA Has Interfered With Over 81 Foreign Elections in the Past Century (1)

 

 

 

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