• America’s Shadow Wars on the Rise

    August 11, 2012

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Democracy, Military

    Nick Turse’s changing face of empire series has been especially popular at TomDispatch. His most recent piece on how the U.S. military presence is spreading in Africa was publicly disputed by U.S. Africa Command, leading to a debate between AFRICOM and Turse about American actions. Now, his latest on proxy wars fills us in on where the American way of war is going: Washington Puts Its Money on Proxy War, The Election Year Outsourcing That No One Is Talking About.

    The U.S. fought a proxy war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, arming the mujahedeen against the Soviets and look where that got us: to 9/11 and into an Afghan War all our own. Nonetheless, tired of vast numbers of American combat boots on the Eurasian mainland, Washington has looked over history and decided to try again, writes TomDispatch Associate Editor Nick Turse in the latest piece in his “changing face of empire” series.

    Proxy war, he tells us, is going to be a major component of the American way in the decades to come. While it may sound like a formula for success on the cheap, it is, he writes, a potential danger of the first order. “Right now, the U.S. is once again training, advising, and conducting joint exercises all over the world with proxy war on its mind and the concept of ‘unintended consequences’ nowhere in sight in Washington. Whether today’s proxies end up working for or against Washington’s interests or even become tomorrow’s enemies remains to be seen. But with so much training going on in so many destabilized regions, and so many proxy forces being armed in so many places, the chances of blowback grow greater by the day.”

    From Afghanistan to Honduras, Asia to Africa, Turse explores the stunning myriad of training missions the U.S. military has undertaken, something most Americans know nothing about. He explores our present proxy war in Somalia and other potential proxy battles to come. He considers how Washington is planning to outsource fighting duties to local proxies around the world, and just how it’s laying the groundwork for the extensive use of surrogate forces in the future, training “native” troops to carry out missions — up to and including outright warfare.

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  • Recent Comments

    • teri said...


      Mr. Van Buren,
      I read the Nick Turse piece yesterday (God bless Turse – what a reporter!). In reading the article as a whole, start to finish at one sitting, which most Americans no longer have the attention span to do, I found the numbers and facts to be overwhelming. Even though Turse does not write in an emotional manner, the response from any normal human should be gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. This is what we choose to do with our money and what we focus on? We manage to create strife globally so we can then go in and egg on the violence and kill as many as possible on one side or the other. Or on both sides – who’s keeping track? Aside from those that profit from war, that is.

      We could be working on alternative energy, feeding the hungry (without resorting to the frankenstein monstrosity of GMO crops), using creative minds to figure out how to make peace and keep the planet livable. Instead, we are doing our damndest to create a global Fight Club.

      We have few real reporters left – there’s Turse and Jeremy Scahill, Matt Taibbi…who else? Luckily (until they shut down the interwebs) we also have a few people who never intended to be journalists as their primary career, but nonetheless are stepping into the breach and writing truth. I would put you in this latter category.

      Keep on trucking.

      08/12/12 9:38 AM | Comment Link

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