• Mercenary: Mr. Van Buren is rooting for an al-Qaeda takeover in Africa

    January 25, 2014 // 16 Comments »

    Well, I’m not rooting for an al-Qaeda takeover in Africa, just to get that straight, though a “private military contractor,” a mercenary to the trade, or PMC to themselves in their fantasy world, thinks I am.

    Our PMC friend wrote the following (below) on a private PMC site, in response to an article I posted on Fire Dog Lake, titled “Any More U.S. “Stabilization” and Africa Will Collapse.” An acquaintance from Iraq with ties into the PMC world was kind enough to forward the comments to me.

    I think the comments speak for themselves, albeit with highlighting added, so let’s tuck into them:

    What is there to say about Peter Van Buren here except that he appears to be out of his depth:

    He makes many statements but provides no substantiation, e.g. Libya was democratized? When was that?

    He writes “many were more focused on the underlying U.S. motives, isolating the rest of Sudan as part of the war on terror, and securing the oil reserves in the south for the U.S.” but offers no proof as usual. If one looks at http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=SU they will see NO US company getting oil from South Sudan. BS from Van Buren.

    He offers empty words about US Special Forces in South Sudan and Santa Claus but nary a word of proof.

    He cites numerous examples given by Nick Turse of the U.S. military in Africa, e.g. training some forces in countries around Somalia and logistical support for Amisom. SO?? SO WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?

    Is Mr. Van Buren unaware of the al Qaeda link with al Shabob in Somalia? Is Mr. Van Buren asleep at the wheel?

    Then he shows even more ignorance with his “the government of Niger fell to its military”?! NO IT DIDN’T. What is Van Buren talking about?

    He incorrectly compares the US’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan to that of nascent South Sudan.

    Quite simply apples and oranges and way too soon to make any serious observations on South Sudan. Van Buren further shows his illogic by comparing what the US did re the “coup”in Egypt to President Obama’s words of warning of any government toppling in South Sudan.

    Could you show us the double-down hypocrisy in the following words?? How is that warning about South Sudan a doubling-down of hypocrisy??

    “Obama, apparently unwilling to remember how he stood aside while an elected government recently fell apart in Egypt, went on to double-down on hypocrisy by stating in regards to South Sudan, ‘Any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of long-standing support from the United States and the international community.’ ”

    Van Buren writes, “Chaos has replaced stability in many places, and terrorists have found homes in countries they may have once never imagined.”?? More empty rhetoric from empty Van Buren. Could you cite some of those countries, Mr. Van Buren, or is that expecting too much scholarship from you?

    Apparently, Mr. Van Buren is rooting for an al-Qaeda takeover in Africa as that is what the US is there to prevent. His fulminations remind me of “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Shakespeare’s Macbeth



    We’re always interested in the marketplace of ideas on this blog, so any PMCs who wish to offer an alternative viewpoint are welcome to either post comments or email them to the blog directly.

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    So How’d That Africa Thingee Work Out?

    January 2, 2013 // 10 Comments »

    W-a-y back in October 2011 the U.S. invaded, albeit in a small way, the Central African Republic, because, well, big countries can still do stuff like that in Africa. Now, in December 2012, we’ve evacuated our diplomats and civilians because the invasion failed and chaos reigns in yet another place the U.S. muddled. Happy New Year!

    Obama sent some 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to help battle a rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. American troops deployed to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The troops were combat-equipped to “fight only in self-defense,” a dubious statement given that as armed troops they are stomping around someone else’s country. That sort of calls for an armed response by the homeboys, and thus the need to self-defend, yes?

    FYI, The Lord’s Resistance Army are a bunch of terrible thugs who have conducted a two-decade spree of murder, rape and kidnapping. They have not, however, attacked the U.S. They live really far away from America.

    Anyway, like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and pretty everywhere else the U.S. has bumbled into, things are not working out in the Central African Republic. Another 50 U.S. troops have deployed to the African country of Chad to help evacuate U.S. citizens and embassy personnel from the neighboring Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui in the face of rebel advances toward the city. Obama informed congressional leaders of Thursday’s deployment in a letter Saturday citing a “deteriorating security situation” in the Central African Republic.

    For those keeping score at home, this all tracks the growing US military presence throughout Africa (Admitted: Uganda, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia and Djibouti, currently some 5,000 personnel), complete with complex special ops, US troops on the ground engaged in “training” and occasional combat, along with the sad, usual accidents involving prostitutes and naughty boys that follow our military worldwide, most recently in Mali.

    Bonus: As part of our ongoing public service, Where’s Hillary?, we note that the elusive still-recovering SecState had no comment on the evacuation of her diplomats from the Central African Republic.

    Extra New Year’s Bonus: While the primary US engagement in Africa continues to morph into a military one, China’s dominant relationships on the continent are economic.




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    Posted in Military

    America’s Shadow Wars on the Rise

    August 11, 2012 // 4 Comments »

    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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    Posted in Military

    US Militarization of Africa: 5000 Personnel, Ten Countries+

    July 27, 2012 // 8 Comments »

    Here’s something genuinely different from TomDispatch.com.

    In response to Nick Turse’s July 12 piece, “Obama’s Scramble for Africa,” Colonel Tom Davis, the director of the U.S. Africa Command Office of Public Affairs, wrote in disputing a number of Turse’s points. Though TomDispatch does not normally post letters to the editor or have a comments section, this seemed interesting enough to make an exception. The debate is now up at the site.


    The article makes for important reading as we learn of a growing US military presence throughout Africa (Admitted: Uganda, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia and Djibouti, currently some 5,000 personnel), complete with complex special ops, US troops on the ground engaged in “training” and occasional combat, along with the sad, usual accidents involving prostitutes and naughty boys that follow our military worldwide, most recently in Mali.

    The back-and-forth between the Army and TomDispatch lays bare their two worldviews – Washington’s urge to garrison and control the planet militarily and a critical response that calls for a major downsizing of the U.S. mission in the world. There is a lot of information in this article on a topic covered lightly if at all by most other media sources.

    Bonus: While the Army took the time to read, respond and intelligently challenge TomDispatch, the web site remains blocked and unavailable to State Department employees still, due to some mysterious “Wikileaks” connection never made clear. State Department employees cannot follow this important debate, by senior management decision. Sorry, enjoy your irrelevance. Breaking: State Department people who do wish to read the article can do so on a mirror site, Salon.

    Bonus Bonus: While the primary US engagement in Africa continues to morph into a military one, China’s dominant relationships on the continent are economic.



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