Monday, April 02, 2018

Secret, Permanent Ignorance

If not knowing about something is a sign that there is akin to a conspiracy to keep something secret, there are a lot of conspiracies going on outside of Africa, too.

So "the Pentagon" is engaged in a secret, permanent war in Africa, according to this author who thinks the late announcement of a firefight in Africa proves it?

U.S. “troops are often in harm’s way, and there are tactical things that happen that we don’t put out a press release about,” she said. “We also don’t want to give a report card to our adversaries. They learn a great deal from information that we put out.”

In other words: The military will decide whether Americans find out what the military is doing in their name.

Oh, good grief. Get a grip.

And no, protests from two senior members of Congress that they didn't know about the commitment aren't proof of the secret, permanent war. I have no doubt that members of Congress paying attention either remembered the briefings they received or heard about it through other avenues.

How am I so certain?

Because I wrote about the growing and quiet effort back in 2015:

To prevent a country or region from deteriorating enough to require 150,000 American troops on the ground, you can leverage stability with just a few troops who make local forces capable of maintaining stability. As we are doing more and more in Africa.

Africa Command (AFRICOM), our geographic command that controls United States Forces in Africa (minus Egypt, which is in CENTCOM--Central Command), has Army forces throughout Africa working to improve African militaries in both military capabilities and in proper civil-military relations (no coups)[.]

As my headline noted, if all goes well few will ever know about it. Notwithstanding that it is an open secret.

The fact is, few people pay attention to a lot of things going on in the world. And that doesn't make it a "Pentagon" conspiracy. At the time I wrote, it was the Obama administration that expanded the American effort in Africa. It was the Bush 43 administration that created AFRICOM to better coordinate and focus on the continent. And yes, under Trump, American forces still try to leverage stability with just a few troops trying to make local forces capable of fighting threats (without being a threat, themselves).

And I've written other posts based on either announcement or news stories of American activities in Africa. This has been no secret war.

And for that matter, knowledge of this mission was the basis for my 2016 article "The AFRICOM Queen," which was intended to support those efforts to prevent large-scale wars.

The fact that this mission is news to the author of the initially cited article does not mean it is new to everyone in or out of Congress--or that it is a conspiracy of sorts to subvert elected government responsibility with a shroud of secrecy.

The military's job is to obey the lawful orders of the civilian government and report back up the line to their civilian superiors--not to publicize what they do.

In other words, maybe the problem is that the author hasn't been paying attention enough to information readily available even to someone like me in flyover country.