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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/29/17

Niger is the perfect example of the US state of perma-war

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From The Guardian

The little-known involvement of the US military in Niger shows how a hastily-written law allows global intervention without congressional oversight

The commander of U.S. Africa Command says 3,500 U.S. service members serve in Africa any given day.
The commander of U.S. Africa Command says 3,500 U.S. service members serve in Africa any given day.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Department of Defense)
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The vast majority of Americans probably had no idea that the US even had military troops participating in combat missions in Africa before the incident in Niger in the beginning of October that left four American soldiers dead. But now the Trump administration is already planning to escalate lethal military operations in the country where the attack occurred -- all with little debate.

Donald Trump has been involved in a bizarre public feud with the families of the fallen soldiers, which has dominated headlines and cable television for weeks. But there has been far less pointed questions about why the US military is fighting in Niger at all, and yet it seems likely that there's about to be more US military presence in the country that will only make matters worse. As NBC News reported on Wednesday night: "The Trump administration is paving the way for lethal strikes against terrorists in Niger as the US military pushes forward with a plan to arm the Reaper drones that fly over that country." Meanwhile, Republicans are also hinting that more military personnel may be on the way as well.

It apparently doesn't matter to the Trump administration that there's no congressional authorization to do so. They are following in the Obama administration's footsteps by taking the radical view that the Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed in 2001 for the war in Afghanistan, can be used to fight all sorts of wars throughout the world more than 16 years later.

Niger is the perfect illustration of the US's permanent war posture around the world, where special forces fight various militants with little or no public scrutiny and no congressional authorization. The Obama administration announced in 2013 that they were sending 100 troops to Niger as "support for intelligence collection" with French troops in the region. By this year, that number had ballooned to 800, with almost no media attention before the deaths of the soldiers.

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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to  The (more...)

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