America’s Shadow War

Recently I wrote a couple of posts one about the deaths of special ops troops in Niger and another about American killing Americans in Mali.

I was disturb at the response I got from readers on the second post of the Mali deaths….

Source: USAFRICOM–WTF? – In Saner Thought

It is that 2 SEALs allegedly killed a Green Beret by strangulation…Americans killing Americans….and none seemed care….what has a nation come to that this is not outrageous to them?  Please enlighten me!

Could it have anything to do with the shadow war we are fighting in Africa?

America’s little-known war on terrorists in Africa is becoming more perilous as the U.S. deploys growing numbers of troops to the continent’s most lawless regions, including the part of Niger where four special operations soldiers died in an ambush last week.

The escalation is occurring with little public debate — and, some military experts say, too little attention from top decision-makers in Washington. The U.S. military presence in the Sahel and sub-Saharan regions has grown to at least 1,500 troops, roughly triple the official number of American troops in Syria, according to Pentagon and White House figures.

Source: America’s shadow war in Africa – POLITICO

At least the conversation has come round to our involvement in Africa but it took the deaths of 4 special ops troopers to get it started……

The October 4 ambush in Niger, which led to the deaths of four US special forces, has added to that push in a big way, because not only was this operation obviously not ever authorized by Congress, but in this case Congress wasn’t even told it was happening.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and others are very vocal about not liking just how out of the loop Congress has become on wars like the one in Niger. President Trump has suggested his generals authorized the Niger war by themselves, and it doesn’t appear he knew about it either.


Congress has been struggling for years with getting the leadership to allow votes on War Powers Act-related bills, as war authorizations are politically controversial and many of the leaders simply prefer to dodge those matters. This has been going on so long, however, that it’s going to take substantial efforts for Congress to reestablish itself as responsible for authorizing wars.

It is time for Congress to grow a set and ring in these limitless wars we are fighting…..and for them to get grip on the situation within USAFRICOM…there is something rotten in that command.



5 thoughts on “America’s Shadow War

  1. Well, chuq.. and I do appreciate your sensitivity to these kinds of things; I have not the real world experience with the dangers you have faced and maybe that tends to sway my perspective a bit on this issue.

    1. I have an issue with failed military operations conducted in more “routine” environments reaching a point of civilian scrutiny to the point of “second guessing” the military, under the guise of some kind of public outrage. To me, if our troops are deployed anywhere in the world for whatever the reason, the public needs to assume they will be in danger to some degree… absolutely. I see this as a basic patrol under certain expected political and military conditions with a certain threat analysis… and tragically it failed due to obviously a shifted localized military threat potential, and four American soldiers lost their lives… and some Niger troops as well. The “unexpected” is the nature of any military operation.. and hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. Yet it is the natural course for the military to do post-mortums of these operations in order to meet changing conditions and adapt accordingly. While tragic for the families who lost a loved one in this operation, this event by no means has the political or even practical impact as, say a Benghazi, with civilian diplomatic victims, where there is some smoking gun to cast some sort of blame of incompetence and make heads roll. American military history is awash with operations like this that have gone sour with much greater human loss, inside war or in peacetime… yet have gone quietly unknown. Trying to assign some level of blame with a company commander, the local theater commander, some desk general in the Pentagon… does nothing for the overall mission of USAFRICOM. Now.. if anyone wishes to argue about the overall USAFRICOM mission, what Congress may or may not be aware of, and why we are even in Africa.. that’s part of the greater discussion of our foreign policy… and that’s fine.

    2. Regarding the death.. murder.. of the GI in Mali, allegedly at the hands of a couple fellow SEAL guys… it seems that thus far this is a case of “simple” murder. It seems every couple years a GI is involved in a murder somewhere in the deployed world or even stateside. Most of these simply are handled locally, between us and the host country diplomatically, and/or through the military investigative process. There’s been a couple high profile events in Japan over the years that have triggered local demonstrations, but by and large these things happen. So I am not sure why you may have expected some universal public outrage, or even how this act of murder within the ranks has anything to do with USAFRICOM’s ability to deliver on its mission in the region. It’s not like a couple Navy ships having inattentive crews and a questionable command structure and them bumping into merchant ships out of the blue.

    Again I qualify though, chuq… we likely see these events through different glasses based on our own experiences. Just a perspective.

    1. AS far as Benghazi goes….the wrong questions were being asked….like why would an ambassador go into a dangerous situation with such a light entourage…..that was never answered.

      The deaths in Niger…no drone cover why? There shoiuydl have been cover for these men when they were called back to the village….that would smell if I were there……then the death in Mali where 2 SEALs kill a Green Beret…..something is sadly wrong with US AFRICOM.

      To me the 4 Niger deaths smell up they were used as bait to draw this warlord out…..with no cover. chuq

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