The most satisfying part about being an armchair general, or a part time self taught military historian is that you work in a bubble so often that your theories ferment without much opposition. After a few months you are convinced that you are an absolute genius waiting to be picked up. This is no different for me. From time to time in my life I have sat back and seen things the way they are, and I have kept mostly quiet watching others participate in a discourse largely comprised of lies and equivocation, or distractions. I watch the proceedings of what we call the “news” and see it almost as a state run propaganda machine. I am never disappointed at the Gordian knots of logic twisted to justify the misspent funds, goodwill, bribery, or unsupervised operations. I am never disappointed to see Americans lap this swill up.
Few in America could tell you what Africa Command is. Not unlike the Orwellian monikers such as Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, Africa Command sounds so much like Afrika Korps that a chill ran up my spine. Of course there is no commonality between the two organizations. Africa Command was formed in Obama’s first year in office to counter Jihadists who were conducting new offensive operations in North Africa. The idea was to create an indigenous African counter-terrorism force that would push back the influence of Al Quaida in North Africa without taxing already stretched US resources.
Under the command of General Carter Ham, the command itself suffered a setback when it’s first commander, a General Ward spent tax dollars lavishly and secretively. He was forced to pay back $92,000 to the US and retire a Brigadier General, a one star demotion. Ham calls it “African solutions to African problems.”
It goes without saying that the US public, which could name all of the Kardashians and not find a single identifiable country in North Africa with two hands and a flash light have no idea what is happening with their own money. Well, in case you missed it, a large portion of the forces that we trained simply purloined the resources we gave them, from the training to the weaponry – all of it – and then defected to the Jihadists we were training them to oppose. Another amateur hour operation that fails in plain sight.
Now recall that having an indigenous force defect with all our training and money and resources is not something that happens all that often. Except of course the Taliban who were the Mujahadeen that we trained and armed. And except the Zetas cartel that we trained and armed. And all the Blue on Green attacks from people we trained and armed.
If you want to see the cracks in the armor of an empire, just look at the growing incompetence. The miscommunications. The ambitious unrealistic goals of converting enemies to our cause at the business end of weaponry. Now we no longer need feet on the ground. All we need are airborne drones trying to do a counter insurgency operation done on the cheap.
The last thing you need to look for is a world that once looked to us to do all the heavy lifting, and now knows that we are out of energy, out of passion, out of money and out of touch. Instead, you see France, a large powerful empire that operates in our shadows going it alone. In the last month and a half, France has conducted major combat operations to stabilize Mali that almost fell to Salafists sweeping down out of Tunisia. French Rafale and Mirage fighters made the kind of strikes we once replayed on TV all day long.
Finally, I realize that the mistakes made at Benghazi are being flogged by Obama’s opponents as the end of the world. And of course, few people outside of the wingnut communications bubble sees this as a deal breaker. Then again, to their point, Africom was asleep.
If only we would learn from our own mistakes and if only we would hold accountable the security state experts who advise us in operations that backfire.
If we would only take the money we produce and spend it building our country.