AFRICOM's Gigantic "Small Footprint"
Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse
In the Cold War years, while proxy battles took place between U.S.- and Soviet-backed forces in Angola and other African lands, the U.S. military, which by then had garrisoned much of the planet, was noticeably absent from the continent. No longer. And no one who might report on it seems to be paying attention as a downsizing media evidently sees no future in anticipating America’s future wars. In fact, with the exception of Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post, it’s hard to think of any journalist who has dug into the fast-expanding American role in Africa.
Enter TomDispatch’s Nick Turse. When it comes to American military plans for that continent, he has been doing the work of the rest of the American foreign press corps on his own. For the last two years, while his bestselling book on the Vietnam War, Kill Anything That Moves, was being published, he has been carefully tracking and mapping the growing American military presence in Africa, exploring the way those moves may actually be helping to destabilize the continent, and doing his best to make sure that U.S. planning for future wars there doesn’t go unnoticed and unreported.
Today, he puts his work -- and his efforts to mine resistant AFRICOM spokespeople for information -- into a single panorama of everything a fine reporter and outsider can possibly know now about Washington’s ongoing militarization of Africa. It’s a grim tale of the way, via a hush-hush version of mission creep, the Pentagon and AFRICOM are turning Africa into a battlefield of the future. Don’t say you weren’t warned -- at TomDispatch. Tom
The Pivot to Africa
The proof is in the details -- a seemingly ceaseless string of projects, operations, and engagements. Each mission, as AFRICOM insists, may be relatively limited and each footprint might be "small" on its own, but taken as a whole, U.S. military operations are sweeping and expansive. Evidence of an American pivot to Africa is almost everywhere on the continent. Few, however, have paid much notice.