AFRICOM Is The Question

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“They use ludicrous terms like ‘gold star family’ and make the case for continued American aggression around the world.”

October 28, 2017 -  The desire to be affirmed by American society has dangerous consequences for black people. This pernicious dynamic creates the inclination to worship any black face in a high place or to defend questionable activity. The death of special forces Sergeant La David Johnson in Niger is a case in point. Donald Trump’s racism and stupidity prevented him from performing the simple task of conveying appropriate condolences to Johnson’s widow. The ensuing brouhaha focuses on what Trump said in the phone call overheard by Congressional Black Caucus member Frederica Wilson.

Almost no one is asking about the fact that American troops are stationed in Africa at all. Few people realize that such a thing as the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM ) exists and that the military forces of most African nations have been under the de facto control of this country since the George W. Bush administration.

There is similar silence about the role that the United States played in bringing groups designated as terrorists into nations such as Niger and Mali. The decision to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya is directly responsible for Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda affiliate groups gaining a foothold throughout the region. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their NATO partners in crime were not just responsible for the deaths of thousands of Libyans, slavery in that country, and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. They are responsible for bringing state sponsored terror to the entire region.

“The military forces of most African nations have been under the de facto control of this country since the George W. Bush administration.”

Focusing on Donald Trump’s bad behavior is a sure path to confusion and accommodation. Instead of denouncing imperialism, otherwise sensible people are waving the flag and attacking Trump using right wing terminology. They use ludicrous terms like “gold star family” and make the case for continued American aggression around the world.

It is pointless to ask about the specific circumstances of Johnson’s death. He died along with three other soldiers in the murky circumstances that are to be expected in warfare. Any questions posed should be about America’s ever expanding empire and the determination to make war on as many places in the world as possible.

Black people should feel no need to validate themselves through military service or any other undertaking. As the people who have suffered through centuries of unpaid labor, Jim Crow apartheid and constant oppression, we should feel no need to uphold this system. Yet we have already proven a willingness to die for the interests of a corrupt and dangerous state. There is frankly no reason to show pride in Johnson’s death or to allow a member of the CBC to turn an important issue into nonsensical grandstanding versus Trump.

At this juncture in history all talk of patriotism is at best foolish and at worst a call for continued crimes and mass murder. It is also high time to end the deification of the American war dead, even when they look like us. They die because they are trying to kill other people.

“The decision to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya is directly responsible for Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda affiliate groups gaining a foothold throughout the region.”

Condolences to Johnson’s family are appropriate but they are also appropriate for the millions of people who lost loved ones to American empire building in Niger, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. That is a short list which only includes the victims of American war crimes committed in the past 20 years.

No one should be fooled by crocodile tears from white Americans with grudges against Trump. If Sergeant Johnson had been killed by a police officer in an American city many of the same white people who now rush to call him a hero would either shrug their shoulders in indifference or applaud his death. They should not be allowed to jump on the bandwagon of fake concern because Trump is their target.

“Any questions posed should be about America’s ever expanding empire and the determination to make war on as many places in the world as possible.”

As for congresswoman Wilson, she has a golden opportunity to discuss the impact of American interventions abroad and question their rationale. But like the rest of her CBC colleagues, her interests are confined to reliance on the largesse of the Democratic Party and their corporate benefactors. Trump’s bad behavior makes him an easy target for scorn and a convenient punching bag for the useless black political class. If Wilson wants to take on the president it ought to be for more substantive reasons. Likening his boorishness to “Benghazi” uses a right wing trope for ridiculous effect.

Any discussion about Sergeant Johnson ought to point out that he was a victim of the poverty draft. Before enlisting he worked at Walmart, a sure path to continued poverty or to the dubious odds offered by the army. Trump said that Johnson “knew what he signed up for” but that is probably not true. He took a chance and hoped for the best. Unfortunately the machinations of Bush, Obama, Clinton and Trump made his choice a bad one. If the Congresswoman wants to have a debate she could start with the realities of Johnson’s life and how it ran afoul of United States foreign policy. Only then would her fight with a president be worthwhile.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com.Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

  • Jed Grover

    The New Citizenship Project was a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded by the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation and the Bradley Foundation. Founded in 1994, NCP initiated the neo-conservative Project for the New American Century, one of the key behind-the-scenes architects of the Bush administration’s foreign policy. The New Citizenship Project, an affiliate of the Project for the Republican Future, a conservative G.O.P. think tank founded by William Kristol. A SECRET blueprint for US global domination revealed that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure ‘regime change’ even before he took power in January 2001.

    The blueprint for the creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ was drawn up for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, George W Bush’s younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby. The document, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century Kagan & Kristal.

    The plan showed Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: ‘The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.’

    The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’.

    This ‘American grand strategy’ must be advanced for ‘as far into the future as possible’, the report says. It also calls for the US to ‘fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars’ as a ‘core mission’.

    The report describes American armed forces abroad as ‘the cavalry on the new American frontier’. The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document written by Wolfowitz and Libby that said the US must ‘discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’. All of this ME chaotic involvement began when Daddy Bush announced the New World Order.