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article imageOp-Ed: US is involved militarily directly or advising in 74 countries

By Ken Hanly     May 9, 2013 in World
Washington - While combat troops have been withdrawn from Iraq, and the Afghan war now involves less US troops all the time, the US is still involved in either fighting or helping some struggle thought to be useful in the "war on terror" in numerous countries.
Altogether the US is involved in 74 different countries. The US Central Command is active in 20 countries in the Middle East busy ramping-up military training, counterterrorism programs and providing logistical support for local military allies.
The US military is the world's largest landlord. Not only does it have long-established bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea and the UK but also has a significant presence in Bahrain, Djibouti, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan. Some bases are large. The Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, the forward base of the Central Command can accommodate up to 10,000 troops and 120 aircraft.
The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) supports "military-to-military" relationships with 54 different African nations. The "war on terror" is used as a justification to project US power and develop relationships with numerous national military forces throughout the globe.
Going beyond these relationships in many cases, US Special Forces operate in numerous countries. Jeremy Scahill writes in "Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield": “By mid-2010, the Obama administration had increased the presence of Special Operations forces from sixty countries to seventy-five countries. SOCOM had about 4,000 people deployed around the world in countries besides Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The Joint Special Operations Command, Special Forces, under Obama, have operated in Iran, Georgia, Ukraine, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Yemen, Pakistan and the Philippines. Teams have also been at times operating in Turkey, Belgium, France and Spain. They also support US Drug Enforcement operations in Columbia and Mexico.
The Obama administration has embraced targeted assassinations and expanded drone attacks far beyond those of the Bush era. Most expanded operations involve small numbers of troops that may barely register in the media or the public mind. For example, in February, 100 US military personnel were deployed to Niger, to assist in intelligence collection to aid the French in their operations in neighboring Mali.Troops have also been sent to Jordan in small numbers but could be significantly expanded. A number of troops have also been sent to South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic in connection with attempts to apprehend Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Obama officials might argue that all of these operations are just a single conflict, the war on terror--although officially the term "war on terror" is no longer used. The president has the authority to order the operations through the Authorized Use for Military Force (AUMF) law passed shortly after the 9/11 attacks. In other situations the actions could be defended by classifying them as not combat roles at all since the US military operates as advisers who help the military operations of allied forces.
However, the reality is that the US is involved militarily throughout the globe directly in conflicts or in helping other forces that are often used as proxies to advance US interests. These new wars have much smaller footprints than earlier wars. While advancing the interests of the US and the military-industrial-complex, there is minimal political fallout due to the lack of casualties and of media attention to what is happening.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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