Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. Yemen. Somalia. Libya…Niger. I did not list those countries in any particular order, with the exception of Niger. Niger receives special placement on this list as it appears to be the freshest of American entanglements, or at least in the consciousness of the American people.
Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama entered our country into various on-going conflicts when they were in office. We could debate the necessity of our involvement and the issues in each country, but that never happens. Maybe we should have a presence in all the countries listed above, who knows.
Iraq was the last real debate, regrettably a demonstrably dishonest one, and that was back in 2003. The U.S. military has remained busy since then. America now sneaks into war and conflict under cloak of darkness, it’s citizens – and politicians – apparently none the wiser.
And now the demented, tangerine colored septuganerian that occupies the White House is supposed to make rational decisions to make all of this better – great. Oh, and I am not even including Iran and North Korea on this list because they represent unique nuclear challenges unrelated to our War on Terror activities listed above.
So this brings me back to Niger, a country I am sure most Americans have never heard of and are secretly mistaking for that abominable “N word” we are all taught never to say, has an extra G, and remains popular at Ku-Klux-Klan and Trump rallies.
Why didn’t we know that America had close to 1,000 service members in Niger? Why didn’t we have this discussion as a country when President Obama decided to send the first soldiers to Niger over two years ago? Why did things seemingly escalate under President Trump without discussion or coverage? I mean we all know those Kardashian sisters copulated and are pregnant. Why did the current President of the United States say yesterday and I quote, “I didn’t specifically approve this mission.” Huh? What? So much for that civilian control of the military as our founders intended, sheesh! Now I will be partisan for a moment, could you imagine if that had of been President Obama’s response to say – Benghazi? I digress.
I am not going to debate the merits of America’s continued behavior as the Gladys Kravitz of the globe, peeking over fences and peering into the windows of countries looking for boogeymen and monsters. I am not opposed to American intervention in the world, but I am opposed to the autopilot approach our country seems to be on since 9/11 where it comes to supposedly rooting out terror.
And frankly, I am beginning to be more fearful of Americans with guns shooting me at the Whole Foods than I am about terrorists in Niger or Syria or anyplace else for that matter. I am probably more likely, in America, to be shot on the street – for no reason – than by a terrorist from Niger. Oh, and the bullets that might come flying at me could come from a cop, a gang member, or a “domestic terrorist” – the title we reserve for any person of color who commits mass murder with a gun who isn’t a white male. So many ways to die – how fun.
I hope the four service members who died in Niger rest in peace and that their families find solace. I believe that our country should have known about their sacrifice before they died. I hope that our government, specifically members of Congress, remember they have the power to authorize and declare war – not the Executive. They also control the purse strings. Senator Graham and Senator Schumer shouldn’t be on television saying they didn’t know about the number of soldiers in Niger – it’s outrageous. America, as is the case with so many things, needs to do better.