Sen. Lindsey Graham surprised at US Troops in Niger? He could have read Nick Turse

By Jon Queally, staff writer. | ( ” – –

Graham Should Read More Nick Turse, TomDispatch, and Common Dreams.

What U.S. Senators Don’t Know (and Neither Do You) About What the Pentagon Is Doing in Africa

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the Senate’s most outspoken military hawks and member of the powerful Arms Services Committee, confessed over the recent weekend he “didn’t know” the United States currently has nearly a thousand soldiers in Niger—something he only learned after the recent deaths of four U.S. soldiers in the African country broke into the national news cycle last week.

To the extent this admission is true, Sen. Graham would do himself a big favor if he put aside some time and started reading the body of work written by investigative journalist Nick Turse, an associate editor of the indispensable TomDispatch website and frequent contributor to The Intercept who has reported extensively on the expanding U.S. military footprint across Africa since 9/11.

In 2015, Turse wrote the book, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, in which he details the Pentagon’s “shadow war in Africa,” mostly consisting of clandestine Special Forces operations, drone warfare, and the training of foreign troops that he argues is mainly “helping to destabilize whole countries” while setting the stage for future military escalation in any number of countries across the continent, with Niger just one among them.

And it is not as though Sen. Graham was alone in his stated surprise about the size and scope of the U.S. military presence in Africa. In addition to several other lawmakers who said so on the record, Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York also said he “did not [know]” about the troop levels in Niger or what the soldiers’ mission might have been. Schumer said he expected to receive a full briefing from the Pentagon this week.

In the meantime, however, Graham, Schumer—and anyone else for that matter—can start with these free and very accessible articles, all of which where first published by TomDispatch, edited by Tom Engelhardt, and subsequently re-posted here at Common Dreams over recent years.

Call it a primer for the U.S. “war on terror” in Africa. Or, to riff on one of Turse’s own headlines, What U.S. Senators Don’t Know (and Neither Do You) About What the Pentagon Is Doing in Africa:

July 12, 2012: America’s Shadow Wars in Africa

April 14, 2014: Our Big, Fat, Not-So-Secret War in Africa

September 08, 2014: How Not to Win Hearts and Minds in Africa

April 21, 2015: Sex, Drugs, and Dead Soldiers: What US Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know

Naomi Klein Block

November 18, 2015: America’s Empire of African Bases

December 17, 2015: America’s Secret African Drone War Against the Islamic State

Thursday, June 23, 2016: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics… and U.S. Africa Command

August 02, 2016: The U.S. Military Pivots to Africa and That Continent Goes Down the Drain

September 06, 2016: What the US Military Doesn’t Know (and Neither Do You) About Special Forces in Africa

December 19, 2016: Commandos Without Borders: America’s Elite Troops Partner with African Forces But Pursue US Aims

Thursday, April 27, 2017: The U.S. Military Moves Deeper into Africa

And it’s not just reporting past developments and events that might be needed at this point. As Turse himself pointed out to Sen. Graham in a tweet on Monday, there’s plenty in Africa’s future that U.S. military planners are considering as well.

Perhaps it is best if members of Congress—as well as the U.S. public at large—started asking many more questions, and demanding much better answers, about what they do and do not know about America’s role on the continent.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License



Related video added by Juan Cole:

Lindsey Graham Interview (Full): Americans In Niger Fighting Terrorists | Meet The Press | NBC News

9 Responses

  1. These guys never get it right; they’re media stars, propped up by assistants with political agendas of their own. It’s a farce. I can remember Rand Paul claiming that all of Obama’s job growth was in the public sector when NONE of it was. Confronted with this he just shrugged… “Really?” Graham is the same way, worried about protecting his brand, not governing…

  2. Does Lindsay Graham know about this Billion $$ fossil-fuel boondoggle?

    The Trump has ordered the US Air Force to place its fleet of B-52 bombers armed with thermonuclear weapons on 24-hour alert for the first time since 1991 amid escalating tensions with North Korea.

    link to

      • Stupid math error alert! B-52H fuel capacity . . . . .

        S/B ≥2 MILLION gallons @>$62/gallon JP-8/synthetic Fischer-Tropsch fuel blend. Whoops!

        A tidy sum per each B-52H on flying alert.

  3. Hell yes: We Exceptional Americans can certainly garrison Africa after we destabilize it into anarchy . . . worked so well in Cambodia, Laos, VN & the ME. With 10 Million (Yes, “Million”) AK-47s, a couple billion rounds of 7.62, and a million or two RPGs floating around Africa and the ME, what could possibly go wrong??

  4. “next 9/11 will come from Africa”

    And our leaders will say “how could they hate us so” and “they hate our freedom”.

  5. Jesus. I, a retired teacher of government/history, am more damn informed than these dolts? No wonder we are in such a pathetic state of ignorance as a nation. It may be time for these idiots to start paying attention……

  6. Methinks he is lying, or not doing his job, or the victim of a shocking coverup by the Executive Branch. According to this, he is on the Armed Services Committee, which “. . . has jurisdiction over all areas of national defense including the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force.”
    link to

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