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Published On: Mon, Oct 23rd, 2017

Why is the US military not only in Niger, but 176 other countries?

Good afternoon, Gramps here,

The world of cable news is just so full of nonsense. With so many important things to report on, in 2017 they frequently resort to this or that about what Donald Trump did and said.

Niger
Image/CIA

Look at Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough and Mika (Lincoln is a founding father) Brzezinski and their progressive roundtable (yes, even those so-called conservatives like Steve Schmidt are progressive) will on a daily basis, take one thing Trump did or said and drone on about it- sometimes for days on end.

Take the Niger situation and the phone call to a grieving widow. Yea, Trump often speaks in an unorthodox manner and is sometimes downright uncouth, but to dedicate so much time on it is really such a waste.

Especially when real important things need to be discussed, like why are we in Niger and 176 of the approximately 200 countries on the planetr?

Seriously.

First, why Niger? Even Senate neocons who claim they are in the know like John McCain and Lindsey Graham don’t have an answer.

According to the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM), authorized during the Bush administration in 2006, says the following:

A safe, stable, secure and prosperous Africa is an enduring United States interest. Niger is an important partner to the U.S. The United States and Niger have a long-standing bilateral relationship. Our militaries have been stalwart allies focused on working together to deter and to defeat terrorist threats in the West African nation and across the Sahel region.

The U.S. military does not have an active, direct combat mission in Niger. AFRICOM provides training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces, including support for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to facilitate their efforts to target violent extremist organizations in the region. This training includes advising and assisting the Nigeriens to increase their organic ability to bring stability and security to their country.

There are approximately 800 U.S. military personnel in Niger, which is about twice the size of Texas. This number includes personnel supporting the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, personnel supporting the construction efforts at Air Base 201 in Agadez, and personnel stationed in the country for other temporary duties and operations. While U.S. Special Forces are advising and assisting the Nigerien Armed Forces, they make up a fraction of the overall U.S. force composition in Niger.

So in a nutshell they’re talking about terrorism. Clearly, this will be the excuse for many of the countries US troops are located.

But a 177 countries? There were around 1.3 million total active-duty U.S. military personnel in 2016. Of these, 193,442 – or 15% – were deployed overseas. This number is the lowest in decades.

The five countries with the largest active-duty U.S. military presence in 2016 were Japan (38,818), Germany (34,602), South Korea (24,189), Italy (12,088) and Afghanistan (9,023). Of the top five countries, Afghanistan is the only one in open conflict.

Speaking of Africa, did you know that there are dozens of military in Uganda, Somalia and Djibouti at among the ~800 bases we maintain?

Why do we have 141 troops in Canada? or 51 in Peru or 66 in the Bahamas?

The media should be getting away from this gossip and gotcha reporting ,making a mountain out of a molehill and investigate what on earth are we doing with US military in about nine out of every 10 countries.

Grandpa Ernie’s Notebook

 

 

 

 

About the Author

- Grandpa Ernie likes to write commentary in between naps.

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