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8:53AM

Time's Battleland: AFRICOM gets seriously . . . nasty

In 2007, I wrote the first definitive piece for Esquire on the kernel code for Africom: namely, the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. Back then, I described it as essentially a non-kinetic force, or no "trigger pullers." But the piece led off with a quick summary of a special ops event that occurred in conjunction with Ethiopia's military intervention in Somalia. So when the deputy commander of CJTF-HOA said that the command had "never fired a shot in anger," he was being truthful in a bureaucratic sense. Back then, HOA didn't kill bad guys on the Horn, SOCCENT [Special Operations Command, Central Command] killed bad guys on the Horn.

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.

Reader Comments (4)

And it's only going to go downhill from here.

When you start using drones, you've got to be damned sure that you are not being played - i.e. tribe A is not targeting tribe B by painting tribe B as "terrorists". Africa has 800 million people, 1,000 different languages and just as many Ahmed Chalabis.

This is no longer the sixties with Lumumba and Kasavubu. Nigeria alone has 43 million internet users and education levels have risen dramatically. Africans are much more aware of the outside world than the American foreign policy establishment or the Pentagon realize.

The furore over the basing of AFRICOM on African soil hasn't died down - now this. Trust me, you are going see large demonstrations against AFRICOM in Joburg, Lagos and Nairobi a few years down the line.

Of course this will enhance America's strategic position with respect to the Chinese in Africa.


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September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaduka

So when is the US going to start using drones in Northern Nigeria? (and piss off 75 million Muslims in the process). When are they going to start using them in the Niger Delta (and piss off the rest of the population)?

Don't tell me they won't use them, because once you start playing with your funky toys, you don't want to stop.

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaduka

There was a neat comic strip once. "Calvin and Hobbs." Hobbs was a stuffed tiger. Calvin, the little boy, would get in trouble and blame Hobbs. "I didn't do it, Hobbs did it." The Drones are our Hobbs. We are not killing anyone...the Drones are. Now it's going to get even better. The Drones are going to make their own decisions. Maybe we can use robot lawyers to OK the "shoot" order. We can deny any responsibility at all.

I spent my entire adult life as a soldier, a policeman and a federal agent. I have seen about every screw up you can possibly imagine. I was almost killed by my own artillery...in training for God's sake. I have seen drug raids at the wrong address. I have seen policemen shoot other policemen by mistake. Now Drones are going to "identify" targets with their little computer brains. Facial recognition technology? Gee...what could go wrong here?

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connor

At some point, it probably wouldn't hurt to start developing anti-drone technology. Even if Ted's prediction turns out to be wrong, it's only a matter of time before someone who doesn't like us starts building drones of their own.

October 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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