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The Dogs of War Sniff out Mission in Central Africa

March 13, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

As if the United States wasn’t already pursuing enough
murky and dubious military missions in such places as Afghanistan,
Syria, and Yemen, a push appears to be underway to expand
Washington’s involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa.

U.S. troops are more deeply engaged in “anti-terror”
in Niger, Somalia, and other countries than most Americans realize.
When four American Special Forces personnel died in Niger in 2017,
even members of Congress were surprised.

A lobbying effort now seems to be taking place for U.S.
intervention to alleviate suffering in the Central African Republic
(CAR), because of that country’s ongoing civil war. NBC News
took the lead with a story on the March 6 Today show and
followed it up with a more detailed segment on the Nightly News that same evening. Cynthia
McFadden was the lead journalist for the report that included
searing footage of suffering in one UN-run refugee camp.

If we don’t do
it—the growing narrative goes—Russia, China, and ISIS

The media treatment would be familiar to anyone who recalls the
preludes to U.S. military interventions in such places as Somalia,
Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, and Syria. There is extensive video of
starving, disease-afflicted children and their anguished parents.
International aid workers emphasize that the suffering was certain
to get worse unless the “international community” (led,
of course, by the United States) took immediate action. A U.S.
diplomat on the scene or in Washington proceeds to echo that
argument. The armed conflict causing the suffering is mentioned,
but the treatment is brief and superficial, or it becomes a
simplistic melodrama in which a designated villain is causing all
the trouble: Think Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Qaddafi, and Bashar

The NBC report followed that template to
perfection—including the focus on child victims. In an
on-camera interview, Caryl Stern, the CEO of UNICEF USA, stated
flatly: “This is the most dangerous place in the world for
children.” As with earlier media accounts that sought to
generate public support for U.S. intervention in the Balkans,
Libya, and other chaotic arenas, the report also highlighted the
sense of urgency and the assertion that the United States has both
a moral obligation and a strategic interest in taking action. One
passage asserted that the situation already in the CAR was dire and
becoming more so:

The Central African Republic has descended into chaos in recent
years. A sectarian civil war pitting Muslim rebels against
Christian militias has ravaged large swaths of the country,
displaced more than 1 million people and claimed the lives of tens
of thousands.

Adding to its woes, this landlocked nation of 4.6 million people
is now teetering on the brink …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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