Monday, August 08, 2011

a secret war in 120 countries

TomDispatch | Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you’re done... for the day. Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries. This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now.

After a U.S. Navy SEAL put a bullet in Osama bin Laden’s chest and another in his head, one of the most secretive black-ops units in the American military suddenly found its mission in the public spotlight. It was atypical. While it’s well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.

Last year, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reported that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in 75 countries, up from 60 at the end of the Bush presidency. By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. “We do a lot of traveling -- a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said recently. This global presence -- in about 60% of the world’s nations and far larger than previously acknowledged -- provides striking new evidence of a rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all corners of the world.

The Rise of the Military’s Secret Military
Born of a failed 1980 raid to rescue American hostages in Iran, in which eight U.S. service members died, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was established in 1987. Having spent the post-Vietnam years distrusted and starved for money by the regular military, special operations forces suddenly had a single home, a stable budget, and a four-star commander as their advocate. Since then, SOCOM has grown into a combined force of startling proportions. Made up of units from all the service branches, including the Army’s “Green Berets” and Rangers, Navy SEALs, Air Force Air Commandos, and Marine Corps Special Operations teams, in addition to specialized helicopter crews, boat teams, civil affairs personnel, para-rescuemen, and even battlefield air-traffic controllers and special operations weathermen, SOCOM carries out the United States’ most specialized and secret missions. These include assassinations, counterterrorist raids, long-range reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.

One of its key components is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, a clandestine sub-command whose primary mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists. Reporting to the president and acting under his authority, JSOC maintains a global hit list that includes American citizens. It has been operating an extra-legal “kill/capture” campaign that John Nagl, a past counterinsurgency adviser to four-star general and soon-to-be CIA Director David Petraeus, calls "an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine."

This assassination program has been carried out by commando units like the Navy SEALs and the Army’s Delta Force as well as via drone strikes as part of covert wars in which the CIA is also involved in countries like Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. In addition, the command operates a network of secret prisons, perhaps as many as 20 black sites in Afghanistan alone, used for interrogating high-value targets.

Growth Industry
From a force of about 37,000 in the early 1990s, Special Operations Command personnel have grown to almost 60,000, about a third of whom are career members of SOCOM; the rest have other military occupational specialties, but periodically cycle through the command. Growth has been exponential since September 11, 2001, as SOCOM’s baseline budget almost tripled from $2.3 billion to $6.3 billion. If you add in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has actually more than quadrupled to $9.8 billion in these years. Not surprisingly, the number of its personnel deployed abroad has also jumped four-fold. Further increases, and expanded operations, are on the horizon.

20 comments:

Big Don said...

For the Nth time, defense is Number One.  Nothing less than the best will do...

CNu said...

lol, ok BD..., but your standard operating procedures beg questioning when conditions deteriorate to the point where you have to "defend" yourself with hit teams in 3/5ths of the world's sovereign states.

nanakwame said...

This should have been SOP long time ago, w/o the long wars

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.
Baruch Spinoza, in Theological-Political Treatise (1670)

Tom said...

lol ...

CNu said...

So if I understand you correctly Nana, you're advocating on behalf of the hit teams?

nanakwame said...

No I am no advocating on behalf of the hit team, but to believe we can go on in this world without defense and prevention is counter to your love of Doc Holiday and the Character you love so well. When we come to the point where we consciously live as one race; it may be different. As I said before this role we took and are given is our tragic scarifice, we just have had too many nuts leading it. Isn't  hard to have a love of such "manly arts"  and call for peace. I am pretty sure you don't train for the ultimate fall you predict, alone? Even the monks who left society didn't give up the arts.  Do your son and you play the video games. I don't.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uWIQ2yAPnQ
Ninja Scroll

CNu said...

Doc Holiday was only doing what an intelligent and cultivated man was compelled to do under his cultural circumstances..., as for video games, not only do I NOT play video games, I discourage them as strongly as possible. My son and I played 4 sets of tennis yesterday and a couple of rounds of airsoft war.

nanakwame said...

Good - even if we don't have state power - a cultivated person will be compelled to do under his or her cultural circumstances:

Should you desire the great tranquility, prepare to sweat white beads.
 Hakuin

Uglyblackjohn said...

BD - Do you walk around in fear?
Would you hire hitmen from to kill those from the hood who MAY pose a threat to you at some time in the future?

CNu said...

and there I thought that was what the so-called "war on drugs" was for....,

Big Don said...

It is sufficient for your enemies to view you as an entity to be feared, rather than as a target potentially conquerable...

Tom said...

It is sufficient for your enemies to view you as an entity to be feared, rather than as a target potentially conquerable...

We're so far beyond that point as to make the idea ridiculous.

Big Don said...

5/5ths would be even better.  Inadequate Defense lesson for today is at http://www.livescience.com/15460-attack-reclusive-amazon-tribe-feared-missing.html

nanakwame said...

Your comparison is a little off.  A street gang could wipe them out. Defense in our times is quite different ball game. The so-called ancient tribes are about gone or the smart ones have blended into society though-out the Americas

Rembom said...

"5/5ths" Let me get this nugget of BD World wisdom straight.  A primitive native tribe disappears from their indigenous digs, apparently at the hands of drug traffickers.  And you make the brilliant analogy to the dangers the US faces.  In this analogy, is the US supposed to be like the drug traffickers or like the tribe?

CNu's posting was about US **foreign** adventures, not threats on its native territory.  With respect to adequate **defense**, you know that the US spends more annually than...all the rest of the world combined.  You think that's enough to deter incursions?  Do you think if we had a level of defense spending more appropriate to actual **defense** we would have so gratuitously invaded Iraq?

Sane folks might wonder if that level of miliary expenditure would worry the rest of the world enough that they start forming alliances excluding the US.  They might wonder thus because that's exactly what happened during the Great Dub Adventures of the early 21st century.  Wildly superfluous military spending not only takes up plowshare money, it is counterproductive to actual defense.

CNu said...

"5/5ths" Let me get this nugget of BD World wisdom straight.

rotflmbao....,whew!!!! (coffee in the keyboard time - and I haven't made it any further into the comment yet)

Big Don said...

It's the principle , dude, local or global.  Today, USA can't even deal with Mexican druggies, MS13 and similar ilk expanding in all the big cities now.  Tomorrow it may be KC goes broke, lays off their entire police force (this sort of thing is happening), and those cats in 64130 get hungry and want your food stash.  You mite have to deal defensively with that...better be prepared...

CNu said...

Today, USA can't even deal with Mexican druggies, MS13 and similar ilk expanding in all the big cities now.

Do you mean to say that the Drug Prohibition and the War on Drugs can't be ended with the stroke of a pen tomorrow - with consequent elimination of well-financed drug gangs and cartels and boosts in tax revenues from properly regulated and taxed cultivation, production, and distribution?

Tomorrow it may be KC goes broke, lays off their entire police force
(this sort of thing is happening), and those cats in 64130 get hungry
and want your food stash.


LOL, I don't depend on the KCPD to properly issue parking tickets downtown, what on earth leads you to imagine that I depend on them to detect, deter, or heaven forbid "prevent" crime and criminality in the greater metropolitan sprawl?

This morning, I saw to it that $250K worth of Cisco networking gear made it to the learning center where the 3rd semester of training toward hardcore professional knowledge, skill, and ability will do more to deter crime and criminality in the greater metropolitan sprawl than any amount of donut snacking and hoodrat brutalizing by KC's overpaid, underemployed, and starkly non-productive finest....,

Tom said...

Get your head out of the TV.  These are not serious threats to the USA.  

US + Japan + NATO = 3/4 of world military spending.  

You folks need to look to extraterrestrials for meaningful threats ... or else find a base that's hopelessly innumerate and that confused infotainment with reality.

Uglyblackjohn said...

Thanks for the answer BD.
So you fear those who have very little chance of harming you?

May Golan Looks And Sounds Just Like A Pig Grunting....,

#Israel official states: "I am personally proud of the ruins of Gaza, and that every baby, even 80 years from now, will tell their gra...