Do not for a moment think America does not already have troops all over West Africa. We have military interests all over Africa. We are not there for purely “humanitarian” reasons. American never sends its military for purely such reasons, nothing is ever as it seems. Particularly the voice and actions of the American Empire
Six months into West Africa’s Ebola crisis, the international community is finally heading calls for substantial intervention in the region.
On September 16, President Obama announced a multimillion-dollar U.S. response to the spreading contagion. The crisis, which began in March 2014, has killed over 2,600 people, an alarming figure that experts say will rise quickly if the disease is not contained. Obama’s announcement comes on the heels of growing international impatience with what critics have called the U.S. government’s “infuriatingly” slow response to the outbreak.
After two infected American missionaries were administered Zmapp, a life-saving experimental drug, controversy exploded when reports emerged that Doctors Without Borders had previously decided not to administer it to the Sierra Leonean doctor Sheik Umar Khan, who succumbed to Ebola after helping to lead the country’s fight against the disease. The World Health Organization similarly refused to evacuate the prominent Sierra Leonean doctor Olivet Buck, who later died of the disease as well. The Pentagon provoked its own controversy when it announced plans to deploy a $22 million, 25-bed U.S. military field hospital—reportedly for foreign health workers only.
One particular component of the latest assistance package promises to be controversial as well: namely, the deployment of 3,000 U.S. troops to Liberia, where the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) will establish a joint command operations base to serve as a logistics and training center for medical responders.
Today, the US military increasingly confronts Africa as a “battlefield” or “battleground” or “war” in the words of the men running its operations. To that end, it has built a sophisticated logistics network to service a growing number of small outposts, camps, and airfields, while carrying out, on average, more than one mission each day somewhere on the continent. A significant number of these operations take the form of a textbook hearts-and-minds campaign that harkens back to failed US efforts in Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s and more recently in the Greater Middle East.
In Vietnam, the so-called civilian half of the war — building schools, handing out soap, and offering rudimentary medical care — was obliterated by American heavy firepower that wiped out homes, whole hamlets, and whatever goodwill had been gained. As a result, US counterinsurgency doctrine was tossed into the military’s dustbin — only to be resurrected decades later, as the Iraq War raged, by then-general and later CIA director David Petraeus.