US Secrecy on Military Operations
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
America’s only enemies are invented ones to maintain a permanent state of war – so war-profiteers can gorge at the public trough, a deplorable state of affairs worsening, not improving.
Militarism and warmaking define America’s agenda, social justice on the chopping block for elimination to feed it.
Campaigns in multiple theaters are being waged, new ones certain to be launched, numerous covert and other operations ongoing secretly.
The Pentagon and misnamed Defense Department operate below the radar, the public kept uninformed, mainstream media reporting nothing. What they know, they won’t say.
Weeks after Trump took office, his administration stopped disclosing information on US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
Trump claimed it’s to maintain an “element of surprise.” The Pentagon said it won’t routinely announce or confirm information on numbers of US forces, their locations or movements in US war theaters.
Americans have a right to know if US service men and women are in harm’s way. The Trump administration believes otherwise.
The Pentagon failed to disclose thousands of airstrikes in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere – by warplanes, attack helicopters and drones.
Thousands of US special forces are deployed in scores of countries on every continent. According to Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy director William Hartung, “it is fair to say that the larger US military presence has, at a minimum, served as a recruiting tool for the growing number of terrorist groups operating in West Africa.”
The same is true in the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere. So-called counterterrorism operations are more about fostering what Washington claims to oppose.
On December 7, Stars and Stripes discussed a DOD Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) report, saying about 44,000 “unknown” US military personnel are deployed worldwide.
According to Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning, “(w)e are not at a point where we can give numbers other than those officially stated,” adding:
The Defense Department aims to “balance informing the American public with the imperative of operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.”
Commenting on his administration’s strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia last August, Trump said “America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq” in 2011, adding:
It’s “counterproductive…for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin, or end, military options. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.”
“Conditions on the ground – not arbitrary timetables – will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”
It was a declaration of escalated war against fictitious enemies, in current and new theaters, without explaining Washington supports the scourge of terrorism it claims to oppose.
The DMDC report indicated US military forces operate nearly everywhere, ranging from two liaison officers in Fiji to tens of thousands elsewhere.
Manning admitted US forces in Syria are fourfold the number reported. Greater numbers are in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere than publicly known.
The Pentagon claiming it doesn’t know precisely how many US forces are deployed abroad and where is part of its culture of secrecy – refusing to disclose information about its covert and various other operations.
America spends trillions of dollars on militarism, warmaking and state terror – the public, Congress and maybe Trump kept uninformed about ongoing operations.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”