While it is impossible to know all the dirty deeds of America’s sprawling global empire, news that US ground forces are now fighting in Libya means that US troops are involved in at least four active wars:
Afghanistan: A planned draw-down of troops in 2015 was curtailed by President Obama to leave more troops for combat and advisory missions. This week, US forces were forced to abandon military equipment that then fell into the hands of ISIS.
Iraq: After a removal of major combat forces in 2011, Iraq has become a battleground once again. President Obama has sent roughly 4,600 troops in for combat and advisory roles and built a new base in northern Iraq called “Firebase Bell.”
Syria: Though the US had been supporting Syrian rebel groups, including jihadists, since 2013, US troops have entered the fighting in the country. In January of this year, US special forces took control of a military base in northern Syria.
Libya: In 2011, the US assisted in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government in Libya. In the aftermath, Libya has fallen into total chaos, making it ripe for ISIS to establish a significant presence. Now, according to the Pentagon, US forces are fighting on the ground to drive ISIS out.
This excludes all of the off-the-books special operations in over 100 countries, and the major role the US is playing in supplying weapons for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. Among those weapons are controversial cluster bombs, which are banned by many countries for their impact on civilians.
Preceding the Yemen civil war, the US had an active drone assassination program in the country, which included the targeted killing of American citizens. The drone assassination program continues throughout the greater Middle East.
According to the Obama Administration, these military operations are legally justified by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force [PDF], which stated “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
The bland, vague language apparently justifies any war in any part of the world. So, maybe the US will soon have troops in five active wars. Hell, make it six.
By Dan Wright