Renegade Pentagon?

Solving other nations’ internal political, ethnic, and religious turmoil has proven well outside the U.S. military’s capabilities.
Solving other nations’ internal political, ethnic, and religious turmoil has proven well outside the U.S. military’s capabilities.

Two months after the lethal ambush in Niger that killed four American troops in October, U.S. forces were involved in another skirmish in the central African nation with militants linked to the Islamic State. If this story sounds unfamiliar, that’s because it was first reported last week, fully three months after the battle.

Pressed for an explanation of the delay at a Defense Department briefing Thursday, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White offered a stunning justification: U.S. “troops are often in harm’s way, and there are tactical things that happen that we don’t put out a press release about,” she said. “We also don’t want to give a report card to our adversaries. They learn a great deal from information that we put out.”

In other words: The military will decide whether Americans find out what the military is doing in their name.

White cast the secrecy as a matter of security, a characterization that is misleading at best: This is not a case of the public demanding notice before every troop movement in a known warzone. It is not analogous to announcing D-Day in advance. This is a secretive intervention in a nation where the military has no legal authority to act. It is a blatant disregard for the Constitution’s assignment of war powers to Congress and the Pentagon’s accountability to civilian leaders and the citizenry. It is reckless executive war-making concealed from the public eye.

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kenkulak
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“In other words: The military will decide whether Americans find out what the military is doing in their name.” I do not know how or under whose authority the American military got into Niger. In my opinion, being a former military man, and having a lifelong interest in military goings on, in some cases, such as these little insurgent wars, secrecy in local tactical and operations is warranted. Although the appropriate bipartisan departmental committee heads should have input into and be kept informed of the general direction. The public does not need to know about every little firefight. The British… Read more »