Ever since 9/11, American presidents and their military advisors have repeatedly committed U.S. troops and prestige to inhospitable regions in terrain that largely neutralizes U.S. advantages in firepower and maneuverability. Despite setback after setback, American presidents and generals persist in trying to control hostile territory.
We don't need hyperbolic statements that our military is the "finest fighting force" ever, or that our troops are the world's liberators and bringers of freedom. Such words are immoderate and boastful. They're intended to win favor with the troops and with the people back home; they're politically calculated. And in that sense, they're ill-advised and even dishonest -- they're basically nothing more than flattery.
Nick Turse's new book of investigative reporting reveals that the U.S. military has been involved in one way or another -- "construction, military exercises, advisory assignments, security cooperation, or training missions" -- with more than 90 percent of Africa's 54 nations, despite military spokespersons insistence that the U.S. maintains only one permanent "base."