FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

It’s All About Africom

by

Photo by USASOC News Service | CC by 2.0

The desire to be affirmed by American society has dangerous consequences for black people. This pernicious dynamic creates the inclination to worship any black face in a high place or to defend questionable activity. The death of special forces Sergeant La David Johnson in Niger is a case in point. Donald Trump’s racism and stupidity prevented him from performing the simple task of conveying appropriate condolences to Johnson’s widow. The ensuing brouhaha focuses on what Trump said in the phone call overheard by Congressional Black Caucus member Frederica Wilson.

Almost no one is asking about the fact that American troops are stationed in Africa at all. Few people realize that such a thing as the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM ) exists and that the military forces of most African nations have been under the de facto control of this country since the George W. Bush administration.

There is similar silence about the role that the United States played in bringing groups designated as terrorists into nations such as Niger and Mali. The decision to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya is directly responsible for Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda affiliate groups gaining a foothold throughout the region. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their NATO partners in crime were not just responsible for the deaths of thousands of Libyans, slavery in that country, and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. They are responsible for bringing state sponsored terror to the entire region.

Focusing on Donald Trump’s bad behavior is a sure path to confusion and accommodation. Instead of denouncing imperialism, otherwise sensible people are waving the flag and attacking Trump using right wing terminology. They use ludicrous terms like “gold star family” and make the case for continued American aggression around the world.

It is pointless to ask about the specific circumstances of Johnson’s death. He died along with three other soldiers in the murky circumstances that are to be expected in warfare. Any questions posed should be about America’s ever-expanding empire and the determination to make war on as many places in the world as possible.

Black people should feel no need to validate themselves through military service or any other undertaking. As the people who have suffered through centuries of unpaid labor, Jim Crow apartheid and constant oppression, we should feel no need to uphold this system. Yet we have already proven a willingness to die for the interests of a corrupt and dangerous state. There is frankly no reason to show pride in Johnson’s death or to allow a member of the CBC to turn an important issue into nonsensical grandstanding versus Trump.

At this juncture in history all talk of patriotism is at best foolish and at worst a call for continued crimes and mass murder. It is also high time to end the deification of the American war dead, even when they look like us. They die because they are trying to kill other people.

Condolences to Johnson’s family are appropriate but they are also appropriate for the millions of people who lost loved ones to American empire building in Niger, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. That is a short list which only includes the victims of American war crimes committed in the past 20 years.

No one should be fooled by crocodile tears from white Americans with grudges against Trump. If Sergeant Johnson had been killed by a police officer in an American city many of the same white people who now rush to call him a hero would either shrug their shoulders in indifference or applaud his death. They should not be allowed to jump on the bandwagon of fake concern because Trump is their target.

As for congresswoman Wilson, she has a golden opportunity to discuss the impact of American interventions abroad and question their rationale. But like the rest of her CBC colleagues, her interests are confined to reliance on the largesse of the Democratic Party and their corporate benefactors. Trump’s bad behavior makes him an easy target for scorn and a convenient punching bag for the useless black political class. If Wilson wants to take on the president it ought to be for more substantive reasons. Likening his boorishness to “Benghazi” uses a right wing trope for ridiculous effect.

Any discussion about Sergeant Johnson ought to point out that he was a victim of the poverty draft. Before enlisting he worked at Walmart, a sure path to continued poverty or to the dubious odds offered by the army. Trump said that Johnson “knew what he signed up for” but that is probably not true. He took a chance and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the machinations of Bush, Obama, Clinton and Trump made his choice a bad one. If the Congresswoman wants to have a debate she could start with the realities of Johnson’s life and how it ran afoul of United States foreign policy. Only then would her fight with a president be worthwhile.

 

More articles by:

Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Mass Shootings, Male Toxicity and their Roots in Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
The Fordist Academic
Frank Scott
Weapons of Mass Distraction Get More Destructive
Missy Comley Beattie
Big Dick Diplomacy
Michael Doliner
Democracy, Real Life Acting and the Movies
Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown tells indigenous protesters in Bonn, ‘Let’s put you in the ground’
Winslow Myers
The Madness of Deterrence
Cesar Chelala
A Kiss is Not a Kiss: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Jimmy Centeno
Garcia Meets Guayasamin: A De-Colonial Experience
Stephen Martin
When Boot Becomes Bot: Surplus Population and The Human Face.
Martin Billheimer
Homer’s Iliad, la primera nota roja
Louis Proyect
Once There Were Strong Men
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones
David Yearsley
Academics Take Flight
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail