MEDIA ROOTS- It’s hard to take the government’s talk of “shared sacrifice” amidst our debt crisis and economic hardships seriously, when there isn’t more than a peep about sacrificing dough from the most overfunded department of all: defense. The US government spends half of all taxpayer revenue on war. Yet, instead of acknowledging how the department’s increasingly bloated budget (which has doubled since 2001) might have something to do with the fact that our country is broke, the debt deal is set to mostly make cuts to severely depleted social programs.
Cutting a significant fraction of military spending isn’t even on the table, because of the western world’s blind acceptance to needing a global “war on terrorism.” Therefore, the cost of imperialism trumps the needs of the middle and working class once again.
However, maintaining American hegemony does not just mean strategically occupying resourceful Middle Eastern countries– it also means the funding and training of extensive special operations armies that are currently engaged in over 120 countries in the world, carrying out covert missions such as “assassinations, counterterrorist raids, long-range reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.” Alternet takes a look at an under reported element of US imperialism that isn’t on too many Americans’ radars: the secret forces that are currently interfering with 120 other countries’ political processes and democratic evolutions– all at the expense of the US taxpayers.
ALTERNET– Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you’re done… for the day. Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries. This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now.
After a U.S. Navy SEAL put a bullet in Osama bin Laden’s chest and another in his head, one of the most secretive black-ops units in the American military suddenly found its mission in the public spotlight. It was atypical. While it’s well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.
Last year, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reported that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in 75 countries, up from 60 at the end of the Bush presidency. By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. “We do a lot of traveling — a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said recently. This global presence — in about 60% of the world’s nations and far larger than previously acknowledged — provides striking new evidence of a rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all corners of the world.
The Rise of the Military’s Secret Military
Born of a failed 1980 raid to rescue American hostages in Iran, in which eight U.S. service members died, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was established in 1987. Having spent the post-Vietnam years distrusted and starved for money by the regular military, special operations forces suddenly had a single home, a stable budget, and a four-star commander as their advocate. Since then, SOCOM has grown into a combined force of startling proportions. Made up of units from all the service branches, including the Army’s “Green Berets” and Rangers, Navy SEALs, Air Force Air Commandos, and Marine Corps Special Operations teams, in addition to specialized helicopter crews, boat teams, civil affairs personnel, para-rescuemen, and even battlefield air-traffic controllers and special operations weathermen, SOCOM carries out the United States’ most specialized and secret missions. These include assassinations, counterterrorist raids, long-range reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.
© 2011 AlterNet
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