America’s SECRET Wars

An excerpt will be published here from a study recently published by a mainstream U.S. nonprofit-charity-thinktank, about the U.S. regime’s many recent and ongoing secret wars. First, however, that charity’s relationship to the study’s topic should be mentioned here:

The Brennan Center for Justice was founded and is mainly financed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is also called the “Carnegie Endowment for International Peace”, and is among the leading ‘charities’ that have been funding scholars who basically accept, if not outright support, American imperialism (otherwise known as neoconservatism). The Carnegie operation is designed to appear to be supporting democracy and world peace while actually accepting if not outright supporting subversion and pro-U.S.-regime propaganda in the nations that the U.S. regime targets for conquest. (There is even a branch-office of Carnegie in Moscow — though Russia is a main target to be acquired by the U.S. regime.) Unlike any progressive organization, which is, by ideology, sincerely and aggressively opposed to all imperialisms (which includes to all of U.S. foreign policies since 1945), such liberal ‘charities’ have not been opposed to any of the U.S. regime’s coups, invasions, sanctions, subversions, or other forms of international aggressions, until after-the-fact (if at all), when they lie to allege these actions to have been unintentional, such as “Cockburn often refers to the failures of American foreign policy and the country’s disastrous intervention as “mistakes” and “miscalculations,””, instead of to refer to those actions as what they actually were, which is immensely destructive actions by an immensely destructive imperialistic regime that helps no one but America’s own billionaires. Even the CIA-edited and written Wikipedia, which blacklists (blocks from linking to) sites that aren’t CIA-approved, acknowledges that:

In the University of Pennsylvania‘s “2019 Global Go To Think Tanks Report”, Carnegie was ranked the number 1 top think tank in the world.[3] In the 2015 Global Go To Think Tanks Report, Carnegie was ranked the third most influential think tank in the world, after the Brookings Institution and Chatham House.[4] It was ranked as the top Independent Think Tank in 2018.[5]

All three of those “think tanks” endorse further expansion of the U.S. empire, and thus support additional conquests in order for that to happen. And all three had opposed the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), especially because he opposed all imperialisms. However, ever since Truman took over the U.S. White House from FDR, and quickly transformed America’s Government along the lines of Cecil Rhodes’s 1877 plan for the UK (England) to take control over U.S. foreign policies in what the Rhodesist Winston Churchill labelled “the Special Relationship” between UK and America, all three of those think tanks have adhered to the goal of a global “Anglosphere” controlling the world (as the video-lecture that’s linked-to at the end of the highlighted section there advocates for). (Here is that youtube without that introductory explanatory context.)

At the start, right after Cecil Rhodes’s death in 1902, there had been a minor difference between the three “think tanks,” because, as the New York Times headlined on 29 May 1910, “CARNEGIE WILL NOT ADOPT RHODES PLAN; Doesn’t Believe in Educating Our Youth Abroad or Young Englishmen Here.” Carnegie wasn’t willing for the world to become controlled by an American Government that would have any such special relationship to the British empire (which is the “Rhodes Plan”). However, after Carnegie died in 1919, — barely a month after the Versailles Treaty (which had been written mostly by the Rhodesists, in both London and New York) was signed — Carnegie’s ‘charity’ had only insignificant differences from Rhodes’s. That’s tragic, because what Carnegie had been advocating for during his life was clearly against ANY imperialism by the U.S. In fact, his article in the August 1898 magazine North American Review, titled “Distant Possessions: The Parting of the Ways”, argued (against Teddy Roosevelt’s eagerness for an imperialistic U.S. but without even mentioning TR’s name) that “As long as we remain free from distant possessions we are impregnable against serious attack” and that “It has never been considered the part of wisdom to thrust one’s hand into the hornet’s nest, and it does seem as if the United States must lose all claim to ordinary prudence and good sense if she enter this arena and become involved in the intrigues and threats of war which make Europe an armed camp.” He was sincerely, though only tepidly, against there being ANY sort of U.S. imperialism, but soon after his death, his ‘charity’ became instead useful to U.S. imperialists, because it was never aggressive in its opposition to the rest of American academia’s and think thanks’ aggressive advocacy for sanctions, invasions, and coups. The Carnegie Endowment’s opposition to U.S. imperialists was as soft and limp and tepid as all of the others’ advocacy for American aggressions was hard and strong and clear. The Carnegie Endowment, in other words, serves as a very weak opponent to the other think-tanks, all of which support strongly America’s imperialism; and, so, it’s the liberal straw-man which defines the outermost limit of whatever progressivism is within the bounds of acceptability in American public (i.e., billionaire-backed) discussions of U.S. imperialism.  The Carnegie Endowment even publishes and promotes the writings of leading neoconservatives, such as Robert Kagan (whose wife, Victoria Nuland, is likewise). Throughout scholarship, even in its liberal side, neoconservatism is ‘acceptable’, not damned and condemned anywhere, like Nazism used to be unacceptable in the U.S.-and-‘allied’ sphere (but no longer so much is condemned there and is actually supported more by the U.S. Government than by any other). The Carnegie Endowment accepts the American Establishment because it cares far more about being acceptable TO the American Establishment than it does about its nominal program, which is to oppose imperialism.

America SECRET WarsSo: here is from the Introduction to the Brennan Center’s report about America’s secret wars, and my editorial comments on it appear between brackets in it and are in boldface, so as to stand out from the text:


“Secret War: How the U.S. Uses Partnerships and Proxy Forces to Wage War Under the Radar”

By Katherine Yon Ebright, PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 3, 2022


Afghanistan, Iraq, maybe Libya. If you asked the average American where the United States has been at war in the past two decades, you would likely get this short list. But this list is wrong — off by at least 17 countries in which the United States has engaged in armed conflict through ground forces, proxy forces, or air strikes.1 [Ebright fails to identify any of those 17 countries. However: click on this to see “In 2019, US Special Operations forces were deployed in 22 African countries” which is already 5 more than Ebright claims to know of. Furthermore, that article says “Africa Command characterises missions with partner forces as “advise, assist and accompany” or “AAA” missions, but such operations can be indistinguishable from combat.” So, these are at least 22 secret wars that the U.S. regime is engaged in throughout Africa. (Any outside Africa would be in addition to that 22.) Those 22 countries are identified there, and that article says only 14% of U.S. Special Operations forces are operating in Africa; so, Ebright’s “at least 17 countries” would have to be far short of the actual number of America’s “Secret Wars.” The U.S. Congress has created the statutory authority for these wars in order for its members not to be requested by the U.S. President for the U.S. Congress to declare war — OFFICIALLY to BE at war — against those countries in accord with the process that is set forth in the U.S. Constitution for the U.S. Government to be able to be legally at war, because the U.S. is not at war against those countries but is instead protecting those countries’ Governments from being overthrown by those countries’ own residents. The U.S. regime is — perhaps in the majority of those instances — protecting those countries’ leaders from being overthrown by their own citizens; and, in this way, obtaining those countries’ Governments as ‘allies’ or vassal-nations or “colonies” of the imperial U.S. regime. U.S. billionaires control the U.S. Government, and by the U.S. Government’s protecting those leaders, those leaders are required to cut those American billionaires in on their nation’s natural and other important resources, on discriminatorily favorable terms. It’s a pay-to-play system, and these are the individuals who are in the game. In this way, America’s military is a mercenary force that is funded by all U.S. taxpayers in order to increase the wealth of U.S. billionaires. When a client-nation or colony of the U.S. fails to meet the requirements of America’s billionaires, the U.S. Government can then try to break off a part of that country, such as happened when Ethiopia’s Tigray province received U.S. backing and aid in order to become an independent nation — an effort which failed. Consequently, to become a U.S. client-nation can end up endangering that client-nation’s super-rich, as more and more of the leaders of America’s colonies are now finding out. The U.S. regime’s secret wars are tactics of the U.S. regime’s now-declining empire. But no matter how much the tactic fails, America’s billionaires don’t lose from it, because all of its expenses are borne by America’s taxpayers. Now we continue with the Ebright study’s text:]

For members of the public, the full extent of U.S. war-making is unknown. Investigative journalists and human rights advocates have cobbled together a rough picture of where the military has used force, but they rely on sources whose information is often incomplete, belated, or speculative. There is only so much one can learn about the United States’ military footprint from trawling Purple Heart ceremonies, speaking with retired military personnel, and monitoring social media for reports of civilian harm.2

Congress’s understanding of U.S. war-making is often no better than the public record. The Department of Defense provides congressionally mandated disclosures and updates to only a small number of legislative offices. Sometimes, it altogether fails to comply with reporting requirements, leaving members of Congress uninformed about when, where, and against whom the military uses force. After U.S. forces took casualties in Niger in 2017, for example, lawmakers were taken aback by the very presence of U.S. forces in the country.3 Without access to such basic information, Congress is unable to perform necessary oversight.

It is not just the public and Congress who are out of the loop. The Department of Defense’s diplomatic counter-parts in the Department of State also struggle to understand and gain insight into the reach of U.S. hostilities. Where congressional oversight falters, so too does oversight within the executive branch.

This proliferation of secret war is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it is undemocratic and dangerous. The conduct of undisclosed hostilities in unreported countries contravenes our constitutional design. It invites military escalation that is unforeseeable to the public, to Congress, and even to the diplomats charged with managing U.S. foreign relations. And it risks poorly conceived, counter-productive operations with runaway costs, in terms of both dollars and civilian lives. So how did we get here?

Two sources of the government’s ability to wage war in secret are already the subject of much discussion. The first is the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Notwithstanding the limitations in its text, the 2001 AUMF has been stretched by four successive administrations to cover a broad assortment of terrorist groups, the full list of which the executive branch long withheld from Congress and still withholds from the public. The second is the covert action statute, an authority for secret, unattributed, and primarily CIA-led operations that can involve the use of force.4 Despite a series of Cold War–era executive orders that prohibit assassinations, the covert action statute has been used throughout the war on terror to conduct drone strikes outside areas of active hostilities.

But there is a third class of statutory authorities that enable undisclosed hostilities yet have received little public attention: security cooperation authorities. Congress enacted these provisions in the years following September 11 to allow U.S. forces to work through and with foreign partners. One of them, now codified at 10 U.S.C. § 333, permits the Department of Defense to train and equip foreign forces anywhere in the world. Another, now codified at 10 U.S.C. § 127e, authorizes the Department of Defense to provide “support” to foreign forces, paramilitaries, and private individuals who are in turn “supporting” U.S. counterterrorism operations.

While training and support may sound benign, these authorities have been used beyond their intended purpose. Section 333 programs have resulted in U.S. forces pursuing their partners’ adversaries under a strained interpretation of constitutional self-defense. Section 127e programs have allowed the United States to develop and control proxy forces that fight on behalf of and sometimes alongside U.S. forces. In short, these programs have enabled or been used as a springboard for hostilities.

The public and even most of Congress is unaware of the nature and scope of these programs. The Department of Defense has given little indication of how it interprets §§ 333 and 127e, how it decides which § 333 partner forces to defend, and where it conducts § 127e programs. When U.S. forces operating under these authorities direct or engage in combat, the Department of Defense often declines to inform Congress and the public, reasoning that the incident was too minor to trigger statutory reporting requirements.

Notwithstanding the challenges Congress has faced in overseeing activities under §§ 333 and 127e, Congress recently expanded the Department of Defense’s security cooperation authorities. Section 1202 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018 largely mirrors § 127e, but instead of supporting U.S. counterterrorism efforts, the partner forces it covers are intended to support U.S. “irregular warfare operations” against “rogue states,” such as Iran or North Korea, or “near-peers,” such as Russia and China, far beyond the bounds of the war on terror. …

Through these security cooperation provisions, the Department of Defense [actually, the U.S. President], not Congress, decides when and where the United States counters terrorist groups and even state adversaries. Moreover, by determining that “episodic” confrontations and “irregular” warfare do not amount to “hostilities,” the Department of Defense [actually, the U.S. President] has avoided notification and reporting requirements, leaving Congress and the public in the dark.5

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply