U.S. Military Working on Mali Intervention as USS Eisenhower Moves off the Coast of Syria

The Obama administration has announced that the U.S. military is working with the African Union and ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) on military action in northern Mali, where Islamic militants have moved in. 

From AP:

Officials from the State and Defense departments told senators that the United States was working with the African Union and ECOWAS, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, on a planned military action in northern Mali. But there are limits to U.S. involvement.

"We have sent military planners to ECOWAS to assist with the continued development and refinement of the plans for international intervention," said Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African Affairs. "Any attempt to militarily oust a AQIM from northern Mali must be African-led. It must be Malian-led," he insisted.

What is especially concerning is what U.S. assistance could look like:

Amanda Dory, the deputy assistant secretary for Africa at the Pentagon, told the subcommittee that the United States is considering support for countries that contribute troops to the mission. That possible assistance includes training and equipment, as well as additional planning and advisers.

What exactly an “adviser” is was not made clear. Nor was it made clear how long U.S. assistance would last.

The glaring omission to most of the discussions about Mali is that it was foreign intervention in Libya that caused Islamic militants to move into Mali in the first place. Ed has written on the issue here and here.

The announcement comes amid an escalation in posturing regarding Syria, with Obama and Clinton both warning the Syrian government not to use chemical weapons and NATO sending Patriot missiles to Turkey. Today, it was announced that the USS Eisenhower, which holds eight fighter-bomber squadrons and 8,000 men, is now off the coast of Syria.

Does anyone know where the left-leaning anti-war movement went?

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  • Paul.||

    The Obama administration has announced that the U.S. military is working with the African Union and ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) on military action in northern Mali, where Islamic militants have moved in.

    *shrug*

    Obama can't do anything without congressional approval, so what's the big deal? He's got congressional approval.

  • BarryD||

    Does anyone know where all the letie lectures about "blowback" went?

  • Chloe||

    Probably the same place that all their lectures on civil liberties went.

  • Aresen||

    Does anyone know where the left-leaning anti-war movement went?

    ♫Somewhere Olbermann the Maddow...♫

  • affenkopf||

    Cindy Sheehan is still around.

  • Paul.||

    Where's Cindy Sheehan's media coverage? Oh yeah, Bush is no longer in office, the media's no longer interested in the daily remonstrations of Cindy Sheehan. Now she's just a crackpot.

  • Paul.||

    They showed back up in the West Seattle Junction recently griping about Israel.

    No mention of Obama's militarism on any sign that I could see.

  • db||

    The revealed preference is that Americans, in the majority, love War. War for the sake of itself, or at least fake safety.

  • ||

    Feeney, you pearl-clutcher, it's only equipment and advisors! And they're being sent in by America's best and brightest!

    I defy you to explain how anything could go wrong with that.

  • tarran||

    I see Obama's prep school gave him only a superficial understanding of the classics:

    To robbery, slaughter, plunder, [the Romans] give the lying name of empire; they make a wasteland and call it peace.

    -Tacitus
  • ||

    Tacitus was the shit.. He hated imperial Rome. He knew once they resorted to plundering other nations' wealth under the guise of "peace and security" that Rome was doomed. Right he was.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Compare and contrast his view of Rome with Polybius'. I think it might be instructive to those that want to jettison limited government for the unlimited variety. Like the Romans did.

  • db||

    So I'm really woefully ignorant of Roman history. Any suggestions for a decent comprehensive but not painfully boring book on the subject?

  • Virginian||

    Second that. The issue is that it's a thousand year span covering most of Europe, North Africa, Turkey, and the Levant, plus assorted other bits. That's a lot of material to cover.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Michael Grant's various books on Rome are accessible. I also like some of the original source material. Polybius is good on the Republic, for instance.

    If you want to really go deep, H.H. Scullard's books are very comprehensive. But they're heavy reading, too.

  • Paul.||

    What about watching episodes of I Clavdivs?

  • Calidissident||

    For a good history of the Late Republic, I recommend the book Cicero by Anthony Everitt

  • db||

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Cytotoxic||

    There is nothing wrong with keeping a close eye on Syria. Jihadis adn WMD are too close. And it is right that America should send 'logistical support/insert BS phraseology here to cleanse Mali. Not direct involvement, just...encouragement.

  • GILMORE||

    Cytotoxic| 12.5.12 @ 5:09PM |#

    There is nothing wrong with keeping a close eye on Syria

    By smuggling weapons and insurgents to syria?

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....ts-2012-10

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Anybody besides me ever notice that African shithole chic always seems to involve machineguns in the back of rusty Toyota pickups?

  • Mongo||

    Technically, no.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Yeah, I was just fessing up to that... Though the character of the area makes me want to contend they cut the continent in the wrong spot. Spillage, maybe?

  • GILMORE||

    Mongo| 12.5.12 @ 5:30PM |#

    Technically, no.

    I see what you did there

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_(vehicle)

  • db||

    Very good one.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    OK, so I got distracted by a wildlife show on TV. That should be "Arab shithole chic."

  • SIV||

    I think it is all too technical for you.

  • entropy||

    Does anyone know where the left-leaning anti-war movement went?

    According to the late Andrew Breitbart, Bernadette Dorn and Bill Ayers sure do.

    He asked them that and he said they said "What do you think the Occupy movement is?"

    Whatever your view on war or foreign policy (and mine are drifting more and more libertarian), the anti-war movement of 04-08 was mostly just shameless democrat political opportunism.

  • GILMORE||

    He asked them that and he said they said "What do you think the Occupy movement is?"

    Lazy, spoiled, selfish, economically illiterate ingrates who want their college debt written off?

    The question of why there's no "Antiwar" left anymore still stands.

  • entropy||

    Like I alluded to. Because it was never really about the war, it was just a handy way to score rhetorical points against the evil Boosh.

    It's different when their guy does it because he's right.

  • Paul.||

    The "Occupy Movement"? That pro-government pep-rally? What's anti-war about them?

  • SIV||

    Just too damn technical

  • GILMORE||

    Beat you to it.

    It is also remarkable how Toyota has something like 90% of the Worldwide pickup-truck-with-50-cal-machine-gun market. I mean, they dominate the whole segment. American pickup truck manufacturers = FOR SHAME. They need to start doing models with the mounting brackets pre-installed as *standard*. Like, the 2013 Ford F150 Mogadishu

  • SweatingGin||

    I really like the f150 raptor with massive tires, and really might be tempted by a Mog model with the mount.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Is the Mog model for Mogadishu or the F150 Unimog. I'd like to see that.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Aw screw that. Arnie just bought one. There goes the brand.

  • R C Dean||

    Purely an academic question, but at what point does supplying, training, advising somebody who is going to war in a foreign country mean you, yourself, are at war in that country?

    We even have a term for it: "proxy" war.

    Does the Constitution grant the President unlimited authority to supply, advise, train foreign belligerents, as long as no US troops actually pull a trigger? I dunno, I'm just asking if there's a point at which a Congressional declaration is (theoretically) called for.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You just want to keep the black man down.

  • entropy||

    Does the Constitution grant the President unlimited authority to supply, advise, train foreign belligerents, as long as no US troops actually pull a trigger?

    Does it matter? It's not like we're going to pay it any mind either way.

  • db||

    War is the health of the state.

  • db||

    The glaring omission to most of the discussions about Mali is that it was foreign intervention in Libya that caused Islamic militants to move into Mali in the first place.

    Hey, hey, as long as the countries have different names, there's no causal connection, right?
  • waaminn||

    Dude that makes a ll kinds of sense dude.

    www.IP-Hiding.tk

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "the deputy assistant secretary for Africa at the Pentagon"

    I submit exhibit A in the "Yes, you can cut the Pentagon Budget" case.

  • Horologium||

    You might want to fix that part about the Eisenhower, the size of the crew, and the complement of aircraft it carries. It's not 8,000 sailors, it's less than 5,500, and the ship has only four squadrons of "fighter/bomber" aircraft, two F/A-18C Hornet Squadrons, one F/A-18E and one F/A-18F Super Hornet squadrons, or about 40 fighter/attack aircraft. The remaining 20 or so aircraft are jamming aircraft (EA-6B), Airborne Early Warning aircraft (E-2C), Antisubmarine warfare helicopters (SH-60F), and Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) aircraft (C-2A), none of which would be mistaken for "fighter/bomber" aircraft, except maybe the EA-6B, which can launch anti-radar missiles at radar sites.

    Reason is better than this; you can object to military operations without resorting to overstatement and hyperbole. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to find out the composition of the the Eisenhower's airwing or the number of sailors assigned to the ship and said airwing.

  • ||

    I'm assuming that the 8000 number includes the entire battle group.

    But while I agree that referring to the eight squadrons as "fighter/bomber" is less than exact, eight (4+2+1+1=8) is the number of squadrons of offensive aircraft. And even the fighter/attack aircraft are pretty well-armed.

  • ||

    IOW, I'm not all that sure that amending the statement to:

    Today, it was announced that the USS Eisenhower [Strike Group], which holds eight fighter-bomber [or fighter/attack] squadrons and 8,000 men, is now off the coast of Syria.


    really adds any additional information not required by pedantic purists.

  • Horologium||

    Actually, my first comment was improperly punctuated, which made it confusing; there are only four combat squadrons in the air wing--the four F/A-18 squadrons. The F/A-18 is a hybrid plane, designed to fulfill both the fighter (interceptor) role and the attack (bomber) role, hence the F/A designator. Jack of all trades is master of none, though; the F-14 was a better fighter and the A-6 was a better bomber, but both were old and required much more maintenance than the newer aircraft, and were not as easy to upgrade with new electronics as they became available.

    The remaining squadrons in the air wing (EA-6B, E-2C, SH-60F, and C-2A) total fewer than 20 aircraft, as the E-2 and EA-6 squadrons each comprise four aircraft, the SH-60F squadron is six or eight helos, and the COD is a single aircraft, maybe two. An airwing in the late eighties or nineties was a much more impressive affair, with 10 squadrons--2 F-14, 2 F/A-18, 1 A-6, 1 EA-6, 1 E-2, 1 S-3, 1 SH-3, and 1 C-2. Sometimes, the carrier would also have an EA-3 or ES-3 detachment on board as well, for a total of almost 100 aircraft.

  • Lyle||

    Boss Obama has paid off Code Pink for the time being.

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