American Military Aid to First World European Country Fighting War in Africa Increasing

Credit: Official U.S. Air Force / Foter.com / CC BY-NCCredit: Official U.S. Air Force / Foter.com / CC BY-NCThe U.S. military is increasing the level of support being given to the French as they continue to fight Islamic militants in Mali.

From the Associated Press:

Through last week, Air Force C17 Globemasters had flown 47 missions to Mali, ferrying 975 French troops and more than 1,200 tons of equipment and supplies to the fight against Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb rebels for control of northern Mali, according to Defense Department figures.

The Air Force had also flown 83 refueling missions delivering more than 544,000 gallons of gas to French Rafale and Mirage attack aircraft in close air support of French and Chad troops.

In March, President Obama authorized $50 million in “immediate military assistance to Chad and France in their efforts to secure Mali from terrorists and violent extremists.” The State Department has also committed $6.6 million to support free elections in Mali.

The AP also reports that last week Army Gen. Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command said that U.S. aid given to the French for their mission in Mali would not include American forces being used in combat. Gen. Ham also said that American drone intelligence gathering operations launched from a base in Niger have been taking place in Mali.

Three days after the White House warned that the sequester would hurt ordinary Americans the president released $50 million dollars worth of military aid to Chad and one of the richest nations in Europe to assist with their war in Mali.

The increased U.S. support for the French-led intervention in Mali is only the latest example of how the president’s actions do not match his rhetoric. In a speech last month in Newport News, VA the president said the following about the sequester:

So these cuts are wrong. They’re not smart. They’re not fair. They’re a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.

Now, the reason that we're even thinking about the sequester is because people are rightly concerned about the deficit and the debt. But there is a sensible way of doing things and there is a dumb way of doing things.

I can’t help but think that giving tens of millions of dollars to a first world country fighting militants in a third world country who are not a direct threat to the U.S. would qualify as not being a sensible approach to dealing with our deficit and debt. Yet, despite the rhetoric from Democrats and Republicans and our unfortunate fiscal situation American policymakers still feel the need to spend money on unnecessary foreign adventures. 

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  • sarcasmic||

    Three days after the White House warned that the sequester would hurt ordinary Americans the president released $50 million dollars worth of military aid to Chad and one of the richest nations in Europe to assist with their war in Mali.

    Give this man a Peace Prize!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Come on Feeney, if the US doesn't supply French troops with clove cigarettes and fresh baguettes, who will?

  • R C Dean||

    We just heard that they are laying off health care staff at the local airbase, because sequester.

    Priorities!

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Who is this Chad character? And why is he getting so much money?

  • crashland||

    I thought we hanged Chad years ago in Florida

  • ||

    Goddammit!

    (mine is better. Yep)

  • ||

    I hear he hangs around Florida.

    *rimshot*

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Through last week, Air Force C17 Globemasters had flown 47 missions to Mali, ferrying 975 French troops and more than 1,200 tons of equipment and supplies to the fight against Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb rebels for control of northern Mali, according to Defense Department figures.

    The Air Force had also flown 83 refueling missions delivering more than 544,000 gallons of gas to French Rafale and Mirage attack aircraft in close air support of French and Chad troops.

    Just out of curiosity, would this be considered an act of war by the US? And if so, does the President have congressional approval to do this?

  • R C Dean||

    Probably not a war-war.

    There's no sovereign-on-sovereign action here, and I understand we've been invited in by the recognized government.

    Now, should Congress authorize this? Ideally, yeah, via authorizing the funding for it. I know, you can stop laughing now.

  • wwhorton||

    Oh, so NOW the French don't mind if we use their airspace...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Using the French to fight your proxy war? Yuck.

  • ||

    It is what I would do if I wanted to lose that proxy war.

  • mr simple||

    What? No one could have seen this coming. This is unprecedented!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    The French couldn't keep their own guys supplied and fueled in Bosnia in 1997...I cannot imagine their capabilities have grown since then.

    So, if you mean by a 16 year running hint that we should have seen it coming, well...oui.

  • Tim||

    You know what other war started with the US aiding France in a third world hotspot?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    The War of 1812...I mean, Canada sure was 3rd world then, amirite? Libre Quebec?!

  • $park¥||

    The French Revolution?

  • R C Dean||

    You can make a case that the Revolution was basically a French operation against the Brits, using the locals as proxies.

  • crashland||

    At least we won't get any boat people this time

  • Wind Rider||

    We should be OUT of Afghanistan NOW. But wait, before we do that, let's flush a lot of money we're screaming we don't have so the Frogs can help one group of thugs chase another group of thugs through the desert and shoot each other.

    Fucking. Stupid.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    That may be the worst headline I've ever seen on H&R.

    Anyway... what happens when the French decide to bug out, as they always do? We pick up where they left off? That's worked out well before.

    Also, remember when Romney was a total dumbass for mentioning Mali as a future hotspot? How we laughed! What an idiot! Well, luckily he lost, and now we don't have to get involved there.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Anyway... what happens when the French decide to bug out, as they always do?"

    They're worried about Algeria.

    Algeria is basically part of France.

    That's basically why they were worried about Libya, too.

  • R C Dean||

    Algeria is basically part of France.

    60 years ago, maybe.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, now that half of Algeria has moved to France, I suppose they're a lot more worried that the civil war, this time, may happen in the streets of Paris?

    Algeria is more intimately a part of France than Puerto Rico is a part of the United States.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm not sure that Al Qaeda in Mali (and the Maghreb) doesn't represent a direct threat to American security, and if it does, then I think it's great that the French are willing to do all the heavy lifting for us.

    But I don't see why we need to be so deep into Germany anymore. I don't see why we need to have 45,000 troops on 21 bases in Germany.

    I understand the European Union has a collective GDP larger than the U.S. They have enough money to bail out all sorts of banks--why don't they have enough money to defend themselves? That's what we're doing with our presence in Europe--the American taxpayer is indirectly underwriting European style "social democracy" and European bank bailouts.

    You think subsidizing the French in their efforts to fight Al Qaeda in Mali for us is breaking the bank? Do you have any idea what our peacetime costs are with our allies?

    "First of all, the peacetime defense budget is now $400 billion dollars, which is not counting all the additional missions. Essentially that includes the cost of being in South Korea, Japan, Germany, Britain, and Italy....The total amount of money we are spending on the military these days basically equals the federal budget deficit."

    http://www.fpa.org/topics_info....._id=185051

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    I'm not sure that Al Qaeda in Mali (and the Maghreb) doesn't represent a direct threat to American security

    How so? I don't see how they can be a threat, direct or otherwise. If they are, then shouldn't the President have the permission of congress before engaging in operations against them?

  • crashland||

    By calling every goat fucker "al qaeda" the AUFM allows the king to smite them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    For the last time, the AUMF gives the president the authority to wage war against anyone who he deems is Al Qaeda anywhere in the world--for now and forever more.

    "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons..."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....Terrorists

    Is Al Qaeda the organization "he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks" that occurred on 9/11?

    The correct answer is "yes".

    Does the AUMF put limitations on where the president is authorized?

    The correct answer is "no".

    Does the AUMF have an expiration date?

    The correct answer is "no".

    Just because we don't like the AUMF, that doesn't mean it doesn't say what it says. And what it says is that the president can do whatever he wants, wherever he wants, for however long he wants--so long as he's doing it against someone he determines is Al Qaeda.

    If we don't like what the AUMF says, then we should change it or get rid of it. We shouldn't pretend it doesn't say what it says.

    Oh, and one other thing we might do? The next time libertarians complain about the blank check we're giving the president--maybe the American people should listen to us instead of denouncing us as traitors.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    I understand the AUMF gives the President the authority to smite the heathens.

    My question concerns your assertion that they are "a direct threat to the US?" How do you figure that?

  • Ken Shultz||

    It was hard to see how Al Qaeda in Afghanistan could be a direct threat to the U.S. before 9/11.

    Turns out they were!

    If Al Qaeda is able to seize and hold territory in Mali and elsewhere in the Sahara, then they could absolutely use that as a base from which to strike at American targets.

    They really are our enemies. Just becasue we're paranoid doesn't mean Al Qaeda isn't out to get us. There are questions about the cost effectiveness of some of our strategies, but there's no question in my mind but that Al Qaeda does present a threat to American security. And these guys really are Al Qaeda.

    Here's a good article on who these guys are, and what they're doing:

    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....came-mali/

  • Sevo||

    Well, the French can't afford to put gas in the tank what with 28-week vacations and all, so the good old 'cowboys' from the US can subsidize those vacations by supplying defense for the poor French.
    And BTW, fuck 'em.

  • Ken Shultz||

    +1

  • oolsey00||

    I'd say that all of this spending is giving Krugman a hard on.

  • Slammer||

    No "Flight of the Valkyries" Alt-Text? Too easy?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "DAMASCUS, SYRIA The Syrian government accused rebels of firing a chemical weapon for the first time on Tuesday in the north of the country, killing at least 25 people in the war-torn Aleppo province. Rebels quickly denied the report and accused regime forces of firing a chemical weapon on a long-range missile."

    Was this covered in the AM links or did I miss it? Seems like a pretty big deal.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-20.....ns-attack/

  • ||

    Are we really paying for France's military or are we paying for their healthcare system?

  • ||

    *cough* Vietnam *cough*

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