[News] It’s All About Africom

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 1 11:04:10 EDT 2017


  It’s All About Africom

by Margaret Kimberley 


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 <http://www.africom.mil/>) 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 
<https://www.blackagendareport.com/obama_brought_slavery_to_libya> 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.

/*Margaret Kimberley* writes the Freedom Rider 
<http://freedomrider.blogspot.com> column for Black Agenda Report, where 
this essay originally appeared. /

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