With the death of a Marine sergeant in Iraq last week, the American public finally became aware that there were around 5000 US troops in that country, rather than the 3300 previously acknowledged by the Pentagon. And while most Americans probably know about ongoing U.S. military campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, they might be surprised to learn that U.S. troops are currently engaged in several other conflicts.
Thanks to sparse information, limited media coverage, and no congressional debate, America’s wars are increasingly invisible. Unfortunately, not only does limit public discussion make military action easier and more appealing for policymakers, but it prevents discussion of the long-term effectiveness and costs of repeated interventions. Both Congress and the public should seek to reverse this trend.
Much of the controversy over America’s ever more secretive role in the world’s conflicts has focused on the post-2001 drone campaign against al-Qaeda. Yet an increasing number of conflicts today – in Somalia, Nigeria, Uganda, Syria and elsewhere – also involve small contingents of U.S. Special Operations Forces, often backed by air power.
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Featured Image: Real Clear Defense, America’s Invisible Wars,
By Emma Ashford