How Do We Know “We” Are Not “Directly Involved” In Mali?

So France is going to “re-conquer” Mali but not us. Nope. We’re just providing support for them. This is “France’s War.”

The problem is that our government lies to us all the time and the media typically reports the government’s claims as facts even when the claims contradict what was said yesterday. Furthermore, our executive wing has the power to more or less secretly (at least with the complicity of the mainstream media) get us entangled in foreign affairs that then blow up and are presented as a reason we must put troops on the ground.

According to Wired magazine, “the U.S. military contribution [to the operations in Mali] has remained limited, according to George Little, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman.”

“Little wouldn’t discuss any unarmed U.S. surveillance drones reportedly considered for use over Mali at French request. Nor would he discuss the use of any special-operations forces in the conflict. Since 9/11, unconventional forces and surveillance aircraft have often been a vanguard for a direct U.S. role in campaigns against terrorist organizations that relocate to areas where they perceive they won’t be pursued.”

But here’s the problem. We know we had Special Forces in Mali back in June of 2012, because three of them died in a car accident:

“At the very least, the April 20 accident exposed a team of Special Operations forces that had been working for months in Mali, a Saharan country racked by civil war and a rising Islamist insurgency. More broadly, the crash has provided a rare glimpse of elite U.S. commando units in North Africa, where they have been secretly engaged in counter-terrorism actions against al-Qaeda affiliates. The Obama administration has not publicly acknowledged the existence of the missions, although it has spoken in general about plans to rely on Special Operations forces as a cornerstone of its global counter-terrorism strategy.”

So, if we’ve had troops “on the ground” back then, are we supposed to believe that we don’t have them there any more now that real war is heating up and we are “supporting” France? Of course, maybe our forces are stretched and France’s presence in Mali means we don’t need to send our own troops. I have no way of being sure, though I think that possibility is unlikely.

What I do know is this: When the President and the Pentagon assure us that our role in Mali is “limited,” the most that can mean is that they want people to believe that our role in Mali is limited. We have no reason in the world to believe that our role in Mali really is limited. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. But we can’t know which it is by listening to White House or Pentagon “spokesmen.” Nor does the mainstream media’s role of playing stenographer to what the spokesmen say give us any guidance. They simply pass on what they are told as “news.” There is no reason to think anything they tell us has been independently verified.

Americans are asked, every four years, to vote for a commander-in-chief. I have no idea what can be the point of this exercise when we have no reason to believe that either candidate will hesitate to lie to us.