Home > Africa > Tomgram: Nick Turse, How “Benghazi” Birthed the New Normal in Africa | TomDispatch

Tomgram: Nick Turse, How “Benghazi” Birthed the New Normal in Africa | TomDispatch

By Nick Turse

DPs Still Residing in UNAMID Compound Following Attack  7 April 2014. Khor Abeche: A nurse from the NGO World Vision provides polio vaccination given by the World Health Organization to displaced children in the UNAMID base in Khor Abeche, South Darfur. According to the community leaders, more than 3,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) still remain inside the Mission's compound, following the attack that they suffered by an armed group on March 22. About 300 heavily armed men attacked the IDP camp, setting fire to dozens of shelters and stealing livestock belonging to the residents. The World Food Programme (WFP) have already distributed food (sorghum) to the IDPs and the UNAMID base provide potable water and health care, while a team of 35 UNAMID engineers are currently constructing a 70,000 m2 Buffer Zone, with watch towers, solar lights, two community centers and latrines at the vicinity of the base, where the IDPs will be able to securely settle in the near future. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMIDWhat is Operation New Normal?

It’s a question without an answer, a riddle the U.S. military refuses to solve. It’s a secret operation in Africa that no one knows anything about. Except that someone does. His name is Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee Magee. He lives and breathes Operation New Normal. But he doesn’t want to breath paint fumes or talk to me, so you can’t know anything about it.

Confused? Stay with me.

Whatever Operation New Normal may be pales in comparison to the real “new normal” for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The lower-cased variant is bold and muscular. It’s an expeditionary force on a war footing. To the men involved, it’s a story of growth and expansion, new battlefields, “combat,” and “war.” It’s the culmination of years of construction, ingratiation, and interventions, the fruits of wide-eyed expansion and dismal policy failures, the backing of proxies to fight America’s battles, while increasing U.S. personnel and firepower in and around the continent.  It is, to quote an officer with AFRICOM, the blossoming of a “war-fighting combatant command.” And unlike Operation New Normal, it’s finally heading for a media outlet near you.

For more on this story, visit: Tomgram: Nick Turse, How “Benghazi” Birthed the New Normal in Africa | TomDispatch.

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