Niger killer-drone base to become ‘major hub’ ensuring US strategic grip on Africa

Large-scale construction “in the middle of nowhere” shows the US is adamant in securing its position in Africa, to be able to kill anyone, anywhere, and at the same time creating even more enemies, retired US Naval Commander Leah Bolger told RT.

According to Bolger, who is a former president of Veterans for Peace, the US military “has turned a great deal of interest to Africa in recent years,” starting with the separation of a specialized unified Africa Command from the European Command. Since then, the “US has poured almost $300 million into the region.”

“So the United States has invested a lot now and is moving its attentions to Africa, because it is important for the US strategic interest to be able to attack more readily countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan,” she said.

The scale of the new $100 million military drone base in Agadez, Niger, indicates that the US has come to the region to stay. The initial amount of $50 million for the military site has doubled recently, which clearly indicates the seriousness of Washington’s intentions.

“Also the runway they’re building, it is capable of landing C-17, which are very large cargo planes, if not the largest cargo planes the US has. Why would they need to land such big aircraft in the middle of nowhere? It seems to me they are going to be building up this place and making it into a major hub for military actions in the region,” Bolger told RT.

The money allocated for establishing a US military presence in the region is large for African countries, but “this is nothing compared to the American Department of Defense budget, which is almost a trillion dollars a year.”

“It’s nothing to the American government, but it’s a lot to these impoverished countries in the area… A hundred million dollars is nothing, and American people won’t even notice this. However, a hundred million dollars is a lot to the Nigerian government.”

Since “the military of the US is really revered by the American public,” the drone war is promoted by the US government as a measure for “saving American lives,” which is “really all the American general public cares about.” Bolger believes that using drones both multiplies the enemies of the US and desensitizes the military.

“But in fact, the drone strikes – and this is the ironic part – drone strikes are creating more enemies, exponentially creating more enemies. The US doesn’t even know who they are killing.”

“So we’re just perpetuating this endless war – the war on terror – that has no ending, and will never end. And I don’t think really the US wants it to end, because the American economy is built on the defense industry and it’s making a lot of people very rich,” Bolger concluded

Meanwhile, David Swanson, blogger and anti-war activist, believes that the ultimate goal of the US is total domination and the “ability to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime without any penalties.” Establishing a new base in Africa is the next step in expanding existing operations and achieving this goal.

“It wants to be able to bomb anywhere all the time, without, obviously, much regard for who it’s bombing. You know, the United States has bombed a bunch of people in Afghanistan this week who turned out to be civilians. There won’t be any consequences. Bombed a bunch of people in Somalia in Africa this week, who turned out to be troops,” said Swanson.

According to the anti-war activist, the new base will have a destabilizing impact on the region, since he believes it is the US military presence which leads to the surge in terrorism, and not the other way around.

“So you see the US military spreading across Africa and these terrorist groups spreading across Africa. And we’re supposed to believe the cause and effect is the reverse. That the terrorist groups are spreading and then all the weaponry is coming in, and then the US military response is coming in, and it’s largely the reverse,” Swanson told RT. “Africa does not manufacture weapons… the US is the top supplier of weaponry. And it’s destabilizing and propping up the worst, most misrepresentative governments because they will allow the greater US military presence.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.