As good a theory as any

As good a theory as any

Since we're all speculating, due to the fact that the military seems weirdly reticent to subject itself to civilian oversight, here are my thoughts on Niger.

It's just come out in a Los Angeles Times piece that the commanding general in Africa had asked for more resources.

Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command, documented to Congress in March his forces’ lack of needed resources on the continent. He said about 20% to 30% of requirements for “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance” flights were being met, and complained there weren’t enough military helicopters to help locate missing, wounded, or killed service members.

NBC News further reports that the Niger debacle was due to a massive intelligence failure.

A senior congressional aide who has been briefed on the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger says the ambush by militants stemmed in part from a "massive intelligence failure."
 
The Pentagon has said that 40 to 50 militants ambushed a 12-man U.S. force in Niger on Oct. 4, killing four and wounding two. The U.S. patrol was seen as routine and had been carried out nearly 30 times in the six months before the attack, the Pentagon has reported.
 
The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly, said the House and Senate armed services committees have questions about the scope of the U.S. mission in Niger, and whether the Pentagon is properly supporting the troops on the ground there.

In other words, this was a major cockup, yet another failure after the botched Yemen raid which ushered in Moron Hitler's regime.

What do we know about Trump? He sees himself as someone who can never be wrong. He can't fail; he can only be failed.

Yet again, American arms failed in the field. He doesn't see this as a problem to be solved, but one which redounds on him unfavorably. He can't see this issue through the prism of being the elected leader of the state, but only through his own ego and will to dominate. "His guys" failed. And if "his guys" failed, he failed. But that's impossible, because he can never fail. He has the best guys, the best weapons, and the best brains in himself.

When looked at it this way, his silence on Niger is of a piece with what we know of his personality. The failure of the Special Forces patrol is not just something to be expected in a dangerous place; it's a personal stain on him. If he ignores it, if he doesn't have to confront it, he can dissociate himself from that failure. Nothing exists of any worth save for him. Anything which threatens that self-conception must be stifled. A normal human being would have sent the letter drafted for him two weeks ago. He, of course, is a sociopath. That was not an option.

And thus we have the drama of the past week, where a regime's sycophants have to scurry like ants to protect their leader's ego.

Take this for what it's worth. I'm not a highly-paid pundit with a perch on the yak shows. Just a guy who reads. But, as others have said, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

 



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