The White House notified Congress today that the President has sent US military personnel to Niger.
The war in Iraq has been declared over, the US is preparing to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. As a nation, after over a decade of war we are attempting to figure out how to best help our returning servicemen and women, a significant number of whom are wounded both physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of this would seem to be progress toward finding at least some semblance of peace, for a short time at least. However, it may actually be a much shorter period than people may have hoped. The White House released a letter from President Obama to Congress today informing them that about “100 US military personnel have been deployed to the African nation of Niger.”
According to the Associated Press, the letter to congress says “the forces will focus on intelligence sharing” with the French troops that are currently battling Islamist militants in the neighboring country of Mali. However, it does go on to say that the “American forces have been deployed with weapons, for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security.” While the US and Niger signed a preliminary agreement outlining the “legal protections and obligations of Americans who might operate from the African nation,” US officials refused to discuss any specific plans they may have for a future military presence in Niger. There are reports that indicate that the Pentagon is “considering plans to base unarmed spy drones in Niger,” the reasoning behind that being that drones would make it easier to collect intelligence information on “what is happening in the region.”
In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Resolution to “assure that both the executive and legislative branches participate in decisions that might get the United States involved in war.” The War Powers Resolution requires that the president give “written notification to Congress of the introduction of US armed forces into hostilities within forty-eight hours of such action.” It also limits the number of days to 60 that military forces can be used without approval or a declaration of war from Congress. So while moving troops into Niger may be what the letter to Congress says it is, merely “intelligence sharing,” the President now has 60 days to either resolve the issue in Mali or convince Congress to make a formal declaration of war.
And lets face it, wars stimulate the economy, and with the financial crisis’ in the US, and the presidents promises to continue growing and stimulating the almost stagnant economy, is it really unheard of that another war may be in the cards?