WAR ON TERRORISM

Kenyans don't aid terrorism

Instead of engaging in theatrics, the Pentagon generals need to go back to the drawing board

In Summary

• It was shocking to read the Pentagon propaganda published by The New York Times on January 22, titled 'Chaos as Militants Overran Airfield, killing 3 Americans in Kenya'

• This article was simply a manoeuvre by Pentagon to make excuses for failed US foreign policy.

The Manda Bay attack
TERROR: The Manda Bay attack
Image: FILE

Kenyans neither support nor glorify terrorism.

In fact, Kenya has been a staunch supporter of Amisom in the fight against terrorism. That's why it was shocking to read the Pentagon propaganda published by The New York Times on January 22, titled 'Chaos as Militants Overran Airfield, killing 3 Americans in Kenya'.

The article insinuated that Kenyans were inept and collaborated with Somali-based al Shabaab in the Manda Bay attack. But let us call a spade a spade, this article is simply a manoeuvre by Pentagon to make excuses for failed US foreign policy.

Instead of engaging in theatrics, the Pentagon generals need to go back to the drawing board: US military superiority and prowess do not instil fear anymore. With the country on a path of self-destruction, no one is afraid of the giant anymore.

 

The three misguided allegations levelled against Kenyans in the article need to be unpacked. The first allegation is that, “Many of the local Kenyan forces, assigned to defend the base, hid in the grass” when al Shabaab attacked.

If it's true, then the soldiers did the right thing. I don’t see why they should sacrifice their lives protecting sleeping US soldiers. The US is a rich country. They can instal sensors and cameras at their military bases to detect intruders in good time. They can also use their satellites to ensure no intruder encroaches on their military facilities undetected. The fact that this attack was a success is a failure on the part of the Pentagon leadership, not Kenyans.

The second assertation is a quote from Representative Michael Waltz, a Florida Republican who served in Africa as an Army Green Beret. He claims that, “Those forces are typically, not as capable as US forces, and are easier for terrorist groups to infiltrate”. This is racism.

This representative is actually saying that even if Kenyan troops are trained by the US, they can never be as good as their American counterparts. Then why do we have American military trainers in Kenya?

The article claims “there are about 200 American soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines, as well as about 100 Pentagon civilian employees and contractors, in Kenya helping train and assist local forces”. By the way, what they are calling contractors are actually US mercenaries.

Another unwarranted accusation is that the “performance of the Kenyan security forces during and after the battle frustrated American officials. At one point, the Kenyans announced that they had captured six of the attackers, but they all turned out to be bystanders and were released.”

In consequence, US investigators are looking “at the possibility the attackers had help from Kenyan staff on the base” There is rule of law in Kenya. People remain innocent until proven guilty. You can’t just detain people illegally just to please Pentagon.

Pentagon should start its investigations by analysing Trump’s foreign policies which are incoherent and poorly thought-out. Then it should check how the US military-industrial complex (MIC) is taking advantage of this weakness at a time when corruption is getting out of control in America.

 

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released a few days ago by Transparency International gave the US the lowest score in eight years. This is something Pentagon should look at, especially where MIC and US mercenaries are involved, instead of blaming Kenyans.

Despite all these distractions and sideshows, the fact remains that the lives of brave Americans were lost due to a failure in US leadership, not Kenyan. The American public ought to be miffed and demand answers from their Congress to two basic question: One, why should incompetent Kenyan soldiers who have been trained by US military be given the privilege to guard a US military base? Two, what is the purpose of a US military base in Kenya?

In conclusion, Pentagon should now accept the fact that people don’t give a damn about their self-proclaimed might and they will be challenged wherever they endeavour to destroy other countries or regimes. 

Ngovi Kitau is the former ambassador to South Korea