The Washington Times reports that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that there will be no US troops on the ground in support of the French effort to eradicate jihadists in Mali;
State Department officials said that support could include cargo planes to shuttle troops in and out of theater, flying tankers for aerial refueling, ammunition, spare parts, and even troops’ rations.
“We share the French goal of denying terrorists a safe haven in the region, and we support the French operation,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “We are supporting the French by sharing information. And we are considering requests for logistical support.”
While that’s good news, I like it when our so-called allies shoulder part of the task of policing the world, I have a hard time believing it. We did the same thing for the French in Vietnam – my father was on the aircraft carrier that delivered the first jet aircraft to the French in Vietnam – and we got roped into that.
“We have one goal: to ensure that when we leave, when we end our intervention, Mali is safe, has legitimate authorities, an electoral process, and there are no more terrorists threatening its territory,” Mr. Hollande told a news conference Tuesday in the United Arab Emirates, according to Reuters.
Sounds like the plan for Afghanistan, doesn’t it? But the French decided to beat feet before that operation ended.
“We are precluded under the countercoup restrictions from funding a military that has been involved in a coup until democracy has been restored,” Ms. Nuland said, “But we’re not precluded from assisting allies and partners in trying to restore security to that country.”
I’m sure they have a plan to get around the “no boots” promise, too.