Rand Paul: Why are American soldiers in Niger?

In the name of going after 9/11 terrorists, the US has stationed troops there for over two decades.

The United States has stationed 1000 plus American soldiers in the West African country of Niger since 2002, when President George W. Bush was launching his War on Terror, post 9-11.


Good question. This is precisely what Senator Rand Paul asked Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin this week, especially considering that Niger appears to be in the midst of a military coup.

Paul wrote in his letter: “Congress never voted to authorize U.S. combat operations in Niger.”

The senator was citing not only Congress’ sole constitutional role to declare war, but also the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after the 9/11 attacks, that was specifically meant to target the terrorist group al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

Paul then cited the deaths of American soldiers in Niger that occurred in 2018.

“The tragic deaths of four U.S. soldiers–Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, Sergeant La David Johnson, and Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright –should have served as the catalyst to end our operations there,” he wrote.

Paul added, “Yet, the Biden Administration continues to cite the 9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was narrowly tailored to bring justice to those who played a role in the 2001 terrorist attacks, to justify the presence of approximately 1,016 U.S. troops in Niger.”

The Republican asked why American troops remain in Niger, and how the 2001 AUMF could possibly be construed to authorize sending US soldiers to that country and others.

It’s a question that has desperately needed to be asked so many times over the last two decades, but has been habitually – dutifully – ignored by Washington officials for all of that time.

The 2001 AUMF that, again, was supposed to only target the culprits of 9/11, was since used to send American soldiers to over 20 different countries through executive order.

In March, the Senate repealed prior and later AUMFs, from 1991 and 2002.

Paul presented an amendment to those votes that would have also repealed the 2001 AUMF, but it failed.

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunterhttp://LibertyTree.com
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for Rare.us.