This article was brought to my attention by Mr. V.T., and it's worth passing along, because it illustrates something profoundly disturbing: the growing, if not already gargantuan, size of America's special forces and their now global extent and reach, thanks to the "war on terror". Don't get me wrong here; I'm not one of those who thinks there are no terrorists, no terrorist threats, nor that nations do not have the right to defend themselves against it.
But consider the sheer scale of what is represented in this article, versus the scale of the actual threat:
There's so much that disturbs here that I barely know where to begin. But perhaps here is best:
"I started with a blank map that quickly turned into a global pincushion. It didn’t take long before every continent but Antarctica was bristling with markers indicating special operations forces’ missions, deployments, and interactions with foreign military forces in 2012-2013. With that, the true size and scope of the U.S. military’s secret military began to come into focus. It was, to say the least, vast.
"In the post-9/11 era, the command has grown steadily. With about 33,000 personnel in 2001, it is reportedly on track to reach 72,000 in 2014. (About half this number are called, in the jargon of the trade, “badged operators” — SEALs, Rangers, Special Operations Aviators, Green Berets — while the rest are support personnel.) Funding for the command has also jumped exponentially as SOCOM’s baseline budget tripled from $2.3 billion to $6.9 billion between 2001 and 2013. If you add in supplemental funding, it had actually more than quadrupled to $10.4 billion."
In other words, the "special forces" of the USA are no longer merely "special forces," they've grown into a kind of full-blown Waffen-SS. But notice that this represents a known quantity, from publicly available sources, and budgetary information. Thus, when one factors in that "slush fund" created under President Truman, and totally hidden financing of covert operations, one could conceivably be looking at the tip of a very large iceberg here. Even on its public face, however, one is left pondering the central question: why the need for such a vast special operations network? Surely this cannot be justified solely in terms of the "war on terror." Some other strategic calculation, unknown to us, seems to be at work here; we're observing - if I may twist a theological phrase vastly out of context - the outward and visible signs of an inward and hidden mass, a strategic consideration.
But there is something else that enters the picture here, perhaps shedding a bit of light on what that hidden consideration might be, and it's another puzzling statement, huge with implications:
"This year, Special Operations Command has plans to make major inroads into yet another country — the United States. The establishment of SOCNORTH in 2014, according to the command, is intended to help 'defend North America by outpacing all threats, maintaining faith with our people, and supporting them in their times of greatest need.' Under the auspices of U.S. Northern Command, SOCNORTH will have responsibility for the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and portions of the Caribbean."
One wonders what really lies behind this curiously worded mission brief, and exactly what is meant by "all threats", and why it should be necessary to "maintain faith with our people" and what times of "greatest need" it is privy to. The words, I submit, might best be taken in the context of the "retrenchment" scenario - involving the deliberate push of 3D printing and the equally deliberate expansion of energy production - that I have blogged about previously on this site. It is an unpalatable fact of the implications of dispersed manufacturing that 3d printing to some extent heralds, that one of these implications is a military one: dispersed manufacturing presents less of a target, and modular production techniques can be used to assemble complex weapons systems far from the place(s) of their manufacture.
The global extension of SOCOM itself invites further high octane speculation: what possible threat is being addressed by such global extension? Are we looking at yet another example of run-amok American "unipolarism"? Or are we looking at something else? the fact that, while sparse, there are even SOCOM pins stuck into the heart of Russia and of China would suggest that it may be "something else."
Whatever that "something else" may be, and I am hard pressed to consider that it is just terrorism, one can only guess and speculate. But whatever else it may be, this is a subtle and quiet story - along with the allied special forces of other nations - that bears watching.
See you on the flip side.