Gaetz Calls for Oversight into Chad Withdrawal

Gaetz Calls for Oversight into Chad Withdrawal

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
May 21, 2024

The United States' presence in West Africa diminishes as troops withdraw from Chad. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sent a letter on Friday to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asking for information regarding the withdrawal, hoping to avoid repeating the disastrous Afghanistan debacle of 2021 or the more recent events in Chad's western neighbor Niger.

Late in April, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced the removal of 75 Army Special Forces (Green Berets) personnel from N'djamena, Chad's capital. The following week, at the beginning of May, 60 additional personnel, roughly half of the American presence, were relocated from Chad to Germany.

As a result, Rep. Gaetz posed a series of questions for Sec. Austin to answer by the end of May, including how thoroughly the ongoing withdrawal has been planned to ensure "a complete, safe, and secure retrograde of all U.S. personnel from Chad" and planning on how to remove all movable American assets back to the United States.

During the Afghanistan withdrawal in 2021, equipment worth billions of dollars was left behind by U.S. forces for the Taliban to take for themselves, an incident Rep. Gaetz seems to intend to avoid by asking about in his letter.

Moreover, Gaetz inquired how AFRICOM would counter the influencing campaigns of China and Russia in Africa, as Russian troops were known to be on Air Base 101 in Niger since Moscow has presented itself to these countries as an alternative security partner due to having no historical colonial presence in the region.

The Florida Congressman has come down hard on the Biden Administration for its handling of the nearby country of Niger, where US-trained insurgents overthrew the government, demanding the Americans leave.

The resulting breakdown in negotiations prohibited the 1,100 personnel stationed at Air Base 101 from receiving medical supplies and constrained their access to reliably drinkable water. Gaetz further suggested the conditions were ripe for "another Benghazi-style attack," referring to the infamous 2012 incident that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and several others in Benghazi, Libya.

While the Biden Administration has signaled its intentions to remove the stranded personnel, Gaetz has continued to push for accountability from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and recently unleashed hell on the House floor, saying, "You know what a real U.S. President would do? Say that [A]C-130s are on their way to Niger today with the water and the medicine and the food our troops need, that they will have a full fighter pilot escort there."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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