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Few occupations represent the dramatic state of American decline more than the generals who serve in our nation’s armed forces. We’ve gone from heroic, even legendary figures such as Patton and Doug Macarthur to sub-literate squealing gimps such as Gen Miley, whose brain struggles in his big, dumb, square head to understand the roots of “white rage.”

A recent exchange between America First congressman Matt Gaetz and General Michael Langley represents a dramatic and embarrassing new low in the decline of our once great generals. General Langley is not just any general, he is one of the very few four star generals — the de facto highest available rank in the military, the number of whose active positions is statutorily capped at around 50. Congressman Gaetz asks Langley about the number of trained African fighters who went on to undertake coups in their respective countries; while this is a worthy and interesting topic, take a first pass at the following video simply to absorb the level of cognition on which this esteemed general seems to be operating

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Gaetz asks the good general about so-called “train and equip” missions, which, according to the Defense Department, refer to efforts “providing training, services and equipment to national security forces of foreign countries for the purpose of building capability and capacity of Partner Nations.” Specifically, Gaetz wants to know how many men we trained in Africa in that capacity, and how many of those we trained ended up engaging in insurrections or coups d’état. 

Gaetz asks General Langley about US training of an individual called Mamady Doumbouya. Langley claims that he does not recognize the name–a remarkable claim given that Langley is the commander of AFCOM and that Doumbouya not only was the leader of a successful coup in the African nation of Guinea, and not only that Doumbouya was trained by US forces, but that Doumbouya undertook his coup while he was being actively trained by American forces. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of Doumbouya’s Guinea coup, American soldiers were filmed in Guinea under suspicious circumstances:

Core values indeed.

Despite this admittedly strange video, it is unclear whether US intentionally supported Guinea’s coup, or whether, given Guinea’s long history of coups and instability, soldiers just happened to be in the nation at the wrong time. The question of whether the Guinea coup was (even unofficially) US backed would seem to have a significant bearing on whether US training exercises in Guinea were successful or a grand embarrassment. The fact that the leader of AFCOM doesn’t even know the coup leader’s name does not inspire confidence–though his suggestion that the coup leader shared our “core values” is perhaps telling, as Gaetz suggests.

Gaetz shifts attention to the African nation of Burkina Faso. According to the US State Department, “the U.S. and Burkina Faso engage in a number of military training and exchange programs, including in counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance.” In January of 2022, Lt. Colonel Sandaogo Damiba led a successful coup in Burkina Faso. According to reports, Damiba was extensively trained by US forces:

Prior to his putsch, Damiba took part in at least a half-dozen U.S. training events, according to U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM. In fact, since 2008, U.S.-trained officers have attempted at least nine coups (and succeeded in at least eight) across five West African countries, including Burkina Faso (three times), Guinea, Mali (three times), Mauritania, and the Gambia.

Damiba, who fled to neighboring Togo after being deposed, had taken part in many U.S. “engagements.” In 2010 and 2020, for example, he participated in Flintlock, an annual Special Operations Command Africa exercise focused on enhancing the counterterrorism capabilities of West African nations, including Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger. In 2013, Damiba was took part in an Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance course. In 2013 and 2014, he attended a U.S.-sponsored Military Intelligence Basic Officer Course. And in 2018 and 2019, Damiba participated in engagements with a U.S. Civil Military Support Element in Burkina Faso.  And he was hardly an outlier.

[Responsible Statescraft]

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Such is the nature of African nations as Burkina Faso that Damiba himself was ousted in a coup only months later, replaced by a Captain Ibrahim Traore. And such is the incompetence of the US Military in Africa that AFCOM responded that it had no clue when asked if Traore himself had been trained by US Forces

“This is something we will have to research and get back to you,” said AFRICOM spokesperson Kelly Cahalan, noting that there did “not appear to be any linkages” between Traore and U.S. training exercises, while leaving open the possibility that he could have been connected to “other engagements” with the United States.

In such situations one almost hopes that the coups in Africa represent some deliberate and effective plan to advance US interests, but the signs unfortunately point to chaos and incompetence—the sort of behavior, confusion, and results that prevail when one deals with leaders with profoundly depressed IQs and cognitive capacities.

Taken in this light, the exchange between the patient Congressman Gaetz and the inexplicable good general Langley (bless his heart) is perhaps even more embarrassing than another classic congressional exchange with a military official. At least Austin knew the number…