Can the Pentagon Win When Putsch Comes to Shove? A Rare Pentagon “Success” Story, by Nick Turse

Sometimes the US trains a regime, and sometimes the US trains the group planning a coup against a regime, and sometimes the US trains both sides. From Nick Turse at

Winning! It’s the White House watchword when it comes to the U.S. armed forces. “We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing – you know what that is? Win! Win!” President Donald Trump exclaimed earlier this year while standing aboard the new aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford.

Since World War II, however, neither preventing nor winning wars have been among America’s strong suits. The nation has instead been embroiled in serial conflicts and interventions in which victories have been remarkably scarce, a trend that has only accelerated in the post-9/11 era. From Afghanistan to Iraq, Somalia to the Philippines, Libya to Yemen, military investments – in lives and tax dollars – have been costly and enduring victories essentially nonexistent.

But Amadou Sanogo is something of a rare all-American military success story, even if he isn’t American and his success was fleeting. Sanogo learned English in Texas, received instruction from U.S. Marines in Virginia, took his intelligence training in Arizona, and underwent Army infantry officer basic training in Georgia. Back home in his native Mali, the young army officer was reportedly much admired for his sojourn, studies, and training in the United States.

In March 2012, Sanogo put his popularity and skills to use when he led a coup that overthrew Mali’s elected government. “America is [a] great country with a fantastic army. I tried to put all the things I learned there into practice here,” he told Der Spiegel during his tenure as Mali’s military strongman. (He eventually lost his grip on power, was arrested, and in 2016 went on trial for “complicity in kidnapping and assassination.”)

Since 9/11, the United States has spent more than $250 billion training foreign military and police personnel like Sanogo. Year after year, a sprawling network of U.S. programs provides 200,000 of these soldiers and security officers with assistance and support. In 2015, almost 80,000 of them, hailing from 154 countries, received what’s formally known as Foreign Military Training (FMT).

To continue reading: Can the Pentagon Win When Putsch Comes to Shove? A Rare Pentagon “Success” Story


2 responses to “Can the Pentagon Win When Putsch Comes to Shove? A Rare Pentagon “Success” Story, by Nick Turse

  1. When you choose to mind someone else’s business, they will invariably choose to mind yours in response. Each will then have no business except the resulting business that should have remained no one’s business save their own.

    We have been romping around the Mideast minding everyone’s business for nearly the entire century with nothing to show for it. On the other hand we have the obvious costs of such folly.

    In Afghanistan alone, more than 5,000 dead soldiers… more than 1,500 missing legs… and some $7 trillion hustled from the Main Street economy to the Deep State’s enforcement arm.

    Drain the swamp, even as it attempts to swamp the drain……………


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