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During today’s House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing on “U.S. Military Posture and National Security Challenges in the Greater Middle East and Africa,” U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) grilled General Michael Langley, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, over the percentage of African soldiers, trained by the U.S. military, that later led coups against their own civilian governments.

In response to Rep. Gaetz’s line of questioning, General Michael Langley shockingly responded in the affirmative, claiming the United States “shares core values” with the same African military coup leaders, trained by the United States.

Video of Rep. Gaetz’s interaction with General Langley at the House Armed Services Committee can be found HERE and below.


A rough transcript can also be found immediately below:


Rep. Gaetz: General Langley, I have constituents that have been scattered across Africa on train and equip missions, so just ballpark in the last decade how many Africans has the United States military trained and equipped?

General Langley: Congressman I don’t have that figure. I can get that figure for you.

Rep. Gaetz: Ballpark. Just you know, how many?

General Langley: Congressman it would be a wild guess.

Rep. Gaetz: Seems like something we should know, right?

General Langley: Over the years, we have trained a substantial number, especially in the Gulf of Guinea states, but then–

Rep. Gaetz: More than 10,000? It is more than 10,000. More than 50,000?

General Langley: I’d say we’re reaching around 50,000 at least.

Rep. Gaetz: What percentage of the people we’ve trained end up participating in insurrections or coups against their own government?

General Langley: Very small number, Congressman. Very small number.

Rep. Gaetz: What percentage do you think?

General Langley: I’d say probably less than 1%.

Rep. Gaetz: But it does happen?

General Langley: The IMET program is in force and we’ve pushed a significant number through our schools across the-

Rep. Gaetz: And what data sets do you track to arrive at the conclusion that less than 1% of the roughly 50,000 that we’ve trained have participated in coups? Because it would be about 500? About 1% of 50,000?

General Langley: Congressman, we may have that information. I don’t at this time.

Rep. Gaetz: But I know there’s some right? Go ahead and through up that image. This is Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, and this is a photo of him. Did we train and equip him? In Guinea?

General Langley: By name I cannot identify that.

Rep. Gaetz: Well that guy in the middle with the Big Red Hat, that’s him with a bunch of U.S. service members outside of our embassy, and just months after this photo was taken in 2021, he led a coup in Guinea and threw out the leader. Does that concern you?

General Langley: Congressman, core values is what we start off with in IMA programs and we stick to that.

Rep. Gaetz: Do we share core values with Colonel Doumbouya?

General Langley: Core values. I will repeat that. Core values. Respect for–

Rep. Gaetz: Do we share those values with Colonel Doumbouya?

General Langley: Absolutely.

Rep. Gaetz: We do? He led a coup.

General Langley: In our curriculum, we do.

Rep. Gaetz: Okay, well, that’s a very telling answer. In Burkina Faso, did we share core values with the leader that we trained there who led a coup?

General Langley: It’s in our curriculum–

Rep. Gaetz: Leading coups is in our cirriculum?

General Langley: –We stress core values, requests civilian led governance.

Rep. Gaetz: Wait, hold on, is leading coups in our curriculum?

General Langley: Absolutely not. Civilian lead–

Rep. Gaetz: My question is do we share core values with the coup leader in Burkina Faso who we trained?

General Langley: Holistically, we teach whole core values with respect for civilian governance, apolitical, and that’s what sticks across a very high percentage.

Rep. Gaetz: But not everybody. I wonder how many people it takes to to plan a coup? I mean, initially, you didn’t know how many we trained and equipped. Then you said it was 1%. You had no basis for that 1% number because there’s no data set you track. Mr. Chairman, I seek unanimous consent to enter into the record “Another US trained stole soldier stages a coup in West Africa” by The Intercept.

Chairman Rogers: Without objection, so ordered.

Rep. Gaetz: And I further seek unanimous consent to enter into the record “U.S. forces trained the Guinean colonel behind the recent coup in West African country,” and this is regard to Guinea.

Chairman Rogers: Without objection, so ordered.

Rep. Gaetz: So I guess the question is, why should US taxpayers be paying to train people who then lead coups in Africa?

General Langley: Congressman, our curriculum harvests core values and also to be able to embolden these countries for a representative democracy.

Rep. Gaetz: But general, that democracy isn’t what emerges. The problem is, I know you may have great confidence in what you’re teaching, but when two governments had been overthrown – I guess how many governments have to be overthrown by people we train before you sort of get the message that our core values might not be sticking with everyone? Is it five countries? Ten?

General Langley: We’ll continue with our persistence in assuring that they harbor democratic norms, democratic values, apolitical.

Rep. Gaetz: Just a moment ago you said we shared core values with Colonel Doumbouya. You said that just moments ago in response to my question, and his core value seems to be leading a coup. So I don’t think it has stuck. I think we should at least know how many countries we train the coup plotters in, how many is too man. Because clearly two is not too many and I think we could use our resources far more effectively than doing this.

Author: Press Release


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