Should US Military Stop Coups or Only Enable Them?

Really tough questions come out of a report on a coup directly related to US military presence.

During the month-and-a-half that Special Forces trained the Guineans, U.S. troops met with Guinean Col. Mamady Doumbouya, who is now the self-appointed ruler of Guinea after his forces deposed former leader Alpha Condé, Azari said.


When asked how roughly 100 Guinean special operators could have left their base and made the four-hour drive to the country’s capital without the Special Forces team knowing anything about it, Azari explained: “Sept. 5 was considered a down day for both forces.”

It is possible that the Guineans left while the Special Forces team that was instructing them was asleep…

The reader should not be left hanging to go off and fill in the blanks on US military doctrine here. Objection to the coup is fine, yet why not put that objection into action… once they wake up, of course?

I’m kidding. Can we stop for a minute though and admit something sounds completely off? The forces were asleep? It would make some sense if I read that a mistake had been made, or an investigation will find source of errors… but this concept that it can be excused by sleep. Almost sounds like someone went golfing and when caught said “what, I like golf”.

If the US military is present and able, and it officially objects, does it have any foundation at all to interfere with a coup? It already was present and able on the principle that it’s training and modifying behavior. I get that legally it’s weak ground and would take a long while to move the levers.

Yet why only intervene in training capacity to stabilize and aid, instead of also intervening to stop a coup and actively stabilize? I’ve written about this before in terms of Hawaii, which is a pretty interesting case.

Presumably there’s an authorization switch that was flipped (e.g. Neutrality Act cited in Gambia) allowing operators to train, whereas now it won’t be flipped so authorization is lacking… (the people just trained aren’t going to depose themselves).

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