F%$# Me, I Agree with Matt “Close Encounters with the Third Grade” Gaetz

Matthew G. Saroff
2 min readAug 31, 2023

The distinguished gentleman from Florida has introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would require the Pentagon to issue detailed reports to Congress for all of the foreign soldiers that it has trained who later participated in a coup.

It’s actually kind of weak tea, but it is a starT.

Given the record of such programs, there is a reason that the School of the Americas had to rename itself:

In response to a spate of coups by U.S.-trained military personnel in West Africa and the greater Sahel, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has authored an amendment to the 2024 defense spending bill to collect information on trainees who overthrow their governments. It would require the Pentagon for the first time to inform Congress about U.S.-mentored mutineers, Gaetz told The Intercept in an exclusive interview.

“The Department of Defense, up until this point, has not kept data regarding the people they train who participate in coups to overthrow democratically elected — or any — governments,” said Gaetz. “And that’s why in this National Defense Authorization Act … I have legislation that demands a collection of that data and a report to Congress about those outcomes.” Congress is set to take up the 2024 NDAA when it returns from recess in September.

The Intercept has found that at least 15 officers who benefitted from U.S. security assistance have been involved in 12 coups in West Africa and the greater Sahel during the war on terror. The list includes military personnel from Burkina Faso (2014, 2015, and twice in 2022); Chad (2021); Gambia (2014); Guinea (2021); Mali (2012, 2020, 2021); Mauritania (2008); and Niger (2023). At least five leaders of the Niger coup in late July received American training, according to a U.S. official. They, in turn, appointed five U.S.-trained members of the Nigerien security forces to serve as governors, according to the State Department.

There is a reason that US training correlates to coups against elected governments, and has for over 80 years.

This ain’t a bug, this is a feature.