Four US Army Green Berets died in Niger, West Africa, whilst fighting Islamic terrorists. So did 5 Nigerien Army soldiers that got no mention in the US lamestream press, racism? Probably. I discuss the incident, called the “Niger Ambush” in some detail (34 pages) in my forthcoming book, Code Name VET 101 because there are many ridiculous statements coming out from the Senate, Congress, the Pentagon and mostly, US media regarding it and Africa. Kindly note that when it comes to counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in sub-Saharan Africa, I am an expert, I know more than most and I conducted such operations successfully for years. What I have to say are fighting words and I don’t have the space here in this blog to write exactly why I say so, you will have to read either my non-fiction book “American Military Might – Debunked” or the 50-page “Intelligence Briefing” to be found inside my books or the upcoming book but it comes down to this:
The lack of a drone above the patrol:
This is claimed by the US “experts” to be something directly attributed to Donald J Trump’s failures as a President. It is as if he has a personal duty to ensure that there is an armed drone above every American soldier in Africa, presumably to protect them. You are beyond ridiculous when thinking like this and yet that is what every “expert” on Africa claimed. When the Clinton News Network, CNN to you, gleefully discussed the incident they had a MIDDLE EAST expert to give his views, yes, and you wonder why we laugh at them? You don’t want a circling drone telling the enemy exactly where you are at all times when out on patrol. It will betray your position and you will die when found and ambushed. So that point is not only mute, it is damn stupid!
US-trained troops broke and run:
I heard that the US-trained local troops broke and ran away when the first shots were fired, leaving the Green Berets behind. If so, I am not the least surprised. US-trained local troops have a habit to do exactly that, to run away and they are nowhere in the world highly rated by anyone including me and people like me. They are a joke and so is US AFRICOM. Their HQ is in Stuttgart and what they know about fighting terrorists in Africa is clear for all to see, nothing. Don’t make a mistake either in thinking that you are welcome, have any intelligence networks or are respected, you would be wrong.
French Air Force jets took an hour to arrive:
It is claimed that the Green Berets did not get air support during the clash with the terrorists. They had to call on the French Air Force based in Mali for help (not the same country). Right, it is bad but for other reasons, let me clarify for you what you are not told - the French Air Force jets were scrambled but it took time to get to the scene, in this theatre an hour is not long at all. But, a fixed-wing aircraft like that has very little use after the fact or during the fact. It is the wrong type or airframe showing the utter lack of knowledge of Africa. What you want is helicopter gunships backed by fast medical evacuation troop carriers (for other reasons too – see below). None of which were available according to what we heard. So that is just another mainstream nonsense sensationalist reporting to blame the Frogs. Yet, a week later we hear that USAF aircraft are now bombing certain parts of Africa in support of their forces, the results? Eh, we don’t know, nothing is said so make your own conclusions. Probably hit two trees and murdered six sheep, let us get another medal for failure.
The Niger Operations started under Barack Obama:
So what? It does not matter if the Niger operations started under Billy Goat Clinton or Barack Obama, that is immaterial to the root cause of the deaths in 2017. Nor is it true to say the Green Beret casualties were “Trump’s Benghazi” (and since when did Hilarious Clinton pay any price for that fiasco she cannot remember anything about – during her Congressional testimony she “could not recall” dozens of times, shame). And most certainly it is not true that they are there “...working with partners, all across Africa, teaching them how to be better soldiers, teaching them how to respect human rights, teaching them how to fight ISIS so that we don’t have to send our soldiers and Marines there in the thousands,” as explained by General Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, a former US Marine officer.
In fact, I disagree with the General and people like him. Those soldiers should go home since the US Military is not capable of training anyone in Africa. They just don’t have the skills nor the knowledge to do so and his statement demonstrated and verified my point. If you want to use thousands of Marines or soldiers in counterinsurgency or counterterrorism, please pack your bags and go home and do something else which you are better suited for. You have already lost the war and are out of your depth. You obviously don’t understand the concept of either counterinsurgency or counterterrorism when you start talking of thousands of troops, you are shockingly ill-advised. You have no idea what to do and will soon be in another Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, wasting young lives before the political will breaks and you run for home, mission failure, once again.
This is nothing but spending on behalf of the US Merchants of Death that controls the Pentagon, Congress and the Senate (at times POTUS too). I can tell you, those of you that are reading here and if American or with sympathy for the US, you should be fuming about my comments because they are unnecessary. This is not new, we know the answers, we know how to combat terrorism in Africa and we did so very successfully in the past, and yet our ideas are not listened to because we are “Africans” and you will not listen to “Africans.” So yes, you have every reason to be upset when senior officers make the same mistakes over and over again, the donkeys leading the brave are still with us. But allow me to make a prediction here - history will repeat as it always does. It will take a lot more deaths before the Pentagon will wake up or the White House realizes it is out of its depth and caching cheques that the US Military cannot pay. Go and read my book, all 541 pages of it, American Military Might – Debunked, where this is demonstrated clearly. Get your act sorted out.
As it turned out, two senior US Senators, one Demorat and one GOP, admitted on television that they did not even know that the US had troops in Niger. I wonder, do you understand how that came over? Two senior Senators and they don’t know... I am tempted to ask what the f do they know then? Of course, we should not expect much of them and we don’t, they are turds, but how badly informed can they be? Try and understand how pathetic that sounded to the rest of the world, perception, perception, perception! And if asked where the said country is, I doubt if the two Senators could have pointed it out on a map. Just as most New Yorkers when asked, this happened, research, pointed Japan and Australia out as being North Korea. Despite this, they want the US Military to attack North Korea and start World War Three where many dozens of millions will die if not hundreds of millions and one that I believe the US – at this moment – will lose hands down.
The lack of command & control:
Now this is the most serious and my deductions based on reports and years of personal experience. It will not make for easy reading to you but there comes a time when you must be critical to prevent similar events. More than one official report that one of the Green Berets’ remains had to be found to be returned home for burial. Now let us think of this statement. Think and analyse, stop taking whatever you read or hear at face value, think about it, what was just said without being spelt out to you? This means that he got separated from his mates, it happens in battle, and left behind, which is shocking. Logically, if you have to search for a body afterwards and you find that body 1,640 yards away from where they contact was initiated, you have left a man to die whilst you fled, yes ran away, from the battlefield. End of story since you cannot tell me where he is, and you bloody well ought to know where all your men are. You have lost control immediately when that happens, the enemy is playing you, you are reacting to them, they have the dominance.
The US forces undoubtedly thought for a time that he may be captured, I can easily imagine the panic in higher ranks. The reports state that it took almost 6 hours to return to the contact scene and to find the soldier’s remains and of course, no terrorists, is compelling in the extreme to what took place and will be discussed below. Apparently, his hands were tied (denied), his body was bruised (not denied) and his shoes missing (not denied) and this indicates that the enemy policed the battle scene, they robbed the bodies. It is speculated that they may well have murdered any captured/wounded men but that is unlikely – a captured US soldier is more valuable than a dead one. But I would like to know where their weapons are right now? If the boots were stolen, so were the rifles and other kit. Keep watching YouTube, you will see the terrorists displaying them soon – that is what happens when a battlefield is left to the other side. It gets worse, the rest of the deceased Green Berets were “found just hours after the fight” as if that is acceptable. It is vastly interesting how the Pentagon is spinning this from “just hours” to the first reports that indicated that it took almost six hours to return to the contact scene and to find the soldiers’ remains and of course, no terrorist. Which brings us to the following:
The lack of enemy dead:
What bothers me much is that nowhere is there any mention of them killing a terrorist during the firefight. None, thus the score is 4 – 0 to the bad guys but it is not really that either. Let me explain something to you based on the much vaunted QME Principle that the US Military is so proud of - that is that superior training and weapons will always give the upper hand. But we know that the US Army Green Berets is a low percentage unit (see the statistics in the Briefing why we say this), there is no QME. This is the classic example of what I was warning about in the GMJ Books. Yes, let us look at this - even with the dreadfully bad Vietnam statistics, taken from the Hamburger Hill Fiasco this... for clarity and since the US media played a major role there too, lying as always, let me quote from Code Name One Alpha, the CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) book to make my point as clear as can be:
“... We must now go to the A Shau Valley, Ap Bia Mountain in South Vietnam, about 1.2 miles from the Laotian border, May 10 – 20, 1969. Operation Apache Snow was ongoing and the words “Hamburger Hill” became infamous in the liberal mainstream media even then but you will soon see the fake news that subsequently formed White House policy. Technically, Hamburger Hill was called “Hill 937” and it is very much still divisive on what took place there. The 101st Airborne Division, a renowned fighting unit, attacked Hill 937, held by the 7th and 8th Battalions of the 29th NVA Regiment (North Vietnamese Army). It was not easy going. No battle against a fortified hill ever is. The Airborne Division committed five infantry battalions and ten batteries of artillery to get command over the enemy, making one frontal attack after attack. (That was very bad tactics, they should have surrounded the hill and shelled it. Killing the enemy from a safe distance and not try the initial frontal attacks as they did. All glory and no brains from the commander, dereliction of duty if not worse, incompetence, Angelique.) Notwithstanding the USAF flying 272 combat missions, dropping more than 500 tons of ordnance in support, the Division lost 72 KIA and 372 WIA. For all this effort, an estimated 630 enemy soldiers died or so was claimed by the Pentagon officials, they were almost certainly lying. I find the above figures extremely doubtful since US forces could only find and capture 89 enemy rifles and 22 crew‑served weapons after the battle ended and the battle scene policed. By our standards no more than 133 enemy dead would have been claimed if so many.
Let us look at the statistics here, 3,75 tons of ordnance dropped for every kill by my account - 500 tons divided by 133 - or by US counts, 0,79 tons for every kill - 500 tons divided by 630. With this comes another shocking statistic I wish to note down, 1,8 enemy dead for every 1 US soldier. Even on the US version, extremely doubtful for the reasons mentioned, it is 8,75 enemy dead to 1 US and this for an elite infantry unit which the 101 undoubtedly is, as well as total air superiority and support against a trapped enemy that presumably could not escape. In our own war, a 1,000 to 1 kill ratio was maintained for 18 years. You will not tell me that a 1.8 or 8.75 ratio is acceptable for a Super Power telling the entire world how wonderful its Army is. That is not even close to good enough and still below General Giap’s prediction. What is of interest here is that the American news media, liars and fakers even then, saw the Vietnam War as an American and North Vietnamese only conflict. That is simply not true. History shows us that the ARVN (South Vietnamese Army) was fighting before and after the Americans went home. They suffered 254,256 verified deaths between 1960 and 1974. Before the Americans arrived, France suffered 75,581 men dead. However, if you ask any American “journalist” to tell you about Vietnam War casualties, he comes up with 58,000 US dead because that is all he knows. He cannot and will not look further than what is immediately around him and he will lie if it suits him and he did lie about Hamburger Hill, the reason why I narrated this down for you. Their dishonesties changed history.
Hamburger Hill itself was not a major battle but it was important enough to change the US outlook on the Vietnam War. Within two weeks of taking Hill 37, Major General John M Wright, commanding the 101 Airborne Division, abandoned Hamburger Hill and moved on as per the strategy of the day and logical for that war. But it seemed so unnecessary to the public, such a waste, to attack a hill, take it at the cost of many lives, and then walk away. Yet, that is the nature of counterinsurgency warfare, it is like that and not about holding terrain everywhere. Now enter Life Magazine, they published in their June 27 issue the pictures of all 241 Americans killed in one week in Vietnam but neglected to point out that only 5 of the men so visualized, were from the Hamburger Hill battle the month before. The reaction was immediate, General Abrams (commanding all forces in Vietnam) made sure to give orders to reduce casualties and President Richard Nixon announced the first major troop withdrawal from South Vietnam. The war was over. That particular Life Magazine cover is today seen as the watershed moment for US involvement in Vietnam, starting the withdrawal.” (Taken from Code Name One Alpha.)
Right, therefore, when 4 Green Berets die, we would expect between 7.2 (at the actual Hamburger Hill ratio of 1.8 x 4) and 35 (at the claimed Hamburger Hill ratio of 8.75 x 4) enemy, Boko Haram, dead at the contact scene. If calculated by the War on Terror standards, between 14.8 and 70 innocents would have died in the hail of bullets if they were within range. That is 2 innocents dead for every 1 enemy, the current going rate. However, there were by all reports available no enemy casualties and no innocents either, thank God because every time you murder an innocent, a new terrorist is born somewhere.
Yes, this was a disaster far beyond what the figures imply. It is hard to read the reports because I can tell you from our many years of experience what the reports tell us and what you will not read in the US lamestream media: Panic stations reigned supreme. A complete lack of battlefield control. No initiative since they were “ambushed” and then failed completely to turn the ambush to their advantage as should have happened. A clear lack of forward planning by the commanders as witnessed by the lack of immediate action procedures. A lack of standby fire forces to get to the contact scene to reinforce the ambushed ones, that is the very basics of counterinsurgency. Instead, a French fighter-bomber is scrambled to do what? Circle around and look cool? Did that airframe do anything useful? No, not as far as we know, it did nothing of value and don’t blame the pilot, he can only do what he is instructed from ground level. Did you establish airborne command & control like the Rhodesians did since the early 1970s when they perfected the Fire Forces Principle? Almost certainly not since I have yet to meet a West Point graduate that have even heard of it. Did you return fire using 250,000 rounds of ammunition to shoot one terrorist as you did in Vietnam? You should not use more than 50 and in fact, we expect 1 dead terrorist for every 2 bullets fired, that is the golden standard and it was achieved. Do the words “double tap” have any meaning to you? Eh, no. Do pseudo forces like the Selous Scouts ring a bell? Eh, no. Did you deploy stop groups with your helicopters, followed the tracks since no terrorists can fly away, he leaves tracks and we can track him down and he will die. Eh, no. Do you even know how to track spoor from vehicles and helicopters doing leapfrogs? Eh, no. Did you act as expected in counter ambush drills or just blundered blindly into an ambush? Eh, no. I am told that the ambushed patrol was busy with “routine intelligence gathering” and “got betrayed by a local that called the terrorists.” Eh, no, you never conduct intelligence gathering in such huge groups – 12 Green Berets and whatever other forces they had with them – you should not have been more than 2 Special Forces operators at the very most. No, almost certainly we were driving around aimlessly and got attacked because we became predictable. In other words, the same old mistakes as in Afghanistan and Iraq that we described in Code Name Ndebele 14 and American Military Might – Debunked on the “worst day in Afghanistan.”
If my questions above sounds harsh to you, that is exactly what every junior leader in the South African Army or Police was asked after any incident. God would not have helped him if he failed to answer properly or produced an AK47 for every dead terrorist. If not, a charge of murder would have followed. I ask you, when will you ever learn and become smart? How many more of you must die because of your ignorance and incompetence? This was not good enough as an effort and tomorrow it will be forgotten. The day after, the next body bags will arrive. Carry on and be happy in your ignorance, make us a nice manly movie and be a hero in Hollywood, see how far that helps you in real life. In the African Theatre, you are a zero on a contract in efficiency. And let me warn you, bush warfare is one sector of combat which you are either good at or you are not since you will be dead. There is no middle ground and unhappily the lessons were not learned and never will be learned since the Pentagon sincerely believes in the “OMG-We-Know-Everything-Already Dictum.” Yeah dream on, your failures in the War on Terror is beyond what can be explained. Historically, you have the most pathetic record in the history of irregular warfare by killing 2 innocents for every terrorist you get. A 96.5% failure rate with drones and so it is, a miserable if not pitiful 3.5% success rate, facts. Four good men paid the ultimate price for incompetence at the highest levels. Go home or start listening to good advice. I am tired of seeing my late wife people in body bags.
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations in sub-Saharan Africa, a military historian and published author of more than 50 books. In the GMJ Series, you will learn about Covert Operations, Special Forces techniques, current political analyses and military history not known outside the select few. Every GMJ Book is based on historical fact and often what is revealed in a GMJ Book is published by the mainstream media a short while later. Many of the GMJ Books are used as training material by Police Forces (SWAT) across the world. Note please that GMJ does not claim to have served in South African Army or Police Special Forces.