American military training programs have had an unhappy history in Mali, as reported in The Times on Monday. Years of effort, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, turned to disaster when American-trained units defected with their weapons and joined an ethnic Tuareg rebellion that preceded the Islamist takeover. One American-trained Malian officer who did not defect led the coup that overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré last March, further weakening the country’s defenses. Mali’s Army has also been cited by human rights groups for torturing detainees.
The Pentagon’s top commander for Africa, Gen. Carter Ham, acknowledges that the actions of Mali’s Army last spring were “wholly unacceptable.” The lessons of this debacle must be absorbed and perhaps applied elsewhere as well.
1) The Mali Army staged a coup to overthrow the democratically-elected government.
2) The country revolted with help from people we really don't like.
3) It is now the duty of the West to support the regime that overthrew the democratic regime. We are intervening "at the government's request."