Early last month, at a tiny military post near the tumbledown town of Jamaame in Somalia, small arms fire began to ring out as mortar shells crashed down. When the attack was over, one Somali soldier had been wounded—and had that been the extent of the casualties, you undoubtedly would never have heard about it.
As it happened, however, American commandos were also operating from that outpost and four of them were wounded, three badly enough to be evacuated for further medical care. Another special operator, Staff Sergeant Alexander Conrad, a member of the US Army’s Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets), was killed.
If the story sounds vaguely familiar—combat by US commandos in African wars that America is technically not fighting—it should. Last December, Green Berets operating alongside local forces in Niger killed 11 Islamic State militants in a firefight.