President Sirleaf did not Violate the Longstanding Procedure of Courtesy
By Fillmore S. Hney
Response: Frankly, I do not know what is meant by "national policy vacuum". But I can say that the Liberian people do not have a standing army at this particular time. The country's armed forces are being trained. As the brave men and women are being trained to defend Liberia, contingency plans are in the works. The minister of defense has recently said that he as well as the commander-in-chief, are prepared to produce a new army that will respect the rule of law and serve in international conflicts if the need ever arises. (The minister of defense didn't exactly use those words, but they are a complete substance of what he meant). Therefore, a fair assessment of things should be based on the assumption that a "national policy" is in place. Insofar as the new army is still being trained, it would be ridiculously unhelpful and un-national to expose a "national security policy" at this time.
Issue: In the sixth paragraph, you state that "if a country like Ghana can reject an American request to host the headquarters of Africom, there must be a compelling national or West African interest involved in their decision".
Response: Really? There is no doubt that their are commonalities of interests some times. So at this particular time, Liberia's interests are different from those of our friend, Ghana. Thanks to Ghana for coming to our aid during and after the war. All Liberians will be grateful to Ghana and others who came to our help when we needed help. Let's be realistic. In the late 60s and early 70s, boat loads of Liberians were repatriated to Liberia from Ghana because it was in Ghana's national interest. The Ghana government felt strongly that the Liberians needed to be sent back because they (Liberians) were too many. Educationally, some of Ghana's Universities have more colleges than ours. In terms of infrastructure, Ghana has free and railways that we don't have. Another example is this. During the cold war, France was originally connected to Nato's military wing. As time went on, France divorced itself from Nato's military wing. Why? It was in France's national interest. After the cold war, France re-joined the military wing of Nato once again. To conclude on this topic, it is fair to say that Ghana's interests are not intertwined with Liberia's. They (meaning the Ghanaians) may choose to abnegate if it's in their national interest, but we (the Liberians) do not have to agitate.
Issue: "Liberia got nothing in return for allowing America to use Liberia's resources and territory during world wars 1&2".
Response: Mr. Zaza, you're dead wrong! The Freeport of Monrovia (Bushrod Island) and Robert's international airfield, (Magibi) county were constructed by the very people (Americans) you are partially critical of. Since the 1940s, the Freeport of Liberia and Robert's International have brought economic benefits to Liberia. This is a fact. In recent months, much has been said about the corruption that goes on at the above mentioned entities. You and I may disagree on many things, but we should and must agree that if it is true that corruption is rampant at the above named entities, it is not the fault of the US government. The truth of the matter is economic benefits are coming in as a consequence of the investment that was made by the US government.
In conclusion, I am sure that Mr. Zaza will agree that 15 years of war in Liberia was horrendous. Although I wasn't there during the beginning and the end of the war, I felt the pain just like any Liberian. We have a moral obligation to work hard so that our country will be the once loveable country it was. Destructive criticisms will rally people to do unpopular things. Constructive criticisms will lead us to civility. We all know that Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf is a crime fighter. She is not an angel, she cannot do the job of crime-fighting by herself. She needs everyone's input. It is fair to inform her if she commits an error but it is wrong to accuse her if she hasn't done anything wrong. As president of Liberia, she (was/is) right to negotiate with the US government regarding the issue of Africom.