Opponents Of Africom Are Playing A Dangerous Game

By Fillmore Hney

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
Sept 20, 2007


Most opponents of Africom are still in the woods. Insofar as the truth and nothing but truth has not yet been told about Africom, it is fair to say that they're playing a dangerous game of intimidation. The net result of their tactics will backfire and hopefully, Africom will find its permanent residence in Liberia.

A few months ago, President Bush stated that "Africom would coordinate all U.S. military and security interests throughout the African continent". In the same document, the president said: "This new command (Africom) will strenghten our security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa". On the other hand, Ezekial Pajibo wants us to read something else into what Mr. Bush had said. As an example, in his September 18 article (carried by The Perspective), Pajibo makes the case that because the U.S. desperately needs Africa's natural resources, Mr. Bush was left with no choice but to talk about the usefulness of Africom. Pajibo goes on to say that because China is actively involved in trade with Africa, the U.S. wants to "strenghten its foothold in the resource-rich regions of Africa".

There is nothing in the statements (made above by Mr. Bush) that suggests that increased competition from China or the desperate need of natural resources in the U.S. could have caused Bush to discuss the issue of Africom. No one in his or her right mind will say that the U.S. is afraid of China in terms of competition, whether economic, military or otherwise.

Let the truth be told here: Pajibo is misquoting Mr. Bush. Secondly, we the readers, are being misled and intimidated. It is hoped that by saying things that Bush didnot say, Liberians will rally around Pajibo's misguided ideas and Africom will eventually die in its tracks. Ezekial Pajibo has a right to state his views and I'll support him for that. But he needs to slow down a little bit because Africom's purpose is not a clarion call for the U.S.to do battle with China or to control Africa's natural resources.

Mr. Pajibo also mentions another hot issue that is sadly untrue but yet intimidating! That's the issue of terrorists (perhaps al quaeda) going after U.S. targets in Liberia because Africom may evetually reside there. In the nineties, when the terrorists bombed the U.S. embassies in East Africa, (Kenya & Tanzania), Africom was not an issue. The terrorists decimated scores of poor Africans without the issue of Africom. The point I am trying to make here is that terrorists may go after any U.S. target(s) whenever it clicks in their unpredictable heads. It doesn't have to be Africom! They (meaning the terrorists) don't give a hoot! They'll act whenever they want without giving a reason.

Finally, Mr. Pajibo informs us that DYNCORP has been unable to do the job it was charged to do in terms of training Liberia's armed forces. In recent weeks, the news media in Liberia and others have reported that Liberia's men and women are still be trained militarily by DYNCORP. There may be some truth to the fact that more needs to be done to speed up the training process. But my point here is once again a simple one. Why should Africom and DYNCORP be linked? Oh, is it because the two are inseparably linked to Uncle Sam? Does Mr. Pajibo want us (the Liberians) to believe or think that because DYNCORP has not done its job sufficiently, Africom will indeed be a failure? The issue with DYNCORP (as I have been told) is an allegation. The facts are not yet clead! So, let's wait and see. But it is very disingenious and misleading to conclude that Africom will not work because DYNCORP has had a slow start.

With regard to those African states that are skeptical about this Africom deal, I wish they'd take care of their own brambles and we Liberians will worry about ours. I think this is fair and simple! South Africa is unhappy with Africom. Just three months ago, a Township in South Africa, revealed its "true blue" colors in a grotesque way. The men (if I may call them that) demanded that women should not be allowed to wear trousers in their Township (reported by the BBC). This is the worst I have heard this year. One would think that the government of South Africa would be more concerned with its internal issues than with Africom's presence in Liberia.

It is also reported that Lybia is uneasy about this Africom deal. When the issue of dictatorship raises its head in the world, especially in Africa, people tend to look at Zimbabwe's Magabe. But the Lybian leader (khadafy) has been in power now for well over 30 long years. The people of Lybia should be concerned with what may happen when the general departs his throne. The sad truth is that all African leaders who have ruled undemocratically, have caused their respective countries to suffer terribly after their deaths!

I wholeheartedly understand the concerns of people. But I do not understand why we the Liberians will have to be intimidated by people who do not support a particular president or his/her policy. To say that Africom will cause terrorists to destroy Liberia is an assumption, not a fact. I do not subscribe to such a philosophy. To say that China's presence in Africa will increased competition between the U.S. and China is a thought and not a reality. It may happen, but so what? Will a communist beat a capitalist to the game of free market competition? Bunk! Where is the Soviet Union? Answer: In total economic oblivion!

We the Liberians will not be intimidated! Those who play the dangerous game of intimidation will suffer a humiliating defeat because the "true" purpose of Africom is not yet told by them.

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