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Bush OKs sending force to Liberia coast
July 25, 2003 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Bush OKs troops in Liberia even though President Charles Taylor remains. (Taylor's abdication of the presidency had been a US requirement before troops would be sent.) It's obviously a tough call for the White House to make, but are we in for a repeat of Somalia 1993?
posted by jpoulos (31 comments total)

 
U.S. troops have only been "in" as far as the waters off the coast of Liberia, unless I'm missing something huge. There's a west African peacekeeping/making/whatever force going in on land.
posted by stonerose at 10:42 AM on July 25, 2003


that should read 'only been ordered "in"'
posted by stonerose at 10:43 AM on July 25, 2003


Powell (7/24): "Most of that logistic efforts will probably be by contractor support and
not by troop support, but we have an open mind on that as well."
posted by rschram at 10:47 AM on July 25, 2003


I just keep thinking about all the MONEY this is all costing. All these "change the world' troops everywhere when we need that money HERE. Reduce the national debt. Spend it on schools. Jesus, all that money.
posted by aacheson at 10:48 AM on July 25, 2003


Acording to the article, the Iwo Jima is being sent.

Info about the class of ships form Globalsecurity.org here, the ship's home page is here, and marine unit embarked's home page is here.

According to the last site, their last time 'in harm's way' was over a year ago:

"November 2001 - February 2002 -- The 26th MEU (SOC) was among the first U.S. Forces into Afghanistan as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and Swift Freedom. MEU (SOC) Marines participated in the 450 mile seizure of Camp Rhino and Kandahar Airport, and constructed a detainment facility that held more than 400 Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists."
posted by Jos Bleau at 11:09 AM on July 25, 2003


Don't worry, aacheson, it's only 2000 troops. Not quite an Iraq-force army. Personally, I'm glad he's doing it -- it's the first policy decision the Bush administration has enbarked on that I completely support. Chuck Taylor and his All-Stars should have been lynched years ago.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:17 AM on July 25, 2003


"I want to tell George Bush to do something hurriedly, very fast and quickly," cried Emmanuel Sieh, 28, among the frantic crowds that spilled into the streets in front of the U.S. Embassy in this American-founded West African nation after the worst of the daybreak attack.

I suspect that the situation has just become too out of control and dangerous (like Kosovo several years ago) to leave alone any longer. It looks like the US is going to have be the world's policeman again. Why doesn't Europe ever take the lead on this type of thing?
posted by Durwood at 11:36 AM on July 25, 2003


Why doesn't Europe ever take the lead on this type of thing?
Well, we did in Sierra Leone. I suspect we'd help out in Liberia if our forces weren't horribly over stretched supporting the US in Afghansistan and Iraq.
posted by chill at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2003


Europe doesn't take the way because they don't have the capability to land 2000+ military troops in 2-3 days notice.

Not that it is an legitimate excuse, but that is one of the reasons.

Jos Bleau - The Unit that is embarked with the 26th MEU/SOC rotates every six months (or is supposed to anyways. This may have changed with all the troops currently deployed)

Usually a reinforced Marine Battalion is embarked upon the MEU.

In this case it the 1/8 Marines out of Camp LeJune. Usually, a Regiment shares the MEU duties, (possibly more then one) and the next Battalion will be 2/8 Marines. It just depends on the rotation schedule.

SOC - Special Operations Capable: This may include attached SEAL units and Marine Force Recon units, as well as various regular front line units with special training.
posted by da5id at 12:00 PM on July 25, 2003


Really? Did we work out a deal where we get to feed the corpses into the ol' turkey grinder? There's gotta be some way to squeeze some oil out of this...
posted by zekinskia at 12:03 PM on July 25, 2003


Why doesn't Europe ever take the lead on this type of thing?
Apart from Sierra Leone and the British... Does France count as Europe? because the French are too active in Africa. They have become a de facto policeman for the continent:
Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo: The pace of French actions is speeding up. In English-speaking Liberia, French soldiers have left their traditional stomping grounds to come to the aid of Liberia’s foreign community, trapped by fighting in Monrovia, the capital. At the same time, an airlift is ferrying more than 1,000 French soldiers from Entebbe, Uganda, to Bunia, in northern Congo, under a United Nations-mandated effort to restore peace in the war-torn Ituri region.

June 10th. French troops evacuate foreigners from Liberia.
Don't forget also that Liberia began as the closest thing to a US african colony.
posted by talos at 12:43 PM on July 25, 2003


Liberia is one of the rare cases that is pretty much a US fuckup from start to finish, unlike Iraq or Vietnam.

The US was behind the creation of the Liberian nation in the first place; it started as a US colony. Borders were drawn and a legal system imposed without any regard for conflicts among tribal and linguistic groups already settled in the area--not to mention the conflicts between indigenous peoples and the influx of emigre African Americans (free people of color and formerly enslaved people) from the US who came with guns and money and the desire to "get theirs."

So you have Deys pitted against Bassas against G'rebos, and all of them pitted against the Americans who helped themselves to the good land thanks to their guns and money. It's a pretty good prescription for a century and a half of war.

More on this here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:46 PM on July 25, 2003


Why doesn't Europe ever take the lead on this type of thing

It certainly makes sense for the US to take the lead on Liberia given our long association with the place.

But with other troubles, the general lack of European involvement bugs me. Why isn't Belgium taking a lead role in the (ex-Zaire) Congo? They're the ones that spent 100-odd years fucking the place up, stealing its natural riches, and oppressing its inhabitants when they weren't outright slaughtering them, after all.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:55 PM on July 25, 2003


(and of course by the same token the US should be doing much more for Central and South America)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:56 PM on July 25, 2003


Why doesn't Europe ever take the lead on this type of thing

Because it's our lot in life. We're Europe's faithful servant, to be told what to do and obey, so that they don't have to sully their hands with that nasty business of maintaining a military. How gauche!

But god forbid we ever decide to do something on our own. Then we're the most wretched scum on earth. Until they need us to clean up for them again....
posted by jammer at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2003


But god forbid we ever decide to do something on our own.

I wouldn't mind one bit if the current administration had to ask the Europeans permission before doing anything.
posted by Loudmax at 1:55 PM on July 25, 2003


I wouldn't mind one bit if the current administration had to ask the Europeans permission before doing anything.

Neither would the would-be terrorists of the world.
posted by jammer at 1:59 PM on July 25, 2003


Neither would the would-be terrorists of the world.

You mean Donald Rumsfeld agrees with me?
posted by Loudmax at 2:04 PM on July 25, 2003


Oh wow. I've never heard an outspoken know-it-all compare a member of the Bush administration to the kind of person who hijacks planes and flies them into office buildings full of sleepy workers nursing their morning coffee, or stones women to death for whistling in public.

I applaud your wit and originality.
posted by jammer at 2:18 PM on July 25, 2003


Much as I dislike Bush, this actually scores a few non-hypocrite points in my book. For all the neo-con talk of us being "liberators" in Iraq, it would be criminal if we didn't intervene in Liberia, which is arguably a much more serious human rights situation than the one in Iraq.
posted by RylandDotNet at 2:28 PM on July 25, 2003


Because it's our lot in life. We're Europe's faithful servant, to be told what to do and obey, so that they don't have to sully their hands with that nasty business of maintaining a military. How gauche!

But god forbid we ever decide to do something on our own. Then we're the most wretched scum on earth. Until they need us to clean up for them again....

Jammer you're right about one thing, it is your lot in life. You live in a country with wealth and power that most of the rest of the world can't even imagine. It is therefore only natural that the rest of the world should call upon you to use this power and wealth as a force for good, and criticize if it believes that it is being used for selfish reasons.
Everything else you said, along with the premise your comment was based upon, is demonstrably wrong I'm afraid.
posted by chill at 2:33 PM on July 25, 2003


It is therefore only natural that the rest of the world should call upon you to use this power and wealth as a force for good, and criticize if it believes that it is being used for selfish reasons.

Sure, it's natural. But given the choice between acting as directed by the interests of European proto-socialist states or third-world tyrannies, or acting in our own self-interest, you can bet I'm going to favor the latter.
posted by jammer at 2:42 PM on July 25, 2003


Much as I dislike Bush, this actually scores a few non-hypocrite points in my book.

RylandDotNet, congrats on being one of the few liberals on MeFi who are willing to actually say something good about Bush when it is called for. It makes me alot more willing to bitch about the things the administration does that completely piss me off when I'm not busy defending it from much more baseless attacks.

I'm sincere when I say that, too. I have *alot* of questions about the Bush administration, but I have trouble pursuing them when I'm too busy defending what we do to quibble about how we did it.

"At times, one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." -- Nietzche
posted by jammer at 2:46 PM on July 25, 2003


But with other troubles, the general lack of European involvement bugs me. Why isn't Belgium taking a lead role in the (ex-Zaire) Congo?
Belgium hasn't much of a military. As I noted above, France does. And I don't think that the native population would appreciate the Belgians in Congo (any more than say the Argentineans would appreciate American troops).
We're Europe's faithful servant, to be told what to do and obey, so that they don't have to sully their hands with that nasty business of maintaining a military. How gauche! But god forbid we ever decide to do something on our own.
As noted the French are all over Africa. The difference is that they have a UN mandate and the invitation of local forces. Examples:
French troops arrive in Congo: BUNIA, Congo -- A contingent of French troops has arrived in the northeastern corner of Congo, where recent ethnic violence has left over 500 dead, the United Nations said.
Two planeloads of soldiers flew in to Bunia's airport early Friday to prepare for the arrival of a larger EU-led force intended to stabilize the area after Ugandan troops withdrew May 7...

UN sends troops to stop Congo massacres :
French combat troops are expected to fly into Congo's Ituri province next week with a UN mandate to secure the airport at Bunia and protect civilians from further massacres.
West African summit Wednesday on funding UN Ivory Coast force.
France has deployed 3,900 soldiers, who have a UN mandate to police a ceasefire between government and rebel forces.
Finally: [France] has about 36,000 troops deployed around the world, including in Bosnia, Kosovo, Djibouti, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Congo.
posted by talos at 3:22 PM on July 25, 2003


Belgium hasn't much of a military

But that's not some law of nature or immutable fact, that's a choice they made. Why don't they get off their lazy butts, form up an army, and try to clean up their messes?

And I don't think that the native population would appreciate the Belgians in Congo (any more than say the Argentineans would appreciate American troops).

Fair enough. In that case, whoever goes in and deals with it, why the hell isn't Belgium paying for the other people to clean up their messes? Or, failing Belgium, just the Belgian royal family (assuming it's the same dynasty as Leopold)?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:17 PM on July 25, 2003


But given the choice between acting as directed by the interests of European proto-socialist states or third-world tyrannies, or acting in our own self-interest, you can bet I'm going to favor the latter.

Nice bit of elision there, jammer. Given the choice between acting as directed by your interests or those of goat-molesters, or of acting in my own self-interest, you can bet I'm going to favour the latter.

Anyway, the point is that you're talking uninformed shite. Certainly, the way that the White House blustered and blunderbussed its way into war with Iraq doesn't particularly reflect enlightened self-interest to more than a small coterie of the Republican leadership. But anyway, I only wish I had your facility to regurgitate badly-digested buzzwords. It would rid me of the tedium of thought.
posted by riviera at 4:42 PM on July 25, 2003


jammer: were you born with such a simple worldview, or was it something you've put effort into?
posted by signal at 5:00 PM on July 25, 2003


ROU_Xenophobe: It's the same bloody (and I mean it literally here) dynasty. The question of reparations for ex-colonies is important and should be raised.
But if it is, there will be a huge transfer of wealth from the North to the South. It should happen (must happen if you ask me) but I imagine 90% of first world governments would be against it.
Belgium is still active in Congo it seems, even militarily. Apart from Leopold they were part of the other great disaster for the country: together with the US and France they supported dictator Mobutu and cooperated to assasinate the independence leader Patrice Lumumba.
posted by talos at 5:03 PM on July 25, 2003


jpoulos--You know this won't be a return to Somalia. The idea is a straw-man (kinda). I am proud we are going to help stop the killing of innocents. Hell, the citizens were (are?) piling bodies in front of the U.S. embassy. I think we might be needed.

European military forces CAN deploy on short notice. This is debate is about the role of the U.S. in the U.N.

talos--I take it you haven't worn a U.S Army uniform in Argentina. I did for a month in Aug '01. (Cabanas '01) The people in Salinas I saw thought we were great. They were dissapointed by our football (soccer to the Yankees) skills, tho...
posted by mcchesnj at 11:45 AM on July 26, 2003


mcchesnj: I haven't worn a US army uniform anywhere. You missed my point I think. Belgian troops gone for training in a peaceful region in the Congo would probably be welcome there too (a good percentage of them would probably be Congolese anyway).
posted by talos at 3:34 PM on July 26, 2003


For Bush is was not a "tough call." I guess he figured some more people needed to be bombed or killed (you know, for 9-11).
posted by Bag Man at 4:10 PM on July 27, 2003


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