Sunday, March 1, 2009

The holocaust, in D.R. Congo: war for the sake of war itself

Fleeing the war waged for the sake of war itself 
for the minerals essential to manufacture of the weapons war.

by Ann  Garrison

The deadliest war in the world today is the Congo War, a.k.a., the African holocaust, or the African World War, a covert, U.S. war waged by African proxy armies, to secure Congo's unparalleled natural resources.   To secure, above all, the "geostrategic" cobalt reserves in the Katanga Copper Belt, which runs through D.R. Congo's southeastern Katanga Province and into its southeasten neighbor Zambia. 

Cobalt is essential to our military industries' ability to manufacture the modern weapons of war.   So, the Congo War, a.k.a., the African holocaust, is a war for the sake of war itself.   

Even the complicit United Nations reports that the Congo War is the most lethal war in the world today, with the highest death toll since World War II , though the UN does so primarily to fundraise for ineffective mega-UN charities like UNESCO, UNICEF, and the UNHCR.  It has never censured the United States, or any other imperial power, for arming, advising, and ultimately controlling myriad armies and militias in D.R. Congo.

Many Americans who supported Barack Obama had hoped for a de-escalation of the war, the perpetual, post-09/11 War on Terror, in Iraq, Gaza, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and even the covert U.S. war in D.R. Congo, the war for the sake of war itelf.

And many are now shocked by Obama's decision to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq, to send 17,000 more to Afghanistan, to bomb Pakistani insurgents, and, to stand behind Israel, no matter how mercilessly it bombs Gaza.   And, to hike the U.S. military budget by 4% in 2010, startling even Robert Gates, Bush's former Defense Secretary, who is, now, Barack Obama's. 

The Congo War continues, with little protest visible beyond the Internet; it moved into a new phase on Barack Obama's Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, when new, wholly illogical military alliances emerged.   The official story advanced then and since, by the U.S. State Department, the Rwandan, Ugandan, and Congolese governments, and the UN, then regurgitated by obedient corporate news outlets, is that: 

The Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF),  instructed by U.S. military advisers, crossed into southeastern D.R. Congo to join the Congolese Army (FARDC), the UN Peacekeepers (MONUC), and the Congres National pour la defense du people (CNDP), in hunting down “Rebel General Laurent Nkunda,” the former commander of the CNDP--one of the groups now allied to hunt down both him and his career enemies, the Forces Democratique de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR).

In December 2oo8, reports were that: 

On the Ugandan border of Eastern Congo, U.S. military advisers had helped organize the Ugandan Army (UPDF) to cross into northeastern D.R. Congo to join the Congolese Army, and the UN Peacekeepers (MONUC), in hunting down the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).    In March, the Congolese government agreed to let them stay, indefinitely. 

These alliances, and these accounts of them, are so riddled with contradiction that deconstructing them would only play into the hands of those so carefully obscuring the fundamental reality of the Congo War.  How many Americans would be anything but dizzy and confused by this list of acronyms for just the best known militias and armies fighting in D.R. Congo: CNDP, FDLR, UPDF, RDF, FARDC, MONUC?    

So, let's forget the acronyms; forget all the African militias and armies fighting proxy wars for the imperial interests of the U.S. and other imperial powers.  Americans should understand, instead, why the U.S. is fighting a covert war in D.R. Congo.  

The stakes, in the Congo War, are enormously high.  They include:

1) War itself, because, again, the Congo war, is, above all, a war  for cobalt, the mineral most essential to the manufacture of modern weapons of war.

Cobalt is required to build  jet fighter bomber engines, missiles, including nuclear missiles, battleships, including our nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers,  and, virtually all modern industrially manufactured weapons of war, except perhaps biological and chemical weapons.

Cobalt is essential to the manufacture of anything requiring high grade steel.

Shocks in cobalt's supply and price, during the 1970s and early 80s, led to a
1982 Congressional Budget Office document warning that the U.S. would have to be prepared to go to war to secure cobalt reserves, so as to secure the power to manufacture for war, especially in time of war.  

2) An ongoing African holocaust, the systematic destruction of the Congolese people.

Six million have died, according to widely acknowledged sources including the International Relief Commission, and the UN. Forty-five thousand Congolese continue to die every month, with no end in sight; many die in refugee camps, of starvation and easily curable disease, and one third of these are children.

3) Barack Obama's legacy, and our legacy, as the Americans who elected him.  Will it be an ongoing African holocaust, another six million African, Congolese lives? And Africom, the expansion of the U.S. Africa Command, throughout Africa, and the further plundering of Africa's resources.

Some, including Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford, say that Barack Obama is "U.S. corporate empire in Black face," or that corporate America desperately needed a Black face now. This is arguable, especially given that, in 2007, Africa surpassed the U.S.-war torn Middle East as a source of U.S. oil imports.

However, though huge corporations generously filled Obama's campaign coffers, so did many everyday Americans, who also organized and rallied for Obama, with high hopes of peace and change. Many now at least seem to have a place at the table that they didn't have before.

Can they use it to call for an end to the covert war in D.R. Congo?  First, more Americans will have to find D.R. Congo on the map, even amidst the toughest times since the Depression.

Is there anything we, ordinary Americans, can do to end the war for the sake of war?

Acting to stop the Congo War is daunting indeed. I really can't imagine action at the federal level, because I simply can't imagine the national apparatus of force, the military, foreign policy, intelligence, and police agencies, acting to deconstruct themselves.

The only successful actions that I can imagine are local.  Here's a list of those which occur to me, though only, again, with "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will." I list them to keep faith with many of my dearest friends, who believe that the election of Barack Obama, our first African American U.S. president, has indeed made all things possible:

So, to end the Congo War, the City and County of San Francisco, where I live, could, conceivably:

1) Cancel our invitation to the annual all forces military recruitment drive, best known as Fleet Week and the Blue Angels Air Show.   Despite its use of African proxy armies, the U.S. military could not sustain and expand Africom, the U.S. Africa Command, and continue to prosecute the Congo War,  without troops.

2) Implement Community Choice Renewable Energy legislation passed by the San Francisco City and County Board of Supervisors, which calls upon the city to build a clean, renewable, power infrastructure based on solar, tidal, and wind power. The Congo War, and most all the covert wars in Africa, including that in Sudan/Darfur, are wars for Africa's oil, natural gas, coal, acreage planted for bio-fuels, and uranium.

3)  Apologize for the 1961 assassination of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's first elected president, Patrice Emery Lumumba, by CIA and Belgian operatives, and call on President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress, to do so as well.  Belgium apologized, on January 17, the 40th anniversary of Lumumba's assassination; though the CIA's involvement is now widely acknowledged, it has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government, just as the U.S. covert war in D.R. Congo is not acknowledged now.  

4)  Call on Barack Obama to close the U.S. military base in Kigali, Rwanda, and end all U.S. military support to its authoritarian African puppet regimes, including those of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and, now Congolese President Joseph Kabila.

Yes we can?   

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