Thursday, March 26, 2009

General Kip Ward defining Africom

Reading this transcript of Africom's role in Africa clarifies clearly the problem it has. It's the same problem the development industry in general seems to have. All the support that western countries like the US and others provide is there helping undemocratically elected leaders to stay in power. Questions about US involvement in several African countries are not denied. Apparently General Ward does not see the need or is confirming the correctness of these allegations. The definition he gives of Africom's mandate at the end shows that the African people are not part of the equasion.

MR. VOLMAN:
the attacks in Somalia, the U.S. providing -- using surveillance aircraft over the Sahara to provide intelligence information to repressive governments like that in Algeria for military activities, growing involvement in Chad, in Nigeria, in Niger, in Mali, where American troops actually carried supplies to a besieged Malian government garrison, came under fire from Taureg rebels. None of them were killed, fortunately. The plane was able to safely get back to its base. The Americans are already killing people in Africa and have come very close to being killed themselves in Africa.

MR. HAMZA:
Okay, but talking about the people -- I'm willing to bet that a woman in the DRC, Eastern DRC, who's suffering, you know, repeated rapes from those rebel soldiers and government soldiers, wouldn't really mind today to have an intervention force -- and this is not what the command is doing but you know --

MS. WOODS:
That's the best example though, because what has happened? The U.S. has given those arms, has given the training to the Rwandan army, which then goes across the border to the DRC. That's the best example of you know, how the U.S. plays a role -- plays a proxy behind the scenes role both in being the number one arms exporter in the world and providing training, support, and assistance to facilitate the murderous and irresponsible deeds of armies, you know, like even in the case that you've raised here, the best example -- Rwanda.

MR. HAMZA:
General, let me ask you this -- and perhaps that will be the last question. Do you find this frustrating knowing that in your gut feeling, in your senses really, that you are convinced that this is a good thing, yet you are met with all this resistance and misconceptions and opposition? Is this frustrating for you?


GEN. WARD:
No, Hamza. It's not frustrating. I welcome the opportunity to try to clarify and dispel those things that are there. I can't go back and rewrite history. It is what it is. But as we move forward, the goal is to help the Africans create a continent that is stable so that the development that needs to occur that will benefit all of its peoples can occur. Our purpose is to assist the Africans and providing that secure environment that will then allow those things to occur. And we know that it's not done as an independent act. We know that it is done through a cooperative venture with the international community, with the nations of Africa and their organizations in ways that support their intent as well as -- and a point was made and I concur -- that are in keeping with our foreign policy objectives.

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