February 08, 2007

And Now, the Latest from the New Empire Builders: Africa Command!

Please. Please, someone just kill me:
The US has announced plans to set up a new military command headquarters for Africa, reflecting the continent's increasing strategic importance in the war against terror. The HQ will initially be based in Stuttgart, according to media reports.


"This new command will strengthen our security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa," US President George W. Bush said, announcing the plan on Tuesday. "Africa Command will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa."
"Peace and security."

"Development, health, education, democracy and economic growth."

Visions of Paradise ecstatically dance in my head. Oh, just a moment here. Wait a minute...wait...

You just knew this was coming:
Washington is also keen to foster stability on the continent with an eye to Africa's oil reserves which could provide an alternative to Middle Eastern oil.
I bet you want me to kill you now. No way, my friend. If I have to slog through all this, so do you.

Here's a very informative post about this perpetually expanding insanity. A few highlights, from someone who actually lived in Africa for twelve years (and who is undoubtedly thereby permanently prohibited from entering government service, assuming he wanted to):
Bush can’t even figure out a handful of Islamic sects and tell them apart. Consider Africa in comparison. There are 61 countries and territories. But that doesn’t tell you much. They are not countries like many other countries. The typical resident of France sees himself as a Frenchman. The typical African does not see himself as a national citizen but a tribal one. You can’t understand what is happening in these countries without understanding the tribal politics.


With these thousands of languages are thousands of tribes who inconveniently don’t just happen to live within the same countries. Nation states in Africa were a colonial invention and the colonial powers didn’t necessarily draw borders that made sense for the tribal/language groups under their control. Often groups that identified with each other were divided into different nations while groups that hated one another were merged into one nation. This formula guaranteed conflict for decades, if not centuries after.


Here is a president who has trouble keeping straight as to who is Sunni and who is Shiite and who probably thinks the Kurds have something to do with what Miss Muffet was eating. And we expect him to understand that one reason Zimbabwe is a dictatorship is so the Shona can suppress the Matabele and to realize that the minority status of Tutsi in both Rwanda and Burundi is a reason for the genocide. Is the Congo a center of civil conflict and war because it [is] a nation with 218 languages and about 200 tribes! Some four million people have died in the conflicts in the D.R.C. alone.
And a point of immense significance:
American expansion into Africa will only push more Muslims toward radical Islamist thinking. There are over 400 million Muslims in Africa and the Islamists are relatively weak there. American intervention will only inspire Africans to adopt a more radical Islamic faith. US intervention in Iraq unleashed the theocratic forces of Islam there. And it will do the same in Africa.
Now, if I were of a suspicious cast of mind, I might think this was the point. After all, how do you maintain and expand an already gargantuan corporatist military-industrial complex here at home unless you have what is alleged to be an existentially lethal, similarly expanding enemy abroad? And somebody's going to make a killing out of all this, and here I'm not referring to the many thousands or hundreds of thousands of people (or more) who might actually get killed.

I have no ending to this post. It's late, and I'm tired. And this goddamned nightmare just keeps getting bigger, and infinitely worse.

I'm going to bed. See you later on Thursday.