Should the US Military go to Liberia? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

President Bush is ready to take part in his Africa tour next week. One of many difficult issues he faces is deciding to committ US military personnel to help stabilize one of the more unstable countries over the last twenty years, Liberia. The President and his top aides have indicated that the intransigent Liberian President, Charles Taylor, should step down from power. Liberia has special significance for the AMEC since it is a part of the 14th Episcopal District. Some key members in the international community and the black intelligentsia favor a greater US military prescence in Liberia. Is this a wise move considering those that now favor a US led military solution are exactly the same who bitterly oppossed a US military solution in Iraq? Also, what ever happened to UN "peace-keeping forces"? It will be interesting to see how our clergy interject their political spin on the Liberian crisis. QED

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003


No, the US Military should not go to Liberia. We are still in Iraq. It's not that I don't think Liberia should not be assisted, but we are most often than not the first one to step-up for peace-keeping efforts, and it's time other countries quit acting like it's solely our job to do so. A UN peacekeeping force is the most rational option. I am just really tired of us loosing people and investing our money in people that turn and spit in our faces on any other given day except when they need help.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

The situation is Liberia is entirely different than that of Iraq, for Liberia has been in a devasting civil war for years. As a pastor my concerns are for the welfare of the people who are being displaced. We in the U.S cannot sit and debate whether we should help Liberia we have to! We cannot compare this situation to Iraq, but we must keep our focus on Liberia. One way that we as the A.M.E. Church can help is through humanitarian aid. Below is a press release from the United Methodist news service that was sent to the A.M.E. Herald. The United Methodist church is helping, we as A.M.E.'s also need to help. (The story from the united methodist news service is listed below>)

A UMNS Report By Daniel R. Gangler*

While fighting between rebel and government troops for control of Monrovia continues, a Liberian United Methodist living in Muncie, Ind., is pleading for the church and the U.S. government to intervene.

A brief cease-fire in Liberia collapsed June 26, and thousands of Liberians, who had begun to return to their homes, are once again fleeing for safety.

Momo Fahnbuelleh, a doctoral student in education at Ball State University, brought his concern for the children of Liberia to the attention of the North Indiana Annual Conference meeting in May in West Lafayette. Since then, he has written to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, both United Methodists, to support a U.S. intervention in Liberia. He also is waiting for a return call from U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, another United Methodist, on the same issue. Lugar, R-Ind., visited Baghdad in late June.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief reports on its Web site that "conditions for displaced people living in various types of temporary accommodation in central Monrovia (Liberia's capital) remain uncertain. There have been 23 deaths as a result of disease and hunger since the fighting resumed, according to World Vision. The need for humanitarian aid remains acute."

During a recent telephone interview, Fahnbuelleh said he believes God will move in the hearts of Americans in the church and in the federal government to help end the civil war in Liberia. He noted that the United States helped found Liberia after the Civil War as a haven for freed slaves. "The United States is like a big brother to us," he said.

According to news sources, before the drive on Monrovia, Liberia's civil war already had uprooted 1 million people within the country and sent 300,000 fleeing to neighboring countries.

Like Queen Esther pleading for her people before the king in the biblical story of Esther chapter 4, Fahnbuelleh said he feels he is pleading for the rescue of his own people from the rebels.

"God is capable, and he will intervene," he said. "I have hope now, since I have heard that a ship is being sent from Iraq to Liberia to rescue American citizens. Likewise, I hope God and the USA will come to rescue Liberia."

According to international news sources, the USS Kearsarge - said to be carrying 1,800 marines, 1,200 sailors and attack helicopters - was diverted while heading for the United States from Iraq.

The pastors and people of Normal City United Methodist Church in Muncie have played an important role in Fahnbuelleh's life during the past 15 years.

He first came to Ball State in the mid-1980s for an undergraduate degree in education and lived on the upper floor of the church's parsonage, which housed international students.

Under the care of the Rev. Donna Springer, who served the church in the 1980s, Fahnbuelleh was baptized into the United Methodist Church. He said he was drawn to Springer because of her anti- apartheid stance and her questions to him about spirituality.

Following graduation in 1989, Fahnbuelleh returned to Liberia, where he became the director of planning and research for the Monrovian city schools. To better understand how to organize schools, he became the principal of a school with more than 1,500 students in a building built for 900 students. During his tenure there, he said he witnessed rebel forces teaching his students to hate and bear arms.

"Kids fought at night and returned to school in the morning," he said. He estimated that 40 percent of the rebel forces are made up of youth between the ages 15 and 30.

When named as a political enemy by rebel forces, he returned to the United States as a political refugee. He arrived for a visit to Ball State in August 1998 and was surprised to learn that he had been granted a scholarship in 1992 to do doctoral studies in education. The letter from Ball State about the scholarship never reached him in Liberia. The university renewed his scholarship, and Fahnbuelleh returned to Ball State, where he is completing a doctoral degree in education.

He returned to Normal City Church, where the late Rev. Harold Wilson encouraged him spiritually to do something positive for the children of Liberia. Haunted by images of those children, Fahnbuelleh helped establish the Liberian Children's Education Fund.

Believing God had a plan for his life, he also began speaking in churches about the Liberian children and later became a certified lay speaker.

During a North Indiana Annual Conference session last year in West Lafayette, Fahnbuelleh answered the call to ministry offered by Indiana Area Bishop Woodie White and continues to explore his call to ordained ministry. Last October, he was appointed to serve as lay preacher of Fairview and Bellfountain United Methodist churches near Portland, Ind., and said he hopes to complete his doctoral work this fall.

The parsonage in which he lived in the 1980s is home once again, but this time Fahnbuellah's family inhabits the whole house. He lives with his wife, Satu, and their seven children and one grandchild.

According to Muncie District Superintendent David Maish, the members of the Normal City Church "played a key role in prayer and financial support which, when joined with others, brought Fahnbuellah's wife and children from Liberia to the United States."

This is a difficult time for Fahnbuelleh. He has lost contact with more than 100 relatives living in Liberia, and many of his relatives have been living in bushes and the forest since April. On June 15, Father's Day, he received word from his brother, a doctor in Liberia, that his father, 78, died of complications following a stroke. He died in a refugee camp hospital Kenema, Sierre Leone.

Despite these difficulties and losses, Fahnbuelleh said his hope for peace in Liberia has not died. He prays for a miracle and believes that one will take place through the church and intervention by the United States.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is responding to the crisis in Liberia. UMCOR/Liberia's programs have included agriculture, water/sanitation, education/training and health care. Donors for its programs have included USAID, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, and the Norwegian and Dutch governments.

Donations can be sent to UMCOR-NGO Advance # 982353-7 at UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Credit-card donations can be made by calling (800) 554-8583.

For more information on UMCOR's work in Liberia see http://www.umcor-

Fahnbuelleh can be reached at (765) 286-4533 or # # # *Gangler is director of communication for the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

... also, the fact that we cannot even keep peace on our own streets but would consider going half way across the world to keep peace in someone elses country, spend millions/billions to do so while people are loosing jobs and homes, is just crazy. I really get irritated when I think of all the efforts we invest ourselves in around the world, when we can't even handle business right here. I just don't get it.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

We have sufficient work to do at home. The economy is shot and folk are out of work. We had no business in Iraq and as predicted it has turned into a little Viet Nam. There comes a time to stop meddling in other's affairs. What about the war in American communities and streets? Proverb 26:17 reminds us that "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears."

On this day I am reminded that Richard Allen once said that this was the saddest day in history to him. Although he worked and labored in the American Revolutionary War, Independence was never what America intended for blacks.

It really stresses me out that the more things change the more they often seem to remain the same. "Charity begins at home and spreads abroad." Perhaps this situation would be more appropriately addressed by diplomats and Church.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

It's amazing how we play politics in our churches. When we bombed the Serbs, no one seemed to worry about our "warmonger" president. Perhaps this is because he was the first "black" president. Iraq became a war we should not enter because Sadaam has "done nothing to us" and " George is taking up his daddy's fight". Now we should go to Liberia. Things that make you go hmmm. I wonder how many souls will be saved.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

First of all the economy is not shot and everyone is not out of work. The economy is doing what it always does and is starting to pull out of its correction. As far as helping American's that is the job of the church not the government. Let me quote from our discipline "the African Methodist Episcopal Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of the Free African Society...Preaching the Gospel, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, cheering the fallen, providing jobs for the jobless, administering to the needs of those in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, asylums and mental institutions, senior citizens' homes; caring for the sick, the shut-in, mentally and socially disturbed, and encouraging thrift and economic advancement." Who should take care of the needs of the country? US. Stopping waiting on Massa Gov't to help us out. Iraq is not another Viet nam. In fact we are not even in the same situation as Viet nam. Whether or not America wanted to give us independence is irrelevant we have our independence. Let us utilize it to carry out the mission of the AME Church.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

I have to ask the question about race. For it is a question that many human rights activists have asked for years. Why is it that when countries in africa need help, the response is so slow. Many of my white human right activists feel it is a race issue.

Whether the U.S. goes to Liberia or not, I do hope we will offer humanitarian aid to the people and when I say we, I mean the A.M.E. Church, as was pointed out earlier Liberia is in the 14th district, the lutherans, catholics, umc, have and are sending money for food and relief efforts.

Again I restate we must not compare Liberia to Iraq, for these are seperate situations. Iraq has turned into a mini vietnam and unfortunately our troops will be there for years and years, we also still have troops in afghanistan, the latest figure that I heard from president bush, is that he will consider 500 soldiers.

One other thought, we need to remember that the U.S. relationship with the U.N. has been strained by the bush administration, I find it very disturbing, that there are no statements coming from President kofi regarding what the U.N. plans to do in regards to Liberia.

What ever our position on the matter in Liberia, the people need our prayers. Please put Liberia on your prayer chains in your churches. And please remember, while we have the luxury of sitting at our computers and debating this issue, people are dying. Do not be afraid to call and or email your congress person and let your voice be heard. May God protect the people in Liberia.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

It is unfortunte, indeed, that this time it happens to be a poor African nation instead of one in Asia or the Middle East. However the fact still remains that America too often meddles in affairs not its own, when it has not fully and properly managed its affairs at home. When will it ever be enough?

The word of God which I quoted above in Proverb 26 tells us plainly the result of meddling and where meddling leads. As Christians we would do better to pray as our Lord taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The sooner we realize that the battle is God's not ours, the sooner this prayer will be fulfilled.

We shall never know peace until we know the Prince of Peace and make Him truly or Lord and King. The time has come and is well since past when we should boast in armies and weapons that kill and destroy.

I quote an aria by George Fredric Handel written more than 250 years ago, yet its truth is eternal and thus always still the same. It too is based on the word of God as is recorded in the ancient Book of Macabees.

How vain is man, who boasts in fight The valour of gigantic might! And dreams not that a hand unseen Directs and guides this weak machine.

The question is whether to serve God or man and more specifically in whom do we really put our trust?

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

One more thing I forgot is that Liberia is the result of America's meddling two hundred years ago. When James Monroe had the big idea to return unwanted Africans whom he no longer needed or wanted as American slaves. They went back and named their Capitol in honor of James Monroe and named their country Liberia for Liberty.

The great prophet Richard Allen, James Forten and the Free African Society warned that this should never occur. They said that though we are here by no choice of our own. We built this country on our backs and with our blood sweat and tears. So now it is our perfect right to remain.

They wrote President Monroe and asked him to consider what he was doing and what it would mean. What they said is recorded, was prophetic and has now come home to roost.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

US troops in Africa is not new. When Bill Clinton was early in his first term he dispatched US troops to several "hot spots" populated by blacks around the globe. US Army Rangers were deployed in Mogadishu, Somalia in an atempt to stabiize that country due to the internal chaos created by internecine warlord fighting spearheaded by the chief instigator, Mohammed Aideed. The massacre of US and French paratroopers in Mogadishu sent a chilling message throughout the young Clinton Administration about the risks of having US military personnel in nation-building situations. The official response by the black community to Clinton's Somalian excursion - mute. On another occassion President Clinton, under pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP in 1993 or 1994 provided US military forces to escort exiled Haitian leader Jean-Paul Aristide back to Port-au-Prince and restored as President of Haiti. This action was committed despite credible evidence which showed that Aristide, while definitely not possessing the character traits of his infamous Duvallier predecessors, was no paragon of virtue either. Nonetheless Aristide was restored, Haiti's chronic instability continues, and another chapter is added in the conspiracy of silence by military protestors. Liberia's descent into depravity occured throughout the Clinton presidency. However, in all fairness, Clinton's 1st Secretary of State, Warren Christohpher, proposed a splendid suggestion about setting up an elite African Army trained by US military personnel. Regrettably, the idea never moved beyond his office in Foggy Bottom. The Christopher proposal could have helped avert some of the humanitarian crises we now face in Africa. If we can simply focus on stopping the carnage in Liberia and enforcing a real "cease-fire" and quit attempting to make the US and Bush in particular the "real enemies", this would be a healthy start on the road to recovery. QED

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

Why not add Liberia as our next State? Are there AME Churches in Liberia?

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2003

Yes...if we could interfere within the affairs of others, why not Liberia? It seems when it comes to diplomacy with West Africa, we seem a bit hesitant. There are AME Churches in West is a part of the 14th Episcopal District. In my opinion, the US Presence would bring some stability within the region in order to proceed with establishing dialogue between the warring factions.

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2003

U.S. Team prepares to leave for Liberia

-- Anonymous, July 06, 2003

The main opposition to us going over there now, that I have, is that if there was a conflict between US troops and the locals, we'd practically be fighting babies... children that have been recruited into pseudo armies. Are we really prepared for that kind of situation? I am really not at all offended by the presidents reticence to involve us in that kind of situation. More likely than not our troops would not, for the most part, be in conflict with grown men. That really does not sit well with me.

-- Anonymous, July 06, 2003

American intervention in Liberia may not be strictly for humanitarian purposes. I remember reading articles (in the last six months) that inferred a heavy Muslim presence entering the region with alleged ties to Al Qaeda and other militant Islamic groups. The articles also inferred that the selling of diamonds in nearby Sierra Leone may have helped fund 9/11. Keep Liberia and its neighbors in your prayers. Pray that our government does the right thing. To be quite honest it is so confusing. Right now I don't know what the right thing is.

-- Anonymous, July 06, 2003

My comments are geared towards encouraging a strong US involvement in finding a solution to the Liberian problem. Liberia is one of the key allies that the US has left in continental Africa. There is a growing wariness in Africa that western nations have placed priorities in other areas of the world specifically Eastern Europe and the Middle East as opposed to Africa. A lot of money has been raised for investments in these regions in spite of some political instability. The same does not hold for Africa or the Caribbean nations. It is high time that US politicians focus now on these inequalities in foreign policy deliverances and use Liberia as the experimental station. Failed democracies in Africa has an impact upon world cultures and give terrorists like Bin Laden more playing fields for testing and promoting their brand and interpretation of Islamic doctrine on a poor and mis-informed majority. Liberia needs peace. LIBERIA NEEDS to have the political and democratic institution that once existed in earlier leadership before the likes of Doe and Taylor. WE WANT THE EXPERIENCED TECHNOCRATS WHO COULD EASILY CRAFT A HEALTHY BUDGET, INSTITUTE PROPER MONETARY AND FISCAL POLICY, PROMOTE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE FAVORING RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS. AT LEAST NOW, CIVIL SERVANTS MAY BE ABLE TO TAKE PAY ON TIME AS WAS CUSTOMARY PRE-1980. We must be very careful indeed as we choose new leadership so as not to give or to assign new rights and privileges to military leadership and continuation of a rule of law by the gun-totters wearing expensive business suits.

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

Yes, the Us Military must go to help the Liberia innocent people. This so call war has been going too long and it needs to stop. Thank You Prensident George Bush for hearing out the Liberian People.

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2003

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