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January 8th, 2010 9:12 pm
Nation Buildling Lessons from Liberia

There is a fascinating piece over at Foreign Policy from a former American paratrooper and human rights defender who was tasked to help remake Liberia’s decimated military. The almost humorously titled “I Built an African Army” provides a sober assessment of the big picture thinking needed to train, equip, and manage a developing country’s military. One of the most important insights was to inculcate ideas about social justice, and a soldier’s place in a democracy into recruits who identified themselves and others by tribe membership before citizenship.

And though the author doesn’t linger on it, early on he mentions that his mission on behalf of the U.S. State Department was contracted through DynCorp International, a private military company. Yes, liberals, there are plenty examples of private military contractors doing the kind of nuanced, real world nation building that all the money from the UN, WTO, and IMF couldn’t equal. It’s nice having a new round of ammunition.

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