A while back I put a proposition to some friends of mine - why don't we invade Liberia? The present ruler, Charles Taylor
, did it in 1985
with apparent ease, and it wouldn't take much money to do it again. It has a population of 3.7 million people, but only 854,324 of these are males of military age, and according to The Internet
1,000 rounds of surplus AK-47
ammunition costs about $100
, presumably cheaper in bulk, which means that slightly less than my annual wage will buy one bullet for each of the country's potential belligerents. If we aim for the head, that's all we'll need. Furthermore, there's an aircraft carrier on the internet for $4.5million, and equipment etc. I've probably said all this before.
Therefore $10million, or about £7,400,000, the cost of a flat in London, will get you Liberia. You just need people. I have five definite followers and a few possibles, plus myself, totals about ten people. If we raise a million dollars each, we will have our own country. Of course, we'll have to invade the neighbouring countries too, because they are liable to attack us, but that's for later.
Anyway, lo and behold, after having this discussion, Liberia starts fighting itself, and also so does Mauritania and the Democratic Repubic of Congo, which will save us time because there will be fewer people to dispose of when we invade. This news tends to be relegated to the back of the broadsheet newspapers because none of the above conflicts can be easily blamed on America and/or Britain. The rebels in the newspaper are all using Soviet or Eastern European arms and their trucks seem to be Toyotas. They are multicultural - Liberia's cultural mix includes the "Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, Dei, Bella, Mandingo, and Mende" tribes, according to the CIA World Factbook - and globalised, with their equipment coming from all corners of the earth. They are the future. Wars of individuals and small groups, the mass of people kept terrified and cowed by inter-tribal fighting, the elite in their walled compounds, consuming canapés. The sane solution, therefore, is to try to be part of the elite. The system is too big for you to fight, and even if you knocked it down, you'd build a system just like it, eventually.
Right this minute there are several thousand people trapped in the football stadium in the middle of Monrovia, Liberia, who will be dead in a few days. There isn't a power in the world that will stop this happening now. The problems in Liberia have been festering since 1985 but nobody has done anything, including the Liberians, and now it's too late. The UN has sent a 'peacekeeping force', but like all UN 'peacekeeping forces' it is undermanned and ineffectual. and there is no peace to keep; it would have to be a 'pacifying force'. The 500 UN soldiers there do not have any heavy weapons, any tanks, jets, satellites, artillery pieces, and they are confined to their base. Killings go on outside, and they are not allowed to do anything, and even if they were allowed to act they would not, because they would be killed. Their support staff and the civilian UN workers are being slowly picked off. The peacekeeping forces will eventually evacuate, and the complex they abandoned will be sacked and those left behind murdered. The same happened in Srebrenica, Somalia, insert more examples here, otherwise they'll laugh and will continue to happen. Perhaps next in Mauritania or the Ivory Coast, or Burma, if they kill that nice lady there. A part of me respects North Korea for being a good, old-fashioned, mysterious nuclear antagonist. I can understand that, because I grew up in the Cold War. And ultimately I hope it all goes wrong all over the world, because when it does I get overtime, time and a quarter for weekdays, time and a half for Saturday, time and three quarters for Sunday.
And anyway the UN is a big joke. The individual nations, their governments and their people, they don't want their troops to die for an abstract cause, in blue hats. They participate because it makes them look good, but when the chips are down and push comes to shove, they pass the ketchup and dingle the dally-doo. They don't want to wake up in the morning to the news that 23 of their soldiers have been killed in order to prop up the smoothest-talking faction of some ridiculous conflict. I'm sure the UN's humanitarian efforts are well-meaning and they probably do some good, but what use are good intentions against Darth bloody Vader? He may have been turned to the good side of the force by his son, but it took a ferocious light sabre fight first, and the slaying of Emperor Palpatine. And in the end Vader himself died. What good did it do him, being on the light side of the force?
America might have saved the people in Liberia. Both America the country and America the idea. The USA, more specifically. Chile is also America but will not save the people in Liberia. The bit of North America between and to the left of Canada and Mexico might be able to. I'm sure the people in Liberia aren't too worried about the ever-spreading grasp of McDonald's and Coca-Cola. I'm sure they don't write long books in French about how Sesame Street is evil. We complain if America acts, and we complain if America does not act. And if America acts and it goes wrong, the Americans complain, and we have a good laugh, because at the back of our minds we know it won't hurt to laugh at America, because it's invincible. We all like it when the big man gets splashed by a passing car, and America is the biggest man on the planet. Somebody once said that America is like a farmer holding out cheese to a goat; the goat wants the cheese but he doesn't want the farmer, so he takes a bite of the cheese and butts the farmer, thinking that if the farmer goes away, the cheese will stay floating in the air. This does not happen, of course, the farmer goes away, and the goat becomes thin, and passers-by see the goat and complain about the farmer to the RSPCA, even though the farmer was attacked by the goat, and then the RSPCA get involved and all along everybody wants the cheese. They want America's cheese and they'll lie and cheat and cajole and plead to get it, because America has an infinite supply of cheese, until the day it does not have cheese any more, and then we'll run around and burn the farm. If America had sense it would drill an oil pipeline from New York to the Middle East, under the Atlantic, and then build a big wall in the middle of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and fill Mexico full of poison spiders, and come to some kind of agreement with Canada, and then cut off all contact with the rest of the world and just be happy and rich.
France has sent troops to Liberia or the DRC, I can't remember, and they rounded up the few French nationals left in the country and left again. I think they may have also captured an airport. The EU rapid reaction force is doing nothing at all. The French government would not risk the lives of French soldiers on anything that does not benefit France; Germany is constrained by history; Britain has just worn out its armed forces in Iraq and will not be able to intervene in conflicts of this nature for a few years. The end result is inaction.
And a part of me thinks good, let's sit back and watch the vipers fight it out. Let the poison out, instead of trying to hold it in. These people doing the fighting, they want it, we can't stop them. Youngsters don't form rock bands any more, they form guerilla groups, political pressure groups, self-defence groups, gangs, but the end result is people either persecuting or being persecuted. We can't take away their guns, because we're selling them guns, and they have loads. We can't persuade them not to fight, because they have no reason not to. As long as they have guns, they're in charge, they're gods, they have the ecstacy of rape and the drunken aphrodisiac power of torturing and killing the weak. Anybody reading this who was a bully at school, or who remains a bully, will agree with me that it's great fun, it's superb fun. People respect you. You don't have to be humble, or compromise, or bow your head, or watch what you say. Who cares if it doesn't last. You own the moment and its yours.
And it's not for us to deny them their pleasure. Instead we should help them; flood the world with guns, and eventually only the righteous will be left alive. There will be less overcrowding on the London Underground. The civilians will die because they are weak, they will not help themselves, they're just objects of misery. Somebody will set up a relief fund and we will donate money and feel better, but we won't lift a finger to help them when help might have made a difference. We'll happily send a cheque for £10 to an unregulated, unaccountable charity a long time after the fact, because it's uncontroversial to support a dead cause. We're lazy, we don't want to offend people, we don't have an opinion, and ultimately we don't care.
And also David Beckham is being chased by various Spanish football teams, according to the front pages of most newspapers today. He'll get a lot of money to add to the money he already has. His wife, Posh Spice, was in the newspaper wearing some kind of urban leatherwear, with a bandolier around her waist with dummy 7.62 NATO rounds in it, made of silver. Good for use against werewolves, then.