Standing Army In West Africa

Standing Army In West Africa

Written by J. Patrick Flomo

The deadly political situation in the Ivory Coast has renewed the question of the purpose of a “Standing Army In West Africa.” The purpose of a standing army in any sovereign state is to defend against and deter external aggression. This is not the case in West Africa. There, the Standing Army functions as a protector of the government in power rather than as the defender of the people.

In his influential work The Wealth of Nations (1776), economist Adam Smith comments that standing armies are a sign of a modernizing society, as modern warfare requires increased skill and discipline of regularly trained troops. But where is the war aggression in West Africa? Since the beginning of the 20th century, no two West African countries have gone to war against each other. What is true here about the standing army in West Africa is this: “When a government wishes to deprive its citizens
 of freedom, and reduce them to slavery, it
 generally makes use of a standing army” – #Luther 
Martin, Maryland delegate to the Constitutional

The standing army has not only suppressed freedom in West Africa, it has been a destabilizing force in the region. Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Senegal are clear examples of the military debacles in West Africa.

All West African states have gained independence, beginning with Ghana in 1957. But Liberia’s independence is a special case. It differs from the others because the state had been a private property of the American Colonization Society. Liberia did not exist under the same level of colonial rule as the other states did under the British and French. Liberia’s independence was handed to it on a silver platter. There was no bloodshed, cry for independence, or any Liberian politician imprisoned for the cause of independence.

Since a standing army that 
lives among the citizenry is most likely to be used against
 the citizenry, I want to strongly urge the young generations of West Africa to rethink the use of a standing army and to clearly define its purpose. What is palpable is that the enlisted men do not understand the army’s role. A standing army’s foremost loyalty is to the constitution of the state and the defender of the people rather than to the president. While it is true that the president is the commander-in-chief, an order to shoot down unarmed citizens during peaceful demonstrations is absolutely illegal, unjust, and immoral, and therefore should never be carried out by the army.

I would like to see the standing army be dissolved throughout West Africa and replace with…
via LiberianForum.Com – Standing Army In West Africa.


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