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Letter to Clinton on Militarization of US Africa Policy

October 4, 2000

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am contacting you to express my strong opposition to the proposed military training of Kenyan soldiers through the African Crisis Response Initiative.

The African Crisis Response Initiative was conceived to help develop an indigenous capacity to respond to regional emergencies in Africa n African Solutions to African Problems. A laudable goal, albeit one that perpetuates the over-militarization of U.S. foreign policy. However the ACRI has proven ineffective at best

Despite having trained 6,000 soldiers from seven African countries since 1996 at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $90 million dollars, the ACRI has had virtually no impact on the many challenges that faced the Continent recently, such as the floods that devastated Mozambique, the crisis in Sierra Leone, the war in the Horn, or the fighting in Kissingani.

Again, ineffective may be the best that can be said of the ACRI. Since receiving U.S. equipment and military training, Uganda has violated international law and invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, fighting to control Congolese mineral resources, Uganda has waged a full-scale war with Rwandan and other forces that has claimed over 2 million innocent lives in the last three years.

The military leadership of the Ivory Coast benefited so much from U.S. equipment and military training that they promptly overthrew the democratically-elected government and installed a military dictatorship that exists to this day.

Now, despite rapidly deteriorating human rights conditions and weakened democratic institutions, the U.S. is proposing to initiate military training for Kenya.

Mr. President, with all due respect, I am extremely frustrated by increased militarization of our foreign policies towards the developing world.

While the U.S. ranks number one in weapons exports to developing countries, it falls dead last among industrialized nations in providing non-military foreign aid to the developing world. In 1997, the U.S. devoted only 0.09% of GNP to international development assistance, the lowest proportion of all developed countries.

Africans need affordable medical supplies, water treatment systems, agricultural products and a consistent policy that promotes peace and development. The ACRI achieves none of these goals. I urge you to stop throwing good money after bad and to cancel the ACRI program for Kenya.


Cynthia A. McKinney
Member of Congress


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