Truth eventually comes out. Let us hope some people are paying attention. In his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee (Ward testimony – PDF) General Ward:

. . . devoted only 15 seconds of his four-and-a-half minute opening remarks to a possible humanitarian role.

From Ward’s testimony:

AFRICOM’s theater strategy will be based on the principle of Active Security. Active Security is defined as a persistent and sustained level of effort oriented on security assistance programs that prevent conflict and foster continued dialogue and development.

Societies require security to flourish, for security provides the foundation for political, diplomatic, and economic development, which is essential to building long-term stability. AFRICOM will contribute to this goal by employing a wide range of tools at its disposal–from conducting security cooperation activities to prosecuting combat operations–to promote security.

In 1988, while pouring arms into Africa, and initiating policies that continue to destabilize the continent, Ronald Reagan said:

Too often security assistance is portrayed as a tradeoff against support for development. In Africa, this distinction is particularly ill-founded. Our security assistance programs promote a stable political and economic environment that permits the exercise of individual choice and the development of human talent. Without that environment, sustained development is not possible.

Ward is delivering the exact same message as Reagan. It was dead wrong then, it is dead wrong now. And it will be equally effective in arming the continent and increasing conflicts, and equally ineffective in promoting genuine stability and development. This is the last thing African countries need, the last thing that any country needs. Most are trying to move away from military government and trying to develop infrastructure and business.

Following the money, the US is increasing arms sales and transfers to Africa:

AFRICOM will take over the implementation of a growing and truly frightening array of military, security cooperation, and security assistance programs conducted either by the State Department or by the Defense Department (DoD). Through these programs, the United States provided more than $240 million worth of military equipment and training to African countries in FY 2006 and more than $500 million worth in FY 2007.

And for the coming year, diplomacy has become part of the militarized approach, with even more money being reqested both by the Department of Defense and the Department of State for military growth and activity:

For Fiscal Year 2009 (which begins on 1 October 2008), the Bush administration is asking Congress to approve the delivery of some $500 million worth of military equipment and training to Africa (including both sub-Saharan Africa and north Africa) in the budget request for the State Department for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009.

The administration is also asking for up to $400 million for deliveries of equipment and training for Africa funded through the Defense Department budget and another $400 million to establish the headquarters for the Pentagon’s new Africa Command (Africom).

The State Department budget request includes funding for major new arms deliveries and increased military training to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Uganda. It will be channeled through a variety of programs, including a number of new programs initiated by the Bush administration as part of the “Global War on Terrorism.” These include the Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Partnership, the East African Regional Security Initiative, and the Anti-Terrorism Assistance program. The U.S. government is also expected to license up to $100 million worth of private commercial sales of military and police equipment through the State Department’s Direct Commercial Sales program in FY 2009.

And the State Department wants to spend $1 billion on mercenaries, private military contractors for Africa, a further disaster. The State Department is acting as an arm of the Defense Department, at the expense of genuine diplomacy and assistance. Any “humanitarian” assistance will support the military mission. All sign of US government development assistance outside the military mission is gone.

This is disastrously bad policy. Not only does it hurt the African countries targeted. It does tremendous damage to the United States and to Brand America, once highly regarded in Africa.

h/t to b real for links and information