Military Intervention That Worked


| June 3, 2002


Military Intervention That Worked

To jaded First-World citizens who have lost faith that their countries will intervene in violent regions for any reason other than oil, look to Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone's recent election on May 14th -- its first since 1996 -- passed peacefully, The Economist reports, in large part because British troops intervened in the country two years ago and helped subdue a raging civil war. In particular, British military force suppressed the brutal Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a group of rebels that in the past has cut off the hands of Sierra Leoneans attempting to vote.

Why intervene? Forget oil or the fear that poverty-stricken countries might breed terrorists. The Economist argues it was the sheer violence of the civil war that made intervention so urgent. 'A rabble of drugged-up teenagers with Kalashnikovs were terrorising an entire country, raping, looting and skinning their victims alive,' The Economist reports. 'A few professional soldiers were able to stop them in a matter of months. Sierra Leoneans now have a chance to rebuild their lives.'

Sierra Leoneans are now free to vote for the candidate of their choice, with far less worry about losing their lives in the process. Those without hands, The Economist states, 'will vote by stamping a big toe-print on the ballot paper.'
--Julie Madsen
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