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The United States, Libya and the Liberian Civil War

Note: The pictures published with this story are copyrighted and not available for reproduction.    MONROVIA, Liberia — The Liberian civil war strikes many Westerners as a incomprehensible jumble of tribes, feuding warlords and senseless mayhem. How else can one describe what began as an effort to overthrow a much-loathed despot — Samuel Kanyon Doe — and ended seven years later with hundreds of thousands of people having been slaughtered in the genocidal aggression that became the war’s signature? Put those facts together, along with an assortment of child soldiers, torturers and death squad assassins, and the result is a conflict that is the epitome of African war: bizarre and perplexing to the outsider, and apparently meaningless. Noble01.jpg Master Sgt. Samuel K. Doe, Liberia’s former chief of state, flourished a walkie-talkie radio as he posed with members of the ruling “People’s Redemption Council,” shortly after the 1980 overthrow of President William R. Tolbert Jr. Doe and Liberia’s revolutionary government declared martial law and suspended the nation’s 133-year-old constitution. In an influential April 1994 Atlantic Monthly

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