A Country Torn Apart
Amputations by ax are the tools of terror

Steve Coll
The Washington Post
Sunday, January 30, 2000
First of Three Parts

In early 1999, while all eyes were focused on the refugees of Kosovo, another grim drama was unfolding in West Africa, a war that at the time was the world's cruelest, as well as its most invisible.

  FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - Alpha heard banging at the gates of his family's compound, then gunshots. He looked out a second-story window and saw the rebels.
  Some wore the combat camouflage of Sierra Leone's disintegrated army. Some wore black jeans, Tupac Shakur T-shirts. A few had wrapped their hair in handkerchiefs patterned with the American flag. All of them wore red bandannas around their foreheads. Adhesive strips patched their faces, as if they had been cat-scratched. The strips masked incisions where the rebels had ingested cocaine, amphetamines or other drugs that wired their heads for battle.
  In eastern Freetown on Monday morning, Jan. 18, 1999, a war that at that moment was the world's cruelest, as well as its most invisible, entered the parlor of the Jalloh family, where breakfast lay unfinished on a table in the center of the room.
  It was not easy to say why the rebels entered one house and not another, but a faint air of prosperity hung over this gated compound on Kissy Road. Dalibeh Jalloh's nine children by two wives included the three sweet-faced sons now standing frightened by the window. The oldest was Alpha, 22, who traded gold-plated watches he bought in Guinea, had a girlfriend, danced in Freetown's nightclubs and now listened as the rebels crashed through the last door and climbed the stairs.
  They demanded money, and Alpha's father handed over bundles. Gun barrels swung to the brothers. A rebel commander ordered them outside. Their mother sat in a chair before the unfinished food and wept. Their father begged: "Please don't take them. They are my children. Don't take them."
  Outside, the rebels forced them into line. They marched up a red clay road past small shacks and shops toward grassy hills. The brothers began to cry. The line of youths swelled with other abductees as they walked. Some rebels told the boys their hands would be cut off and sent back to the democratically elected president of Sierra Leone, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, as a symbol of the rebels' power. Others said the boys would be killed.
  Two hundred yards up the slope they reached a school driveway. Before a metal gate stood a tall, thin rebel the others called Tommy. Drug strips covered his face. He held an ax.
  A neighbor boy went first. As rebels trained assault rifles at his head, he stretched on his stomach on broken concrete before the school gate and extended his arm.
  Tommy raised the ax high above his head and slammed it down. Once, twice, three times, four times. The boy's severed hand seemed to jump away from him.
  The line shuffled forward. Alpha, weeping and shaking, watched his younger brother Amadu, 17, stretch out his right arm.
  As Tommy raised his ax, Alpha closed his eyes.
  Helen jolted awake. "We've come!" she heard the rebels shout. "You thought we were not coming back to the city! We're here!"
  It was three days later in a middle-class neighborhood up the slope from the school gate, where the war would now force its way into the second-story apartment of a salaried government bureaucrat and his 20-year-old daughter, Helen.
  Helen, an earnest student who radiates energy and beauty, has a daughter by her boyfriend, Abdul. She lives at home in the wind-caressed suburban hills above Freetown, where she lounges with her doting father, and sneaks away with Abdul, and thinks about going into business, as she and her girlfriends sometimes have done in small ways, trading shampoo and food.
  Like Alpha, she belongs to a generation of young Africans whose parents' ambitions have delivered them from rural poverty to urban aspiration.
  In Freetown, the capital of what the United Nations describes as the poorest nation in the world, there is not a regular supply of electricity or a reliable telephone system, but inevitably, there is a functioning cyber cafe, and the streets pulse with battery-powered hip-hop music, generator-operated satellite news and the buying power of Western Union money transfers sent by the tens of thousands who have made it to Europe and America.
  A progressive generation of young and ambitious Africans, you might say admiringly, except that besides Helen and Alpha, it also includes Tommy and his nihilistic brethren - ex-soldiers and self-styled revolutionaries who roam and sprawl across the continent, armed with Chinese- and East European-manufactured assault rifles, propelled by grievance, greed and a broad experience of impunity.
  On the night of Jan. 21, two rebels entered Helen's suburban apartment, roughed up her father and told him they were taking away his daughter.
  He begged them to leave her alone. "If you keep complaining, we're going to kill you," one of the rebels said.
  The next morning, her parents watched Helen walk at gunpoint up the hill. She found herself walking with another neighborhood girl who also had been abducted. The pair wept and begged to be released.
  "I am a school-going girl," Helen said.
  "I don't want to know," replied her captor, whom she would come in the months ahead to know as Col. Bloodshed.
  The rebels took them into the grass and raped them. Then they pushed them on toward camp.
  He felt sharp pain when the ax first fell. The second, third and fourth times, Amadu felt nothing. When Tommy had finished, the rebels picked Amadu up and kicked him away from the chopping block at the school gate. He did not stay to watch his brothers, Alpha and Dawda, who were behind him in line. Bleeding profusely, he walked and fell, walked and fell, then collapsed on the clay road.
  Alpha stumbled upon him. He, too, was now bleeding from a stump. They walked about a mile toward Freetown. The streets were deserted. They knocked on a stranger's door along a main road. A family bundled them inside. Alpha and Amadu sought to commit suicide, but instead their hosts wrapped their wounds, gave them milk and tried to assure them that they would survive. The boys slept fitfully in the parlor. Nigerian artillery shells echoed outside. When the sun rose, the boys found themselves on a street newly controlled by pro-government forces. They were taken to a hospital and bedded in a ward where dozens of amputees were beginning to arrive.
  The next day, their half-brother tracked them down. He told them that their 10-year-old brother, Dawda, had bled to death in the street after his amputation and had been buried in a makeshift grave nearby. Their parents and younger sister had been locked inside their home, which the rebels had set on fire. There was nothing left of them or the house, only charred concrete and rubble.
  Outside the hospital where the brothers lay, scores of bloodied stragglers and desperate relatives wandered in the streets, searching for medical help or seeking news of the abducted. On street after street in the eastern suburbs, the rebels had staged elaborately orchestrated attacks. Families were corralled and divided, some selected for death, some for amputation, some set free. Children were raped within earshot or view of their parents. The disoriented survivors zigzagged toward Freetown's center, hoping for medical attention or refuge.
  All through late January, corpses lay unattended in the streets. At the Kissy Mental Hospital farther up the hill, Human Rights Watch would report, about 16 men were executed and six women hacked with machetes. At the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star Church in nearby Wellington, another 12, including three children, were massacred with pistols and assault rifles. Entire streets were sprayed with kerosene and set alight.
  Human Rights Watch, citing the government's senior medical examiner, reported that 7,335 corpses were registered for burial after the January rebel offensive. Thousands more people simply disappeared - dead or kidnapped, their families did not know.
  Helen's family was among them: They had no idea what had become of her after she was led away by the rebels.
  As Kissy burned, Helen lay imprisoned at a rebel camp not far away. For what she would recall as a period of about two weeks, she was gang-raped by boys and men roving in and out of the base. By February, shelled by Nigerian and Guinean troops, the captors struck camp and trekked to the bush. They arrived at an isolated patch of jungle called the Occra Hills and settled in. Helen was forbidden to speak freely with other rebel captives. In the deepest trough of night, she remembers, "when they were asleep, I would raise up my head to see if everyone was sleeping. But there was no way to escape."
  February passed this way. And March, April. The BBC resounded with news of a major war in the Balkans. In Sierra Leone, the war ebbed; negotiations for peace had begun in neighboring countries, sponsored by the United Nations. The rebels awaited the results.
  "One night," Helen recalls, "they were drunk after smoking and drinking. All drunk, and dancing. And they all passed out. . . . I was watching them, thinking."
  Helen and another abductee, Fatmatah, slipped into the forest. For hours they crashed through the blackness, slicing themselves on vines and brambles. They reached a stream and rested until dawn. In the light they stumbled down from the hills, found a village and were sheltered by an old woman. After two days, Helen pressed on for Freetown alone. She walked until she found the main road, waved down a van, spilled out her tale and begged the driver for a ride.
  In Freetown hours later she spotted an uncle in the street, leaped out and asked about her family. Her father, the government official, was in Connaught Hospital. The rebels had burned her home. Everything was lost. But her parents had survived.
  At Connaught, she spotted her father sitting in the sun behind a railing on a second-story balcony.
  "Papa! Papa! I've come! I've come!" she shouted.
  Astonished, he called to his wife and raced to meet his daughter. Weeping and shouting, they embraced in the hospital hallway, and Helen saw the bandaged stumps above her father's elbows where his two arms had been.
  Some of Freetown's amputees live in a village of blue and white canvas shacks, not far from the center of town. The "Medecins Sans Frontieres Amputee and War Wounded Camp," as it calls itself on a sign scrawled near a busy road, holds 371 registered amputees and their families. Drainage ditches run among rows of tacked-together homes supplied by a patchwork of foreign charities. A primary school assembles each morning under an open thatched-roof gazebo. Up the slope, men are raising felled tree limbs to construct a new mosque.
  It is an eerie, nervous time in Freetown. An uncertain peace has held just long enough that some rebels are beginning to drift out of the bush and back into the capital, looking for jobs or friends or just a break from sleeping on the ground. Sierra Leone is small enough and frightened enough that people keep track of strangers in their midst, and sometimes a neighborhood can identify returning rebels as soon as they shuffle up the road. Then questions of justice and equity and international law acquire an immediacy not often felt in The Hague. Some of the returnees have been lynched or burned alive. More often the streets ring out with shouts or threats or spontaneous debates.
  The appetite for peace runs so deep and so broad in Sierra Leone that it smothers all else. Even some who have been badly abused by the rebels are prepared to accept them into politics if it truly means peace. Ask about justice, and you hear about its impossibility - no one can imagine how you could give evidence safely. The rebels are ministers now, they drive around town in new cars with sirens and armed escorts. They can snap their fingers and come and take you in the night. Who is going to testify against them?
  In the voices of the wounded pulses an impressive effort to close off the past. To do so requires a resilience that no outsider readily can imagine.
  And yet there are those who atrophy, even now, even in the snug village of blue and white canvas shacks, where Alpha and Amadu Jalloh, two brothers with two complementary arms, share a room behind a flap and drift off to town most days to hustle and trade in a loose network of shops run by their diminished family.
  It is Alpha everybody worries about. He sickens easily, he won't often leave the amputees' camp. You walk with him around town and you discover that when a 22-year-old with girlfriends and gold watches and a reputation in the neighborhood sees his arm chopped off while lying face down in the road, he loses something more. He becomes a spectacle, a source of political meaning, an object of pity, an object of disgust.
  "Look at what the bastards did!" onlookers call out in anger.
  Alpha is staring at the eroded red clay.
  "Right now, walking with you, I feel ashamed," he tells me. "I have no fitness. They are pitying me."
  They are, of course. If he sits in the cashier's chair at his sister-in-law's vegetable stall, customers simply will walk up to him and hand him money. It infuriates him.
  "I would rather have died than be living like this," he says softly.
  We reach the school gate where Tommy stood a year earlier. Alpha points out the spots where the line formed, where the boys lay down, where the ax fell.
  He doubles over. He is not feeling well. We need to go back down the hill. We need to take him to the doctor.
  "My arm hurts," Alpha says..
Steve Coll is the managing editor of The Washington Post.
Part 2
Gen. Mosquito holds court at his rebel base
By Steve Coll
The Washington Post
January 31, 2000
  FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - At the spot on the world's maps where northwestern Liberia officially ends and eastern Sierra Leone begins lies a shell of broken concrete. No government officials from either country work here, only teenagers with assault rifles. They do not much care for passports or formalities.
  A man in a red beret steps briskly to our jeep and introduces himself as town commander of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Sierra Leone's fearsome rebel army. Two other rebels crowd forward, announcing themselves as "Chuck Norris" and "Rambo." Welcome, they declare sincerely.
  A few miles ahead lies the RUF's base headquarters in the isolated rain forest town of Buedu. There we have been invited to interview and photograph Sam "Gen. Mosquito" Bockarie, the RUF's military leader. As much as any other person, he will decide whether Sierra Leone begins the new century at war or peace.
  Our journey had begun six weeks earlier in Washington D.C., over lunch with John Caldwell, who describes himself as a former executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He explained that he had been retained by the RUF to handle certain business affairs for the rebels, whose territory includes most of Sierra Leone's coveted diamond mines. They felt they suffered from poor public relations, in part because no Western journalists had ever visited their headquarters or traveled behind their lines. They wanted to convince the outside world that the RUF was not commanded by limb-amputating psychopaths, but by revolutionaries with legitimate grievances and political goals.
  More than 10,000 people had been murdered, raped, abducted or maimed by rebels in a campaign of calculated terror. In their vividness and gratuitous cruelty, the mass amputations epitomized the powerlessness of ordinary Africans.
  They also marked a climactic spasm in a grinding, eight-year civil war shaped by familiar patterns. Outsiders exploited Sierra Leone's diamonds and other resources. Neighboring nations sought advantage by interfering with internal conflicts. Post-colonial politics lay in ruins, felled by autocracy and corruption. The international media paid little attention. And the great powers stood aside, numbed by Africa's wars and poverty.
  Finding money to halt aggression against civilians, build democratic society or even vaccinate children in a country such as Sierra Leone had become a demoralizing, often-futile endeavor in official Washington. Many Africans added all this up and saw systematic racism - a place in global affairs that reflected continuous discrimination and exploitation since the days of the Atlantic slave trade.
  As we rattled among palms and through neck-high grasses along the clay track into rebel headquarters at Buedu, one question hanging over Sierra Leone was whether the RUF really wanted the peace it had won. A shaky cease-fire had prevailed since July between government and rebel forces, but clashes among rebel factions erupted regularly. The Lome agreement requires all combatants to disarm under U.N. supervision and enter into rehabilitation camps for schooling and job training. But the camps, especially in the forest areas controlled by Gen. Mosquito, have mostly stood empty.
  Mosquito has been the focus of Sierra Leone's anxiety about whether peace will hold. Leading a force of more than 10,000 armed men, he was perhaps the most feared man in Sierra Leone. As the RUF's chief of defense staff, he was the rebels' most prominent battlefield commander in recent years, the man in charge on the ground while the movement's supreme political leader, a former army photographer named Foday Sankoh, languished in jail or in exile.
  Rarely photographed or seen in public, Mosquito moved like a spectral demon around the country's rain forests, surfacing via satellite telephone to issue blood-curdling threats through Freetown media or the BBC World Service.
  "I am a good-looking man, a big showman, I like good living," Mosquito declared, tilting to aim a menacing stare at the Egyptian colonel sitting beside him. "Can you en-camp me!!?"
  No, the Egyptian allowed, it seemed unlikely that Mosquito would enroll in a U.N. rehabilitation camp. The colonel sat nervously with three other U.N. military observers. The U.N. team had turned up in confused circumstances late that afternoon at the town's western entrance. They seemed to think they had been arrested.
  Mosquito sat center stage at this ambiguous tribunal, resplendent in quasi-military dress: a felt beret with two pinned stars, combat camouflage, a silver pistol and, around his neck, a medallion in the shape of Africa hooked to a shiny, gold chain.
  For the past half-hour, he had declaimed about the failings of the United Nations in Sierra Leone and around the world. He complained bitterly that U.N. observers such as these four had been traversing RUF-controlled territory without his knowledge. He dramatically threatened to withdraw security guarantees for U.N. personnel. He mentioned the commander of Sierra Leone's U.N. military observer force by name and threatened him with death.
  And then, after declaring, "We are ready to disarm, but it should be done in a way that guarantees our security and provides something of what we fought for," Mosquito told the officers they could go.
  Mosquito had arranged this spectacle as much for our benefit as for the United Nations', it seemed.
  Our host was ebullient. He talked for hours about the war, the prospects for peace, and his life story, which involved his rise from professional nightclub dancer and women's hairdresser to national revolutionary commander. He buzzed flamboyantly around town on an off-road motorcycle. He changed clothes frequently - safari suits, European designer wraparound sunglasses, the latest designer jeans and, for a family photo on our final morning, a smart charcoal double-breasted suit.
  He would pull up to us on his dirt bike, lean back on the seat, and make pronouncements in lilting English such as, "I am a military man, and I don't think I can transform myself into a civilian. I will die as a soldier." Pause. "Or I will retire as a soldier." Vroooooom . . .
  Mosquito is a Big Man in a small town. He delivered thumping speeches to his men about his decision to live in the rain forest rather than in Freetown. He forswore political ambition. "I don't want to be minister. I don't want to be president," he told them. "All I want is to see this revolution through. But we will not disarm until total revolution is achieved in Sierra Leone."
  Total revolution? And that would look like?
  The arid phrases of Moammar Gadhafi's Green Book, the Libyan leader's manifesto for "people's revolution," blew through Buedu like a bad wind. Free schooling, free medical care, an end to corruption, nepotism and tribalism - these have been the slogans of RUF pamphlets and radio broadcasts for years. The rebels' themes successfully tap popular disgust over Sierra Leone's failed one-party politics after independence. They speak to a generation of rural young people - including Mosquito himself - who never made it to Freetown.
  Yet war-ravaged RUF-controlled territory is so poor that it is all most people can do to feed themselves from small rice plots and fruit trees. The RUF appoints commanders to run towns and cities, honors traditional chiefs where they have survived, and lately has tried to work with foreign charities and citizen committees to develop social services. But the forests remain a desperate subsistence economy.
  Confident theories of national revolution rang out noisily in Buedu nonetheless. Most startling was the ideological fountainhead of one Martin Coker, "personal assistant to Gen. Mosquito," who told us he had lived in the Washington, D.C., area for much of the 1990s.
  Born to an elite Freetown family, Coker attended school in Britain and then migrated to America, where he developed a business putting up ceilings in office buildings - including, he said, CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. A neo-Marxist, he returned to Africa in 1997, winding up at Mosquito's base camp.
  Coker ran the general's satellite telephone, television and radio systems; helped to write Mosquito's letters to RUF colleagues, the United Nations and foreign heads of state; and maintained a computer room. He became our effusive guide to the RUF's nascent revolutionary society.
  On our final night at RUF headquarters, we sat with Mosquito in a dark concrete room and talked for hours about his past and future, tracing a journey that holds many threads of West Africa's crisis.
  I asked about his battlefield leadership of the RUF's war and the terrible violence inflicted on civilians. He had been waiting for questions about human rights. As he prepared to answer, he pulled his pistol out of his jeans pocket and set it on his thigh. It seemed an instinctive gesture.
  "I don't believe in innocent killing in the field," he replied emphatically.
  Through his satellite and Internet connections to global news, it became clear, Mosquito had studied in some depth his potential problems under war-crimes law. He criticized Mary Robinson, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, because she had suggested RUF commanders eventually might be subject to prosecution, despite the Lome accord's amnesty. He insisted that he, personally, had only executed men under justifiable circumstances - to enforce martial law or prevent desertions. "I have no outlaw record," he said. "If soldiers have raped, I have executed them. If soldiers have dropped arms, I have disciplined them. Those are the only two crimes I have committed."
  What about the dozens of boys and young women in his camp who had been abducted and recruited by the RUF? "We don't force people to join," he answered. "When we capture these girls, we encourage the young people to join," and they do, voluntarily.
  He claimed that he never had ordered amputations of civilians. He said ex-soldiers allied with the RUF, but not directly under its command, were responsible for the worst atrocities in Freetown in January. (Human-rights investigators say those ex-soldiers probably did carry out a large proportion of the violence, but that RUF combatants also carried out amputations, killings and abductions.) Mosquito accused government militias of carrying out amputations and then blaming them on the RUF. (We met amputees in Buedu who told credible stories of being tortured by the government militias. New York-based Human Rights Watch accuses the militias of human-rights violations, but says abuses by the RUF and its allied ex-soldiers have taken place on a far greater scale.)
  Once the amputations began, Mosquito said, each side retaliated against the other. "It started as a revenge. If some have done it to your relatives, you will go back and do this. To boys who had their hands cut . . . when you see this with your own eyes, you want to take revenge on their families."
  Yet the longer he talked, the more it became clear that, superpowers or no, Mosquito at 35 lacked a convincing vision of his future.
  Last spring, he said, Lebanese intermediaries working for the U.S. government offered him $2.5 million to leave Sierra Leone and settle peacefully in Nigeria. He said he asked the negotiators to bring the cash to the Liberia-Sierra Leone border. "I was going to ambush them, deal with them ruthlessly and spend the money on arms," he said. They refused to come. Afterward, he told that story repeatedly to his followers and vowed never to be bought off.
  Still, as the night wore on, he talked wistfully of Paris or America, even though he knew he would be vulnerable to arrest in such places. Other times he talked of his desire to lead Sierra Leone's army after the next election. And then, over and over, he waved his arms and threatened angrily to retreat from Buedu to the rain forest and start the war all over again.
  "Open the arsenal!" our host declared dramatically on our final afternoon in Buedu, as his men loaded supplies into a dented Toyota pickup equipped with several boxes of rocket-propelled grenade shells, a half-dozen grenade launchers, cans of sardines, beer and soda, and a last-minute gift from Mosquito himself, a three-quarters-full bottle of Irish cream liqueur.
 The pickup also would carry us, an RUF colonel, two other commanders, one of our Liberian police escorts and, in the truck bed, all of our luggage plus eight bodyguards armed with assault rifles.

Steve Coll is the managing editor of The Washington Post.

Part 3
The West's role: Why Kosovo and not here?
By Steve Coll
The Washington Post
February 1, 2000

WASHINGTON - Was there really anything the United States or its European allies could have done to ameliorate Sierra Leone's violence? Perhaps - and it would not have involved a wrenching decision to put U.S. or NATO soldiers at risk. But it would have required a view of Africa far different from the one that has shaped U.S. foreign policy during most of the past decade.

  As U.S. troops withdrew from Somalia six years ago after sustaining casualties on a humanitarian mission, American journalist Robert Kaplan wrote in the Atlantic Monthly an influential essay partially set in Sierra Leone titled "The Coming Anarchy."
  He described the country as engulfed by "an increasing lawlessness" that signaled a world where "criminal anarchy emerges as the real `strategic' danger," where Africa and much of the rest of the Third World would be marked by "the withering away of central governments, the rise of tribal and regional domains, the unchecked spread of disease and the growing pervasiveness of war."
  Kaplan's thesis that Africa was drifting beyond governance took hold with many members of Congress, diplomats and foreign-policy analysts. Americans and Europeans watched passively during Rwanda's genocide in 1994. President Clinton later expressed pangs of regret. Nine months before the crisis in Freetown, he embarked on a six-country tour of Africa, and he apologized in Rwanda for the West's failure to intervene. But in early 1999, as the rebels entered Sierra Leone's capital and began to butcher civilians, the United States shut its embassy and stood down.
  There was an alternative. By late 1998, Nigeria had already placed thousands of troops in Sierra Leone with support from a broad alliance of African governments. This alliance would almost certainly have battled the rebels indefinitely if the United States and Britain had provided support - as they have subsequently pledged to do, on a more limited scale, with the current Lome peace accord.
  Not that a military victory would have been certain or inexpensive. Nor would it have necessarily curtailed violence against civilians. But reducing the Revolutionary United Front to a marginal, defeated force scattered in the bush probably could have been achieved with an all-African intervention army roughly the size of the one that eventually entered Kosovo.
  State Department officials say such a scenario was hardly even discussed at the White House. The handful of specialists paying attention weren't sure the RUF could be defeated on the battlefield. And the humanitarians in Washington and London who complained about Africa's neglect had little stomach for a military solution. When Tony Blair's government was caught early in 1999 trying to smuggle arms to help fight the rebels, outrage among liberals in Britain forced the government to apologize and back down.
  So instead, the United States and Britain leaned on Sierra Leone's elected president to open peace talks with the rebels just weeks after they had slaughtered thousands in Freetown. The Clinton administration turned the case file over to the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Sam "Gen. Mosquito" Bockarie, commanding 10,000 teenagers in the rain forest, claimed the upper hand.
  Why would the United States go along with his demands? To secure peace, argues Jackson, but also because an isolationist Congress and an indifferent public meant the United States had no alternative.
  "If we could go in there with half of the Kosovo budget and use that budget as an essential force to democratize, we'd have something to offer," Jackson says. But countries only intervene where public opinion insists or strategic interests are seen to be at stake.
  Defending the peace negotiations and amnesty plan for the rebels, the architects of the Lome accord cite East Africa's Mozambique as inspiration. There a similar peace agreement persuaded Renamo - a guerrilla group that once terrorized and mutilated civilians - to forswear violence and enter politics. Last month, Mozambique staged its latest successful elections after five years of peace and surging economic growth. Renamo leaders sit in Parliament; they have no war-crimes tribunals to fear.
  But much has changed in the world since Mozambique's peace was forged in 1994. War-crimes tribunals have convened for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. And in Kosovo, of course, an entire war was framed in 1999 around the ideas of international humanitarian law.
  "We are all internationalists now, whether we like it or not," Blair said last year, explaining why the world intervened militarily to stop paramilitary bloodshed in Kosovo (as it would later in East Timor).
  Expanding global trade, satellites, the World Wide Web and human migration have combined to create "the beginnings of a new doctrine of international community" extending beyond economics to human rights, he added.
  Acknowledging the obvious limits of such a doctrine, however, Blair worried that "as yet . . . our approach tends toward being ad hoc."
  Blair sought to measure his millennial ideas by the world's conduct in Kosovo during the last year of the 20th century. But an African might want to measure them against the world's conduct in Sierra Leone during that same year of 1999.