. . . which I guess qualifies this as a “footnote.” I observed earlier that the $2 million not-bounty money was probably put up by feisty Congresspeople who hadn’t consulted with the State Department. According to my contact, a senior official at State who made a fine sausage stuffing on Thanksgiving, the main person responsible is Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA). This isn’t inside information, though: Wolf has a press release on his website that includes letters he and his cosignatories sent to Colin Powell and Kofi Annan, calling on them to pressure Nigeria into turning Taylor over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Clearly Wolf wants people to know he supports this cause, but his name never came up during any of my news trolling. A search on news.google.com for ‘wolf’ and ‘charles taylor’ comes up empty, even. Somebody needs a better press secretary.
I’m still having a hard time deciding just what to think of all this. It would please me greatly to see Taylor de-exiled and forced to take responsibility for the atrocities committed on his watch, but the way the situation has been handled thus far has been vaguely embarrassing. My contact noted that for the rank-and-file people at State, Charles Taylor is a solved problem. He’s not in power, and the situation in Liberia is more stable than it was (though the peace process is not without its snags ). There are bigger crises to manage, and besides, pressing the Taylor issue introduces all sorts of diplomatic complications. The reasons to stay on Taylor are therefore ideological, perhaps moral, but not pragmatic. For me, the peace and stability of the region trumps any sense of vindication at bringing one man to justice. But whether a captured Taylor would help or hinder the big picture, I can’t say. Hence the hard time deciding.