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Charles Taylor & Liberian Democracy

In 1989, Charles Taylor started a civil war in Liberia with the stated aim of overthrowing Liberian dictator Samuel Doe. Though Doe was in fact overthrown (and tortured to death) the following year, the war continued, as rival warlords fought for control.

In 1997, Taylor emerged on top and was elected president. He made it very clear that, if voters snubbed him, he would go back to war. His campaign song? "He killed my ma, he killed my pa, I'll vote for him!"

[By the time Taylor was forced out in 2003, many famished Liberians had eaten their neighbors' dogs and were scrounging for snails. He was stepping down, he said, in the interest of peace -- and because he was forced to by the Americans. "God willing," he said, "I will be back."]

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