George Boley stood in a clearing deep in a Liberian rain forest and said that he was misunderstood. "I am not a warlord," he told me in late 1994. "I don't know why they use this term to describe me."

Behind the self-styled chairman of the wildly misnamed Liberian Peace Council stood 80 soldiers. Most were teen-agers, some were as young as 9. All were armed, many were drunk. "These are professional fighting men," he said, without irony.

Mr. Boley, who holds a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Akron, is most assuredly a warlord, as are the other Liberian faction leaders who last week drove their country back into chaos.
Read more

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.