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Saturday, March 29, 2008


Somalia: Another U.S. "success" story

A little over a year ago, I criticized a New York Times article by Jeffrey Gettleman in which he described the Somali government, newly-installed on the back of a U.S.-backed Ethiopian Army, as "Somalia’s first politically viable central government since 1991"; a triple lie since not only wasn't it in any sense "politically viable," nor for that matter a "central government," but it replaced a government (the Islamic Courts) which were generally recognized as "politically viable" (just not militarily viable in the face of the Ethiopian Army).

Well, Gettleman and the Times are back today, not, in the manner of the Times, actually acknowledging any problems with previous reporting, but now informing their readers that "They [the residents of Mogadishu] say, almost without exception, that things were better under the Islamists" and that "the looming failure is making many people here and abroad question the strategy of installing the transitional government by force" [!!!].

Incidentally, while there was a minor brouhaha over a picture of Barack Obama dressed in Somali garb, I can't find any evidence that Obama (or Clinton for that matter) has ever had anything to say about U.S. intervention (not only backing the Ethiopian invasion, but also subsequent bombing of "terrorists") in Somalia. Obama has made a very public point of discussing his desire to bomb areas of Pakistan in the pursuit of "terrorists," so I can only assume he is solidly behind the "war on terror" in Somalia as well, a war which, as in Iraq, has displaced a substantial percentage of the population of the country, and left the rest in a sorry state.

Interestingly enough, Obama did visit the U.S. military base in nearby Djibouti which provided support for the invasion just months before the all-out invasion (but at a time when Ethiopian troops were already entering Somalia), and issued a strong endorsement of the U.S. military's efforts there:

U.S. Senator Barack Obama on Friday said his country's mission to help make the Horn of Africa more secure for its people was critical as he visited troops with a U.S. counterterrorism task force in the volatile region.

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