The Spectacle Blog

What Is Happening In Somalia?

By on 5.31.06 | 7:27AM

Postscript to my thoughts on Sudan last week: we need a public conversation grounded in actual fact on the Somali situation, where the War on Terror has gone hot. The trouble is the same problem that has lurked at the heart of the war since its inception -- it is really a war on terrorist Islam, and anyone who picks up a gun and starts shooting bad guys is on our side for good or ill. In the case of Somali warlords, the same types that once gave us Black Hawk Down, the ill is palpable. They occupy hospitals, and they appear to be losing.

U.S. diplomats at odds with our present policy of using warlords to battle African Islamists have been reassigned. That might be just what the doctor ordered, but it certainly is evidence that the seriousness of the Somali front is deepening. The compulsion is to not touch this one with a ten-foot pole -- let the Somalis duke it out themselves, and throw cash, or arms, at whomever we need to win. But the most uncomfortable part of the Cold War -- uncomfortable because we were too involved not to care, and too uninvolved to act decisively -- followed precisely this pattern. And Africa is rather wider, rather larger, than Central America. For this among other reasons, the international community recoils from its supposed mission of bringing real order and peace to troubled regions. Is this because, finally, it is impossible? Who dares to admit the truth?

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