Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Oh, since we don't have enough wars under way and threatened already, why not bomb Somalia?  To get "Al Qaida" members, that is:  EEUU lanza ataques aéreos sobre el sur de Somalia por segundo día consecutivo El Mundo 09.01.07; U.S. Air Strike in Somalia: Berntsen, Starr and Bloggers SusanUnPCNo Quarter blog 01/09/07.

Could the timing be related to Bush's upcoming speech?  Nooo, how could anyone even suggest such a thing?

Despite her screen name, SusanUnPC is not some rightwinger; on the contrary, see seems to lean more toward a liberal-realist view on foreign policy.  But I think she's making a pundit-like false equivalency in these comments:

While this is all ongoing, it's hard to cement my opinion. The left is guilty of automatically assuming something akin to that famous phrase, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." But I believe that simply because the Bush administration ordered these strikes and backed the Ethiopian invasion does not, on its face, make it wrong.

The right's viewpoint is similarly compromised by its cheerleading for every dead Islamist, er "terrorist," no matter the political repercussions.

I haven't posted about this before now because, well, I have a day job and a life besides blogging, so I can't do a post on every event that interests me.  The news story I read Sunday about the new generation of nuclear weapons being planned bothered me even more but I haven't posted on that one, either.

Like SusanUnPC's hesitancy to "cement" her opinion on the Somalia strike, I haven't seen enough reporting on it yet to know what to think.  Unlike those Republicans who are ready to cheer any time the US drops some bombs and kills some foreigners, I have a low regard for the Pentagon's willingness to tell the truth about such operations, especially at first.  So I don't know if there was realreason to make this strike or not.

But several questions bother me about this.  Let's start with, what is the Cheney-Bush policy in Somalia?  Were they behind the Ethiopian invasion, too? We're fighting two overt wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we're about to "surge" (escalate) the war in Iraq - and we're bombing yet another country?  That's having yet another civil war, or something very like it?

The questions continue with, are these strikes legal?  I realize that the McCain Republicans despise the whole concept of international law.  But it's important, and violating it does have consequences.

These strikes (at least on the first day) are being justified as getting "Al Qaida" bad guys, i.e., they are assassinations from the air.  Apart from the legalities of it, is "targeted assassination" a good policy for the US at all?  I seriously doubt it.  And if we are going to be assassinating people, are air strikes the best way to go about it?  How does the Air Force know it hit the right people?  Even the smartest of "smart bombs" can't yet do a retinal scan on the people in the house it just struck before it decides whether to explode or not.

Presumably, air strikes on a sovereign state with which we are not at war - or, at least weren't at war this past weekend - would trigger the War Powers Act requirement for the President to formally notify Congress on the military action.  I hope that among the many topics begging for oversight, the Democratic Congress will find some time to look into just what the Cheney-Bush administration is up to in Somalia.

Then maybe they can explain it to the American public, on whose behalf this is supposedly being done.


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