Somalia and the Collapse of a Society
(First published April 14, 2009) “Here we go again”, some will say. “Jeff is bashing America…if he hates it so much here, why doesn’t he go back where he came from?”
Pushing for the country one loves, to reach for its highest aspirations instead of creeping to the lowest standards, should not mean I “hate it here”, but that I love to see the best outcome for this nation. I want to grow old in a country where people are equals, not persecuted because of their faith, race or previous nationality as it still seems to be the practice here in the United States these days.
I want our children and their children, to grow up without the burdens of fear and frustration being experienced by their parents today. They should grow up, not in a White America, or in a Christian America, but in an America that is FREE; free from the bounds of selfish, overpowering faith, driven by the arrogant; free from the presumptions of who and what is “good”; free to be the best of who they are, without having partisan standards and judgments imposed on them.
Which brings us to Somalia, although it could just as well have taken us to Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and a number of other places, but for the sake of maintaining focus, let us take it to Somalia.
There was great fanfare as three Somali pirates were shot by US Navy seals and the captain freed. That was fine, piracy cannot be allowed to flourish, especially not in the free manner it has, off the Somali coast. The “pirates” were reportedly kids, who saw an opportunity for making money and knew nothing of the art of robbing corporations (many of whom are also pirates, but in ways sanctioned by “civilized societies”) on the high seas. Which is perhaps why the US crew felt they could disable the ship and thus, get rid of the “pirates”; real pirates, would have shot one or more of the crew and would have scuttled the ship as they departed.
We in Rome (US) just cannot help ourselves and FEEL WE MUST interfere in the affairs of other people because we are never secure in ourselves. We conjure up visions of being overwhelmed by hordes…Communist, Islamic or whatever ELSE may suit our purpose in order to ensure the OUR strongman stays in power and yields HIS nation’s strategic location or its resources to us and our corporations. We conjure up hysterical visions of being brought to our knees because some tin-pot dictator “strangles” us by not selling their resources to us, at prices too low to be real.
Once these visions take hold on the national psyche, we rush to the rescue of our now-terrified populace and deliver a strong dose of “Freedom & Democracy” (by God!) to that nation. Eventually and inevitably, when things begin to fall apart, we blame the victim of our “generosity” and accuse them of ingratitude and corruption.. ..and either walk away or, bomb them some more.
Our leaders depend on the short attention-spans of the American people, to get away with the disasters we take the US AND our victim-nations through…again and again and again…
Who recalls our bombing of Somali “targets” back in 2006?
Who recalls our support and instigation of Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia?
Who recalls that while it was the US-supplied and US-encouraged, Ethiopian army that invaded Somalia? it was the US, whose attack helicopters and warships bombed and shelled the escaping Somalis as they ran towards the Kenyan border for safety?
We killed thousands and thousands of Somali men, women and children, without regard as to whether they were armed or not, without compunction and without consequence.
“No sacrifice (of others of course!) is too great to defeat Al-Qaeda!” we say with all the self-righteousness we can muster.
We directed the imprisonment and torture of untold numbers of Somalis (some we brought to Gitmo), at the hands of obliging Kenyans and Ethiopians, in our hysterical search for “Al-Qaeda”, that nemesis that we fear and seek under the beds of every “suspect” (read “Muslim”) we don’t like. We did it in the name of the “integrity of our nation”, a catchall phrase we have stolen from dictators everywhere and there is nobody to question us; Rome has no consequences to fear.
After the overthrow of Somali dictator Siad Barre in 1991, the country sank into chaos and anarchy, with clans fighting for control. It was not until some Islamic groups established control in 2005, that Somalia finally found peace and the beginnings of a working government, but that was not to be for long.
The US could not countenance the establishment of an “Islamist” government with the much-feared and much-imagined, ”Al-Qaeda connections”. For some awful, unbelievable reasons, the US seems to immediately attach the “Al-Qaeda” label on any government that wishes to rule itself under Islamic laws…then the US proceeds to destroy that nation.
Granted, the people who ruled Somalia in the name of Islam and established what they termed as “Sharia”, were very narrow-minded and should have had no part in government of reasonable humanity, but what alternatives did Somalia have?
Instead of engaging the nascent Somali government and taking part in its development (perhaps even as far back as 1991), helping the people along a path of peace and prosperity, we imposed our usual “strangle them” policy that we have done on other less powerful nations like Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinians, in order to force them to kneel to Rome because of the massive deaths this strangulation produces. We keep insisting on this policy even though it has never once worked in spite of the literally, MILLIONS of dead this policy has produced.
“War!” is obviously more profitable than peace.
We drove the Ethiopian invasion of 2006 because we could destroy the “Islamists” without placing our soldiers at the head of an invasion force…even though our Navy, Special Forces and CIA operatives were hard at work through every stage of the invasion and its aftermath.
“Mission accomplished”. ..again.
Then we abandoned Somalia to the tender mercies of Ethiopian soldiers who had by now, turned into looters, rapists and killers…and Somali society was cast back into the chasm of tribal factionalism.
Now three years later, Ethiopia is having second thoughts about its occupation and is trying to exit after establishing an ineffective “government” that is backed by the US; a “government” that is limited to portions of its capital and no further. Our only concern is that nobody suspected of “Al-Qaeda sympathies” (read: “Muslims we don’t like”) should be allowed to live.
A land where there is no government, no commerce, no rule of law and no way to survive except by working for a clan leader…what are a people to do?
Fishing has become almost impossible because of the massive over-fishing by exploitive European companies who know there is no government to enforce limits in Somalia. The country has about 2000 miles of coastline, right by the most heavily trafficked shipping lanes…unguarded…and there is no shortage of weapons in Somalia.
What would anyone do in such a situation? Piracy starts looking VERY attractive…
John Dillinger was asked why he held up banks and his answer was, “That’s where the money is”.
I wonder what would have happened if the US had first tried to help build a real economy and a real society in Somalia…
…in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Gaza, in Pakistan, in…
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