After being largely ignored here in the states for over a decade, Somalia has again entered the news.
For most of that time, Somalia has been in the midst of civil war. A provisional government was formed two years ago by the UN, but has proven ineffective. In this power vacuum, a coalition of Muslim clans calling themselves “The Islamic Courts Union” have risen through popular support to provide order to the nation. They have been able to establish control of a good deal of southern Somalia, recently including Mogadishu, the nation’s capital.
However, they continue to face stiff opposition from various secular warlords.
The warlords are widely reputed to receive backing from the U.S.
Let me restate that.
The United States is widely suspected of aiding warlords.
You can’t stop purported or potential terrorists by employing warlords. If anything, you are that much more likely to push the Islamic Courts towards extremism and to develop an affinity for terrorist organizations.
Why should anybody take our administration’s rhetoric about “spreading democracy” and “pursuing peace” seriously when they have (allegedly) supported warlords?
The administration has not affirmed (nor denied) this charge. Nor is there yet any proof to back up this accusation.
But the possibility is not without historical precedent.
Over the course of the past century, we have been perfectly willing to support warlords, generals, dictators, and any other sort of brutal thug when we feel it serves our purposes. From Pinochet, to Noriega, to the Contras, to the Sauds, to the Shah, to the Taliban, Bin Laden, and Hussein himself; these are just a few of the brutes who were at one time or another supported by the U.S. Many of these brutes we aided in overthrowing democratically elected governments, simply because we did not approve of the choice of those electorates.
This is a big reason why there is so much animosity towards the U.S. around the world, particularly among the developing nations. This is why anti-American leaders from Hugo Chavez to Bin Laden achieve such popularity among their communities.
It has nothing to do with such foolish notions as “They hate our freedom” or “they hate our values.”
The only way to cool the heat of their hate is to stop betraying the principles of peace, human rights, and democracy for our own short-sighted interests.