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Yes, when was the last time you heard a report out of the Horn of Africa that was anything other than “tragic”? I recently sat through a presentation by a State Department official touting Condi Rice’s aggressive new posture in the Horn of Africa – the point where Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia join. It has recently become an important secondary focus spot for the Bush administration’s war on terror. The words used were “decisive,” “robust” and “effective.” A lot of attention and resources are being poured into the region. And what’s the upshot?
Human misery. Lots of it. And a very strong causal relationship between that misery and U.S. engagement. Newsweek’s Rod Nordland reports:
How bad is it in Somalia? Bad enough that people fleeing the capital have been reduced to renting trees for shelter. It’s the sort of thing that happens when drug-addled warlords roam the countryside, imposing taxes of 50 percent on aid recipients. And the sort of thing to be expected of a government whose prime minister, Ali Mohamad Gedi, has publicly accused the United Nations agency feeding the country of spreading cholera along with food deliveries. And that’s the internationally recognized government, which enjoys U.S. support, although it is widely unpopular in southern Somalia and the capital, Mogadishu.
Condi’s policies are simple. The United States has one objective: getting rid of political figures she deems too close to Islamicist radicals. So she leans in support of one group of thugs against another. And add to this the system of filtration camps Condi had set up in Ethiopia, a new U.S. proxy in the region, where conditions were so abusive that the FBI agents detailed to work there questioned their legality.
Sounds like Condi’s “robust” policies are in need of a bright Congressional spotlight. And an urgent makeover.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”