SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”