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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.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Percentage of British citizens who say that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom:
In the United Kingdom, a penis-shaped Kentish strawberry was not made by snails.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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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.'”