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Somalia: Is the Chaos There a US Problem?

An exaggerated fear of "Islamofascism" ignores a complex reality, causing the US to overreact and damage its own interests. So says columnist Nicholas D. Krsitof, who argues that the situation in Somalia is one of the least-known Bush administration failures. Kristof explains that in 2006, a movement made up of moderate and extremist Islamic groups was close to uniting the country. Fearful of an uncooperative government in Somalia, the US supported Ethiopia's invasion of its rival, crushing the best hope for peace.

Events this week bolster the argument that paranoia of Islamic extremists has led to disaster. Today in Somalia, five suicide bombs hit government security posts, UN offices, and an Ethiopian consular unit, killing dozens.

On Monday, the human rights chaos came to a head as well. A rape victim was stoned to death for adultery in an Islamist-controlled region. Buried up to her neck, thousands gathered at a soccer field to help execute her.

Perhaps extremists win when international powers stubbornly refuse to reach out to moderates. Would you rather see the US abandon a strictly ideological viewpoint, instead opening its eyes to nuanced reality, or does security require zero tolerance?


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