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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?


Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Oops, I thought you meant our government. Misunderstanding, I apologize.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"Americans have seen what Islamic Extremists are capable of and we're supposed to allowed them to take over a government" Yes, because that's really going to happen. :OY:
kh61582 kh61582 8 years
This is sickening to read and by that I mean your comments more so than the article. I cannot believe anyone who lived in the USA and watched the Towers fall could say this "tolerance tolerance tolerance" BS. We Americans have seen what Islamic Extremists are capable of and we're supposed to allowed them to take over a government just for the sake of some peace and quiet that covers up the suffering beneath? It's worth it to fight for what's right but all you hippie liberals care about is peace even if it means settling for evil. Bush is right to have a zero tolerance policy and the next president would be as well. What happened to love of country? What happened to a sense of right and wrong?
liliblu liliblu 8 years
I think Bush takes pride in his stubborn unyeilding way of thinking. The "I don't blink" attitude. If you see shades of gray or dare to change your mind you're betrayed as weak. Leo looked more manly in The Departed. I really liked him in that film.
kranky kranky 8 years
'Maybe a pig and a pitbull, holding hands as they fly.' Even better. ;)
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Maybe a pig and a pitbull, holding hands as they fly.
kranky kranky 8 years
"Nah, pigs will fly themselves to Sephora to buy their own lipstick before that would ever happen" Ha! Don't you mean pitbulls, Jude? ;)
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Titanic was totally icky! She looked way older than him... I find it really sad that the Bush Administration is so unwilling to look past their black and white view of the world, put their ego aside, and see that there are many, many different ways to run a country that aren't necessarily bad. The attitude of we're right and we are someone blessed with insight no one else on the planet has and everyone else is wrong REALLY needs to end with the next administration.
indielove indielove 8 years
Yeah. Weren't they in a new movie together? I remember her saying that they're best friends. I think that's cute.
janneth janneth 8 years
Actually I do too. And I actually believed in their love, cried at the end, etc. But the match up was a bit strange. Maybe more because of him than her.
indielove indielove 8 years
Hey...I like Kate! I think she's beautiful.
janneth janneth 8 years
Imo, one of the goofiest match-ups in films was Titanic; looked like a boy (Leo) and his auntie (Kate).
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"Maybe Leo will finally look like a man too." Nah, pigs will fly themselves to Sephora to buy their own lipstick before that would ever happen ;)
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I agree, janneth, and I would add that in general this country (or any other) should tread extremely lightly when interfering with another nation. There will always be nuances lost or misunderstood, and that can lead to disaster.
Sticker1 Sticker1 8 years
As long as we can get the Ethiopians to keep things one degree below chaos...I think that was Bush's policy there. No natural resources in Somalia either. Maybe Obama will take a different political stance on Somalia and then in 10 years we can have a movie about it with Leo long as Michael Bay doesn't direct it I'm ok with that. Maybe Leo will finally look like a man too.
janneth janneth 8 years
I truly do not think that Bush and his advisors have the intelligence to understand concepts of this depth, and thus we are saddled with wars and economic disaster. I say this with sincerity and no meanness.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Yes--this era of declaring certain countries' leadership illegitimate so that we can interfere with them must end, and soon.
stephley stephley 8 years
This is why we need a change in the White House - we need a president who is going to represent U.S. interests, but not consider countries that don't share our ideology as enemies or terrorists.
DaMayor DaMayor 8 years
Bush's failure to abandon his "zero tolerance" policy in the light of a government that literally arose from the ashes of Somalian society has led to the chaos that currently reigns in Somalia. Had he opened his eyes, he would have seen an opportunity to negotiate with the fledgling government established by the Islamic Courts. That could have established peace in Somalia, strengthened ties with legitimate Islamic regimes all over the world, improved the US' reputation amongst muslims worldwide, probably afforded better human rights protections to women in the country, and saved thousands of lives. Instead, he decided to back the fraudulent US-created council of warlords that was "running" the country before the Islamic Courts, and paid the Ethiopian army to invade and destroy what little sense of stability there was. With the history of hatred and abuse between Ethiopia and Somalia, that would be like if Bush had funded Iran's army to oust Saddam Hussein or vice-versa. A massive failure, and a true example of why the US needs to take a thoughtful and well-reasoned approach to diplomacy. The world does not operate in black and white, and our foreign policy cannot be reduced to such a simplistic form.
janneth janneth 8 years
Does this not make you grateful that you live where you live?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Wouldn't be surprised if he was, janneth. Horrific.
janneth janneth 8 years
Rape is not bad enough. The victim has to be stoned too. I wonder if the rapist was among the crowd stoning her.
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
stephley stephley 8 years
Absolutely yes.
Calimie Calimie 8 years
It wouldn't be the first time the US government destroyed a country because they didn't like their elected government, Allende and Pinochet, anyone? Either they do this things on purpose or just have no idea that actions have consequences. Blinded by "red scare" or "Islamic scare". Still the same.
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