Knight Ridder has the story of the Bush administration's monumental incompetence, lack of a realistic foreign policy, and unwillingness to listen to reason. It is stunning.
MOGADISHU, Somalia - In early March, nine of Mogadishu's most prominent community leaders secretly flew to neighboring Djibouti and pleaded with U.S. military officials there to stop funding the warlords who were devastating the city. Backing the warlords, they said, would end up strengthening an Islamist militia with a shadowy radical wing.
The Americans ignored their warnings, three of the Somalis at the meeting told Knight Ridder in separate interviews, and the community leaders' fears came to life this month when the Islamic Courts Union militia defeated the warlords and took control of the Somali capital.
Now, the Bush administration's Somalia strategy is in tatters, and the Islamist militia is poised to extend its control to all of southern Somalia, where intelligence officials believe at least two senior al-Qaida operatives are hiding.
It was impossible to confirm the Somali leaders' version of events. There are no American officials in Somalia, and U.S. officials in Washington have declined to confirm or deny that the United States provided aid to the warlords. A spokesman for the U.S. counterterrorism task force based at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti declined to comment.
However, two U.S, intelligence officials, speaking anonymously because they aren't authorized to talk to the media, said that CIA financial support for the warlords was approved by the Bush administration and coordinated by the agency's station chief in Nairobi. On Saturday, news agencies, quoting residents here, reported that two warlords fled to an American naval vessel off the Somali coast.
When a news story says officials will 'neither confirm nor deny' something, it's pretty much a confirmation.
About a week back, I posted and article titled Why the Neocons didn't See an Islamic Somalia Coming, where I wrote:
So we headed off the 'emerging (and non-existent) crisis' in Iraq, meanwhile ignoring the dire and growing threat in Somalia. Yeah, that's real good thinkin' there. According to the article, "'Now you've got a safe haven for al-Qaida,' said a defense intelligence official monitoring the country that was used as a base to stage attacks on two U.S. embassies and an Israeli resort in East Africa. 'It's definitely a concern.'"
The problem, I believe, is a complete failure of logic. They think history is a two way street - if you can trace the consequences back to the event, then you can look at an event and predict the consequences. This obvious logical fallacy has had disastrous results. PNAC visionaries Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld thought that iraqis would welcome us with flowers and candy. They thought the consequence of an Iraq invasion would be democracy spreading within the region. In fact, they were so certain they had predicted the consequence that they were totally unprepared for any other possibility. It seems like they're completely unable to think outside the box they've constructed - if they just keep doing what they're doing, it'll still work, in their minds.
Looks like they'll keep going even when everyone tells them they're going in the wrong direction. The Islamic Courts Union took Mogadishu without firing a shot, because the people were so relieved to be rid of the warlords we were supporting. "Rolling along the sandy, yellow road from the seaport to a city that has been called the most dangerous place on Earth, the most telling sign of change is a candy-striped boom gate lying askew and half-torn from the ground," the LA Times reports, "Up until a few weeks ago, you approached a place like this with fear. Or you hired a pickup truck bristling with automatic weapons and skinny young warriors, their torsos draped with belts of ammunition like pythons coiled around sapling trees."
"There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when it suits our interest and when we can get others to go along," acting UN Ambassador John Bolton said in 1994. This is what passes for a foreign policy for these neocon dickheads. The only interests are US interests - the rest of the world be damned. And they're so incapable of forethought, so lacking of empathy, so amazingly, jaw droppingly stupid, that you wonder if they get someone to tie their shoes for them.
We've seen this happen over and over and over again. The US supports corrupt regimes because we think it's in our interests, the people get fed up with the violence and/or corruption, they embrace another system, and the whole thing winds up contrary to our interests. We've seen it again and again; in Cuba, in Iran, and now, in Somalia.
We need people who can see history as it stands, not as they wish it were. And, since this administration is incapable of seeing reality, we - the US and the world - need and deserve someone else.