Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Somalia as a blueprint? Get real.

Pentagon Sees Move in Somalia as Blueprint
NYT, January 13, 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 — Military operations in Somalia by American commandos, and the use of the Ethiopian Army as a surrogate force to root out operatives for Al Qaeda in the country, are a blueprint that Pentagon strategists say they hope to use more frequently in counterterrorism missions around the globe.

I can't believe that the Pentagon seriously believes Ethopia's recent offensive in Somalia aimed at expunging the Islamic Courts Union is a viable blueprint for any future counterterrorism missions. What kind of blueprint would that be anyway?

"Let al Qaeda operatives hide in a lawless country for years until they hitch their star to some rising nascent Islamist movement and just hope the new Islamist government tempts fate with a neighboring country friendly to the U.S. willing to invade them before they can establish stable terror camps at attack the West"?

That doesn't exactly sound like a solid plan to me. In fact, I think it didn't pan out very well for the U.S. in Afghanistan before September 11th. How about instead of backing warlords who are so two-faced that they were the one's attacking us a decade ago, why don't we invest more building political stability or backing up transitional governments in weak states?

U.S. military force isn't the ultimate pancea for terrorism and insurgencies. Jobs, political stability and government that is a viable alternative to warlordism and tribalism are. Strategies that minimize long-term diplomatic or political investments in favor of rapid military solutions don't always work. They give the illusion of providing maximum flexibility to the U.S. when all we are reallying doing is just sitting around waiting for a perfect moment to act that may never come.

If you don't agree with me, just look at how far our much heralded combating WMD strategy has gotten us since its inception in 2002. As Gedde Watanabe would say, "Nothing, absolutely nothing."

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