Monday, January 12, 2009

Don't Panic: Did Bush's War On Terror™ succeed in Somalia?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 3:33 PM

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With just a few pages remaining on our “countdown to a president who can actually pronounce the word ‘nuclear’ and who doesn’t look or act like he sprouted from the egg of a dim-witted chimpanzee fertilized by the irradiated sperm of Roy Rogers” page-a-day calendars, George W. Bush has already given up even pretending he’s president.

Instead, Dubya is in ex-president mode, focusing his energy on legacy-management.

Roughly half the White House home page is now occupied by links to documents that attempt to spin a positive, alternate history of the Bush years.

The most obnoxious is the 40-pager titled, “100 Things You May Not Know About The Bush Presidency.”

In the “every day is opposite day” dream-world from which the document emanates, Bush actually boasts about his economic leadership.

“[S]ix years of uninterrupted economic growth and 52 consecutive months of job growth,” says one bullet point. Conveniently missing are the bits about how he steered the economy into its deepest hole since the Great Depression.

Even more asinine is this bullet-point boast, appearing under the header “Kept America Safe”: “For more than seven years after September 11, 2001, prevented another attack on our homeland.”

Excuse me? Um, George, you were actually president on 9/11. It was the deadliest ever foreign attack on U.S. soil, and unless Wikipedia is lying to me again, the deadliest violent event in the U.S. since the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam.

“We haven’t had an attack while I was President except for that huge one that happened while I was President,” isn’t much of a boast.

It’s a bit like your wife standing up at your 10th wedding anniversary dinner and toasting you with “Honey, I just want you to know I haven’t been unfaithful to you since that weekend seven years ago when I snuck off to Vegas to star in Gangbang Party 14: Under the Milfy Way. Other than that, honey, totally faithful.”

“100 Things You May Not Know About The Bush Presidency” and its companion document, “Highlights of Accomplishments and Results” (the filename for that one, I kid you not, is legacybooklet.pdf), aren’t just bundles of lies and exaggeration. They also commit another big sin: omission.

The word Somalia does not appear in either document.

In late 2006, the United States and the Ethiopia invaded Somalia. Ethiopia supplied the manpower, while the U.S. provided money, weapons, logistics, and special forces.

The apparent goal of the invasion was the removal from power of the so-called Union of Islamic Courts. The UIC is an Islamist group that, for all of its awfulness, was the closest the thing southern Somalia has had to functioning government since 1991.

Instead of replacing the UIC with something better, the U.S.-Ethiopian merely started a civil war. The result: one of the worst places on Earth became the absolute worst place on Earth.

Refugees International calls Somalia “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” noting that 1.7 million Somalis have been forced from their homes. They’re sick, desperate and starving people. Forty percent of Somalis now rely on international aid agencies for food.

Our President helped make that happen. Although it’s not a huge surprise that Bush has chosen to avoid the issue altogether in his farewell brochures, it’s still somewhat surprising to me that the press is letting him get away with it.

Ethiopian troops recently began a retreat back across the border. And they’re leaving large parts of the country in the hands of Islamists who appear quite a bit nastier than the UIC.

In other words, it’s a Bush-sponsored invasion that strengthened the very people we supposedly wanted to weaken. Another Bush mission accomplished.

To help deal with the wreckage, the Pentagon has been forced to assemble an international naval squad to protect merchant ships from Somali pirates. Sea piracy has thrived in Somalia for more than a decade, but has gotten much worse since 2008.

In the past decade, there have been six months when Somali pirates weren’t harassing merchant ships off its coast. They happen to have been the six months in 2006 when the UIC ruled much of Somalia.

When Bush and Ethiopia overthrew the UIC, the piracy returned.

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