Going on the Account: Remember This Well?

There was a statement released today by General Ward of US Africa Command, attempting to address one the main justifications for Somalia’s descent into armed anarchy.

What’s interesting about this statement is that it discusses the Somali fish stocks in the present tense, that the US and other nations “stand with Somalia in countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing wherever it occurs.”  What strikes me though, is that it sidesteps the issue as to whether any such fishing occurred in the past, which led to this state of affairs in the first place.

Well, that and UNITAF’s inability to actually provide relief to the Somalis…

It’s interesting how little about the Somali situation an American news consumer gets from domestic sources.  Most of the clippings I offer here are from agencies either based around the Indian Ocean or in Europe, and as of late more of them are from the former.  With the IMB pirate attack map showing more incidents for 2009 than the last two years, it can’t be for a lack of anything to report.  Do we need to see another American crew taken for us to pay attention over there?

It probably shouldn’t be surprising, as there’s a tendency over here to become amnesic about unsuccessful overseas ventures.  It took years for Korea to get the attention it should have had, and Lebanon has not yet been as well examined as it should be.  And because victory over Iraq was followed with a long drawn-out campaign to bring order, we’ve already started to ignore news from there, especially when each new disaster affects less Americans than the last one.

You could probably say George Santayana was calling us out when he discussed forgetfulness leading to a repetitive history.  Because 1993 was a turning-for-the-worst point in operations in Somalia, we’ve started to rely on our infamous lack of geography to justify not knowing where the Horn of Africa is.  Worse, it looks like al Qaeda is operating in Somalia the same way it worked in Afghanistan, after we left them to their own devices once the Soviet Union left the country and subsequently fell apart.  And we all know what that led to come September of 2001…

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