Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bush To Somalia: Wag The Dog!

Can you say "Wag The Dog"?:
WASHINGTON -- A U.S. Navy AC-130 gunship attacked suspected al-Qaida members inside Somalia, government officials said yesterday.

Under cover of Ethiopia's move into Somalia to help rout Islamist forces in recent weeks, U.S. officials have mounted an intensive effort to capture or kill key suspects of the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania more than eight years ago that killed 224 people.
Let me refresh your memory:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saying "there will be no sanctuary for terrorists," President Clinton on Thursday said the U.S. strikes against terrorist bases in Afghanistan and a facility in Sudan are part of "a long, ongoing struggle between freedom and fanaticism."
Now, remember this?:
"Look at the movie 'Wag the Dog.' I think this has all the elements of that movie," Rep. Jim Gibbons said. "Our reaction to the embassy bombings should be based on sound credible evidence, not a knee-jerk reaction to try to direct public attention away from his personal problems."

Massachusetts acting Gov. Paul Cellucci, a Republican and a movie buff, said: "It popped into my mind, but I do hope that that's not the situation and I trust that it isn't."

One of the first questions asked of Defense Secretary William Cohen at a nationally televised Pentagon was how he would respond to people who think the military action "bears a striking resemblance to 'Wag the Dog."'

"The only motivation driving this action today was our absolute obligation to protect the American people from terrorist activities," Cohen said. "That is the sole motivation."
Thus was born a Republican stalking point in reference to President Clinton. If it worked for them, clearly this can work for us.

The US had chosen to fight the Islamists in Somalia by proxy, sending in Ethiopian troops to flush out the Islamists and drive them out of Mogadishu. Unfortunately, although they were successful in that respect, there's a limit to what Ethiopian troops can do in our name, as Eritrea, a staunch rival to Ethiopia, was about to arm itself and get involved in Somalia. Together, the Islamists and Eritreans likely would have defeated any further incursions by Ethiopia. Too, many Somalis are distrustful of the Ethiopian government, so you'd likely see a replay of the Vietnam War, only on a regional scale.

Further, it's pretty clear that the US can't sustain a drawn out ground campaign in Somalia, meaning all we can really afford to do is use naval forces to lob some shells.

Maybe you recall who said this:
Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman, this is true. In the 9/24/01 issue, Fineman says this statement was made in the Oval Office at the White House during a meeting with the president and four U.S. Senators.

Fineman says Mr. Bush briefed them on plans for action against the terrorists and said, "“When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”
Uhhhhhhh....guess again....Only this time, truly, the tail is smarter than the dog.

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