We are apparently nowhere near the time and place where the United States could start a war and no one would come. In fact, it appears that we have arrived at the place among Black leaders where the U.S. is giving a war in Africa, and they are not protesting.
On Jan. 8, the Pentagon has now confirmed, U.S. Forces began an “on-going operation of air strikes in southern Somalia and that the attacks are continuing,” according to Citizen Journal Nepal cjnepal.org. The U.S. “on-going operation” is meant to target so-called “Islamic militants.”
What happened, however, was another tragic U.S. military farce. The joint American and Ethiopian air bombardment actually missed its intended “Al-Qaeda targets,” instead killing 70 nomadic herdsmen and several hundred of their livestock according to the British aid agency Oxfam. Hundreds of families fled their homes in southern Somalia. U.S. officials disputed the numbers killed and that they were civilians.
Since late December, Oxfam estimates violence in Somalia has forced an estimated 70,000 people from their homes, and has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation.
Last year, Somalia was hit first by severe drought and then the worst flooding in 50 years, leaving some 400,000 people homeless.
Meanwhile, with the possible exception of Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), the Black leadership in America has been oddly silent.
“I think the policy is wrong. I think that to go in and bomb that country with no authority, is wrong,” Rep. Payne, who is chair of the Africa Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee said recently. “Once again, (this) just shows a misguided policy in Africa in general, and the world in particular,” he said.
U.S. forces entered Somalia last December 24 when Ethiopia launched an attack against Somalia’s Islamic Courts Movement. U.S. officials told Associated Press that U.S. special forces are in Somalia hunting Al-Qaeda fighters and providing military advice to Ethiopian and Somali forces, and still, we have heard no outrage from most Black leaders.
The bombing did spark about 200 Somali Canadians and their supporters, who demonstrated Jan. 20 at the U.S. consulate in downtown Toronto against American involvement in their homeland. Protestors waved signs reading “Stop Bush’s war on terror,” “U.S. stop proxy war,” and “Troops out of Somalia now.”
No outrage yet, among Blacks in America.
Perhaps it is the anti-Islamic tone to the U.S.-led attacks, which has discouraged the interest of some Black leaders in this country, in this war.
“When the people of Somalia—the Islamic Courts—decided that enough was enough, they went out and got law and order. Stopped the hijacking of boats. Stopped piracy. Opened the airport up. Opened up schools. People could walk around. Then the United States decided to back the warlords who had been in control the last 10 years,” when Somalia was lawless and ungovernable, said Mr. Payne.
“And also, they claim there is an al-Qaeda training camp that’s been there for four or five years. Well, if it was there, it was supported by the people who were running Somalia who were the warlords. So, once again, why then when this new (Islamic Courts) government takes over you decide all of a sudden to have a Somali-policy, and invite another country (Ethiopia) to invade Somalia?” he continued.
The new Somali government is now working with neo-conservative policy analysts in Washington to press for financial support from the U.S. government, according to OneWorld.net. Is there some otherwise unknown fountain of neo-conservative, “faith-based,” anti-Islamic money which has become a factor in Black leadership silence on this subject?
Shortly after the Somali transitional government overthrew the Union of Islamic Courts, the Bush administration made an initial down payment of $40 million in revitalization assistance for Somalia, One World reported.
After conservative Black commentator Armstrong Williams shamed his profession last year, accepting government money in exchange for writing articles supporting the government’s position, and after Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonse Jackson told a Black newspaper publisher he would not authorize government advertising for a publication which criticized his boss, we can no longer dismiss as preposterous, just such a scenario.