In2002, the Bush administration first sent US troops into Africa in search of terrorists, a search that expanded after the notorious bombing of the American Embassy in Kenya. The United States has now established a Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa which supposedly is engaged in humanitarian efforts to help people. There is no question many American military personnel are engaged in important activities ranging from building schools or providing children with vaccination to ward off diseases. According to Admiral Jim Hart, who commands the forces, “this is the way to put an American face on what we are doing” to help people.
Unfortunately, the central questions are which people are being aided and why? The United States encouraged and then provided military support for Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia several months ago. The invasion force threw out an Islamic fundamentalist government which had established some semblance of order in a chaotic area of the world that had long since been functioning as an organized nation. The invasion has produced anger among Muslims because Ethiopians are Christians who now dominate a Muslim nation. Over 300,000 Somalians have fled the capital of Mogadishu in which terror now reigns. The bottom line is increased hatred toward the United States in areas like Somalia and that anger will not be lessened by building a few schools. It is time to re-evaluate the rationale for the African expedition of the Bush administration.