Wednesday, 10 January 2007

US air strikes in Somalia

US AC-130 gunships strafe a village in a dirt-poor corner of Africa that most Americans couldn't find on a map.

27 unidentified people are killed, and more hearts and minds doubtless won over to the cause of anti-american islamic fundamentalism.

It's hardly a surgical attempt to eliminate the al-Qaida suspects that are supposedly in hiding there. The AC-130 was first used in Vietnam; it's main purpose is to lay down an intensive carpet of 'suppressive' gun fire and the aircraft therefore bristles with 20mm and 40mm cannons and Gatling guns. Ironically during the previous disastrous 'Blackhawk down' operations in Somalia, Clinton rejected the use of so blunt an instrument because of the risk of collateral damage.

And it is this 'collateral damage' that means another swathe of people in the Muslim world with a passionate hatred of the US, and the west in general.

I grew up in the shadow of the final stages of the Cold War.

My generation faced the possibility of global destruction because of an escalation of a dangerous game of brinkmanship between two empires. But I don't remember having a sense that we were hated by ordinary Soviet citizens. In fact because we had a sense that mankind was trapped between the two superpowers, the effect was a radicalising one.

Twenty years on, and my children's' generation are growing up in a world where a sense of genuine hatred is all too visible. And the effect of this is not radicalisation but paranoia and knee jerk xenophobia.

Remember the scenes after 9/11 when Middle - America kept asking ' why do they hate us so ?'

Surely no one needs to answer that now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The US air strikes on Somalia are just the finishing touches to a ground war fought by Ethiopia acting as American proxies.

Teacher trade unions all over the world are currently protesting about the arrest of three union activists in Ethiopia. Check out the Education International website for more details. The assumption a lot of people are making is that the Ethiopian government has made the calculation that right now is a good time to have a crack down on anybody you don't like - while the capitalist powers are grateful to you for sorting out Somalia for them.

It is surprising what nasty people we are led into alliance with in the 'war on terror'. Another example is of course the cover-up of corruption in BAE Systems sales to saudi Arabia. Apparantly the Saudis don't want their corruption exposed and will not supply intelligence on terrorism if it is. I don't imagine BAE want corruption exposed either.

Yet if you think about they probably don't sell much anywhere in the world without taking on 'consultants' and 'agents' who need to be paid high fees and 'expenses' for marketing such large capital items - the Tanzanian air control system is just one more example.

And if you think about it even more, this corruption isn't just limited to Jonny Foreigner and his devious ways. From John Prescott and his free stetson to pretty much every seat in the House of Lords, our own system of government reeks of it.