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27 March 2015


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C Webb

The word pagan comes from the latin pagus, meaning country district. A pagan was a country person.

A heathen was someone who lives on the heath (the scrubland outside or on the edges of the Roman empire).

Ishmael Zechariah


Somehow I missed the policies crafted by Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Shrub for bringing "democracy" to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Do you think they consider these places "secret democracies"? Or, were they deterred by the battle-tested forces of these two states? Somehow the ziocon agitprop apparatus also avoids discussing these countries, unmindful of the proscribed treatment for homosexuals. Seems like a complicated issue.

Ishmael Zechariah

Mark Logan

Patrick Bahzad,

We are going to have to agree to disagree on some facts. In my view the place had devolved to "warlords" long before we got there. The civilian effort had been deliberately stopped by Adid's men in an effort to wipe the lands along the Jubba river of a different tribe of people (whose idea was "Somalia" anyway? They, and even their grand parents should be slapped for such stupidity! But I digress...) for whatever reason, probably wanted the "breadbasket" for his own people.

Then the UN effort to end his practice of stopping all aid food from going to those areas (when the warehouses were full he had it dumped in the desert) was ended by his use of military force against them, who were mostly Pakistani soldiers who were woefully unprepared for that kind of action and had pretty much barricaded themselves in the stadium. So much for the "blue helmets". Furthermore he sent men into the "breadbasket" to burn any fields and destroy any food they could find which they did not care to steal.

It had to be a military operation. Period. The UN plan for civilian only had been tried and had been deliberately stopped. IMO there is no counter-factual theorizing to be done on that point whatsoever and there is simply nothing which could ever convince me differently on that point.

What was in the minds of George HW and his people is another matter. It's difficult for me to say for sure, and I feel you certainly would have a better view of that than I did at the time, but I tend to believe it was the man simply unable to stand by and watch that kind of horror being inflicted upon anyone when it was such a puny force inflicting it, and mission creep did the rest.



The Colonel would have to change the name of his website.

Patrick Bahzad

I'm not sure what exactly the disagreement is about but I don't think saying "it had to be a military operation - period" is gonna cut it.
we lost men there because some fools thought this was the right thing the do. Well, sometimes the right thing to do is not to do anything, at least when it involves armed forces. Not gonna say more about this, other than such an operation was never attempted again which speaks volumes as to its record among participating nations.


"Rummy and Cheney were true believers in Democracy Fairy Dust . . ."

Seems a stretch to me, Tyler. Like Jack and Ishmael, I think for these guys it was more about reinvigorating America's belief in itself, flying the flag, a pure demonstration of power. And an interesting experiment. Whatever other benefits might flow from it were secondary. "Shake it up, something good will come of it."

Mark Logan

Patrick Bahzad,

Clarification: The disagreement is about "if the UN had opted for a more civilian approach". The UN did and then reacted to the calls from the civilians involved in that effort for military help. First with a UN force and when they got overwhelmed Restore Hope was initiated. When the UN force was subjected to an organized military campaign it became undeniable it had not been simply bandits who stopping the flow of food up-country. Thus, it had to be a military operation period. ML

Patrick Bahzad

Right. I sort of got that after your first "period" ...
My take on it, based on a few years experience in that sort of thing is that relief operations are not meant to be lead like military interventions overseas, even if they need to have security component.
As far as the military is concerned, this topic is done and dusted: UNOSOM II was a total F* UP from start to finish, especially for the US, which had no prior experience in operations of that sort, particularly not in Africa.
I recommend the US forces AAR on the subject, quite a sobering read. And lots of people, including US servicemen I knew personally, died for no good reason. Period !



Y'all are proving my point about grasping at straws to try and insist that the neocons are nothing like the insane progressives. The only difference is who is running the show.

Iraq was maybe a year of invasion, the next seven or whatever it was turned out to be all about DEMOCRACY and purple thumbs and how awesome elections went and Friedman units. The entire MSM gave a full court press and salivated not over how much oil we were getting, but how AWESOME the democracy was. KBR made money, but that was incidental to spreading the Gospel of Western Secular Democracy. Optempo wasn't determined by things like how many oil derricks to build, but elections and other make believe nonsense. I know because I was there.

Saudi Arabia? Kuwait? They're playing the same game the Israelis play as far as buying influence. Pity the poor Arab nation that can't. Compare the histrionics over Europe trying to enforce immigration laws versus what Israel gets to do. One rule for me, another for thee doesn't invalidate anything I've said.


the universal declaration of human rights - it is through universal acceptance by now ius cogens. But notably, it still recognises nation state sovereignty.

What I think is that, unless we're talking about mass murder and intense repression on the scale of Rwanda, Cambodia or ISIS Einsatzgruppen-like barbarism, human rights are neither a legitimate cause for war nor for intervention in the internal affairs of another country.

That is to say, these criteria have not been met by the recent acts of watr in which human rights have been invoked as ajustification.

So to speak, I fully accept the unpopular flipside of national sovereignty - the prohibition for outside powers to meddle in internal affairs of other countries.

It is a long way from recognising the rights the universal declaration enshrines (the lowest common denominator) to sponsoring opposition groups (and training them and handing them smartphones, money, printers and cookies) through something like NED in order to actively effect regime change.

It is an even longer way from there to R2P and the invasion of Libya in the name of Human rights. R2P is a speific response to the troublesome flipside of national sovereignty. I reject that.

Mark Logan

Patrick Bahzad,

I imagine that is an epic read. As I previously mentioned "don't get me started". I've seen more intelligence displayed at an alligator f-g contest. I can only speak for the first two and a half months but the silly reached truly sublime levels. As long as you do not try to tell me that the food didn't flow from then on to the people up-country, the ridiculously brave civilian volunteers who refused to abandon them, and it did not save 10's of thousands of lives we are not in conflict.

All respect. I appreciate your writings about the ME cultures very much and frankly you could spin circles around me in any academic exercise I can imagine. I am fully aware what I have told you deeply conflicts with the now fully accepted narrative about Restore Hope.
People can't differentiate between the original mission and the movie is my guess. There was nothing sexy about the early days and hardly a single reporter ventured past even Biadoa during that time, and none stayed any longer than they absolutely had to even there.

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