Somalia, 1993: Questions for the White House

The president’s spokesperson, Dee Dee Myers, is on CNN. If I have to listen to Dee Dee Myers explain the military scenario in Mogadishu one more time, I’m going to projectile vomit on the screen. She sounds like the PR chick from a record label, describing why this year’s album sales are, um, not down, but they’re just not what we hoped for. The other one, Jamie Rubin, the spokesman for Madeleine Albright, is worse. He’s the junior vice president for sales at the same record label, two years out of business school. We’ve got a really great new foreign policy idea, it’s going to be a super-great way to defeat evil in the nineties, really. It’s great. And it’s new. And it’s an idea. Really.

It’s now an official ceasefire; we no longer intend to capture Aidid. Dee Dee calls it a “shift in focus,” not a change, and adds her insight that, as a matter of fact, Aidid is a “clan leader with a substantial constituency in Somalia,” and therefore we have to negotiate with him, not fight. Last week he was a war criminal the pursuit of whom was worthy of American lives; this week he’s a corrupt but popular alderman from the south side of Chicago.

Dee Dee’s taking questions from reporters now. I have a question, Dee Dee. Aidid was to be arrested for killing twenty-four Pakistanis in June, and then was pardoned for the crime and resurrected as a credible negotiating partner after killing eighteen Americans in October. What’s the message if the policy of accountability for the crime of attacking peacekeepers is abandoned after a successful repetition of the same crime? How can the policy our soldiers died for reverse the next day, because of their death?

Dee Dee’s not taking questions from Mogadishu today.

SOURCE: Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth, by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait, and Andrew Thomson (Miramax Books, 2004), p. 178

But see Mickey Kaus’s review of Black Hawk Down for a list of pointed questions about the failures of the U.S. and UN commanders on the ground in Mogadishu.

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Filed under Africa, U.N., U.S., war

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