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Editorial March 24, 2011  RSS feed


With its involvement in the United Nations’ “humanitarian mission” to bombard Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi into abdication, the U.S. has proven the words of Spanish philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

It wasn’t so long ago that America was drawn into another “humanitarian” war. Between 1992 and 1994, the U.S.—under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton—sent 25,000 U.S. troops to Somalia for the effort known as “Operation Restore Hope” at the U.N.’s request.

Who can forget the sad doe-eyes of actress Audrey Hepburn in her role in UNICEF in 1992 as envoy to Somalia. She felt the pain of people dying of starvation because their leaders were stealing the food and feeding their troops as the citizens of Somalia starved during a gruesome civil war.

The publicity given the plight of the people in Somalia led to a U.N. humanitarian relief effort (UNOSOM), but its effort to deliver food and secure delivery routes into Somalia was futile due to the ongoing conflict. Our troops were sent there to restore some semblance of order and allow the humanitarian effort to succeed.

Things went from bad to worse quickly. Nobody could find rebel leader Mohammed Farah Aidid, and in an effort to locate him, Black Hawk helicopters with 99 U.S. elite troops searched the country; they were ultimately caught in a trap as soon as they were fast-roped down to the roof of a target building.

Eighteen elite fighters and pilots died and 77 other soldiers were wounded during the mission. Out of our intervention came another unforgettable site: dead soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu past a cheering mob.

In the end, not a single one of the enemy’s men was captured. By March 1994, the last American troop followed the U.N. contingent out of Somalia. It was later discovered that the hard-core fighters of the Aidid militia were not Somali, but members of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, who were deployed in his Mogadishu bases.

Fast forward to 2011 and here is America, once again on what is being labeled as a “humanitarian” mission with the U.N., this time in Libya. However, the goal seems to be to drop enough bombs on Gaddafi to force him to stop attacking rebels or get him to relinquish control, whichever comes first.

To show how bizarre this whole episode is, we need to point out that last May, Libya was actually elected by a majority of its fellow U.N. members to serve on its Human Rights Council. That’s right, Libya—a country with well-documented ties to terrorist groups and an abysmal human rights record—got a seat on the council supposedly designed to protect the inalienable rights of humankind.

Apparently, witnessing Gaddafi’s forces slaughtering those protesting his dictatorship brought the U.N. to the realization that he’s not such a nice guy after all. Now Gaddafi is being chased by forces largely comprised of the U.S., Great Britain and France.

America is still mired in Afghanistan and trying to close the book on the Iraq conflict; both wars have cost us thousands of troops and billions of dollars. On top of that, our country is mired in a recession that just won’t go away.

What exactly are we doing in Libya? Don’t we have enough problems on our hands?