The lesser of two evils is still evil
This is why I love Ralph Peters. "We'll get you" is definitely the right message to these people, no matter where they're hiding.
New York PostJanuary 10, 2007 Pg. 29
Our Special-Ops Forces Strike Again
By Ralph Peters
WE'LL get you. No matter how long it takes, we'll get you. That's the message our special-operations forces just sent to al Qaeda fugitives in Somalia - and everywhere else.
With AC-130 gunships pounding terrorist hide-outs and training sites in the badlands near the Kenyan border, we may have nailed senior al Qaeda figures involved in bombing our embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. At the very least, we killed some really bad hombres.
As always, terrorist propagandists will claim that only innocent civilians suffered, and media sympathizers will echo their nonsense. Fortunately, though, most pro-terrorist journalists and "human-rights advocates" are preoccupied just now with the awful mistreatment of poor, misunderstood Saddam Hussein.
And the devastation left behind by our gunships is only part of a very big U.S. win:
* Thanks to resolute military action by Ethiopia's government (quietly backed by Washington), the terror regime in Mogadishu crumbled overnight - collapsing the lie that extremist Islam is on the march to an inevitable victory.
* The speed of the Ethiopian advance cornered hundreds of hardcore Islamist fighters in a forlorn backwater, where they can be killed out of sight of their media defenders. And be killed they will.
* Islamist outrages and subversion inspired unprecedented cooperation between moderate Somalis, Ethiopians, Kenyans and Americans.
For its part, the Kenyan government grew sick of Somalia exporting hatred, weapons and terror. Now Kenyan troops have sealed their border so al Qaeda's agents can't escape.
* Far from being a growing threat - as America-haters insist - al Qaeda's on the run. Confident that they had a new refuge in Somalia, international terrorists instead find themselves scrambling to escape justice.
* Our special-ops forces are getting their revenge: After Army Rangers and Delta Force troops won a hands-down victory in the streets of Mogadishu back in 1993, President Bill Clinton sold them out (as the Pelosi-Reid Democrats threaten to do to our soldiers in Iraq on a greater scale). Now they're killing al Qaeda fanatics and their local allies with the full support of a new Somali government.
Much remains unresolved in Somalia - it won't turn into a quiet garden spot any year soon. But no amount of rationalizations by anti-American voices can disguise the fact that this has been a huge defeat for radical Islam and its terrorist vanguard: They're homeless again.
Fanatical dreams of re-establishing - and extending - the Muslim caliphate on the African continent are suddenly in shambles (although our enemies, from al Qaeda to the Saudi royal family, won't give up just yet). Far from impressing the world with its strength, extremist Islam just revealed its inherent weakness again: Average Muslims don't like it and won't defend it.
Yes, there's plenty of anti-Ethiopian emotion in the streets of Mogadishu today - but that's not the same as pro-Islamist sentiment.
As for al Qaeda's media pals, they'll try to play down the scope of this defeat, lying that only a few foreign terrorists were in Somalia. But even apart from the number of fanatics now lying dead in mango swamps, snake-ridden forests and scrubland, the psychological blow to al Qaeda has been huge: Mired in Iraq and hunkered down in remote rat-holes in Pakistan, Terror International, Inc. has been robbed of its biggest success story since 9/11.
The Islamists lost their vital beach-head in the Horn of Africa. Even Sudan, for all its villainy, is wary of associating with al Qaeda today (Khartoum has enough problems).
Of course, not all in the region is exactly as it seems on the surface. The do-it-in-the-dark boys - our military special-operations forces and CIA personnel - have been deeply involved in getting this one right. Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, the American regional headquarters in Djibouti, has been a consistently effective player, too, punching well above its weight. JTF-HOA is an economy-of-force operation that returns a huge strategic dividend on the taxpayer's investment.
We owe all of our engaged military and intelligence personnel - overt, covert and clandestine - a debt of thanks.
But the thanks won't be public. As always, our special operators will fade back into the strategic mist. Some may have been on the ground in Somalia throughout this operation, helping out with intelligence and targeting, nudging key actions along and hunting specific terrorists. The use of AC-130 gunships - incredibly effective weapons - against massed terrorists may have been cued by cell-phone intercepts, but I wouldn't discount brave Americans on the ground directing those airstrikes.
That's speculation, of course. But I can guarantee two things to Post readers: First, Somalia and the world are better off with the Islamists on the run and living in terror themselves, and, second, our special operations forces - from all of the services - are greater heroes than the history books or Hollywood films will ever be able to capture.
Whack 'em again, guys.
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of "Never Quit The Fight."