Losing Our Democratic Spirit: Congressional Deliberation and the Dictatorship of Propaganda

By Bill Granstaff | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
The Somalia Difficulty

By the end of 1992, Somalia had become the “heart of darkness.” Since the collapse of strongman Mohammed Siad Barre’s regime in 1991, wellarmed rival clans had been waging a violent struggle to gain political/ economic advantage in this region. The conflagration had virtually destroyed any semblance of a Somalian civil infrastructure. In addition, a severe drought had continued through this period, resulting in severe famine. Somalians by the hundreds of thousands were starving to death or dying at the hands of murderous gangs. However, help was on the way. Somalia was relatively accessible to various news organizations, and soon the media began to treat the rest of the world to wrenching images of this horror.

By the middle of 1992 the U.N. Security Council had endorsed an international airlift of food and medical supplies for Somalia, and both chambers of Congress had approved a resolution urging President George Bush to support this humanitarian mission. Unfortunately, Somali warlords made delivering these desperately needed provisions virtually impossible, keeping them bottled up in small staging areas, and threatening U.N. and other humanitarian workers with violent attack. Finally, on December 4, President Bush announced the United States would send 28,000 troops to Somalia to join in a U.N. peacekeeping force to help distribute food.

Congress as a whole generally supported President Bush’s decisive action. The only real controversy concerned who was to pay for the operation. Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), for example, expressed worry

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Losing Our Democratic Spirit: Congressional Deliberation and the Dictatorship of Propaganda
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Series Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Chapter 1 - The Democratic Connection 1
  • Chapter 2 - Stereotypes and Conventions 15
  • Chapter 3 - The Power of Language 41
  • Chapter 4 - Tools 59
  • Chapter 5 - The Lebanon Difficulty 95
  • Chapter 6 - The Persian Gulf Difficulty 137
  • Chapter 7 - The Somalia Difficulty 165
  • Chapter 8 - The Emperor’s Clothes 189
  • References 215
  • Index 221
  • About the Author 227
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