Humanitarian Relief in Somalia

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I fully support the deployment of a U.S. commanded force operating under a United Nations mandate to guarantee the delivery of food and medicine to the suffering people of Somalia.

The mission as defined by the President is well planned and suited to the task at hand. I am certain that President Bush, Secretary Cheney, and Chairman Powell, will exhibit the care in executing this mission that they have exhibited in the acclaimed successes of U.S. forces in Panama and the Persian Gulf. I am also confident that the welfare and safety of American servicemen and women are uppermost in their minds.

The starvation and suffering in Somalia represent a horrifying chapter in human history. The International Red Cross has estimated that 1.5 million people, one third of the current population of Somalia, face death by starvation. Hundred of thousands more people, especially children, will suffer from the horrible physical, medical, and psychological consequences of malnutrition if they do not starve. One out of six Somalians have fled across borders into neighboring countries. Those who remain behind know only violence, chaos, hunger and death.

The tragedy of Somalia has arisen from a combination of bad government, Marxism, and war. There should be no doubt that the only viable long-term solution to the situation in Somalia is to expand political and economic freedom throughout East Africa.

The long term political and economic problems are matters that only Somalia can solve. We cannot build a viable government or economy for Somalia. We cannot settle the civil war that is raging in that tragic country. It is in our power, however, to offer a hand out of the nightmare confirming millions of Somalians. When life is no longer as nasty, brutish and harsh, it is my hope that the people of Somalia will be able to solve the fundamental problems of their society.

Whether it is in Kurdistan, Bangladesh or Panama, American servicemen and women have conducted themselves in the most proficient and upright manner. I am certain that with the support of the American people they will acquit themselves admirably in their effort to bring relief to the people of Somalia.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).