US 'will not be drawn into long conflict': White House tries to reassure public that troops will be home soon
Monday 21 June 1993
In a rare public interview, the White House Chief of Staff, Thomas 'Mack' Mclarty, declined to predict how long US servicemen would be required to stay in the country. But he argued that Washington had only two goals in Somalia: to 'restore peace and security' and ensure the free flow of humanitarian aid. When that was achieved, the Somalis themselves would be able to rebuild their country.
Mr McLarty's remarks, on NBC's Meet the Press programme, were a fresh response to complaints that what has been deliberately portrayed here as a UN effort was in fact a thinly disguised American-run operation, and to worries that demonstrators in Mogadishu were channelling their ire less at the UN than at the US.
That 'distortion' was separately rejected by Jonathan Howe, the American admiral who is the UN special representative for Somalia. The intervention, and last week's assault on the headquarters of the warlord General Mohamed Aideed, had been 'truly a UN operation'. Casualties had been among other contingents in the peace- keeping force. Only one American soldier had incurred 'superficial' wounds.
The use of heavy force, he predicted, would provide a 'short-cut' to a resolution of the Somali crisis. Gen Aideed was still at large yesterday, but Admiral Howe hinted that UN forces had a shrewd idea of his whereabouts. He appealed for the warlord to give himself up, promising that he would receive a 'very fair and impartial' trial.
Despite the spectacular role played by American air power, the Somalia operation has attracted relatively little comment here, as political debate has focused on Mr Clinton's difficulties at home. But yesterday, in some of the sharpest public comment so far, a New York Times editorial voiced the fear that the UN and the US could be drawn into a quagmire.
What began last December as an open-hearted humanitarian mission had turned into 'a bloody urban brawl' in Mogadishu. The punitive action against Gen Aideed was justified, the paper wrote.
But it raised the spectre of the 241 Marines killed in their Beirut barracks while participating in an earlier multinational 'peace-keeping' operation, in Lebanon in 1983. Today's operation 'stands at a dangerous point, the US and the UN could slide unthinkingly into deep involvement in Somalia's internal chaos'.
The official line, offered by Admiral Howe yesterday, is that the mere presence of the marines, with their 'tremendous capability from the air and on the ground', will remove this risk.
He predicted that the Somalia tangle could be sorted out quickly. But an increasing number of Americans are not so sure.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...