Military Ethics – Humanitarian Aid in Somalia

2908 Words12 Pages
In August of 1992, President George Bush Sr. sent US soldiers into Somalia to provide humanitarian relief to those Somalis suffering from starvation. The major problems in Somalia started when President Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown by a coalition of opposing clans. Although there were several opposing groups, the prominent one was led by Mohammed Farah Aidid. Following the overthrow of Barre, a massive power struggle ensued. These small scale civil wars led to the destruction of the agriculture in Somalia, which in turn led to the deprivation of food in large parts of the country. When the international community heard of this, large quantities of food were sent to ease Somali suffering. However, clan leaders like Aidid routinely hijacked food and exchanged it for weapons leaving thousands to starve to death. An estimated 300,000 Somalis died between 1991 and 1992 (Clancy 234-236). US soldiers were later sent into Somalia to capture Aidid, but when the operation got bloody, displeasing the American public, Clinton withdrew troops (Battersby 151). In The Morality of War, Brian Orend outlines ethical guidelines that should be followed in all three stages of war: jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and jus post bellum. Orend states that a nation can be moral going into war, but immoral coming out of one. Did the US act justly in all facets of the Somali conflict? The United States espoused all the guiding principles of jus ad bellum but right intent, upheld the principals of jus in bello, and clearly failed to uphold several aspects of jus post bellum during the armed humanitarian intervention in Somalia.

Jus ad bellum is defined as “justice of war” and is recognized as the ethics leading up to war (Orend 31). Orend contends that an...

... middle of paper ...

...ed to uphold to the standards of jus post bellum. It is evident when one looks at Somalia today. Somalia still lacks a strong central government and several thousands, if not millions, of Somalis are at risk of starvation due to drought.

Again, the United States entered the conflict failing to adhere to all the principals of jus ad bellum, espousing the principles of jus in bello, and inadequately upholding those of jus post bellum. The US entered the war an unjust nation, and left the conflict in a rather unjust manner. As a result, Somalia faces hardship over two decades later with no signs of a hasty recovery. Even worse, with the problem lingering and the international debt crisis, few countries are willing to intervene in Africa to cut out a solution. How long will the world let Somali people starve and whose job is it to intervene if America is unwilling?
Open Document