The United States has found itself in a difficult position concerning the famine declared in Somalia last week by the United Nations. The United States classifies Al Shabab as a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda meaning that there subject to a variety of American anti-terror laws that would prevent the United States from funneling needed aid to the victims of the Somali famine. The U.S. government is working behind the scenes to figure out a way to get aid to the Somali people without breaking its’ own anti-terror laws and unwittingly aiding a terrorist organization. This brings to mind an interesting debate: Do we prevent terror or stop feminine? Or is there a way to do both?
There is no question that given the United States positions of human rights and common decency, that we cannot let people die. Not every Somali is a terrorist, as bared out by the civil war in existence there. But we also cannot allow a terrorist organization to hijack the aid for their own nefarious purposes. Unfortunately it looks like the people in charge there have slowed down the spread of relief within Somalia by the United Nations. One could argue that the very act of withholding, diverting or preventing aid to a starving people is a terrorist action, worthy of sanction and perhaps larger action. By providing food aid though, the UN will create a goodwill that could strengthen opposition or at the very least, not add to it, by preventing Al Shabab from creating the propaganda victory of the West standing still as the people of Somalia die. Bottom line: not acting is morally incomprehensible and is a gift to terrorists the world over.