Somalia Air Strike Failed To Hit Targets

I've been trying to get some sort of handle on exactly what went on in Somalia. Something about it did not pass the smell test for me. A military expert with whom I consulted expressed some of the same reservations about the story that I had (albeit with far more specific knowledge).

First, the AC-130 is not a precision weapon in any practical term. It is fairly accurate area weapon and can contain it's fire to areas slightly larger than a football pitch (100mx90m). They may have hit "a senior terrorist figure" (who can tell from that altitude) but they hit a lot of other people in the process. Unless there were special forces on the ground calling in the fire it would be haphazard. Talk about back to the future, when every dead Vietnamese was Viet Cong -- the only requirement for identification was an unmoving corpse.

Then, as a follow up, he sent this article from the Guardian UK:

The US air strike on Somalia failed to kill any of the three top al-Qaida members accused of terror attacks in east Africa.

A senior US official said today that Sunday night's attack had killed between eight and 10 "al-Qaida affiliates" near the southern tip of Somalia.

But he said that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Abu Taha al-Sudan and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, all linked to the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2002 Mombasa hotel attack, were still on the run. "Fazul is not dead," said the official, contradicting earlier reports. "The three high-value targets are still of interest to us."

I'm not sure what to think about this. Why Somalia now? Is this another case of "Wag the Dog" the Republicans accused Clinton of during the "Monica-gate" scrutiny?


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