Tuesday, March 06, 2007

'Aid Workers With Guns'

Another sensational article on the military becoming the 'all-singing, all-dancing' humanitarian machine, in addition to its apparently obsolete role of war-fighting.

Examining CENTCOM's presence in the Horn of Africa, the author Nicholas D. Kristof is an unabashed advocate of the softer side of this military presence- 'It [CENTCOM] aims to help bring stability to northeastern Africa and to address humanitarian needs — knowing that humanitarian involvement will make us safer as well.'

Kristof's commentary on the new Africa Command is a just one: that there is humanitarian potential in a more robust presence. Whether we agree the assertion that, '...in some poor countries the most useful “aid workers” are the ones in camouflage carrying guns'- that's another question.

At some point in this opinion piece, the logic falls flat- the author jumps from applauding camouflaged aid workers to advocating the dispatch of mobile, armed peacekeepers along the models of Sierra Leone. Apparently militarized humanitarian aid won't solve everything in Africa?