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Removing Corpses from the U.S. Embassy: Behind the Scenes of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia  

After the fall of  Somalia’s dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, a civil war broke out between warlords.  In the ensuing conflict, an estimated 350,000 Somalis died because of famine, disease, and war-time casualties. With the death toll mounting, President George H.W. Bush sent a U.S.-led humanitarian force to Somalia.  It was among the earliest […]

Somalia — From Great Hope to Failed State

While today the mention of Somalia may conjure up images of a destitute nation run by warlords, such was not always the case. When it gained independence and the territories of British Somaliland and Italian Somalia were unified to create what we know today as Somalia, there was great optimism about the country’s political future. […]

From Nation-Building to Black Hawk Down: U.S. Peacekeeping in Somalia

Somalia has become synonymous with well-meaning but ill-fated humanitarian intervention. Live television footage of American soldiers being dragged in the streets by the very insurgents they hoped to defeat in the Black Hawk down incident disillusioned Americans from the concept of nation-building abroad. Many credit the U.S.’s embarrassment in Somalia to the international community’s failure […]

Evacuating Somalia

Codename: Operation Eastern Exit.  In January 1991, violence due to the Somali Civil War had escalated so much that Ambassador James K. Bishop requested military assistance in an evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu. This evacuation had more than its share of unexpected challenges, in no small part because the Pentagon was totally focused […]

The End of Omar al-Bashir—New Hope for Sudan

Since becoming independent from its former colonizer, the Republic of Sudan has fluctuated between democratically elected governments and severe dictatorships. Problematic civil wars and human rights violations have plagued the country. However, since December 2018 new hope has risen within this northeast African country. In the wake of large-scale protests which demanded his removal from […]

The U.S. Response to the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia

The Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami of 2004 killed over 275,000 people in 14 different countries. In Aceh, Indonesia alone, over 130,000 people perished. The tsunami left in its wake ruined infrastructure, dislocated families, and other political, economic, and social challenges. In response to the tsunami and it ruinous effects, the international community together donated […]

On Loan to the U.S. Senate—A Change in Perspective

Among the American general public, the United States Congress is commonly found to have a poor reputation, stereotyped as inefficient and known for perpetual gridlock and dysfunctional legislation. Most of these perceptions are propagated by interest groups and the media, passed along to citizens with little or no first hand experience with daily life on […]

“A Special Place in My Heart:” Memories of USAID in Vietnam

Images of the U.S. military in Vietnam are part of the American consciousness. But these images are only part of the story.  Often the lives and sacrifices of USAID workers are overlooked. They too made great contributions, joining with military personnel to deliver supplies to locals, promoting development in dangerous areas, and working with hamlet […]