The Dilemma of Disarmament

FOR THE SOMALI MAN, SAYS U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY ROBERT OAKley, three things are important: "his camel, his wife and his weapon. The right to bear arms is in their soul." That is a stereotyped and simplistic view but with an element of truth. In Somalia's nomadic culture, a weapon has always been essential to defend against unknown enemies in the vast desert. Oakley believes that if American soldiers began confiscating weapons, they would quickly become the enemy.

The disarmament issue presents a central dilemma for the U.S. If the rifles and grenades and artillery pieces are not stripped from the land,...

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