The U.S. Somalia operation raises questions

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When I picked up my Sunday PG and saw you had devoted an entire front-page article with an inside continuation that spanned three columns to how many times Coach Mike Tomlin uses the word “obviously,” I was astonished (“Tomlin’s Word of Choice,” Jan. 12). When I saw that the “story” came complete with photographs and graphs correlating his use of the word “obviously” with various circumstances, I had to re-check my paper to see if it wasn’t actually a satirical Pittsburgh edition of the infamous “Onion.”

Then I figured, well, it was Saturday night, it was probably a slow news day, and even the editors of “one of America’s great newspapers” can get a little goofy now and then. So I laughed it off.

Then I turned to page A-4 and found a teeny little news brief near the bottom of the World Briefs column titled “U.S.-Somalia Operation.” Since it would take more space to paraphrase it and for the benefit of those who might have missed it, please indulge me as I repeat it verbatim — in its entirety:

“WASHINGTON — The U.S. military secretly sent a small team of advisers to Somalia last month to assist with operations against militants. It was the first time U.S. troops have been stationed there since two helicopters were shot down and 10 American soldiers were killed in 1993.”

Really? We have boots on the ground in war-torn Somalia?

Suddenly, I’m not laughing anymore.

How small is “small”? Whose operations are they “assisting”? Against which “militants”? For how long? Are they still there? Do they have a defined mission? Are they being joined by more?

Come on, inquiring minds want to know!

Shouldn’t that be obvious?


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