A better plan needed in Somalia

The first U.S. soldier was killed in Operation Restore Hope this week, signaling only the beginning of the long road that lies ahead in one of the largest and most needed humanitarian efforts in history.

The U.N. had no choice but to step in and organize this relief effort. Sending troops to Somalia to combat crime and famine was the right decision, but in order for the operation to be effective, a better plan of attack has to be initiated.

Although allied forces have made a great deal of progress in helping the Somalis and now control major ports and airports in Somalia, border security still is lacking and weapons are crossing the lines much too easily.

Unfortunately, the United States is partially responsible for the weapons we now are fighting to seize. According to Pentagon records, the United States provided Somalia with $187 million in grants, credits and loans to military goods between 1980 and 1989.

The sale of weapons is a revenue-generating business, but part of the problem we now are facing could have been alleviated if the U.S. was not so quick to provide weapons during peacetime to every country facing a possible defense problem.