Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

A C.I.A. Fighter, a Somali Bomb Maker, and a Faltering Shadow War

Declan WalshEric Schmitt and New York Times

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The C.I.A. convoy rolled out of Mogadishu in the dead of night, headed south along a crumbling ocean road that led deep into territory controlled by Al Shabab, one of Africa’s deadliest militant groups.

The vehicles halted at a seaside village where American and Somali paramilitaries poured out, storming a house and killing several militants, Somali officials said. But one man escaped, sprinted to an explosives-filled vehicle primed for a suicide bombing, and hit the detonator.

The blast last November killed three Somalis and grievously wounded an American: Michael Goodboe, 54, a C.I.A. paramilitary specialist and former Navy SEAL, who was airlifted to a U.S. military hospital in Germany. He died 17 days later.

His was a rare American fatality in the decade-old shadow war against Al Shabab, the world’s wealthiest and arguably most dangerous Al Qaeda affiliate. But Mr. Goodboe was also a casualty of an American way of war that has flourished since the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, now under greater scrutiny than ever.

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