I write in response to your Loose Lips item “Guff for the Gatekeeper” (9/22). I wish to focus on only one aspect of the article: your reference to me as a “Somali warlord.”
My position requires me to make difficult decisions, manage delicate problems, and voice unpopular opinions. This often elicits negative publicity and nicknames, like “hatchet man” and “Grief of Staff.” While some nicknames are amusing, the name “Somali warlord” is notit is inaccurate and inappropriate.
For the last 10 years, Somalia has been engulfed in civil war. Somali warlords continue to intercede in any attempts by the international communityincluding those of American G.I.sto end the conflict. Today, the civil strife has displaced 500,000 Somali citizens and has resulted in 250,000 casualties, some of whom are American soldiers.
Some of my family members, including my 80-year-old mother, are refugees as a result of this conflict. They fled Somalia because of the aggressors about whom you joke.
People may have called me a Somali warlord in jest or out of anger. However, I have not referred to myself as one, because I am not a Somali warlord, nor do I support them.
You have a responsibility to practice responsible journalism. I hope you exercise this responsibility more earnestly in the future.
Chief of Staff