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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 6/12/2002 8:48:11 AM EST
I saw it twice at the theater, and have already watched the DVD. I like the movie very much, it is very well done and shows American soldiers at their best. My wife watched it with me last night. She had never seen it, and I hyped it and told her she'd like it. She was furious. "Where's the air supportt?!?! WHere are the tanks?" She stole Mcknight's "Shoot back" line several seconds before he said it. SHe won't watch it again. Aside from the fact that I have the greatest wife on the planet, something occurred to me. Should I enjoy this movie, or, more to the point, why don't I feel the same way as my wife? Her points are valid, but I will watch it again. At least part of it is that I don't consider 18 Americans dead to at least 1-3K Somalis dead a "Stunning defeat." We can't fight and never lose anyone, and I think it's dangerous to fight only with smart bombs and cruise missiles, we are conditioning the AMerican people to think we can wage war at no risk to ourselves. Any thoughts?
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 8:59:32 AM EST
though it turned out to be a bad stategic mission, in the movie they depict the men doing their duty with great honor and sacerfise. not to mention the movie has cool Humvee's and Guns. so yes if i liked it, then you should too [:P] [^]
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 9:06:34 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/12/2002 9:09:40 AM EST by cluster]
She was furious. "Where's the air supportt?!?! WHere are the tanks?"
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all together now... [size=6][red]Thank you Mr. Klinton !![/size=6][/red] [shock]
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 9:08:05 AM EST
CG87: The movie is a depiction of both the worst of political weakness and dithering and also the best of American soldiery. Does the fact that Bill Clinton and Les Aspin have reserved spots in the red-hot-poker sodomy ring of hell for their actions leading up to, during and after the events portrayed detract at all from the selfless devotion and fierce fighting spirit displayed by individual American troops and the units to which they belonged? I say that it does not, and I enjoyed the movie in that spirit.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 9:11:20 AM EST
It's just what happens when you come at something from two different viewpoints. For example - you said it 'shows American soldiers at their best'. That is how you look at it, something like a true example of the dedication, heart, comraderie, and training of American soldiers, and how no man was left behind. So of course you'd like the movie... Your wife, on the other hand, seems to be coming from a much different track. She's looking at it possibly from the viewpoint of everything that went wrong...so to her the movie represents the tragedy of when things go wrong. Which is probably why she won't watch it again. Yes, you should enjoy the movie...for many reasons....
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 9:14:21 AM EST
I like the movie. I don't like the fact that it had to be made. The situation should have been different. Hell, the Pakis were there too. Let them do the fighting for once. Some UN country other then US. But no, we have to keep "peace" no matter what. Oops. Sorry. I'll get down now. [soapbox]
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 9:19:42 AM EST
I liked it for what it showed about the spirit of the American soldier. I dislike what our "leaders" did to those American soldiers. But the men caught in the hot zone showed what truly makes a hero. Over and over again.... Scott
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 9:39:00 AM EST
I think everybody should watch it time and time again to remind us what can go wrong when we elect spineless idiots. I think it is also good to watch to remind ourselves of the sacrifice that many men and women have made over the years in defense of this great country. I watch it and think that the actions of those men represent the American spirit that made this country the most powerful country in the world. Unfortunately I think a lot of people in our society don't appreciate the sacrifices that our veterans have made to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy today.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 9:46:19 AM EST
Originally Posted By Jarhead_22: CG87: The movie is a depiction of ...the best of American soldiery.
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Originally Posted DScottHewitt: CG87: I liked it for what it showed about the spirit of the American soldier.
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yeah - what they said.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 10:00:09 AM EST
Great movie, shows our boys at their best in a difficult situation. The problems in Mog were not lack of air or armor support. They had adequate air and there was armor and reinforcements available from the UN and 10th Mountain Division. What was lacking was patience (attacking in daylight at worst time of day when everyone was hopped up on khat), coordination, and planning for backup. Also, intel was poor on use of RPGs as anti-helicopter weapons. And apparently, to prevent civilian casualties, M203s and Mk-19 grenade launchers were not taken because of fear of civilian casualties. Beyond that, our starategic rationale for being there was flawed. We were used by Boutros-Ghali and the UN to get involved in a civil war. What is not mentioned in the movie is that: Bowden writes: "Task Force Ranger was not in Mogadishu to feed the hungry. Over six weeks, from late August to Oct. 3, it conducted six missions, raiding locations where either Aidid or his lieutenants were believed to be meeting. The mission that resulted in the Battle of Mogadishu came less than three months after a surprise missile attack by U.S. helicopters (acting on behalf of the UN) on a meeting of Aidid clansmen. Prompted by a Somalian ambush on June 5 that killed more than 20 Pakistani soldiers, the missile attack killed 50 to 70 clan elders and intellectuals, many of them moderates seeking to reach a peaceful settlement with the United Nations. After that July 12 helicopter attack, Aidid's clan was officially at war with America --a fact many Americans never realized." How would you feel if your relatives were killed by an airstrike by a foreign power? Also see for a good discussion (although it omits the above): [url]http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB63/doc10.pdf[/url]
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 10:05:47 AM EST
ElmerFudd- Off topic, but I DISAGREE. There was INSUFFICIENT Air support and armor was not avaiable "enough." I read Bowden's book, and I remember the events. McCalister requested M1s and AC130s before the raid, not for the raid but for use on such raids. THe ground commander thought it was a good enough idea, I defer to him. Little Birds did yeoman work doing what they could, but an AC130 would have decisively tilted the battle, as would tanks on standby instead of having to be "borrowed" from the PAKIS. Yes, we should have figured out Blackhawks were not impervious to RPG fire, but once it started going south, the support available was seriously lacking.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 10:19:16 AM EST
Of course we should "like" the movie as a startlingly realistic depiction of the Klinton administration's f---ups, and the reality of the hatred for the U.S. at times. Though at first, the Somali's liked us when we kept Aidad from getting their foodstuffs. My wife and I differed also. She said the movie left her physically and mentally exhausted because she knew it was all real. She normally really enjoys war movies (she can't wait for Windtalkers). I think an enjoyable aspect of it is this. It should reinforce how stupid the antis are that say "Do you really think a bunch of armed Americans would have a chance to do any damage if foreign soldiers invaded America?" Well, look at Mog. Imagine some idiots trying to attack the U.S.. Even if they got past the defenses, just the AR15.com members would do some serious damage. Mog is an excellent example of an armed militia, though I admit us Americans wouldn't stand in the street next to each other and shoot at Humvees....we might be a bit more tactical in our approach. Guess we wouldn't have RPG's either, but a nice Barrett semi .50 would do a bit of damage to a foreign chopper. I think my son bought me the DVD yesterday for my b-day Friday! Can't wait to watch it four or five times this weekend. Cheers
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 10:19:36 AM EST
actually I am just now reading this book for the first time and have been reading it for several days now for hours straight (I have been at meps most of the week and had alot of free time on my hands). I distinctly remember reading a part where the vehicle convoy was rolling threw the city and as they went by one of the machine gunners was putting 40's from a mk19 throught all the second story windows where they were drawing fire from as the went past. also I remember a part of the csar team started taking fire from a "large gun mounted on a bipod from up the road". on of the men from the csar force fired a law at it and blew the gun back but only silenced if for a few seconds. so he put a 40 from a 203 on they're heads. which they presumed destroyed the gun.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 10:23:02 AM EST
I watched Blackhawk Down for the first time last night. OK, I fvcked up, it's definitely a "must see" on the big screen. (I've seen "We Were Soldiers" 3 times big screen-am I absolved?) and I too feel that spinelessness on the part of politicians was to blame. It shoulda been "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out". Kick ass and don't bother with the names, just like Desert storm. If we're gonna fight, goddamn it, let our guys fight with all they have! Say we're sorry later, when all the bad guys are down and the U.S. military is enjoying a few cold brews. I admired the courage of the men involved but was filled with a frustration that's difficult to describe throughout most of the movie. [pissed]
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 10:48:27 AM EST
Citadel, We Americans like to assign failures to very simple reasons. The fact of the matter is that Paki armor was avalable on the ground in Mog. All that was required was prior coordination and planning and a liasion officer at their headquarters. Very basic stuff, taught at most branch basic courses. Apparently forgotten by the time one gets a star. From all I have read, those basic steps were not taken on any of the prior raids, which basically used the same template. The Somalis learned and adjusted. We, apparently, did not. The U.S. Army is poor at making do and maximizing the assets we have and at cross talk. This same thing apparently happened in Afghanistan during the Anaconda operation where the separate special ops and regular headquarters at Bagram (?) were not talking, which lead to a Chinook going in to extract a SEAL team which had already left. It got shot down and several soldiers lost their lives because of the same stupidity. Some general will probably blame their loss on a lack of some gizmo, instead of on the hierarchical b.s. that pervades the military. And using AC-130s in a city full of civilians? Indiscriminate use of airpower was what got the Aidid clan firmly against us in the first place. Instead of faulting relatively low level decisions like this, which is the majority of the discussion I normally see, we ought to focus on what we were doing there in the first place and why and keeping our guys OUT of these no-win situations where we have NO strategic interests. And while I despise Clinton and dislike Aspin, the fact is that someone has to decide what resources the local commander is allowed. We would all ask for unlimited resources if allowed. The Gulf War was the ultimate in overkill. We needed a lot less ground forces and a lot fewer 'allies.'
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 10:54:30 AM EST
The AC130 platform is not, by any means, "indiscriminate." IT is very accurate, and is often used in an anti vehicle role. In Panama, it was used within yards of a SEAL team that was screaming for CLOSER fire. In Grenada, one managed to put a 105 round through the cammander's hatch of an enemy APC (lucky shot? Sure, but they were firing AT that APC.) Our presence in Smolia is not what I'm driving at, we shouldn't have been there. However, Klinton and Aspen specifically nixed requests for "tanks" because it wouldn't "look" good, not the typical reason for reigning in requests for more assets.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 11:08:45 AM EST
Originally Posted By Coz_45-age-caliber: I think my son bought me the DVD yesterday for my b-day Friday! Can't wait to watch it four or five times this weekend.
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Happy Birthday. And Happy Father's Day.
Originally Posted By CITADELGRAD87: ...more to the point, why don't I feel the same way as my wife? Her points are valid, but I will watch it again.
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If it had been a 100% successful mission, most of America would never have heard about it. There never would have been a book. And Hollywood would never have made a movie about it. The mission went south for a number of reasons -- from the Commander in Chief's lack of resolve all the way down to troopers decision NOT to bring NVG. I'd [b]like[/b] to blame it all on Washington but bad decisions were made in at a lot of levels -- although the vast majority [b]were[/b] at pay grades higher than the guys on the ground. So I understand and agree with your wife's frustration with the story. But the overwhelming sense that [b]I[/b] got from the story is that it's [b]not[/b] about those errors but it's about the soldiers themselves. Instead of allowing a horrendous and horrific situation to turn into a total loss, our boys were able to turn a mission gone south into a display of American resolve at its best. Your wife is right. So are you. You just need to point this out to her.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 11:11:44 AM EST
Originally Posted By Coz_45-age-caliber: I don't consider 18 Americans dead to at least 1-3K Somalis dead a "Stunning defeat."
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By any definition, I would agree. Unfortunately, I think that our "defeat" came when the leadership in Washington DC decided that this was time to run home with our tail between our legs. That is perhaps the [b]worst[/b] part of this whole story.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 1:04:32 PM EST
Not giving them their own armor/arty/air on call was a serious mistake. I think that Clinton and his merry band of libs just didn't know any better and didn't care to learn, so all americans share the blame for electing him (we all knew what he was) Not knowing about the RPG plans was a bad S-2 failure---not adjusting the unit use and support when the RPGs were used was a major failing by S-3 and the commander. They should have been removed and asked to resign.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 1:25:09 PM EST
YES You should watch it only if you feel saddened by what they went through afterwards. Now its easy to critique what others did after the fact. Like yes they needed more Air support and Armor but they didn't get them so what's next. I would think sending out units to blow through the road blocks would have been the decision to be made for quicker access and removal of those involved.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 2:11:10 PM EST
BHD is one of the few movies i've seen in a theatre where i actually sat on the edge of my seat the entire time. I cant imagine living through it for real for roughly 15 hours! It could have been even worse had the Somali's zeroed their AK's and knew how to use the sights instead of shooting from the hip and not taking cover.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 2:41:48 PM EST
From Amazon's website:
Reviewer: Matt from NY, NY If you're a man, you'll like this movie. If you dont like this movie b/c your political views get in the way, then you arent a good critic. Judge the movie on its content, not what you think is right and wrong in the world. GREAT MOVIE!!
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It was difficult to follow the plot line and keep the characters straight when I saw this in the theatre, due to inconsiderate shitbirds with cell phones, assholes with their running commentary (this was on a weekday afternoon) and some other shitbags who showed up late and walked across the screen. I raised hell with the theatre manager and got some free tickets and coupons for popcorn and soda pop, but the damned movie quit showing and I haven't been able to see it again until yesterday. At any rate, it's a helluva movie and you should like it.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 3:09:38 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 3:31:26 PM EST
Guess we wouldn't have RPG's either, but a nice Barrett semi .50 would do a bit of damage to a foreign chopper.Cheers
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The first actions in a guerilla conflict are to obtain weapons. It won't take long to get what is needed.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 7:01:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By Hawkeye1:
Originally Posted By ElmerFudd: We needed a lot less ground forces
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Your joking here right??
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Hawkeye1, Not at all. As a tank company XO in Desert Storm (2-70 Armor, 1AD, VIIth Corps) I can say from personal experience and from extensive reading afterward that we way overestimated Iraq's capabilities, especially after a protracted air campaign. My tank battalion of 58 tanks fired maybe 150 120mm main gun rounds in combat (plus a few thousand MG rounds), to include the massive tank battle at Medina Ridge. We were packed so close together in combat that the spacing between tanks was maybe 15 feet. After I came back I realized how the media puffed up the Iraqis into something they definitely were not. All you had to do before the war started was read a history of their war against Iran to know how inept both sides were, and totally unfamiliar with combined arms mechanized warfare. I mean, how good a general are you if your number one fear is a bullet in the back of the head from Saddam? How many times have you heard 'elite' mentioned with the Republican Guard? They were and are very poorly led and trained, and equipped with inferior equipment. There are a lot fewer of them now and they have less equipment and no air force to speak of. 500,000 American troops was overkill then and certainly would be now. All we have to do is put treads and boots in the ground after an air campaign of a month or so, and the regime will collapse. Who wants to die for Saddam? They know that this time we will not stop until we get him, and they better not get in the way. Maybe three mechanized divisions and a couple of Marine MEUs could do the job, especially if they stay outside the cities and let the Iraqis take care of Saddam's people. Keeping a relatively small footprint makes the logistical burden much easier - in Desert Storm we were on the edge of running out of gas all the time because the logistical tail simply could not supply the amount of fuel required. An M1A1 can burn over 1000 gallons of diesel per day when the turbine is running. And forget spare parts, we got almost none. Logistics is the key to modern, global warfare.
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 7:28:39 PM EST
I am halfway through the DVD now. My wife and her sister had rented another movie, so I told them they could watch theirs instead (called "self sacrifice"). My take: If someone shoots at a US soldier, they should have the fear of God (or Allah, or Buddah, or Krishna, or whatever) put into them. No more pussyfooting around--send in the gunships to destroy the whole area. Drag a soldiers body through the streets, we will pull out and Nuke your city. To me this would have a twofold effect--1. Make them think twice about screwing around with our forces (I am practical enough to realize that it will not stop it entirely), and 2. Any Civilians in the area will know to run for the hills because what is going to hit that area is going to make the Apocalypse look like a light spring shower. Also in keeping with this theory, we do NOT send our troops in for a political "fluff" reason--we do it to protect American lives or major assets ONLY. We don't go in because Tweedledums clan is being mean to Tweedledees clan. We go in when Tweedledum decides it's OK to shoot at our Ambassador or blow up our ships that are docked there. AFARR
Link Posted: 6/12/2002 7:33:08 PM EST
Originally Posted By DScottHewitt: I liked it for what it showed about the spirit of the American soldier. I dislike what our "leaders" did to those American soldiers. But the men caught in the hot zone showed what truly makes a hero. Over and over again.... Scott
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My thoughts exactly!
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 3:20:34 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 3:31:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2002 3:37:17 AM EST by Dave-S]
Originally Posted By ElmerFudd: Citadel, We Americans like to assign failures to very simple reasons. The fact of the matter is that Paki armor was avalable on the ground in Mog. All that was required was prior coordination and planning and a liasion officer at their headquarters. Very basic stuff, taught at most branch basic courses.
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Yep, that armor came in the way of first generation Abrams tanks. The raid was put together on SHORT notice, too.... not something you coordinate with a QUESTIONABLE force, with QUESTIONABLE OpSec procedures.
Some general will probably blame their loss on a lack of some gizmo, instead of on the hierarchical b.s. that pervades the military.
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Yes, most O-7's and up have a bad habit of "dodging the bullet", but not all. If you re-read the book, and watch the end of the movie, it mentions the fact that Gen. Garrison accepted FULL responsibility for the actions of 3-4 Oct, 1993.
And using AC-130s in a city full of civilians? Indiscriminate use of airpower was what got the Aidid clan firmly against us in the first place.
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OK... here's where I get pissed EVERY time... Were you there to see those "civilians"??? Those little sh*ts were shooting at us! And what makes you think that using "air" entrenched Aidid against us? He got his panties up his crack because TFR was making major steps in crippling his forces. As for needing "air", there were MORE than a dozen radio calls for air that I remember that night. Every one was answered, but the AH-6j's and 'Hawks just didn't have enough ass in their arsenals to stick around long enough. [b][i][u]You know NOT what you claim here... You don't want to go there![/b][/i][/u]
Instead of faulting relatively low level decisions like this, which is the majority of the discussion I normally see, we ought to focus on what we were doing there in the first place and why and keeping our guys OUT of these no-win situations where we have NO strategic interests.
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Again, you were obviously not there. We HAD a strategic mission... bag Aidid. It didn't come to fruition, but we HAD a mission.
And while I despise Clinton and dislike Aspin, the fact is that someone has to decide what resources the local commander is allowed. We would all ask for unlimited resources if allowed. The Gulf War was the ultimate in overkill. We needed a lot less ground forces and a lot fewer 'allies.'
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Well, don't get me going on Komrade Klinton... but you OBVIOUSLY don't know where you are coming from. We NEED more ground troops TRAINED PROPERLY! Overkill? No, I beg to differ with you. We accomplished our mission in the 'Storm. We had what we needed with the air, arty, and eeked by in logistics. If you "think" you know, then you don't. You never really know until you've lived it.
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 4:35:24 AM EST
Dave-S, If you think we had any strategic interests in Somalia worth any American lives or resources, you are mistaken. Taking out one warlord in a country full of them, when we really had no clue about the internal politics of the country, was futile. In terms of civilians shooting at you (and I take it from your comments you were there?), if you were a foreigner in my town, and you had just killed 50-80 of the senior members of my family, I would shoot at you also. Before we get involved in any country's internal politics, we better have a very good reason for being there and an understanding of what we are getting into. We had neither there.
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 5:48:30 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 12:05:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2002 12:20:11 PM EST by Dave-S]
Originally Posted By ElmerFudd: Dave-S, If you think we had any strategic interests in Somalia worth any American lives or resources, you are mistaken. Taking out one warlord in a country full of them, when we really had no clue about the internal politics of the country, was futile.
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So you are of the school that an American life, civilian OR military isn't a strategic interest? I guess all you diplomats out there are just screwed. ELMER FOR PRESIDENT!
In terms of civilians shooting at you (and I take it from your comments you were there?)
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Yes I was
, if you were a foreigner in my town, and you had just killed 50-80 of the senior members of my family, I would shoot at you also.
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You STILL don't get it. We didn't fire until fired upon. The Somali people knew we were there to feed them, not start a war with them. TFR and Delta were put in place to take Aidid into custody for war crimes. HISTORY, my friend, HISTORY! Study it or repeat it! As far as the "who won the street fights" in Mog, we clearly made a decisive dent in their number of combatants. The problem that we had was CNN. We hit the beach in '92, CNN was there to video it... We put up blast walls around certain key areas, CNN was there to tell the world where it was, what it was made of, and what would happen if it got hit in a certain spot with a certain small arm. That is the problem today with military action... in an acronymn, CNN.
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 4:57:45 PM EST
Dave-S, I know you were there and feel strongly about it. I feel, however, your grasp of history is faulty, not mine. The U.S. military started out delivering food and attempting to keep the public violence down in Mogadishu. It was successful at that and was, apparently, appreciated by the Somalis themselves. The situation degenerated when, at the behest of the U.N., we took up sides against Aidid. We stopped being an honest broker and became just another combatant in their civil war. `UNOSOM II have demonstrated what seems likely to happen in theater if a peace-keeping force crosses the impartiality divide from peacekeeping to peace enforcement. If perceived to be taking sides, the force loses its legitimacy and credibility as a trustworthy third party, thereby prejudicing its security. The force's resources will then become even more devoted to its need to protect itself. It actually joins the conflict it was there to police and is likely to become embroiled in activities that are irrelevant to the overall campaign aim.' (cited in Berdal,1994, p. 44) http://users.hol.gr/~ianlos/e982.htm But the ``blame'' for what happened - if blame is the right word, since, as Garrison pointedly noted, ``the mission was a success'' - went far beyond the decisions regarding Task Force Ranger. The story of how the forces of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid came to be at war with America begins on July 12, 1993, almost three months before the climactic battle. Matthew Bryden, a Canadian working with a relief organization in Mogadishu, heard helicopters that morning and didn't think anything of it. Helicopters were always buzzing low over Mogadishu, especially since the United Nations had announced its intent to arrest Aidid. Aidid's forces had been in a bloody battle with U.N. forces on June 5, and 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed. Some were skinned. With the blessing of the United States, the United Nations called for the arrest of those responsible. Weeks later they would formally place the blame on Aidid, leader of the Habr Gidr clan. Ever since, U.N. troops had been hunting Aidid. There had been worsening incidents, fighting back and forth. After four years working in Somalia for charitable organizations, Canadian Bryden knew the country better than most Westerners there. He regarded the attempt to arrest Aidid as a mistake. A former military officer himself, he felt some pity for those ordered to find the former Somalian general. Mogadishu was a bewilderingly complex web of interlocking family and kin. It was protected not by any formal army or battlements, but by hordes of gunmen. Its warriors were kids with automatic rifles and grenade launchers who hung around the villages looking for trouble. If they saw someone identified as an enemy of the clan, they rounded up a few of their pals and staged a competent urban ambush. The shooting would draw more of them, then more. So anyone who came in after Aidid would pay an awful price. The general could vanish deep into the thorny hollows of this nest for a lifetime. The United Nations had learned the hard way not to send its soldiers into these places. Instead its leaders had pinned their hopes on the high-tech methods of the U.S. military. Every day and night the sleek, black attack helicopters of the U.S. Army hovered over the city.
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 5:03:41 PM EST
(continued) With Bryden that morning was John Drysdale, an Englishman who had worked in Somalia for many years. This morning they were both startled by a loud bang. Then another. Then more. They ran outside. Directly overhead were four Cobra helicopter gunships. They were firing rockets, miniguns and cannons, really letting somebody have it. The helicopters, 17 in all, had encircled a large building called the ``Abdi House,'' after Aidid's interior minister, Abdi Hassan Awale, also known as ``Qeybdid.'' In a large second-floor room, just before the shooting started, Qeybdid had stood to address a crowd of clan leaders. Men of middle age were seated at the center of the room on rugs. Elders were sitting in chairs and sofas. Among the elders present were religious leaders, former judges, professors, the poet Moallim Soyan, and the clan's most senior leader, Sheik Haji Mohamed Iman Aden, who was more than 90 years old. Behind the elders, standing against the walls, were the youngest men. Many wore Western clothing, shirts and pants, but most wore the colorful traditional Somalian wraparound skirts called ma-awis. In all, there were 80 to 90 in the room. They represented some of the most successful, respected and best-educated members of the Habr Gidr. Aidid himself was not present. In the weeks since the United Nations had searched and leveled most of the buildings in his residential compound, he had been in hiding. But Qeybdid and many of the others present were his close advisers, hard-liners, men with blood on their hands and impatient for power. Some were responsible for attacks on U.N. troops, including the June 5 ambush. But some were moderates, men who saw themselves as realists. Ruling impoverished Somalia meant little without friendly ties with the larger world. The Habr Gidr were enthusiastic capitalists. Many of the men in the room were businessmen, eager for a flood of international aid and happy ties with America. They were unlikely to prevail, but a significant part of the crowd at the Abdi House was there to argue for more cooperation with the United Nations. Among them was Mohamed Hassan Farah, a garrulous, balding man in his 30s. Like many of the others, he was eager for some kind of normalcy in his country, and for friendly ties with nations that could help Somalia. He had a personal reason for wanting peace and international aid. Farah was an engineer, educated in part in Germany. He saw before him a lifetime of important and lucrative rebuilding. Farah was on the perimeter of the room with the younger men, but instead of standing, he had set himself down on one knee between two sofas, which probably saved his life.
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 5:05:20 PM EST
(continued) The TOW missile is designed to penetrate the armored walls of a tank. It is a 14-pound projectile with fins at the middle and back that trails a copper wire as thin as a human hair. The wire allows the TOW to be steered in flight so that it will follow precisely the path of a targeting laser. Equipped with a hollow charge inside its rounded tip, it spurts a jet of plasma, molten copper, through the wall, allowing the missile to penetrate and deliver its full explosive charge within. The explosion is powerful enough to dismember anyone standing near it, and hurls fragments in all directions. Former national security adviser Anthony Lake, interviewed for this article, said that the raid ``was not specifically designed to kill people,'' but it's hard to imagine any other intent. What Hassan Farah saw and heard was a flash of light and a violent crack. He stood and took one step forward when he heard the whooosh of a second missile, and then another powerful explosion. He was thrown to the floor. Thick smoke now filled the room. He tried to move forward, but his way was blocked by bodies, a bloody pile of men and parts of men a yard high. Among those killed instantly was nonagenarian Sheik Haji Iman. Through the smoke, Farah was startled to see Qeybdid, bloody and burned, still standing at the center of the carnage. Abdullahi Ossoble Barre was momentarily dazed by the blasts. It had looked to him as if the men closest to the flash just disappeared. He began searching for his son. All of the men who could still move felt their way along the wall, groping for the door. The air was thick with dark smoke and the smell of blood and burned flesh. Then a third missile exploded, disintegrating the staircase. Hassan Farah tumbled straight down to the first floor. He sat up stunned, quickly feeling himself for broken bones and wet spots. He saw he was bleeding from a thick gash in his right forearm, and he felt a burning on his back, which had been punctured by shrapnel. He crawled forward. There was another explosion above him. Then another and another. Sixteen missiles were fired in all. Before making it out of the room, Barre found his son beneath a heap of mangled bodies. He began pulling men off the pile, and parts of their bodies came off in his hands. After a great struggle he managed to free his son, jerking him free by the legs. Then they heard Americans from the helicopters storming the house, so he and his son lay still among the bleeding and played dead. Carnage inside the Abdi House, courtesy Journeyman Pictures Hassan Farah crawled until he found a door to the outside. In the sky he saw the helicopters that had loosed the missiles, Cobras mostly, but also some Blackhawks. Red streams poured from the Cobras' miniguns. The men with Hassan Farah by the doorway downstairs had a quick decision to make. Some had blood running from their mouths and ears. They could stay in the burning house or brave the helicopters' guns. ``Let's go out,'' one of the men said. ``Some of us will live and some will die.'' They ran. Hassan Farah looked up as he ran and saw more than a dozen helicopters. He made it to a stone wall. Then he saw American soldiers descending on ropes from the helicopters to enter the burning house.
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 5:06:28 PM EST
(continued) Hassan Farah ran around the building away from the action, feeling certain he would be captured because his clothing was covered with blood, but once away from the helicopters he found he was perfectly safe. A friend in a car saw him on the street and took him to a doctor. Hassan Farah found it was easy to be a fugitive from a foreign power in your own city. Old Somali hands Bryden and Drysdale had known better than to stick around. The streets of Mogadishu could be friendly one moment and fiercely violent the next. Drysdale liked to say that the Somalis were like a school of fish in a tank who swam most of the time in random directions until something disturbed them. Then they would snap instantly into formation, all facing the same direction. This helicopter attack looked like that kind of a disturbance. ``Is there going to be trouble?'' Bryden asked some of his Somalian friends. ``Yes,'' they told him. ``Get out now.'' Dave-S, this occurred on July 12, 1993. The events of BHD occurred on 3/4 October. It sounds like we fired first, using airpower indiscriminately against civilians, after taking sides in a civil war. Study your history again.
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