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Black Hawk Down - those Sympathetic US Army Soldiers

I got to make my first impressions about the 1992-93 war in Somalia through Black Hawk Down last night; and came out saying - What a typical Hollywood war piece!

Since Vietnam and probably even WW-2 Hollywood has been doing the biggest recruitment campaigns for the US military by protraying the men in combat as pure heros fighting pure evil in places like Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia and Serbia. Most of those men might well be heros, but I can't help asking what happened at Abu Ghraib!


After finishing up with the movie I went into the Internet out of curiosity to "check on the facts". Indeed the top 3-5 results (on Yahoo!) were accounts that described this particular battle in not such pleasant words. It was reported that about a 1000 people were killed by US weaponary, a significant number being civilians.

I also found noteworthy that General's plan was to penetrate deep into enemy territory in Mogadishu and take top political brass of the regime captive within 30 minutes and return to base by ground with no man left behind. That plan is full of contradictions.

I'm not a military person, but it sounds like if you want to conclude the whole mission in 30 mins and get all men back safe (either out of real concern for soldier's lives or simply to avoid controversy) the only realistic option sounds like using air-force/choppers. Infact the prisoners were shown to have been evacuated by ground.

Also, penetrating so deep into enemy territory could probably be done better with local support for securing the operation surroundings and taking some, if possible most, of the fire.

The 30 minute mission has stricking similarity with the US Military's 3 month goal of erecting democracy in Iraq. I'm asking myself now - has the US got an attitude problem with starting and ending wars?

Only the dead get to see the end of a war. - Plato

One other point I found stricking was the bounty of $25000 for Aideed. That's the most ridiculous deal I've heard of! With that kind of money (which can buy equipment for 1 US soldier on combat) you could hope to motivate a foot soldier among the Somalis. Or you could get a spy to leak info. - What kind of power do these have? - even if the US was lucky to find such a source. Try a bounty of $1 million - you could get one of the smaller fighting factions to side with you and throw their local warriors' support behind a real campaign to capture Aideed.

For research visit:

http://www.boogieonline.com/revolution/multi/war/somalia.html
http://cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-205.html
http://www.au.af.mil/au/aul/bibs/rest/resthope.htm
http://www.dictatorforhire.com/index.shtml
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/21/60minutes/main618896.shtml