Friday, April 27, 2007

Remember Somalia


This week congress passed a bill that makes conditional funding for our military troops in the Iraqi theater of the war on terror dependent on a fixed timetable for withdrawal. President Bush promises to veto that bill, and most certainly will do so today.

On December 8, 1992 President George H. W. Bush (the senior) began Operation Restore Hope, to provide food and humanitarian aid to the impoverished and war-torn African country of Somalia. What security forces encountered was a country hardened by civil war being conducted by war-lords who use starvation as a weapon against each other's people. The situation escalated to a point where it was necessary to use force to remove the top militant, Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

On August 22, 1993 under newly inaugurated President Clinton, Delta Forces undertook Operation Gothic Serpent to capture Aidid. In what has become known as the Battle of Mogadishu, or the infamous Black Hawk Down incident, Somali militants shot down two US Black Hawk helicopters with rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). The dead body of at least one soldier were desecrated and dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, while television images broadcast the event across the world. Pilot Michael Durant was captured and held for eleven days. A total of 19 American soldiers were killed in the Battle of Mogadishu.

President Clinton, under pressure from Congress, ended the US deployment in Somalia and ended diplomatic ralations. Now, civil war, war-lordism, starvation, poverty and violence are once again rampant in Somalia. Participants of Operation Gothic Serpent expressed regrets of their mission being cut short by political pressure.
"You're talking about a lot of highly trained type-A personalities who had a job to do, and were prevented from doing it.... If you're going to do that, why send us in in the first place? Why lose those lives if you're not serious about it?" -- Lee Van Arsdale, Special Forces "Operator"

"We stopped, ceased all operations, and turned what was a hard-fought, brutal victory into an absolute defeat by handing over the advantage to the Somalis, and giving them, now, the very victory that we had fought all day for." -- Dan Schilling, U.S. Air Force Combat Controller

Thank you, Mark Bowden, for writing the story of Black Hawk Down. And thank you, Ridley Scott, for producing the movie Black Hawk Down. And thank you History Channel for bringing us The True Story Of Black Hawk Down. And thank you, George W. Bush, for not repeating the mistakes of the Clinton administration.

2 comments:

Jason said...

All the men that served in this battle were brave beyond any imagination. From Delta, to the Rangers and the Ranger medics, all acted selfishly for their country and the men next to them.

It was shocking for me to hear the words of Arsdale and Schilling about their regrets of pulling out. For what they endured and the casualties that were endured, they wanted to stay and fight the next day? That is loyalty to a cause, their brothers and their country.

Mark Bowden did a fantastic job in compiling all of his interviews with both US soldiers, and Somalis. I was unable to put the book down until I had completed that last page. Bowden had made me feel as if I was a spectator throughout the entire battle. I would say that his book serves as a great honor for all those who sacrificed in this battle. We never get these kinds of details from other battles and other wars.

Bless all those involved and their families. These were without a doubt very brave men.

Thank you...

Jason A. said...

Paperboy,

Not really sure how you are thanking the never elected George W. Bush for not "repeating the mistakes of the Clinton administration"? I want you to read this linked statement from Clinton immediately following the Battle for Mogadishu: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1584/is_n42_v4/ai_14674079.

First off this was always a humanitarian operation. Sure it didn't start off as a military war but our military was necessary for delivery of food and supplies to the million plus that were going through genocide. The people of Somalia are the ones who created the war zone. Yes the American and Pakistani lives that were lost was tragic but served a cause that affected the lives millions they died saving.

Since your boy, George W. Bush has been in office, has created an unnecessary war in Iraq by lying about WMD's being there. He did this immediately after we were still in shock of the events of 9/11 claiming Iraq was involved. Since then, we are losing more than 19 Americans in some days. His VP and his side job company have their hands in a cookie jar in which we contract to them millions of dollars a day to attempt to control the oil which was really the reason GWB started this war. Now we all know that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and that there were no real WMD's.

Do you really feel that GWB has done a better job than Clinton? If so please explain. In no way should you ever be naive to think that you can thank GWB for not being Bill Clinton. I liked your article but that comment stuck out like the mole on Cindy Crawford's face.