We did not restore hope…………….

…………………..the Iraqis are not free and the only thing that endures in Afghanistan is brutality and suffering.

Clinton, attempting to prove that he was every bit the man that Bush the elder was,  with an eye to his black constituency at home found a brush war that was supposed to give him a cheap victory and promote his street creds. Like most American Presidents from McKinley dealing with the Huks in the Philippines at the start of the 20th century through Bush the younger dealing with his father’s unfinished business in Iraq and his own quagmire in Afghanistan at the start of the 21st century Clinton had no idea or understanding of the muslim mindset in its jihad configuration. How could he? – they are making decisions based on faith and principles – two things with which he had no acquaintance. The only case that could possibly be worse would to have someone in office who campaigned promising peace but then allowed the wars to continue simply for their deleterious affects on our nation………………….

Rising above any contemporary discussion of politics there is an underlying problem that results from the high sounding names that we give to what are best defined as military expeditions. Broccoli is broccoli and adding cheese whiz and calling it broccoli au gratin does not make it any more palatable. Military expeditions may be necessary and if, per Ronald Reagan, there is a clearly defined American interest and if, per Dwight David Eisenhower, we can debilitate our opponents supply lines and chain of command forcing a decisive victory then our president may, in pursuit of his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, with a Congressional declaration of war in hand, find it necessary to launch a military expedition.

These caveats are why, most recently, Ronald Reagan did not invade Lebanon after terrorists blew up the Marine barracks there and, previously Eisenhower did not join Israel, France and England in their 1956 invasion of Egypt to take over the Suez Canal. By launching military expeditions without due process AND by wrapping them in the Flag for public consumption with cute names is it any wonder that the muslims accuse us of being Crusaders? If we go after one warlord in 1992/1993 and ignore the 2 million that have died from war and famine since 1989 – including tens of thousands of Christians being systematically slaughtered by the Khartoum regime – is it any wonder that they think us hypocrites? Our troops who fought and died in Magadishu deserved better. Our nation deserves better. When are we going to demand better?

The battle of Mogadishu : first-hand accounts from the men of Task Force Ranger New York : Ballantine Books, 2004      edited by Matt Eversmann and Dan Schilling United States. Army. Task Force Ranger  History, Operation Restore Hope, 1992-1993  Personal narratives Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xix, 221 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

It started as a mission to capture a Somali warlord. It turned into a disastrous urban firefight and death-defying rescue operation that shocked the world and rattled a great nation. Now the 1993 battle for Mogadishu, Somalia is remembered by the men who fought and survived it. Six of the best in our military recall their brutal experiences and brave contributions in these never-before-published, firstperson accounts.

“Operation Gothic Serpent,” by Matt Eversmann: As a “chalk” leader, Eversmann was part of the first group of Rangers to “fast rope” from the Black Hawk helicopters. It was his chalk that suffered the first casualty of the battle.

“Sua Sponte: Of Their Own Accord,” by Raleigh Cash: Responsible for controlling and directing fire support for the platoon, Cash entered the raging battle in the ground convoy sent to rescue his besieged brothers in arms.

“Through My Eyes,” by Mike Kurth: One of only two African Americans in the battle, Kurth confronted his buddies’ deaths, realizing that “the only people whom I had let get anywhere near me since I was a child were gone.”

“What Was Left Behind,” by John Belman: He roped into the biggest firefight of the battle and considers some of the mistakes that were made, such as using Black Hawk helicopters to provide sniper cover.

“Be Careful What You Wish For,” by Tim Wilkinson: He was one of the Air Force pararescuemen or PJs–the highly trained specialists for whom “That Others May Live” is no catchphrase but a credo–and sums up his incomprehensible courage as “just holding up my end of the deal on a bad day.”

“On Friendship and Firefights,” by Dan Schilling: As a combat controller, he was one of the original planners for the deployment of SOF forces to Mogadishu in the spring of 1993. During the battle, he survived the initial assault and carnage of the vehicle convoys only to return to the city to rescue his two closest friends, becoming, literally, “Last Out.”

With America’s withdrawal from Somalia an oft-cited incitement to Osama bin Laden, it is imperative to revisit this seminal military mission and learn its lessons from the men who were there and, amazingly, are still here.


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