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Blackhawk Down!

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
OMG this book was good! I'm seeing the movie next weekend. I'm not big on War books(never read Clancy) but this is some riveting writing. There's something about confronting your biggest fear and overcoming it that is liberating. Anyone who read it let me know what you thought and next week I'll do a minireview.
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post #2 of 49
As far as the book goes, the story didn't even get into the war...just that one event and the soldiers involved. The movie, I hear, is exactly the same...there's some quick and dirty introduction and then you get thrust into the thick of the crisis when the 2 Black Hawks are shot down.
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post #3 of 49
The main character's name was changed at the request of the Army. Apparently his post-Mogadishu exploits were a dramatic departure from his earlier days.

<a href="http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/36965.htm" target="_blank">link</a>

[quote]December 18, 2001 -- The Army pressured the filmmakers of "Black Hawk Down" to change the name of the war hero portrayed by Ewan McGregor - because the real-life soldier is serving a 30-year prison term for rape and child molestation, says the man who wrote the book that spawned the movie.

In Ridley Scott's highly anticipated movie, McGregor plays Ranger John Grimes, a desk jockey who is called into battle during the botched Army operation in Somalia in 1993.

The character is based on real-life Ranger John "Stebby" Stebbins, but Pentagon officials asked his name be changed in an attempt to keep his shame a secret, claims author Mark Bowden, who also penned the original screenplay for the movie.

Stebbins' embittered ex-wife, Nora Stebbins, complained in an e-mail to The Post: "They are going to make millions off this film in which my ex-husband is portrayed as an All-American hero when the truth is he is not."<hr></blockquote>

[ 01-12-2002: Message edited by: DoctorGonzo ]</p>
post #4 of 49
That's horrible.
post #5 of 49
Read <a href="http://www.philly.com/packages/somalia/nov16/default16.asp" target="_blank">the newspaper series</a> that formed the basis for the book.

The <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ambush/" target="_blank">PBS Frontline site</a>.

<a href="http://home.megapass.co.kr/~horanjoh/" target="_blank">Eyes Over Modudishu</a>

<a href="http://www.spe.sony.com/movies/blackhawkdown/" target="_blank">Official movie site.</a>
post #6 of 49
I just read the book a couple weeks ago, and I agree that it is a fantastic piece of writing. I don't think a book has ever emerssed me in itself like Black Hawk Down did. I also can't wait for the movie. I was thrilled when I found out that Mark Bowden wrote the screenplay. I had been afraid that they would Hollywoodize the book and ruin it, but I'm sure that he'll stay pretty true to himself.
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post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 
Stebby was far from the focus of the film. IMO you don't go changing names(unless it is to protect those Awesome Delta Force guys.shhhhhhh)this a true life story. Also check out <a href="http://www.cinemayhem.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro&BypassCookie=true" target="_blank">http://www.cinemayhem.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro&BypassCookie=true</a> this messageboard kicks arse it's all about the movie..Raleigh Cash, Steve Anderson, Brian Heard and more regularly post there. Fantastic reading. BTW not all are happy with their portrayal but there seems to be no gross errata.
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post #8 of 49
Minor Spoiler Alert

They changed his name to Grimes for the film, and even though he's played by Ewan McGregor, he's ver uninvolved in the thick of the plot. He has a couple of action scenes, a coffee fetish, and is involved in some comic relief.

I just got back from the theater, and the audience was dead silent by the time the credits rolled.

There is a lot of great comic relief in the film too...and it is necessary...it gives the audience some rest time...time to blink every now and then.

From the movie I liked best:
The story revolving around the second downed chopper, 'Super-64.'

Erik Bana's character, Hooten.

Ewen Bremner's comic relief as Nelson.

What I didn't really like...Ridley Scott has a hand fetish or something...and he likes to use those artistic, surrealistic shots...think Gladiator...

Best movie I've seen all year. It's damn good.
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post #9 of 49
lets re-write history every one! Go see 'Black Hawk Down' Today!
You can see the big American bad ass kill Somalis! Yea!


[quote]

Entertainment: Minnesota Somalis call for 'Black Hawk Down' boycott

Copyright © 2002 AP Online \t
Group protests depiction of Somalians as savages


By RENEE RUBLE, Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (January 18, 2002 11:21 p.m. EST) - Somali-American community leaders called for a boycott of "Black Hawk Down," claiming the new movie depicts their African homeland's people as savages and could create a backlash against refugees who fled to the United States.

Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, said about a dozen people from the center saw a preview of the movie this week and were shocked. Minnesota is home to at least 25,000 Somalis, believed to be the biggest concentration in the nation.

"We don't know what Americans will think of us Somalis after they watch this movie," Jamal said Thursday.

"The Somali people are depicted as very savage beasts without any human element," he said. "It's just people shooting each other."

The movie, which opened Friday, portrays a 1993 firefight that left 18 American soldiers dead. They were part of a mission aimed at restoring peace and averting famine in the country in the wake of the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Jamal said the movie left out that thousands of Somalis were killed in the conflict. The Advocacy Center planned to distribute fliers at theaters explaining the history of the conflict.

With the focus back on Somalia as a possible hideout for al-Qaida members, the movie compounds the possible repercussions for local Somalis, who have worked since Sept. 11 to show their support in the war against terrorism, Jamal said.

He cited the death of a Somali man punched at a Minneapolis bus stop in October, which triggered accusations in the Somali and Muslim communities of a hate crime. No one has been charged.

"The community is shocked and really afraid of the consequences of this movie," Jamal said. "It's a big psychological setback of our efforts." <hr></blockquote>
post #10 of 49
More spoilers!

I think people should watch the movie before making snap judgements at all. Before simply pasting someone else words into this thread, you should watch the film and come to your own conclusions. This is all I ask.

The movie does not glorify American foreign policy. It does precisely the opposite. I don't think a single person left the theater without once thinking "WTF where we doing there?"

the imagery...
the people dying over bags of grain labeled USA.
The morality argument between Hartnett and the other soldier.
The one guy saying "This is OUR war...NOT YOURS"
or the other Somali telling him nothing will change.

The movie also does not leave out the fact that thousands of Somalis were killed in that event alone. In fact, that fact is clearly delivered in plain text at the end of the movie.

And it doesn't show anything particularly savage when it comes to the Somalis...except for one scene with second downed Black Hawk where they mutilated the bodies of the Delta Force snipers and the dead crew...of course they didn't even show that in the movie...we got to see that in publications like LIFE and TIME...and on CNN. Once scene shows a son accidentally shooting his father and huddling in grief. That's just before the scene where a Ranger finds himself retreating into a house where a terrified mother and her children are. These are not images of savagery. It also shows friendly Somalis in one of the final scenes of the film, when the last group of soldiers is running back toward the Pakistani stadium.

This is not a movie that will have you waving an American flag by the time the credits roll, that's for sure...It's not about Badass Americans.

What is that guy asking for anyway? Toning down a story because of a problem that runs deeper. This movie isn't the first, and it won't be the last to subject us to the age-old "us vs. them" argument. Would censoring the movie accomplish anything???

*Sigh* I guess I should have expected it...Two people that I bet have neither read the book or watched the movie broad-siding this thread with words that aren't even their own...

Kind of reminds me of this photo in a way. Some of use are individuals...and some of us are groupsiduals, I guess.



[ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #11 of 49
I forgot to add another detail left out of the movie...Somali militia using civilians a shields...shooting from behind between their legs. Stuff like that was omitted.

This thread in particular had me going. It's the only thread I have participated in, and I only stumbled upon it because was trying to determine if the mini-adventure with Yurek, Twombley and Nelson was fact or fiction. It runs out it was fiction, but it did serve its purpose.

<a href="http://www.cinemayhem.com/Cineforum/Forum18/HTML/000038.html" target="_blank">http://www.cinemayhem.com/Cineforum/Forum18/HTML/000038.html</a>
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post #12 of 49
So weird. I'm stuck in between the people who have shrugged it off because it is a piece of American propaganda and the people who think the movie was unfitting because it wasn't pinpoint accurate according to personal anecdote. Yeesh!

That solitaire is a firecracker!

In the faaaaaar left corner...In the faaaaar right corner!

EDIT: And she's getting paranoid about my identity!

[ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #13 of 49
Disclaimer: I have neither seen the movie nor read the book, and anticipate seeing the movie for I have read *very* good reviews from sources I trust.

However, the problem is not the movie in itself. The problem is with the american public. The trauma caused by the Sept 11th attacks is enduring, and IMHO, the release of this movie along with the more recent "Behind enemy lines" is done because of a demand there wasn't before. (I say release, not making)

The movie can be as objective as you want, it can even criticize american policy as much as it wants, the underlying problem is that, for the most part, the American public doesn't even know where Somalia is, let alone have knowledge about Somalia's history, culture etc. Thus, once again, just like with Pearl Harbor, a vast majority of people's education regarding those events will be done through this movie. That's what's wrong. I am confident the movie will be good, true to facts and not overly hollywoodesque. However, people's ignorance might make it a problem for some minorities

[ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
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post #14 of 49
That is what I am saying, and what my Somali friends fear.

[quote] I think people should watch the movie before making snap judgements at all. Before simply pasting someone else words into this thread, you should watch the film and come to your own conclusions. This is all I ask...
Kind of reminds me of this photo in a way. Some of use are individuals...and some of us are groupsiduals, I guess.
<hr></blockquote>

I think other opinions count. Even more so when they are the people in question! My friends father was one of the few Minneapolis Somalis who saw the movie. I think his opinion counts more than mine or yours because HE WAS THERE!!
post #15 of 49
My take on the movie:

It really woke me up to the reality of war. I'm only 17, I have read some (anti)war books like All Quiet on the Western Front and Slaughterhouse-Five and seeing this movie has made me about as anti-war as I can get. It was kind of funny, I went to see it because these 2 girls wanted to see one of the actors because they thought he was good looking. They were in for a surprise...
One part that struck me inparticular was towards the end after they were in the stadium. Someone was talking about why he was going back out there and how people back in the US don't understand why they go out there-not to kick ass, but for the person next to them. My feeling was if you didn't go out there in the first place you wouldn't have to go back out there and save their ass! But who knows, that's just me...
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post #16 of 49
Read the book a few years ago, haven't seen the movie yet.

Assuming the plot is more or less true to the book, one of the things I liked most about it is that it doesn't say that the troops were "badasses" (though they were), but lets you draw that conclusion for yourself. I also felt that it did a great job of conveying a lot of what soldiering is about: having faith that when you're called upon to do your duty, you will be able to because you and every other man in your unit have been trained to do so.

The question you have to ask yourself before you get all moist over the civilians who died is, why were the Rangers put in the position of having to kill them? Because the Somalis cut off their means of escape. Does anyone seriously believe that the Americans would have gone in with guns blazing and cut down anything that moved if they had encountered no resistance?
post #17 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by a10t2:
<strong>it doesn't say that the troops were "badasses" (though they were), but lets you draw that conclusion for yourself. </strong><hr></blockquote>

the 18 year old (there was so much info going around, I barely caught faces let alone names to go with them) blackbird i think his name was? anyways, he says he was there to "kick some ass" so... But that was only one kid. There was one or 2 other allusions to people saying that they were being badasses, but I don't think that was the central point of the movie...
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post #18 of 49
The question you have to ask yourself before you get all moist over the civilians who died is, why were the Rangers put in the position of having to kill them? Because the Somalis cut off their means of escape. Does anyone seriously believe that the Americans would have gone in with guns blazing and cut down anything that moved if they had encountered no resistance?

Not a single claim was made that the soldiers killed an overwhelming number of civilians. They killed more than a thousand Somalism, most of which were likely armed and hostile.

the 18 year old (there was so much info going around, I barely caught faces let alone names to go with them) blackbird i think his name was? anyways, he says he was there to "kick some ass" so... But that was only one kid. There was one or 2 other allusions to people saying that they were being badasses, but I don't think that was the central point of the movie...

This is where the argument between the Hartnett characer and the other character comes into fruition. Hartnett says he's there to "make a difference." The other guy says he's there to "kick some ass." You aren't supposed to believe either of them. The movie does not focus on the grater operation.

[ 01-20-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #19 of 49
Holy shit! That was McGreggor? Damn it, I didnt even recognize him. Hes such a friggin good actor.

As for the movie, I think that the atmosphere was perfect (what do you expect, they had Ridley Scott directing), the action was amazing, but over all it was borring. I suppose this is why I dont like War Movies, they throw so much action at you that it levels off and just gets dull.

Parts I really did like though were the bits with the Delta Force (damn, they really didnt get enough into their character though, in the book there was always this sense about them that war was awful, but it had to be done. In the movie it was just "lets kill"), and the Samalians explaining about the war.
I think that it could have used some more politics and less standing there with bullets whizzing about, but over all it was really good.
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post #20 of 49
I saw the movie last night. It made me tired. It was really good, but it was really intense. Some of the acting is quite good, though. Ewan McGregor is really good, and this movie actually redeemed Josh Hartnett in my eyes. It was sort of like what Fight Club did for Brad Pitt, I think. It sort of un-did the damage from all the teenybopper crap they've done before.

At any rate I went to B&N today and got the book. I'm interested in seeing how they relate. I think one of my favorite parts of the movie was the way it depicted the brotherhood and camraderie amongst them, and it wasn't just a shoot-em-up Schwartezeneggar flick. It went beyond the tired war movie cliché and made you interested in the characters themselves. That's why I totally dug this movie, even though I'm not a big fan usually of the war movie genre. Most of the characters were really, really likeable too.

I went with a friend of mine who just got out of basic training, and he laughed his ass off at some of the things that were said, i guess inside jokes I missed. It makes you really respect the guys who are out there fighting, even if it does make you a little wary of war and the military in general.
post #21 of 49
What the author of the book <a href="http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/019/living/He_s_where_the_action_is-.shtml" target="_blank">is up to</a>.
post #22 of 49
Thread Starter 
Saw the movie finally!! Of course the movie is never as good as the book but I think Ridley Scott did an excellent job. I would like to address some things here.

To the Somalis living in Minnesota. Neither the book nor the movie portrayed Somalis as savages. The book clearly explains that Clan members live amongst the civilians and harsh penalities were assesed to people who opposed Aidid. This is typical of many African countries as I have a friend from Zimbabwe that explains the exact same scenario. My advice is to be thankful that you are in the states. The people will think what they want..but they won't kill you if you don't agree with their philosophy.

War Movies. This really isn't a War Movie per se. Eugene pointed 0ut a great link at Cinemayhem. Remember. There were roughly 100 soldiers...many of these people are still Enlisted in Active Duty and it is amazing to actually chat with Brian Heard(M60 Gunner)or Raleigh Cash and more on those boards. This were living people with families and friends. This story will created more questions than it answers.

Why we did it- We were in Mogadishu because Aidid was a Tyrant and he was chosen to be taken from power. While the American Public may not care is not the issue. The US and UN try to do their best to uphold Human Rights everywhere. We have a Moral obligation to extend whatever help we can. It's unfortunate but the fallout over small skirmishes like Mogadishu and Bosnia most likely caused the US and UN to turn a Blind Eye towards the Genocide that happened in Rwanda. These acts must never happen again.

For those who haven't read the book. Please do so if you are remotely interested. It is truly phenomenal and Bowden does an excellent job of returning to Mog to interview some Somalis and get their side.
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post #23 of 49
hmurchinson, here-in lies the problem. I loved the movie, and man their heroicism in the line of fire is rarely paralleled, but from my brief experience at that board, they are nothing but abrasive head-hunting, war-mongerers. it makes you wonder if they were in Somalia to "make a difference" or if they were just there "to fight" or "kick some ass."

Example, I was lynched for saying the movie deserves to be called "accurate" because it basically is more accurate than any other movie based on actual events both technically and literally. Sure some parts of the movie were quite fictional, but what would they have him say? "Well it's kinda accurate....well not really. We made up a bunch of the movie...and
some of the characters aren't real...and well...just don't see the movie. It sucks."

But no, they quickly fell into rank and file and started lambasting me...even callling me a tree-hugger among other things.

To me some things are quite apparent. These vets and other army guys are an arrogant fraternity of latter day McCarthys who delight in smoking out "Pinkos."

Well whatever. These prideful, arrogant veterans are using their past service and ordeals as a shield...to make it seem as if they are holier than us "civvies" This is probably the case with Stebbins. I read an article about him that had nothing but praise for the pre-Somalia high school Stebbins...but fast forward to today and he's serving 30 years for raping a 12 year old. After Somalia, he probably felt untouchable...above the law...above everybody else. I bet it's the exact same way with people like Brian Heard. Somalia made them assholes.

Take a look at this thread too...man..it's deja vu.
<a href="http://www.cinemayhem.com/Cineforum/Forum16/HTML/002079.html" target="_blank">http://www.cinemayhem.com/Cineforum/Forum16/HTML/002079.html</a>

it's not even like I disagreed with them...just as Liquid Havok didn't disagree with them much as well. It's not like I said, "Yah that Nelson was such a dufus" or something.

Talking with them really opened my eyes though. It was like being transported to a totally different era in US History. These guys are really stuck in some sort of time capsule.

[ 01-22-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #24 of 49
<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/africa/01/23/blackhawk.screen/index.html" target="_blank"> Somalis cheer at 'Black Hawk Down' screening</a>.

[quote] At the screening, Somalis paid the equivalent of 10 U.S. cents to watch the movie, less than a mile from where a real Black Hawk helicopter went down.


Audience members seemed to take delight in scenes of U.S. defeat. Each time an American chopper went down in the film, the audience cheered. Every time an American serviceman was killed, the audience cheered some more.

Ahmed Abdullah said he witnessed the actual battle and saw the movie as more fiction than fact.

"It's not fair what the U.S. is trying to do," he said. "What I saw that day was different from what I see in the film today. It's not accurate."

Others said the movie brings back disturbing memories of a day they'll never forget.

"I felt very sad watching the film," one woman said.

Some in the audience said they were proud of the way Somalis were portrayed in the film. They said they believe they were defending their country and their pride against what they considered U.S. military aggression.
<hr></blockquote>
post #25 of 49
Thread Starter 
Eugene,
My God that thread is ugly! LH had it %100 right Bitter Vets. These guys ARE stuck in a Time Warp. Many vets feel "entitled" because of their service. Hell even I feel a bit that way because of my service in the Gulf. I actually read one post where a guy said something to the effect of "If you haven't been sent to some 3rd World Country for months pissing in Tubes sticking out the ground" "you haven't served your country". At first I got caught up in the Bravado but then I realized that our Military Might can only be accomplished by having every person do their job correctly. Because you are a Grunt doesn't make you more Patriotic. All pieces in this Engine we call are Military must work correctly to move us forward.

It's a shame but we can we do?
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post #26 of 49
Thread Starter 
Glurx- you forgot the funniest part of that Article.

[quote]But some audience members had a warning for the United States.

"As you can see, Somalis are brave fighters," one man said. "If the Americans come back to fight us, we shall defeat them again."

Said another, "Let them try again. They'll be making more films about us when we defeat them like we did that day."
<hr></blockquote>

If you call a 19/1000 Kill Ratio winning a Battle then be me guest. The end of the book describes a Negotiation between a US Offical and Aidid for Mike Durant. The Somali and his Clan was told that basically nary a Man, Woman, Child or Dog would survive if the US was forced to come in and Rescue Durant. Let them feel some semblance of victory as hollow as it may be. I harbor no ill will towards the Somalis..they were defending their Clan and City but they only tasted but a small sample of our Hardware. Be careful what you ask for Mogadishu.
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post #27 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:
<strong>
We have a Moral obligation to extend whatever help we can...</strong><hr></blockquote>

If what we were doing in Somalia was really the right thing to do, then we should never have quit. And there shouldn't have been all that bullshit about not wanting too high of a profile. When given a mission like this, the commander in the field should be able to use all the assets of our military that he feels he needs. Washington shouldn't be micro-managing the operational aspects.

The problem was there was no serious national interest at stake in Somalia in 1993 (today would be a different story) so you can't say that we should have been there at all. After the relief effort had been established, we should have bailed instead of attempting to change the internal politics of the country. Yeah, the place was a "basket case". But the U.S. was not at all prepared for or in any way committed to the kind of effort needed to truly change things. You just can't ask American soldiers to put thier lives on the line for that kind of ad hoc, poorly considered foreign policy. That's immoral too. There were actually people who thought our involvement in Somalia was a good thing because we had no national interest at stake. Those fvcks could afford to think that way because neither they nor anyone they cared about bled in the streets of Mogadishu.
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post #28 of 49
But how much of this is hindsight, roger?

bin Laden attacked and killed US forces in other places as well, such as the Cole, and in Saudi Arabia, and in the African Embassies - should we not be there either? Were our national interests really at stake in those places when we were attacked?

[ 01-25-2002: Message edited by: BRussell ]</p>
post #29 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:

<strong>But how much of this is hindsight, roger?
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yeah, post-Vietnam hindsight. We had enough information in 1993 to not make the kind of mistakes we made. Before Bush left office he insisted we should not engage in "nation building" in Somalia. He sent our troops over there as part of the famine relief effort. That was supposed to be the extent of our involvement.
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post #30 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>
bin Laden attacked and killed US forces in other places as well, such as the Cole, and in Saudi Arabia, and in the African Embassies - should we not be there either? Were our national interests really at stake in those places when we were attacked?</strong><hr></blockquote>

The African embassies? You mean we shouldn't have embassies? How does that serve our national interest? Not every situation is the same. Somalia clearly was not on the radar screen. Saudi Arabia is.
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post #31 of 49
<a href="http://www.houstonspacesociety.org/icon/mr.html" target="_blank">Ma-alinti Rangers</a>: another (whack) perspective
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post #32 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>Yeah, post-Vietnam hindsight. We had enough information in 1993 to not make the kind of mistakes we made. Before Bush left office he insisted we should not engage in "nation building" in Somalia. He sent our troops over there as part of the famine relief effort. That was supposed to be the extent of our involvement.</strong><hr></blockquote>
You know what bugs me about this - it's the same old "Blame America First" perspective. I don't mind people critiquing foreign policy, but it's wrong to suggest that American policy was to blame for a bunch of terrorists and thugs attacking us.

We're all supposed to rally around George during the war, and Americans had better watch what they say, and you're aiding terrorists if you disagree with what he does. But it is OK to blame Clinton, who actually tried to get bin Laden prior to 9/11, and was even criticized by his political opponents for doing so? And now to blame him for these guys attacking us in Somalia? Gimme a break.
post #33 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>
You know what bugs me about this - it's the same old "Blame America First" perspective.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Where did I write anything like that?

[quote]<strong>But it is OK to blame Clinton, who actually tried to get bin Laden prior to 9/11, and was even criticized by his political opponents for doing so?</strong><hr></blockquote>

When did he do this? You mean that cruise missile attack? As far as that goes the criticism is because he was so ineffectual.
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post #34 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>You mean that cruise missile attack? As far as that goes the criticism is because he was so ineffectual.</strong><hr></blockquote>
Has Bush been any more effective in getting bin Laden? And, the criticism wasn't so much about being ineffective as about "wagging the dog."
post #35 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>
Has Bush been any more effective in getting bin Laden? And, the criticism wasn't so much about being ineffective as about "wagging the dog."</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well that too. Wagging the dog implies that he wasn't serious about getting bin Laden in the first place. As far as Bush's effectiveness we just don't know yet, do we? Al Qaeda has certainly taken a serious hit, though.

At any rate this shows a key difference between what we are doing now and whatever it was we were trying to do in Somalia in 1993. Today, there's no doubt about our commitment. Of course, Dubya has an easier time "selling" our military involvement than Clinton had. But Clinton never even tried... He wasn't really committed to the effort himself. Today, there's little confusion about the value of the War on Terrorism. In 1993 almost nobody outside of the U.N. thought getting involved in Somalia's civil war was a good idea.

You still didn't answer my first question. You complained about a "blame America First" perspective. Where did I write anything like that?
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post #36 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>You still didn't answer my first question. You complained about a "blame America First" perspective. Where did I write anything like that?</strong><hr></blockquote>
Of course you didn't literally say "I blame America first." But wasn't the point of your posts to say that it was an ill-conceived policy that led to the deaths of those Americans? And isn't that exactly what some of the Chomsky-left have been saying about bin Laden's other attacks against us? In effect, that we were attacked because of our policies?

bin Laden has attacked us, he says, for being in Saudi Arabia. Is it really in our dire national interest to be there? Probably not. But do you blame GHWB for all the attacks by bin Laden against us? No, you don't, and it would be wrong to do so. So why blame Clinton for just that one instance among all those others that have happened?

[quote]Wagging the dog implies that he wasn't serious about getting bin Laden in the first place.<hr></blockquote>Yes, and it sounds like one of those conspiracies you hear from the wacko left. You know - that Bush wants bin Laden to survive to have a phantom to call our attention toward while he steals our civil liberties. There's other threads called <a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=6&t=000484" target="_blank">Behold the grand deception</a> and <a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=6&t=000469" target="_blank">September 11th, religion, and a cool video</a> that depict some of these views.

Why would you say he wasn't committed? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he had such little support from the Congress: he was about to be impeached by them, the Republicans had gone after him about Bosnia, and then mocked him when he did try to get bin Laden. I'll go find the Republican quotes about that if you want. It's a bit unfair to criticize him for trying to do something, and then say he didn't go far enough in doing it, don't you think? Especially since Bush didn't do anything at all until after the fact.
post #37 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:

<strong>Of course you didn't literally say "I blame America first." But wasn't the point of your posts to say that it was an ill-conceived policy that led to the deaths of those Americans?</strong><hr></blockquote>

And I didn't imply it either. This is a red herring. You say you don't mind people critiquing foreign policy and that's true just so long we're critiquing Bush and not Clinton. This is what I wrote:

"... the U.S. was not at all prepared for or in any way committed to the kind of effort needed to truly change things. You just can't ask American soldiers to put thier lives on the line for that kind of ad hoc, poorly considered foreign policy. That's immoral too..."

That sounds like Chomsky to you? There's nothing there that suggests the U.S. is to blame but yes, an ill-conceived policy did lead to the deaths of those Rangers. I think Clinton and his people own a lot of the responsibility for what happened in Mogadishu. You see, he was president at the time...

I don't know if Chomsky has said much about Somalia and I don't really care. If he did, and he was at all consistent with what he's said about our policy elsewhere, he'd assert that the U.S. was so deeply implicated in the oppression of the Somali people that we couldn't do the right thing in Somalia. My critique of Clinton's policy is that we had no national interest in being there. This is obviously true because we left so soon after the battle. It's not true today. In 1993 we weren't in Somalia to get Al Qaeda. We didn't even know Al Qaeda was involved until later.

[quote]<strong>Why would you say he wasn't committed? </strong><hr></blockquote>

When did he try to sell his Somali policy to the American people? The guy could sell ice to Eskimos. If what he was trying to do was such a great idea, he should have at least made an effort. He didn't.

[quote]<strong>Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he had such little support from the Congress: he was about to be impeached by them, the Republicans had gone after him about Bosnia, and then mocked him when he did try to get bin Laden. I'll go find the Republican quotes about that if you want.</strong><hr></blockquote>

You do that. Mogadishu was in 1993. Impeachment was years away as also was Bosnia. And as far as Bosnia was concerned, some Republicans did support him. The Weekly Standard was squarely on the side of intervention. Newt Gingrich and John McCain both supported the president. Moreover, Clinton stood up for his Bosnia policy in a way he didn't in Somalia. It's one of the few things he did that I consider worthy of respect.
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post #38 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>There's nothing there that suggests the U.S. is to blame but yes, an ill-conceived policy did lead to the deaths of those Rangers.
</strong><hr></blockquote>
I rest my case. You're not blaming bin Laden and the Somalis who actually DID this, you're blaming Americans. I still don't see how that's different from Chomsky's blame-America-for-terrorism approach.

I don't think the Somalia situation quite as neatly divides into Bush=Good, Clinton=Bad as you suggest. After losing the election but before he left office, Bush sent 30,000 US troops to Somalia, saying they would be out before Clinton took office. But they weren't out. So when Clinton came in he took 95% of those forces out, but the Somalis started attacking both UN and US soldiers, and 4 Americans were killed. So Clinton decided to send those Rangers in to get the guy who did it. It got fvcked up, but was it really because of some horrible thing that Clinton did?
[quote]When did he try to sell his Somali policy to the American people? The guy could sell ice to Eskimos. If what he was trying to do was such a great idea, he should have at least made an effort. He didn't.<hr></blockquote>
Now you're just being slippery - we were talking about bin Laden at that point, not Somalia. About that, whose speech is this - George Bush? No, it was Clinton:
[quote]We have quietly disrupted terrorist groups and foiled their plots. We have isolated countries that practice terrorism. We've worked to build an international coalition against terror. But there have been and will betimes when law enforcement and diplomatic tools are simply not enough.

When our very national security is challenged we must take extraordinary steps to protect the safety of our citizens. With compelling evidence that the bin Laden network of terrorist groups was planning to mount further attacks against Americans and other freedom-loving people, I decided America must act.
...
My fellow Americans, our battle against terrorism did not begin with the bombing of our embassies in Africa, nor will it end with today's strike. It will require strength, courage and endurance. We will not yield to this threat. We will meet it no matter how long it may take. This will be a long, ongoing struggle between freedom and fanaticism, between the rule of law and terrorism.

We must be prepared to do all that we can for as long as we must. America is and will remain a target of terrorists precisely because we are leaders; because we act to advance peace, democracy and basic human values; because we're the most open society on earth; and because, as we have shown yet again, we take an uncompromising stand against terrorism.<hr></blockquote>
Sounds to me like he's trying to make an effort. But here's what Dan Coats said about it: Clinton's attack was "made because it was necessary to save the president's job and distract attention away" from Monica. Arlen Spectre and others made similar comments.

By the way, I voted for Dan Coats. Oh well.
post #39 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>
I rest my case. You're not blaming bin Laden and the Somalis who actually DID this, you're blaming Americans. I still don't see how that's different from Chomsky's blame-America-for-terrorism approach.</strong><hr></blockquote>

At no time have I absolved the Somalis in any way, shape or form. Show me where I did if you think you have such a strong case. It is possible to be critical of our policy makers without taking the other guy's side. I would have thought you understood that.

[quote]<strong>I don't think the Somalia situation quite as neatly divides into Bush=Good, Clinton=Bad as you suggest. After losing the election but before he left office, Bush sent 30,000 US troops to Somalia, saying they would be out before Clinton took office. But they weren't out. So when Clinton came in he took 95% of those forces out, but the Somalis started attacking both UN and US soldiers, and 4 Americans were killed. So Clinton decided to send those Rangers in to get the guy who did it. It got fvcked up, but was it really because of some horrible thing that Clinton did?</strong><hr></blockquote>

He took them out and simultaneously expanded the mission. That's just not smart. I'm not saying Bush=good. A strong case can be made that Bush shouldn't have even deployed in the first place. I am saying that as far as Somalia goes Clinton does "=" bad.

[quote]<strong>Now you're just being slippery - we were talking about bin Laden at that point, not Somalia.</strong><hr></blockquote>

No I'm not. You asked me about my questioning of Clinton's commitment. I'm not at all impressed about what Clinton did regarding bin Laden but I didn't use the word "commitment" outside of discussing Somalia. That's what this thread is about.

[ 01-27-2002: Message edited by: roger_ramjet ]</p>
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post #40 of 49
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>At no time have I absolved the Somalis in any way, shape or form.</strong><hr></blockquote>
No, but you've repeatedly blamed Clinton, and not once blamed the actual people who killed the Americans. How about this, you show me any one of your posts where you blamed the people who actually fired the weapons at the rangers, and I'll show you all the posts where you blamed someone else.

Before you tell me to go piss up a rope, I'll tell you why it bothers me. I remember after 9/11 some people, mostly Europeans and the American left, said it was caused by American policy in the Middle East and around the world. Conservatives said "you're blaming America first," and I thought that was right. I was totally on board.

But then I read conservative editorials blaming Clinton for what happened, despite the fact that Clinton did try to get bin Laden, but was criticized for it by the same people who were now blaming him for not doing enough. And Bush didn't do anything at all prior to 9/11, while at least under Clinton the millennium bombing had been prevented. Even Falwell and Robertson got into the act, blaming American liberals. And there were numerous conservatives on MacNN who similarly blamed liberals in one way or another.

So yes, this has made me defensive about it, and I'll accept the fact that Clinton's Somalia policy can be criticized - as long as you understand that it legitimately ticks me off to see conservatives blame liberals after I bought their line that it's wrong to blame Americans.
[quote]He took them out and simultaneously expanded the mission.<hr></blockquote>OK, but that wasn't what led to the deaths of those rangers. They weren't sent in to carry out some fancy nation-building mission, they were sent in to get Aidid because he had killed a couple dozen UN troops including 4 Americans. Maybe we should have just cut our losses after that first incident, but that's a separate criticism.
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