The name Black Hawk Down used as the title of this book in our context originated from the helicopter (UH-60 Black Hawk) used during the raid in Mogadishu. This raid is said to be one of the most combative war Americans have ever engaged in from that of Vietnam. The mission took place in October 1993 when helicopters dropped American solders in the heart of Mogadishu with aim of abducting top lieutenants of Somalia Warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. This was under leadership of Thomas Matthews who was deployed in Mogadishu, he lead Task force Ranger.
This war was referred to as Operative Gothic serpent although it was later referred to as Battle of Mogadishu by international opposed media to this battle. “The most significant combat action took place on October 3, when Task Force Ranger captured six of Aideed’s [sic] lieutenants and several militiamen in a daylight raid. During withdrawal operations, the Somalis shot down two UH-60 helicopters and U. S. forces remaining on the ground came under heavy fire as they attempted to carry out rescue operations and consolidate their positions” (Spiller, para 4).
This episode translated to intense fire fight which saw about 300 Somali nationals killed and others seriously injured. On the side of Ranger several were killed and others wounded before intervention of Pakistan and Malaysia intervened hence withdrawal of the forces. The story on modern war by Mark Bowden, a report with the Philadelphia inquire tries to analyze battle of Mogadishu which started with attempts of the American solder to capture aides to Aidid. The operation strayed with Delta force personnel through help of US army Rangers entered Mogadishu through helicopters to start the operation.
This entry surprised Somali who were not were not aware of this mission. This called for rehearsal for using grenade and was successfully able to bring chopper down hence there capability in fighting new enemies invading their soil. The shooting of Back hawk helicopters through use of grenade formed a battle field where the American fought frantically to ensure they salvage there comrades. In his book Bowden tries to give a narrative of this war through reconstruction of the materials he was able to get through intensive interviews to the participants of this war.
In his story he divert from the notion military history which always portrays glory of war without disclosing episode of horror which always engulf these kind of wars. Black hawk down story is literally distinctive in its style and this can be attributed to the fact that Bowden is a journalist but not a historian and writes his description of the combat as a tale, relatively like a fiction story. This book is set to represent the actual event and happening of the battle of Mogadishu.
Bowden accomplished this through widespread research, consultations with accomplices from the two sides of the conflicts; this is also done through help of footage recorded by aerial observation aircraft at the fight as well as from recordings of the radio traffic from the clash. This book represent a parable of leadership which was unable to control the discipline of military personnel giving a picture of failure of the so perceived as strongest army in world. This is because military was unable to contain undisciplined militia putting the most powerful military in a precarious circumstances.
The author demonstrates a situation of overconfidence since American military from the word go never expected the situation can in any way go against them. On the side of Rangers and delta forces soldiers in Mogadishu battle has elaborated as failure. The leadership controlling the war to command daylight raid has been describe as failure in military point of view. This raid on the side of America army cannot boost of victory since the only achievement attained was only seizing and imprisoning Somali clan officials who part of the mission of the war.
In return to this achievement, a body of dead American member of Ranger squad being drugged in the street watering small achievement realized before the massacre. Mogadishu Massacre was motivated by the silencing of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid who was wrongly perceived to have Hitler like trait, and was said to be responsible for thousands of brutal killings. There was information that this warlord ruled Mogadishu and hijacked UN food shipment acting in aid of war causalities. Aidid was also accuse of waiting the US Marine withdrawal and declaring war on U.
N. forces ensnaring and killing of Pakistan peacekeepers. This is the incident which translated to sending of Ranger on mission to dismantle advancement of Aidid and ensure restoration of order within Mogadishu and its environs. This was meant to stop Aidid force from disruption of Red Cross distribution centre and killing of innocent civilians. Aidid was a powerful leader of Habr Gidr a large clan with political control within Mogadishu which controlled past as well as present political activities in this region.
“The Habr Gidr were the militarily more powerful of two main groups contending for control of Mogadishu. If the U. S. had killed Aidid, citizens of the Habr Gidr areas wouldn’t generally have felt liberated, like Afghans freed from the Taliban” (Kaus, 2002 para 6). This book highlights phases of US and UN activities in Somalia. Firstly there was humanitarian phase where unite nations use military for to ease deliveries of food with aim of controlling deaths which could have emanated from starvation. This initiative was carried beyond from provision of food to the nation building mission in Somalia by UN.
National building can be termed as the second phase with ambitions of restoration of entire country. From the ambitious mission of rebuilding entire Somali country Aidid claimed of UN official being against his and his clan of the said links with the former Somali dictator Siad Barre who was Aidid rival. From these suspicions intimidation of nation building started from the Aidid and his clan making effort to be at risk. National building needed very conducive peaceful environment from all clans and when Aidid intimidation started meant sinking of the national building efforts.
Conference to forge for peace were staged but what followed after that was lack of peace deal and Aidid stepped up mission of detaining there rival something viewed by UN as intention to intimidate the peace talk. Attempt to marginalize Aidid politically by UN followed something viewed as a wrong approach to someone who had a backing of entire clan behind him. This is because to realize peace in this situation a better approach could have been employed to ensure existing military structure and power are dismantled or contained.
This was followed by attempt of UN tying to shut down Aidid radio which was popular in propagating anti-UN propaganda a fact which made Aidid to see UN being against him. This is the issue which translated to the Mogadishu war from the attempt of UN tying to kill Habr Gidr clan member. After this was the incident of Black hawk down and translated to killings of innocent civilian an army leadership which has been greatly blamed for failed victory. “Crisis leadership came the hard way for U. S.
Army Colonel Thomas Matthews, who led the Task Force Ranger mission in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993” (Lagace, para 1). The situation in Mogadishu Massacre called for life or death decisions which were to be guided by Thomas leadership. This is the leadership which has been condemned for failed success in the ranger mission. The decision made by Thomas on this day resulted to crisis witnessed in this episode making a good lesson for our leadership decision especially in the army forces where decision with dire consequence are made.
Work Cited: Kaus, Mickey: What Black Hawk Down Leaves Out, 2002. Retrieved on 20th September 2008 from; http://www. slate. com/? id=2060941 Lagace, Martha: “Black Hawk Down”: Leading in Crisis, (2003). Retrieved on 20th September 2008 from: http://hbswk. hbs. edu/archive/3430. html Spiller, Ronald L. : Film Review: Black Hawk Down, (nd). Retrieved on 20th September 2008 from; http://www. smh-hq. org/gazette/features/blackhawkdown. html.