"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, January 12, 2014

‘Black Hawk Down’ - US military is back in Somalia

We Are Back in Somalia Again
Have the generals and politicians learned their
lesson in tactics and strategy?

The US military has sent a small number of “uniformed trainers and advisers” to volatile nation of Somalia for the first time since 1993, when two US helicopters were shot down and 18 Americans were killed during the “Black Hawk Down” mission.

A small cell of less than two-dozen US military personnel has been stationed in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, since last fall in an effort to advise and coordinate with African troops fighting Al-Shabab, an Islamic militia with ties to Al-Qaeda, three US military officials told The Washington Post.

Last summer and fall, US military officials indicated the Pentagon will become more involved in Somalia. The Pentagon’s top policy official in Africa, Amanda Dory, told Congress in October the US military would “increase our presence in Mogadishu in tandem with the State Department” but did not elaborate reports RT News.

Three anonymous US military officials told The Post US Africa Command sent a small amount of advisers to Mogadishu in the fall to coordinate the cell with Somali security forces and a regional coalition of African troops.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the plans.

The clandestine deployment ends two decades of America’s unofficial policy that prohibited any long-term US military presence on the ground in Somalia despite the country being considered a failed state and teeming with pirate and militant Islamic organizations.

The Central Intelligence Agency has also operated a base in Somalia for some time, financing Somali forces fighting Al-Shabab and other entities. Journalist Jeremy Scahill has documented the CIA’s secretive movements in Somalia.

In 2011, he revealed the existence of the CIA’s counterterrorism center at the Mogadishu airport. He also reported on a secret prison in the US-funded Somali National Security Agency, which according to his sources, was used by the US to interrogate prisoners.

In recent years, the US has spent over US $500 million to train and arm an African Union security force of over 18,000 soldiers amid ongoing chaos and famine in Somalia. Most of the forces are trained outside Somalia by US contractors and uniformed military advisers. The US has also spent around $170 million to boost the often-ineffective Somali national army.

The African Union forces control most of Mogadishu, though Al-Shabab still holds most of the country. Al-Shabab has led insurgent efforts in Somalia, against the country’s Western-backed leaders, in recent years. It announced a merger with Al-Qaeda two years ago, though how much of a threat they pose to the US is disputed by American analysts.

Black Hawk Down (2001) - Official Trailer [HD]

One of the Greatest War Movies
No movie can ever recreate the horrors faced by men in combat.  But it is fair to say that the great Ridley Scott's movie Black Hawk Down comes damn close.  But the question of the day is, did anyone in the Pentagon watch this film before invading Iraq and Afghanistan?  I doubt it.
Some of Ridley Scott's best films are Alien (1979), the sci-fi classic Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), best picture Oscar-winner Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Matchstick Men (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), Robin Hood (2010), and Prometheus (2012).

Are US Generals Able to Read?
This is one of the great unanswered questions of our time.  For sure we know that our generals and politicians do not read military histories of the Revolutionary War. 
Those dirty backwoods farmers of our Revolution were the terrorists of their day tarring and feathering Royal officials, burning homes and crops of Loyalists and shooting British soldiers in the back from cover.  If IEDs had been invented you know the Brits would have slaughtered while marching on every American road.
I know this.  You know this.  But our "best and brightest" from West Point appear to be clueless about the incredible military power of guerrilla tactics and people's wars. 
Our generals forgot, if they ever knew, about the guerrilla warfare horrors of the Apache Wars (1849 to 1924) and the Philippine War (1899 to 1913) as well as our failures in Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now we are dipping our toes back in Somalia.

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