T Nation

It's too quiet here

E McKee, poerhaps you're right. It's entirely plausible those men wouldve still found themselves fighting on the ground. 

That is the risk every soldier prepares themselves for. There's always that element of risk. 

What Clinton did was ignore the overwhelming risk he was putting his troops by not allowing them armor and air support. This risk became more than what is acceptable when Clinton denied them the armor and air support.

If you watched the movie or read the book, youll see that after the second black hawk goes down, no more helicopters are sent in to guard over the felled hawks. It was too dangerous, the enemy was equipped with deadly RPGs, and they could not risk losing another hawk.

However, an appache, even with two hawks scattered over town, couldve easily swept over the building and obliterated the enemy who was shooting RPGs, which are pretty much missiles, at our troops, helos, and ground vehicles. That wouldve still taken care of it at this point.

See, the black hawks are NOT equipped for this type of situation. They were designed specifically for troops transport and air evac. It is the most commonly used helo in special ops, but it still isnt prepared to fight a massive retaliation by the enemy. 

 The Apache is. Youll see at the end once the helos know where to strike to kill the enemy without risk to troops, they simply swept whole blocks and killed every guerrila in sight. That certainly put a quick end to the conflict. But only after a massive casualty count, that SHOULD have been avoided or minimized.

 Thanx Bill. We certainly appreciate it when keeping it 'low key' is more important than the lives of our troops. 

Diesel, the biggest problem with Mogadishu is this: Urban Combat is a bitch. There’s a ton of little places to hide in, it’s easy to cut off evacuation lanes, there’s plenty of spots to launch sniper and rocket attacks. The list is endless. The Nazis learned this in Stalingrad, one of the worst places to fight is in a city. My main concern in the past conflict with Iraq was how much resistance we would face in Bagdhad. Had the Iraqis chosen to fight, it could have easily become a hellhole. One point that I do want to make; had we gone in to Mogadishu properly equipped, we would have raised a shit storm of protest all over the world, just like we did in the latest conflict with Iraq. We are the big bad bullies, kicking over everyones sand castles, not caring about anyone but ourselves. Ummm, yeah. When in situations like Somalia or Iraq, we have a choice: Keep things “low key” to protect the tender sensibilities of the international community, or see to it that our fighting forces have the proper equipment and training to do their job and come back home alive. I guess it comes down to what you value. Compare the deployments under Buch and Clinton, and then consider what they vauled.

Two points, both asides from my earlier main point-

First: Diesal, the apaches are still just as vulnerable to the same type of attack. The whole point of it is that the guy with the RPG stays hidden until after the gunship flies over, then he pops out and fires at its blind and vulnerable tail. While apaches-- and blackhawks for that matter-- have electronic countermeasures, RPGs are obviously unguided, point and shoot weapons. This means that they are not effective from long range, thus making higher altitudes the only area of safety. Unfortunately, apaches are not designed to operate at high altitudes in urban areas (they’re not really designed for urban combat period) and lose effectiveness in such a situation. Fire would become fairly indiscriminate in practice and non-combatant casualties would be staggering.

Second- Is it worth it to kill tens of thousands of civilians-- both combatant and non-combatant-- to forcefully bring them there “freedom”? In this case the old truism that the ends justify the means only if the ends are justifyable becomes relevent. While the US could have leveled Mogadishu in its search for Aidid and anyone who opposed the UN’s peace effort, what would it have accomplished if there were only eight terrified people left over to enjoy that peace? Neither the US nor the UN realised how little support they had from the urban populous. The people’s loyalties layed elsewhere.

Even my former business partner, ret Army Ranger and officer who lost one of his best friends in that operation, and who is also one of the most avid Clinton-haters I have ever met, didn’t blame what happened on Clinton. He claimed it was a combination of bad intel and gross underestimation on the Army’s part. Clinton didn’t hear that some people were in deep shit and refuse to get them backup. It is one of those unfortunate things that could have happened under any president. But our military seems to learn well from those kinds of mistakes. I bet you a dollar we are never caught in that situation with our pants down again!

BTW, Diesel, how are your efforts to get into the Marines? Do the other branches have the same policy on asthma? If not, maybe you could get into one of those. It may not be the Marines, but at least you could still serve. Keep us updated, and good luck bro.

 Goddamn it JP, I DON'T have asthma, and I WILL get into the Marines.

 For fuck's sake, I said I *think* I may have had asthma. I never said I did have it.

Oh, okay… Thats great then! Sorry D. I just remember you expressed some concern about that, so I was just being supportive. Are you going in as OC or enlisted?

I know nothing about the Marines so I don’t mean to sound so ignorant.

One of my clients is having me train his kid who is headed off to the Naval Academy.

Im a little touchy about the subject because it IS a permanent disqualifier - meaning it's a felony to lie about  it in order to enlist,, and if you do tell them you're permanently disqualified.

Im going enlisted. My top choice at the moment is going in as  helo crew chief - responsible for the whole helo maintenance, Ill also be the door gunner. Thats   what makes  it dangerous - you're the bigger target and you cant  hide.

 Im also considering going in as intel specialist - collecting intelligence for the Marines. My recruiter told me Im smart enough to be a cryptologic linguist - ill interrcept enemy comms. and collect intel around whihc thhe war is planned; ill also send messages designed to lead them to think we're doing something else, to confuse them; ill also accompany members f several units suchh as infantry, MPs with my gear annd interview locals and communicate with   them. This is the hardest training in the Marines as far as tech skills go. 

  Needless to say, as a t-man, the physical part will be much easier to accompplish. Now theres just the mental part whichh will break you like butter.

By the way, modern RPG’s can penetrate APC’s-- due to their shaped charges-- inflicting 100% casualties if it’s in the main compartment. As for tanks, RPG’s are ineffective against the reactive armor on the front, sides, and certain areas of the rear, but they are vulnerable to RPG-- and other types-- shots from above, when the top of the turret is targetted, especially the hatch. For this reason, there are several anti-tank weapons of varrying national origins which are designed specificly to fly over the tank and detonate above it, rather than crashing into the sides which are protected by layers of both the reactive armor and conventional plating. They are also vulnerable in certain rear areas and in the treads to disabling, but non lethal shots. Again, an Rpg blast penetrating the crew compartment will leave no one alive inside. The chechen’s had a great deal of success against Russian armor in Chechnya using similer ambush techniques, and there favorite areas for anti-armor attacks were in urban areas where tanks would be hemmed in. A shot to the treads of the first and last vehicles would immobilize the columns, while heavy machine gunners and snipers occupied supporting infantry. The RPG guys could then procede down the line knocking out the remaining vehicles with kill shots. This worked quite well against Russian APC’s and heavy armor --inclunding T-72s and T-80s, both of which are main battle tanks with reactive armor-- and led to an eventual withdrawl of heavy armor in favor of older, lighter and more manueverable-- and cheaper-- armored vehicles despite their inherent vulnerabilities. Another point to remember is that the same people trained and fought for the chechens as were active in Somalia. In these cases we’re talking about mujahadeen who learned their trade against the soviets in afganastan.

“…they realized that with insignificant capabilities, with a small number of RPG’s, with a small number of anti-tank mines, with a small number of Kalishnikov rifles, they managed to crush the greatest empire known to mankind. They crushed the greatest military machine. The so-called superpower vanished into thin air.”

~Osama bin Laden~

One other thing, the biggest mistake of all in Somalia was in lacking clear objectives, both politically and militarilly, to be accomplished in the area. The US was responding to situations without considering the long term prospects associated with such actions.

my two cents-

I had a reasonably long follow up on policy implications for the US as related the prior discussion and russian experiances in chechnya. Unfortunately the login/out bug ate it. I may write a longer item on asymetric warfare in the modern context and its implications on US foreign policy…
or I may not, we shall see.

This was thread hijacking at its finest.

mon quebec,
Hey, thanks for coming on the forum!!! It’s so refreshing to see someone of french descent coming to the wrong conclusions. Hey, weren’t you the same guy who stated on the french bashing forum that the french revolution inspired the United States’ revolution?
I haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about in regard to “Jeb Bush removing people from the voting rolls.” Is this another article written by that disgraced 27 year old new york times employee? It can’t be, even he couldn’t write something so ludicrous.
What is this crap about W. and “control” of Iraq? Idiot. Our history is to rebuild conquered countries and then LEAVE THEM IN CONTROL OF THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS. That is obviously what we are doing now.
I’m going to give my stock answer in regard to your United States bashing. First, I’ve travelled extensively in Canada. I was always well treated. Your people were kind and courteous. Your government made a mistake in not supporting your largest trading partner in it’s time of need. I am not going to characterize all Canadians on the basis of idiots such as yourself. However, do not push us too far. When you boo our flag at hockey games, we take note of your disrespect. We are a kind and generous friend. However, when angered, we are an absolutely lethal enemy.

LOL US=GG, that Prime Minister who signed the FTA & NAFTA has the record for lowest approval rating in the history of the western world with 8%. So guess what? Almost everyone in Canada doesn’t want a free-trade (which isn’t really free trade) agreement & doesn’t want the USA to be the biggest trading partner.

“We’ve signed a stunning new trade pact with Canada. The Canadians don’t understand what they’ve signed. In twenty years, they will be sucked into the U.S. economy.” - Clayton Yeutter, US trade representative October 3, 1987, the day the Free Trade Agreement was signed

& what’s the big deal about not supporting the USA’a agression in Iraq? Canada kept trading with China during the South Vietnam aggression. I don’t see the problem. LOL