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Subject: Black Hawk Down
Phoenix Rising    1/9/2003 2:19:27 AM
I realize it's not science fiction, but this looked like the best category for it, since I'm talking about the book rather than Somalia per se. It's actually on the reading list for one of my courses this quarter. I was wondering if anyone here had read it (well, OK, no, I really wasn't wondering that, I know some of y'all have) and was wondering what people thought of it in general. I haven't gotten it yet (it's on order from Amazon), but from what little I've heard, I'm surprised to find it showing up in a political science class. Thoughts/reviews? Little tidbits of information that might make reading it more enjoyable or help understand what's going on better? --Phoenix Rising
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Elbandeedo    RE:Black Hawk Down   1/10/2003 6:15:43 AM
PR - Loved the book. It tries to examine the battle from both sides of the picture. I feel the author does a pretty good job of not 'taking sides'. Obviously there is more info from the American perspective, a lot of the 'operators' actually talked to him. I think your poly/sci proff. might feel it's a prime example of "Arrogant American hegemony" or some such. we WERE arrogant. "buncha tribesmen, ill-trained, on drugs... what are THEY gonna do to US studs?" sort of thoughts. There are many lessons learned from this book. enjoy the read and please share your thoughts here when you are done, I'd truly be interested in your perspective. E.
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Zerbrechen    RE:Black Hawk Down   1/18/2003 10:35:21 PM
PR, This was a book I couldn't put down. I remember from my college days the small tidbits on the news about the battle, but had not fully realized the extent of it all until I got out in the world and read the book. It does deserve a place in any military history buff's library.
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peanut gallery    RE:Black Hawk Down Better Late I suppose   2/6/2003 3:17:20 PM
Late coming to this Board. I thought the book was excellent. As others noted, it doesn't take sides. One angle your class SHOULD look at it something Bowden mentions: The then UN Sec Boutros Boutros Ghali had a itch name Farah Aidid, which he convinced Clinton to scratch for him. Even global politics is personal. Apparently Aidid had slighted Ghali in some previous capacity and Ghali never let it go.
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Wez    if you like this...   3/27/2003 2:14:47 AM
try reading "We Were Soldiers: Once and Young" By Hal Moore. The movie is based on the book. I enjoyed both books thoroughly...and am amazed that more Rangers didn't lose their lives. The D-boys really do seem like super-soldiers!
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pedro the swift    RE:if you like this...   12/17/2003 9:16:45 PM
Read "Blackhawk Down" in paperback. I found it very interesting and reasonably objective. I gotta say though that it does show us some of the reasons why Yanks are not too well liked in some places. They seem to have a particular derogatory attitude towards other cultures that they consider inferior. They dont seem to try or want to understand the customs and usage of others and then wonder why they are not universally welcome. I did later hear that there was some sort of disagreement between Ghali and Aidid that may have been the root cause of this debacle. Will we now see the same sort of things happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. The blame for this must be laid squarely at the feet of the politicians who give the orders not the soldiers. The most disturbing thing about the book was the quote near the end where a soldier is quoted as saying "we kicked ass". I find that when you are shooting groups of civilians including women and children and then claim some sort of victory really does nothing to enhance the the military. I do realise that many "civilians" were armed and shooting at the soldiers but many also were just caught in the crossfire or shot hust because they looked like a threat.
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WarriorBravo4    RE:Black Hawk Down   12/17/2003 9:18:58 PM
The book was OUTSTANDING, I have an uncle who was a Ranger on the assault on Bakara Market. He says the book is very accurate and did the mission justice. By the way, if some of those bleeding heart democrat students start sh*t-talking the American military for that assault, quickly point out to them that a liberal democrat sent our guys in there. Oh, and if the operation had've taken place at night, the skinny's would have had about as much of a chance as a snowball in hell. HOOAH!
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StudentofConflict    RE:Black Hawk Down   12/26/2003 4:33:06 AM
How does the book compare to the movie? I've only seen the film, and I was shocked by the attitude of some of the US soldiers in it. What the hell was the Delta operator talking about when he comes out with 'my fingers my safety' when they're in the mess.Does he think that basic skill at arms doesn't apply to special forces? Also, why the hell did they do things like not taking all the right kit for the op. Removing inserts from body armour, leaving water bottles and night vision kit behind smacks of a lack of professionalism. I was always taught that you always keep your 24-hour kit on your fighting order, whether going into the field for 1 hour or 1 month. Did all this really happen, or was there a bit of dramatic license taken?.
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Sherwood    RE:if you like this...   1/13/2004 12:23:06 PM
I have only seen the film. But I also saw a dicumentary on Discovery Channel a few years ago. They interviewed US soldiers who had been in this battle. One particularly chilling interview was with a soldier who, when asked if he felt any remorse over civilian dead said that he didn't because they if they didn't want to die they shouldn't have been living there. I think its going to take decades for the US to be seen again as the liberators they were post WW2. I did like the film, frightening though it was, and would love to read the book.
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   RE:Black Hawk Down   1/20/2004 1:27:44 AM
In regards to the historical accuracy, the book is obviously a more accurate, and more all-encompassing telling of the events than the film. However, in its credit, teh movie makes very little use of dramatic license (largely, the scenes featuring the defeaned soldier were added for obvious reasons). The author is a respected journalist, and both the History Channel and Discovery documentaries sang his praises as a truth-teller. In regards to the Delta operators comments and general behavior. According to teh author, Delta operates without the rank and dicipline normally tantamount to maintaining proper military order. The army tolerates this because they simply do not need it: their skills demonstrated in Somalia prove that. Captain Steele was not a fan of this behavior, however, because the 18-22 year old Rangers required the maintenance of strict dicipline to stay effective on the battlefield. Hence their conflicts. In regards to not taking a proper 24 hour loadout.... These boys had been flying a nearly identical mission template daily, responding to false alarms and going desert hopping to keep the locals on edge. They naturally became accustomed to the routine, and developed their own methods of simplifying it. These were not rank and file grunts; the leeway given them by the Army is a little more extensive. Regarding civillian casualties.... The book recounts a story of a group of civilian women who had wrapped themselves around an OpFor machine gunner. The members of TFR refused to return fire on the position, much to the chagrin of Delta Op, who proceeded to lob a flashbang into the position and promptly dispatch the MGer. I think this may assist in understanding the veterans hostility.
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