politics, history and the war on terror
Monday, April 05, 2004
Mog No More  

Mark Bowden recognizes the need to show resolve and strength after the horrific mutilation of four American security contractors in Fallujah. Mr. Bowden is the author of Black Hawk Down, the account of the battle between the US Rangers and Special Forces and the fighters of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in the Fall of 1993. The bodies of American soldiers were mutilated and displayed in Mogadishu, just as the security contractors in Fallujah were, and the reaction of the Clinton Administration was to withdraw from Somalia. This gave Aidid and al Qaeda an opening:

The worst answer the U.S. can make to such a message--which is precisely what we did in Mogadishu--is back down. By most indications, Aidid's supporters were decimated and demoralized the day after the Battle of Mogadishu. Some, appalled by the indecency of their countrymen, were certain the U.S. would violently respond to such an insult and challenge. They contacted U.N. authorities offering to negotiate, or simply packed their things and fled. These are the ones who miscalculated. Instead the U.S. did nothing, effectively abandoning the field to Aidid and his henchmen. Somalia today remains a nation struggling in anarchy, and the America-haters around the world learned what they thought was a essential truth about the United States: Kill a few Americans and the most powerful nation on Earth will run away. This, in a nutshell, is the strategy of Osama bin Laden.

Al Qaeda observed the US military’s tactics in Mogadishu, and assisted and trained Aidid’s forces to shoot down American helicopters, with the hope that the military would be drawn into a fierce fight inside the city. This was all planned with the intention of forcing the US to withdraw from Somalia, as it was believed the US public would not tolerate the loss of life. Al Qaeda was correct, and because of the withdraw from Somalia, it was emboldened to attack American interests elsewhere, culminating in the attacks of 9/11. The demonstration of weakness and lack of resolve in the face of hardship only encourages the enemy to strike further.

The Battle of Fallujah has begun. It will not be bloodless and we can expect many casualties, but in light of what has led to the destruction in September of 2001, we must show we are willing to fight.

Note: For those interested in the strategy & tactics that will be employed by the US Marines and Special Forces in Fallujah, visit Belmont Club.

Posted by bill roggio @ 2:24 PM