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Saddam Hussein’s only hope of remaining in power is to kill enough American troops to demoralize the country and empower the anti-war movement.
It’s his Vietnam strategy. It’s his Baghdadograd strategy. It’s his Mogadishu strategy.
We’ve been hearing a lot about Mogadishu lately – and it’s no surprise.
Before the war began, Saddam Hussein ordered his top generals and staff to watch two movies – “Enemy at the Gates,” a fine film about the siege of Stalingrad, and “Blackhawk Down,” the story of the Somalian massacre of 18 U.S. troops who were outgunned, outmanned and ambushed in an attack orchestrated by Osama bin Laden himself.
As a result of that disaster, the U.S. turned tail and ran out of Somalia.
How did that happen? It’s a good time for a little history lesson.
Those brave men were sent to Somalia on a vague “peace-keeping” mission for the United Nations. They were not given the support they needed. Their rules of engagement were unclear. They had no idea who they were fighting and why.
It was a political travesty orchestrated by Bill Clinton.
To be sure, Clinton tried later to blame someone else for his mistake. Years later, in discussing a completely unrelated matter of corporate responsibility and the position of Republicans, he blasted his political opponents with the following statement: “These people ran on responsibility, but as soon as you scratch them they go straight to blame. Now, you know, I didn’t blame his (George W. Bush’s) father for Somalia when we had that awful day memorialized in ‘Black Hawk Down.’ I didn’t do that.”
No, you didn’t do that. That’s like a kid in the playground telling another, “Hey, when you lied, I didn’t call you a liar.”
But there’s a good reason Clinton didn’t blame his predecessor earlier – President Bush didn’t have anything to do with it. It happened on Bill Clinton’s watch. He only hoped enough people would have forgotten about that little detail years later.
The “Blackhawk Down” incident occurred Oct. 3, 1993. The first President Bush had left office nine months earlier.
Bush, no favorite of mine, had already concluded the American mission in Somalia. Clinton created a new mission for them. The result – 18 dead and 73 wounded that day.
Why? Faulty intelligence, disregard for the element of surprise, poor coordination, lack of adequate support, you name it.
Worse yet was Clinton’s reaction to it. He pulled out, turned tail and ran – giving bin Laden, who boasted of coordinating the attack, his biggest victory over America at that time. This is what convinced bin Laden America would always run at the first sign of blood.
As columnist Paul Greenberg, a long-time Clinton-watcher from Arkansas, explained it, “In short, the expedition was in every respect a disaster. Brave men were lost not through any fault of their own, but because of decisions made in clean, well-lighted rooms by politicians far away. A new secretary of defense, a congressman chosen mainly on the basis of his criticisms of the previous administration, failed to meet a pressing request from the troops for tanks and other armored equipment. Les Aspin turned down both the commander in the field, Major General Thomas M. Montgomery, and the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell. Dispatching the needed equipment might have caused a stir in Congress, and politics came first, as usual.”
It’s time to show Saddam Hussein Bill Clinton and those like him are long gone. America is coming back strong and proud. We don’t cut and run anymore. We mean business. We’re in this fight for the long haul.
By all means watch “Blackhawk Down.” And never repeat those mistakes again.