imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

"BLACK HAWK DOWN" Film Review

by By Larry Chin - Online Journal Wednesday, Jan. 09, 2002 at 11:50 AM

"Black Hawk Down" – Hollywood drags bloody corpse of truth across movie screens.

January 3, 2002 -- True to its post-9/11 government-sanctioned role as US war propaganda headquarters, Hollywood has released "Black Hawk Down," a fictionalized account of the tragic 1993 US raid in Somalia. The Pentagon assisted with the production, pleased for an opportunity to "set the record straight." The film is a lie that compounds the original lie that was the operation itself.

Somalia: the facts

According to the myth, the Somalia operation of 1993 was a humanitarian mission, and a shining example of New World Order morality and altruism. In fact, US and UN troops waged an undeclared war against an Islamic African populace that was hostile to foreign interests.

Also contrary to the legend, the 1993 Somalia raid was not a "Clinton foreign policy bungle." In fact, the incoming Clinton administration inherited an operation that was already in full swing -- planned and begun by outgoing President George Herbert Walker Bush, spearheaded by deputy national security adviser Jonathan Howe (who remained in charge of the UN operation after Clinton took office), and approved by Colin Powell, then head of the Joint Chiefs.

The operation had nothing to do with humanitarianism or Africa-love on the part of Bush or Clinton. Several US oil companies, including Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips were positioned to exploit Somalia's rich oil reserves. The companies had secured billion-dollar concessions to explore and drill large portions of the Somali countryside during the reign of pro-US President Mohamed Siad Barre. (In fact, Conoco's Mogadishu office housed the US embassy and military headquarters.) A "secure" Somalia also provided the West with strategic location on the coast of Arabian Sea.

UN military became necessary when Barre was overthrown by warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid, suddenly rendering Somalia inhospitable to US corporate interests.

Although the pretext for the mission was to safeguard food shipments, and stop the "evil Aidid" from stealing the food, the true UN goal was to remove Aidid from the political equation, and form a pro-Western coalition government out of the nation's warring clans. The US operation was met with "surprisingly fierce resistance" -- surprising to US officials who underestimated Somalian resolve, and even more surprising to US troops who were victims and pawns of UN policy makers.

The highly documented series by Mark Bowden of the Philadelphia Inquirer on which the film is based , focuses on the participants, and the "untenable" situation in which troops were placed. But even Bowden's gung-ho account makes no bones about provocative American attacks that ultimately led to the decisive defeat in Mogadishu.

Bowden writes: "Task Force Ranger was not in Mogadishu to feed the hungry. Over six weeks, from late August to Oct. 3, it conducted six missions, raiding locations where either Aidid or his lieutenants were believed to be meeting. The mission that resulted in the Battle of Mogadishu came less than three months after a surprise missile attack by U.S. helicopters (acting on behalf of the UN) on a meeting of Aidid clansmen. Prompted by a Somalian ambush on June 5 that killed more than 20 Pakistani soldiers, the missile attack killed 50 to 70 clan elders and intellectuals, many of them moderates seeking to reach a peaceful settlement with the United Nations. After that July 12 helicopter attack, Aidid's clan was officially at war with America -- a fact many Americans never realized."

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Somalis were killed in the course of US incursions that took place over three months. In his book The New Military Humanism, Noam Chomsky cites other under-reported facts. "In October 1993, criminal incompetence by the US military led to the slaughter of 1,000 Somalis by American firepower." Chomsky writes. "The official estimate was 6-10,000 Somali casualties in the summer of 1993 alone, two-thirds women and children. Marine Lt. Gen. Anthony Zinni, who commanded the operation, informed the press that 'I'm not counting bodies . . . I'm not interested.' Specific war crimes of US forces included direct military attacks on a hospital and on civilian gatherings. Other Western armies were implicated in serious crimes as well. Some of these were revealed at an official Canadian inquiry, not duplicated by the US or other governments."

Bowden's more forgiving account does not contradict Chomsky's in this regard:

"Official U.S. estimates of Somalian casualties at the time numbered 350 dead and 500 injured. Somalian clan leaders made claims of more than 1,000 deaths. The United Nations placed the number of dead at ``between 300 to 500.'' Doctors and intellectuals in Mogadishu not aligned with the feuding clans say that 500 dead is probably accurate.

The attack on Mogadishu was particularly vicious. Quoting Bowden: "The Task Force Ranger commander, Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison, testifying before the Senate, said that if his men had put any more ammunition into the city 'we would have sunk it.' Most soldiers interviewed said that through most of the fight they fired on crowds and eventually at anyone and anything they saw."

After 18 US Special Forces soldiers were killed in the final Mogadishu firefight, which included the downing of a US helicopter, television screens filled with the scene of a dead US soldier being dragged through the streets by jubilant Somalis. Clinton immediately called off the operation. US forces left Somalia in disgrace. Some 19,000 UN troops remained for a short period, but eventually left in futility.

The Somalia defeat elicited howls of protest and rage from the military brass, congressional hawks, and right-wing provocateurs itching for an excuse to declare political war on the "liberal" Clinton administration.

The "Somalia syndrome" would dog Clinton throughout his presidency, and mar every military mission during his tenure.

Today, as right-wing extremist George W. Bush occupies the White House, surrounded by his father's operatives, and many of the architects of the original raid, military fanaticism is all the rage. A global war "without end" has just begun.

What a perfect moment to "clean up" the past.

Hollywood to the rescue

In promoting the film, producer Jerry Bruckheimer (who rewrote another humiliating episode of US military history with "Pearl Harbor") is seeking to convince Americans that the Somalia operation was "not America's darkest hour, but America's brightest hour;" that a bungled imperialist intervention was a noble incident of grand moral magnificence.

CNN film reviewer Paul Tatara describes "Black Hawk Down" as "pound for pound, one of the most violent films ever released by a major studio," from "two of the most pandering, tactless filmmakers in Hollywood history (Jerry Bruckheimer and Ridley Scott)" who are attempting to "teach us about honor among soldiers."

More important are the film's true subtexts, and the likely emotional reaction of viewers.

What viewers see is "brave and innocent young American boys" getting shot at and killed for "no reason" by "crazy black Islamists" that the Americans are "just trying to help." (Subtext one: America is good, and it is impossible to understand why "they hate us." Subtext two: "Those damned ungrateful foreigners." Subtext three: "Those damned blacks." Subtext four: "Kill Arabs.")

What viewers will remember is a line spoken by one of the "brave soldiers" about how, in the heat of combat, "politics goes out the window." (Subtext one: there is no need for thought; shoot first, talk later. Subtext two: it is right to abandon one's sanity, morality and ethics when faced with chaos. Subtext three: when the Twin Towers went down on 9/11, America was right in embracing radical militarism and extreme violence, throwing all else "out the window.")

In the currently lethal political climate, in which testosterone rage, mob mentality, and love of war pass for normal behavior (while reason, critical thinking, and tolerance are considered treasonous), "Black Hawk Down" will appeal to the most violent elements of American society. Many who have seen the film report leaving the theater feeling angry, itching to "kick some ass." In short, the film is dangerous. And those who "love" it are dangerous.

Considering the fact that Somalia is one of the targets in the next phase of the Bush administration's "war on terrorism," the timing of the film is no coincidence.

As Herbert London of the Hudson Institute said of "Black Hawk Down," "I would never deny the importance of heroism in battle, but just as we should recognize and honor heroes, we should also respect the truthfulness of the events surrounding their heroic acts. In the case of 'Black Hawk Down,' we get a lot of the former and almost nothing of the latter."

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

Millions Boycott The Sponsors Of Laura Ingraham A05 11:36AM

THE CONSERVATIVE THREAT A05 6:51AM

The US, the Dollar, IS and Saudi Arabia A05 3:34AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy