Magazine article New Internationalist

Black Hawk Down

Magazine article New Internationalist

Black Hawk Down

Article excerpt

Ridley Scott's latest movie is a gory portrayal of the 3 October 1993 battle in Mogadishu that marked the climax of the disastrous US `humanitarian intervention' in Somalia. A raid against warlord Muhammad Aidid goes badly wrong, leaving US elite forces stranded. Eighteen Americans die battling their way to safety, an event that triggered withdrawal from Somalia and the greatest humiliation of the US military since Vietnam.

The film boasts neither serious script nor character development: it is simply a bloody, blow-by-blow account of the ferocious battle. In this respect it remains true to the aim of the book by Mark Bowden on which it is based - to recount the personal heroics behind an embarrassing incident that the US Government would rather forget.

However, that the story stops there is problematic. It depicts the US soldiers as reluctant to kill civilians, whereas two-thirds of the 7,000 to 10,000 killed during the intervention in Somalia were women and children. …

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