Friday, January 18, 2019

Review of "Black Hawk Down," DVD version

Review of
Black Hawk Down, DVD version

Five out of five stars
 While this is a tense and realistic war movie with a great deal of action and suspense, it also demonstrates that military valor is of little value when there is political ignorance and arrogance. The backdrop is the U. S. military operation in Somalia in the early nineties. The government of Somalia had collapsed, and the country degenerated into zones controlled by various warlords and civil war. They all used intimidation and starvation to tighten their hold on power and the U. S. led an operation to try to end the civil war and stop the mass starvation.
 It was a mission that began with the best of intentions yet was based on a lack of understanding of the situation in the country. In many ways, it was based on the misbegotten belief that the Somali people would be grateful, and the Americans and UN personnel would be hailed as benevolent heroes. When there was some pushback, the U. S. command came up with a foolish and arrogant plan to kidnap General Aideed in the capital city of Mogadishu.
 This movie is a well-done depiction of that raid, from the initial arrogance of the American troops to the disaster that followed, where the American soldiers demonstrated incredible valor and sacrifice. The Americans believed that it would be so quick and easy that some didn’t even bother to don their body armor or fill their canteens. Furthermore, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin turned down the request of the U. S. military for armored vehicles including tanks, fact not well explained.  
 As battles go, it was a victory for the American forces, 18 American soldiers were killed while over 1,000 Somalis died in the fight. Yet, it was a defeat, demonstrating that even people starving in a civil war will take up arms against an invasion force and leading to the American withdrawal. This movie is a history lesson contained within a war movie.

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