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Enfield
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Icon 1 posted 19. January 2002 23:12
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In case anyone's wondering... it's a damn good movie.
It follows the facts of the book, but not the timeline and I think it does a great job of portraying modern professional soliders in combat. It's not soul searching lik the Vietnam movies, nor is it a brainless action movie. I would say it is the most accurate portrayl of professional soldiers ever made on film.
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Korus
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Icon 1 posted 19. January 2002 23:42
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I saw it last night... It was great!

Naturally, however, the book was much better. I get the feeling that people who haven't read the book will have trouble following many of the details of what's going on, though.
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Se7eN
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Icon 1 posted 20. January 2002 23:02
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it was the only movie I have been too in a long time where people were dead quite(sp?) while leaving the theatre. Yes the book was waaay better but it was the best movie I have seen in a long time.

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Gordon Angus Mackinlay
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Icon 1 posted 21. January 2002 10:08
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A realistic view of this "MOVIE"

Black Hawk Down - good box office but bad history
By Scott Peterson
(Filed: 21/01/2021) The Daily Telegraph of London

BRED on Rambo movies and looking the sinister part, American Delta Force commandos making their debut in Somalia in August 1993 launched a manhunt mission as spectacular as it was misguided. Swathed in black - and in full view of night-vision television cameras on a nearby hotel roof-top - the commandos snaked down ropes from helicopters and then burst, firing from the hip, through closed doors into the offices of the UN Development Programme.

Walls were broken down with grenades, doors of the UN office and a neighbouring French relief agency were kicked in, and radio equipment was destroyed before the American Special Forces realised their blunder.

The target of the raid - General Mohamed Farah Aidid, whom the Americans demonised as the "Hitler of Somalia" for his clansmen's killing of 25 Pakistani "peacekeeping" troops - was nowhere to be seen.

The events of that night in Mogadishu were the first of a series of bungled American raids that would mark the failed manhunt for Gen Aidid. Dogged by poor intelligence, the mission culminated in a bloody battle on October 3-4, 1993, patriotically portrayed in the new film Black Hawk Down.

In the fiercest firefight since the Vietnam War, 18 American soldiers lost their lives. Two were mutilated and dragged through the streets of the city by jubilant Somalis, and American policymakers lost their post-Cold War taste for humanitarian action.

Osama bin Laden has called Somalia his "greatest victory", though there is little evidence that his men played more than a marginal role. More importantly, he has also said that Somalia showed him how vulnerable America could be.

As the then East Africa correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, I made dozens of journeys to Somalia to cover these events. But to this day, and despite multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, the Pentagon's Somalia after-action report has yet to be de-classified.

That's because Somalia - rightly - became synonymous with failure. Ever since America was humiliated by Somali gunmen wearing flip-flops, the word Somalia has been virtually forbidden at the Pentagon. Until now.

Today, as America seeks to expand its "war against terrorism" beyond Afghanistan, Somalia features high on the target list for its alleged harbouring of al-Qa'eda militants. Following the relatively successful operations in Afghanistan, Americans favour more action.

And, with a military not altogether immune from thoughts of vengeance in Somalia, public opinion will be buoyed by a film that puts a Hollywood gloss on the biggest American military misadventure since peacekeepers were sent to Lebanon in 1983.

Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of Black Hawk Down, says that Somalia was at once a military victory and a political disaster. He points out that in October 1993, Delta Force commandos on their seventh raid did net two Aidid aides before disaster struck.

"It was called a failure by the media. The military doesn't look at it that way," Mr Bruckheimer said. "They accomplished their mission. They killed a thousand of the enemy and brought back the two warlords."

Ridley Scott, the director of Black Hawk Down, told CNN that the Pentagon proved "very, very, very user-friendly" over the film, as long as "what you are actually trying to do is represent the [military] in the right and proper light". The result, Mr Scott said, was an "almost page by page process of negotiation" with Pentagon officials about the screenplay.

Without question, there were moments of individual heroism by American soldiers during the 15-hour melee. These are well described in journalist Mark Bowden's book Black Hawk Down, the basis for the film.

The book doesn't shy away from many uncomfortable facts, about how little American forces knew about the Somalis and their centuries-old system of clans and blood feuds. Nor does the book cover up the Americans' catastrophic intelligence problems, which led to so many bungled raids - a danger for any new American action in Somalia, as clans seek to vilify their enemies.

But any attempt by the film to use valiant episodes of American soldiering to portray the "Battle of Mogadishu" as a victory is a revision of history. Forget for a moment the depth of the political fiasco. Consider the military mistakes.

Why did Delta commanders use exactly the same tactical template in six snatch attempts, so that Gen Aidid and his gunmen could so easily prepare their defences when alerted by helicopters lifting off from their airport base?

Why did American helicopters fly so low and confidently over Mogadishu for months - so low, in fact, that I often thought how easy it would be to hit one by throwing a stone? Why didn't senior officers recognise that Ranger rescue convoys, vulnerably riding in open-backed Humvees through narrow roads, would be seen by Somalis as ripe for ambush?

A few swiftly placed barriers in the road - much less the downing of two Black Hawk helicopters - threw the snatch raid into lethal chaos. The Somalis didn't need bin Laden to point out the many American weaknesses.

Somalis - like many Americans - literally carry the scars from those battles. Some kept scraps of American uniforms and dog-tags and even, for a while, pieces of American flesh as trophies of their victory.

One of the most inhospitable nations in the world, Somalia has always been dangerous. Several of my colleagues were killed by stray and not-so-stray bullets. Four friends were killed by a Somali mob in the aftermath of one American attack. I escaped with a machete wound to the head, one of the many of my nine lives used up in Somalia.

But the peril was far greater if you were a American soldier or UN "peacekeeper", and if your new manhunt mission had morphed you into Somalia's latest armed clan. Will that lesson be learnt, as American officials contemplate returning to Africa's Horn, to root out al-Qa'eda militants, even if they can be identified?

When American Marines first landed on the beach at Mogadishu in December 1992, it was to end a famine that had already crippled much of the country. President George Bush Sr said at the time that American forces were doing "God's work" at which Americans "cannot fail".

Yet fail they did. For most of the past decade, poverty-stricken Somalia has been abandoned by the rest of the world. Perhaps, then, the most suitable lesson regarding Somalia is a more recent one, from Afghanistan, where it is now clear that years of Western neglect allowed bin Laden and his al-Qa'eda network to take root.

Somalia, like Afghanistan, needs a political and cash commitment, to help rebuild schools and stabilise government; to welcome Somalia back to the league of nations. Somalis say they have matured, and should not be cast as villains of the piece.

Isn't this the way America should step back into Somalia, rather than by renewing military strikes - and thereby risking the start of a new blood feud?

Scott Peterson is the former East Africa correspondent of The Daily Telegraph and author of Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda.


Jock
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Gunner
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Icon 10 posted 21. January 2002 23:43
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Jock,

Scott Peterson's points are valid, however, he comes across in his text as anti-US. I'd have to read more of his articles to find out.

Anyway, most people I speak with think the movie was an excellent portrayal of Mark Bowden's book. I haven't spoken with a credible soldier who didn't ask alot of those questions...QRF, battle procedure, etc. It was a prime example of what complacency can do to an elite force.

The movie doesn't address the geo-political motivations for US involvement in Somalia or the subsequent failures. I wouldn't say it is a "rah rah" US soldier film as 18 US soldiers are killed albeit they take 1000s of Somalis with them. If I was to classify it as any type of movie it would be anti-intervention/anti UN along the lines of Behind Enemy Lines.

Cheers,

Gunner

Freezing his *** off in Western Canada.
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Infanteer
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Icon 1 posted 22. January 2002 04:45
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See the movie.

It has relevance to us. With the dashing government we have today, that could one day be a company of Canadian Boys fighting their way outta some place in Bosnia / Kosovo / Afgahnistan / East Timor / Ethiopia / Someother****hole.
And we don't have all that neat kit to bail us out....
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Enfield
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Icon 17 posted 23. January 2002 00:07
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The movie is about soilders, plain and simple. It is about the events of Oct 2/3, nothing else - nt Somalia, not the intervention, not politics.
As such, it is the most - perhaps the only, except maybe Band of Brothers - accurate portrayl of soldiers. The characters in BHD are the only war movie characters made in the past 3 decades that I can identify with and say "hey, that reminds me of corporal so and so" or the dozen little things that only soldiers can recognize - like when eversman gets the brass down his shirt.

I think the media has a hard time figuring it out. They have no contact with real soldiers, all they know is from Platoon and Apocalypse Now and that abismal film Saving Ryans Privates or god forbid the Thin Red Line.

The issues the above article are all well understand, in retrospect - and many believe they should have been obvious. I am unwilling to question decisions made by the guys on the ground. I am willing to comdemn the Administration for refusing to provifde proper support.

Critics say that BHD has no plot - but I say that thre strength, herism of 100 soldiers in those 2 days is moere than enough plot. If combat isnt a story worth telling, what is?
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Infanteer
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Icon 1 posted 23. January 2002 00:57
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Why do you gotta hate on Saving Private Ryan?
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Enfield
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Icon 17 posted 23. January 2002 01:39
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The plot was **** - is there really a shortage of stories of heroism in DDay??? Did they have to make up some harebrained story about about a bunch of Rangers tramping across a major battlefield to find some kid? Does the US Army not have better things to do with squads of highly trained soldiers - like kill germans??

The special effects and the first 20 minutes were great, and still haven't been really beat, I think.

In short, the plot sucked. In terms of story line it ranks with Rambo. And some little things - lots of little mistakes that added up. Like whne the sergeat shows all the containers of sand from all the places hes fought - all places his unit would never have been. Or using the mortars in the end - technically possible, but so unlikely.... In short, it was Fiction. Fake. An artistic portrayl based on real events, when there was no need.

Band of Brothers, the HBO miniseries is far, far better and if you haven't seen it, go find it (it's on kazaa). Real stories about real men in real battles. The definitive DDay movie is still the Longest Day - again, real stories, some anecdotal, about real men on both sides in real engagements.
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Infanteer
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Icon 1 posted 23. January 2002 03:54
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Ha...the mortars. We bugged the Sergeant about that one for quite some time while learning the 60. He gave us the dummy round and removed all doubt of the possibility. There are other weak points with the movie too. The Rangers were stuck on Omaha beach for about 5 hours, there was no quick taking of the objectives there. If you see real footage, the Americans are just lying on the berms. Also, what kinda army places a lone machine gun in the middle of a field, unsupported. They had a huge fire fight, conducted first aid, and bickered about a prisoner and no Germans bothered to come check it out?!?

....Anyways, the action sequences combined with the message make it a good movie in my opinion...same as Thin Red Line. Wasn't really a war flick, but something in it got to me...(Maybe it was just the way those Japs were running the Nambu.)

But I'll have to agree with you, BHD has taken the new position as "best war film" in my books.
Infanteer

(P.S. Anyone seen 84 Charlie Mopic? I heard some good things about it and seen it for sale on Amazon.)
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Enfield
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Icon 1 posted 23. January 2002 04:22
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The mortar round thing is actually possible, I just find it hard to believe they would do that in the middle of combat. All sort sof little things like that, and I didn't find the message or the philosophy realistic to the setting or the type of men they were supposed to be portraying.

I believe that a war movie doesn't have to be anti-war, anti-military, or anti-soldier. Look around, and most war movies since Vietnam are all of those things.

I can't recommend Band of Brothers enough...
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Fus
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Icon 16 posted 24. January 2002 14:39
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I remember watching saving private ryan in theaters before I joined up. At the time I thought it was the best movie of all time. After training though some of the scenes were hard to believe, but I still think it is a really good movie. I can't wait to see blackhawk down. As for band of brothers I have only seen have of the first movie, where that guy from friends is an airborne instructor. At first it was a good laugh watching him in that role but he did jack people up pretty good. Can't wait to buy the set. Does anybody know when it will be released ? Some of my other favourite movies are Platoon and the Devils Brigade (just for the scene when the Canadian battalion comes marching down the road) [Canadian]
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Brad Sallows
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Icon 1 posted 24. January 2002 20:16
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Is Scott Peterson simple?

To paraphrase:

"I don't know all the facts because I couldn't get them. Nor do I state any credentials which establish me as an expert judge of military action. But I will anyway, by citing miscellaneous observations without context and asking some rhetorical questions as if the mere manner in which I word them can prove incompetence. The Somali warmongers were liars and thieves before, but they're much better now and will behave nicely if we just send them blank cheques."
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Fus
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Finally saw Blackhawk Down this weekend. Excellent film. No politics, philiosophy, or complicated soul searching lessons. Just a excellent story of an ops gone FUBAR. Gonna head out this afternoon and grab the book. Have to get this baby on DVD. Kind of makes you think what would happen if our troops got caught on the same hot situation, scary thought. Aside from that, best war (not action) flick Ive seen in a while. Makes you really wanna learn FIBUA better !!! [MG]
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