Tuesday, July 29

The Lost Lessons of “Black Hawk Down”


A good military lesson for the Americans and the British actually. 

Besides that historical lesson, what parallels do I draw? 

Shit happens. It will always happen. People will die and lose jobs and typhoons will happen. 

The point is to hold your nerve. Victory is in the mind son. And technology isn't the panacea. I fix organisations. It's very little to do with technology. It's all in the mind. People need to change behaviours. 

We keep on forgetting the lessons of the past son. Smart people learn from the mistakes of others. 



The Lost Lessons of “Black Hawk Down”

The Lost Lessons of

The Lost Lessons of "Black Hawk Down"

Today marks the 20th anniversary of The Battle of Mogadishu, the American operation in Somalia later immortalized by Mark Bowden’s seminal non-fiction book “Black Hawk Down” and dramatized in Ridley Scott’s exhilarating but slightly less non-fictional movie of the same name. On October 3, 1993, 160 U.S. Army Rangers and other special operations forces launched what was supposed to be a routine raid to capture two lieutenants of Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed. But when two MH-60L helicopters providing fire support were shot down, the operation became a desperate search and rescue mission in which U.S. forces were besieged overnight by thousands of heavily armed Somali militiamen. Fourteen hours after the operation’s start, eighteen Americans were dead, 84 were wounded, and one pilot was missing.

The incredible valor and drama of Task Force Ranger’s ordeal over those two days has, unfortunately, tended to draw attention away from the broader campaign to capture Aideed, whom U.S. and international forces had been hunting since the previous June, when Aideed’s Somali National Alliance ambushed and mutilated 24 Pakistani peacekeepers . This manhunt was part of a broader operation which – along with the “Black Hawk Down” battle itself – carries important tactical, operational, and strategic lessons. As debates rage about intervention in Syria and the renewed threat posed by Somali-based al-Shabaab, the 20th anniversary of the most dramatic U.S. military operation between Vietnam and  Afghanistan offers an important opportunity to revisit those lessons, which remain relevant two decades later.

Lesson One: Technology Does Not Guarantee Success

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