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Mogadishu and Baghdad

From Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down, about the aftermath of the battle in Mogadishu in 1993:

The Somali death toll was catastrophic. Conservative counts numbered five hundred dead among more than a thousand casualties.

I've seen other estimates of Somali dead -- in what they call the Battle of the Black Sea -- ranging from 2,000 to as high as 5,000. Note that this battle lasted approximately 14 hours from start to finish.

The US military has yet to disclose its plan for taking Baghdad. This could be for one of at least two reasons:

  1. They don't want to give the Iraqis advance warning of their planned tactics.
  2. They don't have a plan, because Secretary Rumsfeld's doctrine of transformation predicted that the the government of Iraq would have capitulated by now, either from outright destruction at the hands of US air power, or as a result of a popular revolt fueled by images of the same from Basra and other cities to the south.
I know that Black Hawk Down has been an extremely popular book within the US military. I hope they have created new urban warfare strategies in its wake. If Secretary Rumsfeld did indeed predict a joyous entry into the city by this point, I hope the military leaders created backup plans in case he was wrong.

The alternative -- Mogadishu a decade later, on a massive scale -- is too terrible to contemplate.


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