Lead-in to Stephen Hunter review of "Black Hawk Down"

The following is from a review of the movie "Black Hawk Down".

Shock Troops: The Battle Is Engaged, and So Is the Audience, in the Ferocious 'Black Hawk Down' By Stephen Hunter, Washington Post, 18 January 2002

Don't turn to Ridley Scott's stunning "Black Hawk Down" for lectures on geopolitics, the tarnished Clinton foreign-policy legacy or theories of terrorist conspiracy. The movie reflects not a public intellectual's view of the world, but Sgt. "Hoot" Hooten's. Hoot's the guy with the M-16 who doesn't make decisions but only tries to survive them.

The movie, then, may disappoint pundits and op-ed cowboys and all the men in gray suits and black shoes who so self-confidently throng this city's streets over the lunch hour. It teaches stuff they don't know, only the smallest and most bitter of lessons: that ammunition is more important than water, that cover is more important than concealment, and that the good die young.

"Black Hawk Down" re-creates war at the micro level, as experienced by Army Rangers and Delta Force commandos on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, Oct. 3, 1993. On that day, a routine if dangerous mission slated to last an hour fell apart in the worst possible way. The young soldiers found themselves the targets of what can only be described as a citywide homicidal rage, in which every angry Somali with a Soviet-bloc assault rifle or a rocket-propelled grenade launcher petitioned his grievance in lead and warheads.....

I've saved this for years now and re-read it on a regular basis. Even though my time in the service wasn't with the Rangers or in Mogadishu, I really like this lead-in and it strikes a note with me. In my unit we often said "We don't make foreign policy. We just execute it and try to come home in one piece". Most of us from the military can recall those pucker-worthy moments when "...ammunition is more important than water..." or food, or bandages, or comm gear, or .....just about anything else.

Living and working in D.C. makes it nearly impossible to avoid daily contact with the sideline intellectuals and op-ed pundits. They can be a foolish people. Still, another thing the "suits" don't know is the simple happiness that comes solely from having another day above ground - too bad for them, lucky for us.

Semper Fi,

- Brian

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