Federalist: Earlier this week, a 2017 tweet from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) surfaced in which she attacked the men who helped defend from starvation and civil war the country she abandoned in the early 1990s. In her tweet, Omar blasted “American forces” for killing “thousands of Somalis” during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993. “#NotTodaySatan,” Omar wrote.
I take special exception to Omar’s disgusting comments because I served in the Battle of Mogadishu, which was later portrayed in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” If you aren’t familiar with the real story behind “Black Hawk Down,” let me set the scene for you.
In late 1992, President George H. W. Bush launched Operation Restore Hope in support of United Nations initiatives to restore some semblance of law and order to Somalia, which was wracked by devastating famine and violent warlords eager to use the chaos and hopelessness to establish corrupt fiefdoms.
The purpose of American involvement in Somalia was to protect the peacekeepers tasked with the near-impossible mission of delivering vital food and medical supplies to the starving, war-torn population. As the aid grew, so did the opportunities for graft from warring clans who saw the humanitarian crisis as a way to cement their power throughout the country.
The Habar Gidir clan, one of the more powerful clans around Mogadishu, was led by the notorious warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid, who made the distribution of international aid to those who needed it nearly impossible. Instead of equitably spreading food and medical supplies, Aidid and his henchmen spread terror and death.
On June 5, 1993, two dozen Pakistani soldiers working for the United Nations peacekeeping effort were attacked and killed by forces loyal to Farah Aidid (three Americans were injured in that attack as well). The next day, the U.N. passed a resolution condemning the attack and calling for the arrest of those responsible and of those inciting and organizing other attacks against U.N. forces. The man most responsible for the violence was Aidid himself, who unilaterally declared himself president (he was never recognized as a legitimate political leader).
Task Force Ranger was the 1993 military effort ordered by President Bill Clinton to capture Aidid and his lieutenants so the U.N. could deliver food and medical aid without fear of being attacked or killed by Aidid’s forces. The American soldiers Omar attacked in her tweet — the men of Task Force Ranger –weren’t sent to Somalia for fame or fortune. They weren’t there because of a deep desire to visit the God-forsaken nation of Somalia. They were deployed to support peacekeepers who were desperate to rescue the country from starvation and the ravages of civil war. To do that, they had to capture the men responsible for it.
By the time Task Force Ranger had been launched, Aidid’s network of drug-addled, Khat-dealing gun runners had taken over Mogadishu and were doing everything they could to oppress any and rival clans, including that of Omar, the Majeerteen. more