Lessons on the ground, lessons from the air.

On October 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger, composed of elite U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy special operations troops, launched a mission intended to capture warlord Mohamed Far Aidid and two top leaders of his Habr Gidr clan. Task Force Ranger consisted of 160 men, 19 aircraft, and 12 vehicles. In a mission planned to take no longer than one hour, Task Force Ranger was to travel from its camp on the outskirts of the city to a burned-out building near the center of Mogadishu where Aidid and his lieutenants were believed to be meeting.

While the operation initially succeeded, the situation quickly spiraled out of control as Task Force Range attempted to return to headquarters. Within minutes, the “one-hour” mission would turn into a deadly overnight rescue campaign that became the Battle of Mogadishu.

One of my favorite movies was Blackhawk Down. I have written before of the Christ-like sacrifice of Gary Gordon and Randy Shugart, Delta Force snipers who volunteered to defend the crew of a downed Blackhawk helicopter, and understood they would probably pay with their lives, which they did. In watching the movie again, I paid attention to the planning side of the ill-fated mission. Our armchair generals in D.C., concerned with PR, decided not to use AC-130 gunships to provide air cover for our troops. Colonel McKnight, who was responsible for ground exfil, was unhappy with the mission planning. When asked why by the command and control officer, whose job was to “supervise” the mission–from high in the air–he said, “no gunships, broad daylight, the one district in Mogadishu where the enemy can field all their troops, what’s not to like?” The C and C officer replied, “conditions are never perfect.” McKnight’s comeback, “from 500 feet in the air, it’s imperfect. On the ground, it’s impossible.”

McKnight is soon trying to evacuate wounded by Humvee, on the ground, through hostile territory. C and C tells him to drive slower. Why? Because of the delay involved with the mission commander having to report to Joint Operations Command (in the U.S), and receive orders back from JOC. Brilliant idea, courtesy of the politicians who liked micromanaging. Civilian control of the military does have some drawbacks.

Whether or not that lesson was learned, many other lessons were learned in the Battle of Mogadishu, the first sustained urban warfare US troops had experienced in many years. It’s easy for current soldiers to see the past two decades of near-constant deployments as the norm. But for troops from the late 1970s until the late 1990s, actual combat operations were rare and brief.

In later operations in Afghanistan, Rangers flew into areas from ships offshore for raids rather than establishing ground bases in or near large cities, such as in Mogadishu. After Mogadishu, Rangers added more close-quarters combat training to their marksmanship drills and strove to have every Ranger certified as a combat lifesaver since the ratio of troops to medics was 48-to-1. They also found problems with planning for contingencies. The Mogadishu raid was expected to be a one- or two-hour operation, so many soldiers brought only a basic ammunition load, no night vision goggles and one canteen of water.

A larger tactical shortfall, though, was more due to operational or even strategic miscalculations. The Rangers had no armored vehicles, and even their Humvees lacked firepower beyond .50-caliber machine guns. They had no grenade launchers, and due to the civilian-packed urban terrain, fire support was limited to close-air support from helicopters.

High level plans lacked thorough analysis, noted another study out of the Combat Studies Institute Press, titled “Understanding the ‘Victory Disease’ From the Battle of Little Bighorn to Mogadishu and Beyond,” by Maj. Timothy Karcher. Karcher points out that Task Force Ranger had six times conducted missions using similar tactics to those used in the Battle of Mogadishu before the incident. That established a pattern that enemy forces could recognize and exploit. “If you use one tactic twice, you should not use it a third time, and the Americans already had done basically the same thing six times,” a Somali militia commander told the Washington Post after the battle.

Even to date, only a handful of battles over the past two decades even come close to matching the sustained intensity of that 15-hour fight in Mogadishu. Most enemy contact in recent years has been through improvised explosive device attacks or short-term ambushes that last minutes before adversaries retreat. Mogadishu was an ambush that went “on for hours.” I will discuss some of the many cognitive biases exhibited by this battle, in a future post.

Hey mom, I am going out to bash heads and be arrested, but I’ll be home in time for dinner.

I’ll be home in time for dinner…

The vast majority of left-wing protesters arrested on suspicion of politically-fuelled offences in Berlin are young men who live with their parents, a new report found. The figures, which were published in daily newspaper Bild revealed that 873 suspects were investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013. Of these 84 per cent were men, and 72 per cent were aged between 18 and 29. A third of them were unemployed, and 92 per cent still live with their parents. This “international anti-fascist culture” consists of taking the streets and physically confronting the “brownshirts of white supremacy, whoever they may be.” Okay, but I have to be home by six if I want dinner.

It’s interesting that the greatest common denominator is not age, sex or employment status, but living in their parents’ house. Is that because they get along so well with mom and dad, or just love their parents too much to leave? Is it a great way to impress girls, or is it the allure of having someone else make their meals or clean up after them? Probably none of the above. Even though two thirds were employed, most lived at home because, presumably, they couldn’t afford to move out. This was a German study, and most colleges in Germany don’t charge tuition, and for those that do, student loans are very liberal. The German model of student loans, which come interest-free, give students a five-year break before repayment begins, and reward academic performance by lowering the amount owed. Were the respondents Americans, it’s quite possible that the reasons they cannot afford to live on their own would include massive student loan debt for virtually worthless college degrees, and low paying jobs.

But what do we make of German 18-29 year olds living with parents? In Italy and Greece, over 70% of 15-29 year olds live with parents. U.S. News and World Report published figures in 2016 that showed countries with the highest percentage of this age group living with parents. The low cutoff was 30.9%, Canada. The highest was Italy, over 80%. Germany wasn’t even on the list, so less than 30.9% of their youth live with parents, yet 92% of violent protesters do! Is their violence related to their economic situation? Or is it related to living with mom and dad. Or is there no causal relationship between their violence and their living situations? It would sure be interesting to know more about these unfledged birds. As for as I have been able to ascertain, Germany is the only country in which violent leftist demonstrators have been interviewed as to their living situation.

I remember that when I mustered out of the army in 1970, one of the most violent leftist gangs in the world was the Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader Meinhoff gang. Their activities included murders, blowing up buildings, kidnapping for ransom, highjacking airliners and consorting with Arab and Palestinian terrorists. They were German. Other European countries may have spawned leftist terrorist gangs, but I am not aware of any of them that operated internationally. Most were involved in local struggles; few lived with their parents. Is this the future, bust heads during the day, be home in time for dinner? I can just imagine the dinner table conversation: “What did you do today son?” “Oh, nothing much, put some bystanders in the hospital with concussions” “That’s nice dear….more bratwurst?”

No wait, mom, dad and son are probably all glued to their phones, checking out Twitter…..

40 acres and a mule.

Sheila Jackson-Lee and Burgess Owens

The word “reparations” is derived from the word “repair”—which basically means “to return to the state of affairs prior to the alleged damage.” Originally, reparations for slavery were to take the form of “40 acres and a mule.” That’s where the moniker of resolution 40 came from.

Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee wants to be the “face” of the slavery reparations racket uh, movement. She says, “Maybe I should offer a good thanks to the distinguished members of the majority, the Republicans, my chairman and others, for giving us an opportunity to have a deliberative constitutional discussion that reinforces the sanctity of this nation and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a Constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not.” Which Constitution is she talking about? Ours was formally adopted on Sept. 17, 1787. It was then ratified on June 21, 1788 and went into effect in March of 1789. This entity called the United States of America formally began in 1789, making us 230 years old, not 400 years. Can the “movement” gain credibility with her as the face? Faux pas seems to be her talent.

  • During a 1997 visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Jackson Lee, who was then serving on the House Science Committee and on the Subcommittee that oversees U.S. space policy, asked a guide whether the Mars Pathfinder would be able to show an image of “the flag the astronauts planted there before.” When it was subsequently pointed out that the flag to which she was referring was in fact the one that Neil Armstrong had planted on the Moon—not Mars—in 1969, Jackson Lee complained that she was being mocked by bigots. “You thought you could have fun with a black woman member of the Science Committee,” her then-chief-of-staff wrote angrily in a letter to the editor. Since when is correcting a mistake mocking?
  • In 2005 she expressed her objection to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) practice of assigning “lily white” names to hurricanes—i.e., names normally associated with Caucasians. “All racial groups should be represented,” the congresswoman told The Hill Magazine, in hopes that the WMO in the future “would try to be inclusive of African American names.” She suggested such names as “Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn.” What, you want death and destruction to be associated with your race?

This guy must really want to be the face of reparations. Temar Bishop is a parolee who was arrested last week and is charged with a brutal rooftop rape in the Bronx of a 20-year-old white woman that he left with a broken nose, broken teeth, and vomiting blood. According to a witness, he justified the rape thusly: “She was a white girl. She deserved it because us minorities have been through slavery.…This is what they used to do to us. This is what they did to us during slavery. They used to beat us and whip us.No reparations for you.

Since every white Democrat presidential hopeful has jumped aboard the slavery reparations express, Pocahontas Warren has re-introduced S. 1940, the Refund Equality Act, which would allow same-sex couples to amend past tax returns. According to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill would direct $57 million in refunds. The funds would go to same-sex couples in states that had legalized same-sex marriage before the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. “The federal government forced legally married same-sex couples in Massachusetts to file as individuals and pay more in taxes for almost a decade,” Warren said. Seems like the reparations racket has become a political arms race, doesn’t it?