Congressman Murtha and Somalia

Congressman Murtha believes that Bill Clinton’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Somalia after the October 1993 battle in Mogadishu (which was the basis for “Blackhawk Down”) is an example of how to properly conduct U.S. Foreign Policy.

The thing that disturbed me and worries me about this whole thing is we can’t get them to change direction. And I said over and over in debate, if you listen to any of it, in Beirut President Reagan changed direction, in Somalia President Clinton changed direction, and yet here, with the troops out there every day, suffering from these explosive devices, and being looked at as occupiers — 80 percent of the people want us out of there — and yet they continue to say, “We’re fighting this thing.” We’re not fighting this. The troops are fighting this thing. That’s who’s doing the fighting.

Pulling out of Beirut was a mistake but larger international issues at the time relegated it to being a small mistake.

Leaving Somalia was a catastrophe and was a principle factor in shaping Osama bin Laden’s strategy for fighting us :

“After leaving Afghanistan, the Muslim fighters headed for Somalia and prepared for a long battle, thinking that the Americans were like the Russians,” bin Laden said. “The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat. And America forgot all the hoopla and media propaganda … about being the world leader and the leader of the New World Order, and after a few blows they forgot about this title and left, dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat.”

Suggesting that the third time is the charm is a bit too much. Mr Murtha says that what “disturbs” and “worries” him is that the administration won’t “change direction”. Given that Murtha was instrumental in Clinton’s decision to cut and run the first time, it is disturbing and worrisome he has not learned his lesson.

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