Reality vs. Heroism, Alexander Cockburn, WorkingforChange.com
A massacre of unarmed civilians in Somalia by U.S. troops has been twisted into a story of heroism in the new movie Black Hawk Down, writes Alexander Cockburn in WorkingforChange.com. In 1993, between 500 and 1,000 unarmed Somalis were killed when so-called “elite troops” were surrounded by an angry crowd after a failed attempt to catch a local warlord. That story has now been turned into a Hollywood epic. But the movie, reports Cockburn, ignores the unpleasant details of excessive violence — not to mention a U.S. Army investigation that found organized racism occurring among white troops in Somalia. After the massacre, Canada, Italy, and Belgium held inquiries into troop behavior, and even placed some of its soldiers on trial for torture and murder. The U.S. Army did not hold any public investigation or reprimand its troops after the incident.
For an in-depth look at the history of U.S.-Somalia relations, check out Stephen Zunes’ article, The Long and Hidden History of the U.S. in Somalia on Alternet.