Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Nixon without the decency

Bill Clinton is again trying to rewrite history - this time about Somalia.
That force asked for heavy armor--in the form of Abrams tanks and Bradley armored vehicles--as well as the AC-130 gunship, but the Clinton Administration denied those requests. On October 3 on a mission to pick up Aidid, two Black Hawks were unexpectedly shot down; in the ensuing urban gun battle, 18 American soldiers were killed and another 73 injured.

Many military experts believe that if the U.S. forces had had armor, fewer would have died. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin resigned two months after Somalia, having acknowledged that his decision on the armor had been an error. A 1994 Senate Armed Services Committee investigation reached the same conclusion. But perhaps the most poignant statement came from retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry Joyce, father of Sergeant Casey Joyce, a Ranger killed in Mogadishu: "Had there been armor . . . I contend that my son would probably be alive today."
But Bill Clinton was Commander in Chief and had to make weighty decisions. Among a CinC's responsibilities is to decide what to hold in reserve - who could know where armor might be needed next? For instance, how about here?

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