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1) The purpose of the raid on October 3, Black Hawk Down suggests, was to prevent Aideed's murderous forces from starving Somalia to death. No hint is given of the feuding between him and the UN, other than the initial attack on the Pakistani peacekeepers. There is no recognition that the worst of the famine had passed, or that the US troops had long ceased to be part of the solution. The US hostage-taking, even the crucial role played by Malaysian soldiers in the Rangers' rescue, have been excised from the record. Instead -- and since September 11 this has become a familiar theme -- the attempt to capture Aideed's lieutenants was a battle between good and evil, civilisation and barbarism. (G. Monbiot)

2) Perhaps the homology "between masculine prowess and the conventions of heroism is changing" with the military now moving towards a "feminization" of previous masculinities, as suggested by Steve Nica in his analysis of the 1991 Gulf War: "The Gulf War provided a showcase for the remasculinised ‘American’ man … [showing] cuddly points of identification, i.e. Bush fishing, church services, Powell weeping for our troops in the Gulf. The value placed on family echoes the "female" quality of nurturance, rather than the "male" value of sacrifice. (P. Winkler 424)

3) Black Hawk Down's success lies in its drawing attention to the whole notion of representation. The action switches between the helicopters themselves, the screens of the Joint Operations Centre (JOC), and men on the ground in vehicles. The JOC is able "to watch the whole thing like a football game", says Scott. (G. Foden)

4) Ridley Scott says that he came to the project without politics, which is what people often say when they subscribe to the dominant point of view. The story he relates (with the help of the US department of defence and the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff) is the story the American people need to tell themselves. (G. Monbiot)

5) The Rangers were detailed to capture two top aides of Mahamed Farrah Aidid, the leader of the Habr Gidr clan, the most powerful of two main groups contending for control of Mogadishu after the demise of Barre. The Habr Gidr clan had been marginalized by the US and the UN, largely because Aidid had previously received from the Soviet Union against his opponent, Barre. A UN Pakistani military force was sent into a pro-Aidid television station on a search for weapons; twenty-five were massacred by Aidid forces. After that, Aidid became number one US enemy and in 1993, US troops were detailed to imprison him. (P. Winkler 419)

6) The October 3 Battle of the Mogadishu Bekara Market was the most intense ground combat engagement fought by U.S. Forces since the Vietnam War. (General Wayne Downing, US Army (ret) Commander -In-Chief of the US Special Operations Command)

7) Black Hawk Down looks set to become one of the bestselling movies of all time. Like all the films the British-born director Ridley Scott has made, it is gripping, intense and beautifully shot. It is also a stunning misrepresentation of what happened in Somalia. (G. Monbiot)

8) Like the World War II propaganda movie, Black Hawk Down promotes patriotism, camaraderie and bravery in battle, but it also carries precise and complex messages about what the US military wants us to be informed about, and who (and what) it wants to mobilize in the early part of the twenty-first century. (P. Winkler 421)

9) What viewers see in the film is without question the most authentic depiction of modern soldiers ever filmed. Ken’s script adheres closely to the actual events of October 3, 1993. (Mark Bowden xi)

10) The Somalis in Black Hawk Down speak only to condemn themselves. They display no emotions other than greed and the lust for blood. Their appearances are accompanied by sinister Arab techno, while the US forces are trailed by violins, oboes and vocals inspired by Enya. The American troops display horrific wounds. They clutch photos of their loved ones and ask to be remembered to their parents or their children as they die. The Somalis drop like flies, killed cleanly, dispensable, unmourned. (G. Monbiot)

11) The support of the military places Black Hawk Down in the category of a propaganda war movie, a genre that hearkens back to the World War II combat film, in which the "interests of the nation and the movie industry were closely aligned" to mobilize and inform the public. (P. Winkler 421)

12) The best stories come out of the truth. I myself look more and more to things based on actual events. . . . When it's so recent and so vivid, you can't diddle around with it, you can't romanticise it. (Ridley Scott, qtd in Foden)

13) What we are witnessing in both Black Hawk Down and the current war against terrorism is the creation of a new myth of nationhood. America is casting itself simultaneously as the world's saviour and the world's victim; a sacrificial messiah, on a mission to deliver the world from evil. This myth contains incalculable dangers for everyone else on earth. (G. Monbiot)

14) The message in the Pentagon-backed movie, is that soldiers may choose not to risk their lives over and over again, even for their buddies. Allowing space not to go back into battle is a significant departure, different from the other message of the film: the glorification of an elite troop which must always conquer its fear. (P. Winkler 424)

15) The crux of Black Hawk Down concerns the correct response to "rogue states" in a new world order. Scott says he didn't set out with an agenda one way or the other. "Oliver (Stone) gets into a lot of trouble with that sort of thing, as in JFK and Salvador. I would make a film with a political point of view if I agreed with it, and even, perhaps, if I didn't. But with this one I don't think there were any answers, only questions . . . It asks the audience: what do you think, what would you do?" (G. Foden)

16) Some people have compared Black Hawk Down to the British film Zulu. There is some justice in the comparison, but the Somalis here offer a far more compelling personification of evil than the blundering, belligerent Zulus. They are sinister, deceitful and inscrutable; more like the British caricature of the Chinese during the opium wars. (G. Monbiot)

17) Black Hawk Down neither reconfigures or romanticizes the gruesome nature of battle. (P. Winkler 422)

18) Black Hawk Down is a moving movie that should be required viewing for future generations -- it doesn't go too far into the politics behind the war -- it just depicts the true ugliness and camaraderie of war. (Blake Kunisch)

19) The background to the US military presence in Somalia is this: the UN had been engaged in a largely successful humanitarian mission in Somalia since 1991 to prevent famine once the country had plunged into chaos following the overthrow of President Mohamed Siad Barre, an ally of the US and the UK. In 1992, the US dispatched troops in a mission that was officially described as strictly humanitarian, to safeguard aid shipments to Somalia. (P. Winkler 418)

20) Black Hawk Down is a statement of masculinity…. Black Hawk is about men among men. (Dennis Showalter 28)

21) Aidid was a clan member and had the support of thousands of Somalians. The deployment of an elite force, the US Army Rangers into the heart of Mogadishu to find and kill several of Aidid's top lieutenants inevitably met with strong resistance because of Aidid's clan-based support. What was planned as a 3-hour operation turned into a bloody 24-hour battle, ending with three downed Black Hawk helicopters, eighteen dead US soldiers and 500 Somalian estimated casualties. (P. Winkler 419)

22) Certainly those who troop to theaters for Ridley Scott's square-jawed, gung-ho-istic combat saga about a real-life 1993 U.S. military mission gone horribly wrong in Somalia now watch this story, about American soldiers fighting and dying in a land they may not understand, with reformatted hearts and minds. (Lisa Schwarzbaum)

23) The young American men appear as action film or comic strip characters, in both the film and the book, darting from place to place, finding cover, screaming in pain, exchanging brief words at the top of their voices. This relates to the inauthenticity of the mission, the pervasive feeling of unreality they were experiencing, not understanding how they got into that situation in the first place. (P. Winkler 420)

24) Black Hawk Down isn't just brutal for its multiple deaths and grisly woundings, blood spritzing into the dusty African air…. Ridley Scott's blood-and-guts opera is also a frontal assault on American confidence and that once-unshakable belief that what the world needs is our freedom, our democracy and our Coca-Cola. (Desson Howe)

25) It should be remembered that in the book, Bowden describes General Garrison as the man who embraces the cruelty of war, and who helped run Operation Phoenix, which killed hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilians. The film is therefore careful to whitewash any ulterior motives in order to reinforce the US’s moral leadership, caring image, and its stated aim: to rescue people on behalf of an outraged world. (P. Winkler 422)

26) It is difficult not to be caught by the feeling that a particular place in Hell awaits whatever combination of uniforms and suits in Washington sent these men into an explosively hostile city in nothing more formidable than jeeps on steroids, the Humvees. (Dennis Showalter 28)

27) The subtitles at the end of the film make it clear that even the Rangers’ prize the capture of two of Aidid’s top aides is rendered worthless when the aides are released in exchange for a captured US Ranger. In fact, the entire US intervention is shown as worthless; the film’s ending subtitles making it clear that the Clinton Administration withdrew all troops in short order after the failed operation. The message is clear: we are not going to waste American lives on ungrateful Africans who don’t want our help. (P. Winkler 423)

28) Only the dead have seen the end of war. (Plato)

29) Why didn’t the "skinnies" just go home? Could they not see they were facing the might of the American attack machine? It must have been puzzling to the US soldiers when events unfolded in a way that simply was not in the script they had been trained with. (P. Winkler 420)

30) The scenes he [Bowden] so vividly describes and that appear in the film are a turn-off. Only the most bloodthirsty will be inspired to participate in an ill-conceived, futile mano a mano fight against an entire impoverished African city. (P. Winkler 421)

31) The message is that sexism is not a part of the modern soldier’s mentality, and therefore, in this new era of gender-equality, it is a mark of valor and courage to shoot equally at male and female combatants. The US military notes this shift, the Department of Defense apparently believes that the film will demonstrate the valor and commitment of the US, even thought it will also show the moment when the US troops fired on a woman in the street. (P. Winkler 422)

32) If there is a heroism, it lies in who is lucky or skilled enough to get out alive. This is the moral of the story, and it implies a new type of masculinity in war focused on the instinct for survival, the need to save American lives, and safeguard American families from the tragedy of war, however humanitarian the goal of the mission might be. (P. Winkler 423)