I’m not sure why but this story about a daylight helicopter raid by U.S. Special Forces in Somalia is intriguing to me. I tried twittering about it but I just couldn’t sum up my thoughts in 140 characters. I’m not sure if this kind of story is rare, but I don’t remember seeing that many stories about U.S. raids like this (though it’s entirely possible I just miss them—I almost missed this one).
I think what I find interesting is that it was so “clean,” if such a thing can be clean. They took out a major terrorist operative who was connected to the U.S. embassy bombings and an attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya. There were no civilian deaths (another article noted that they opted to send in troops instead of using cruise missiles to minimize civilian casualties), it seems like they got the right guy (not sure if they have a positive ID yet) and it was a quick in and out operation. Maybe this is how it often happens and I just haven’t seen the stories, but it seems like this is how the war on terror should go. It could have just as easily been a mess, as any combat situation can go bad (Somalia of all places has taught us that).
I guess all the military stories we hear are of being mired in Iraq (which I don’t think started with any legitimate connection to the war on terrorism) or the continued struggle in Afghanistan. There are certainly successes in those places, but they often feel overshadowed by the body counts, the civilian casualties, the two steps forward one step back “progress” of nation-building.
I’m often uneasy about war and sympathize with peace movements, but I also think that in the face of things like terrorism a nation has little choice but to fight back. How we fight back is the crucial question of course, and I guess this just strikes me as a good example.
I realize I’m completely rambling here. Sorry.
Update: Here’s a second story on the daring raid that includes a little more background and detail.