Skip to comments.'Black Hawk Down' Dad Bristles at Attempt to Blame Bush
Posted on 08/11/2002 8:22:39 PM PDT by kattracks
Disabled Vietnam vet retired Cat. James Smith, whose son James was killed during the disastrous raid in Somalia memorialized in the movie "Black Hawk Down," took exception Sunday to ex-President Clinton's recent attempt to blame President Bush's father for the 1993 debacle during a recent interview with Washington, D.C. TV station WJLA.
"He seems to forget that when Bush number one sent troops into Somalia he sent them in by the tens of thousands. And they had complete armor, mechanized infantry, artillery, air cover support," Smith told WABC Radio's Steve Malzberg.
While Bush the elder was president, the Somali warlords "decided to keep a low profile because they knew if they stuck their head up they were going to get it shot off," he insisted, adding, "So Bush number one did it correctly."
But things changed when President Clinton took over, the former soldier told WABC.
When his son's Ranger unit was sent to Mogadishu to capture notorious Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Adid, they didn't have the artillery, helicopter gunship or tactical air support they needed, he told Malzberg.
Smith's comments were prompted by Clinton's recent attempt to dodge responsibility for the episode, where he told WJLA, "Now, you know, I didn't blame (President Bush's) father for Somalia, when we had that awful day memorialized in 'Black Hawk Down.' I didn't do that."
Although then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin was forced to resign over the deadly blunder, Smith said he had no doubt that the decision to under-equip his son's unit came directly from the White House.
When he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the episode, the former soldier said reporters privately agreed, telling him, "Les Aspin had nothing to do with this. This was a White House decision."
"They knew how the White House works. They knew there was no way Les Aspin made that decision on his own."
Smith recounted his trip to the White House to meet Clinton, an invitation he suspects was prompted by advanced word on his damaging Senate testimony.
Instead of taking responsibility, the Vietnam vet said the president "blamed Les Aspin, he blamed the Defense Department, he blamed the Joint Chiefs.... he blamed everybody except himself."
At one point, Smith recalled, Clinton even attempted to blame the Rangers "for being too aggressive."
"There were three fathers there," he told Malzberg. "The three of us just leaned over instantaneously and he backed off of that one."
After the exchange, Smith refused to shake the Commander in Chief's hand, handing him instead a 3rd Ranger Battalion patch.
"Don't forget them," he remembered telling Clinton.
"I honestly believed that the Rangers had died in vain; that the failure to provide proper combat support would have made the difference," he lamented.
Capt. Smith also revealed that he has another soldier son now in Special Operations who recently served in Afghanistan.
During a recent conversation with his son's Special Ops commander, he asked, "Sgt. Major, are we doing this one right or is this just a knee-jerk reaction?"
After a moment's hesitation, Smith said the commander responded, "Sir, we've got a real Commander-in-Chief this time. This time we're doing it right."
Listen to Steve Malzberg on WABC, weekdays 6 to 8 p.m. ET with Richard Bey on "The Buzz," and 9 a.m. to 12 noon ET Sunday.
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
Clinton's Legacy finally revealed
You know what would've been sweet? If Smith had signed the back of the patch. Then a reporter could ask Clinton if he still had it and if he said he did, the reporter could ask him to produce it.
Obviously, this assumes that Bubba threw the patch in the garbage, but I'd be willing to bet he wouldn't be able to come up with it.
Please enter word: W I L L I A M J E F F E R S O N C L I N T O N
S K U N K - Black and white animal related to the weasle family, scent glands fifteen times larger than brain, generally stinks up any place he goes
L I A R - Is known to tell untruths when the truth would actually serve him better, cannot be trusted, will dump his friends in a park if the mood strikes him
D E G E N E R A T E - Incapable of conducting himself in a civilized maner illustrative of a normal adult human male, abuses everyone on a whim
P E R V E R T - Turns everything good into something bad, twists his relationships with women to serve only his own needs
D E V I A N T - Spent so much time lying, cheating, abusing, stealing and blaming others, that he doesn't even know he does it or how badly it impacts others
D I L U S I O N A L - Does not realize what he is. Thinks he's charming, a man's man, a real catch. Women have no idea what they are about to catch.
T R A I T O R - Persons make mistakes. He makes them a life's ambition. Has sold out his wife, daughter, friends, political associates, fellow citizens and nation.
Click here for the other 2,172 pages...
Personally, I would prefer to see them blasted into outer space. But then, this might infuriate the extra-terrestrials and incite an inter-galactic war. So perhaps you are, after all, correct.
Stay safe; stay armed.
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