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:
Capt. Smith refused Clinton's letter of condolence.
The horrific results of a "president" with no military understanding and a hostility towards the military.
But this was actually minor compared to the main result of Clinton's work (in Kosovo and elsewhere): 9/11.
I can just see Clinton talking to the head of Islamic Jihad after the TWA 800 bombing, "tell you what, ahhhhhhhh'm not gonna give you credit for that... watch 'n see..." and he slept well that night thinking he'd done a good job.
Clinton's essential approach towards terrorism was the same rope-a-dope policy he had towards the press regarding his adultery. Unfortunately, it was Americans that lost their lives, while Clinton got away with merely having his reputation sullied.
Because it would depend on what "is" is.
I am not kidding.
You'd have to go a LOT deeper for where these two are going. But then again, maybe the devil is afraid they will take over in hell when they get there.
Want to tell lots of people about this? Go here:
for links, tools, & instructions about how to contact a pile of different people, and how to send a link to this story right here ( or anywhere else ) to a "mass email" using Outlook Express.
Do be advised that since I increased my volume of mass emails to letters to editors I have gotten return volleys of virus attacks- my ISP filters them out before the get to my PC, but if yours does not, take appropriate precautions to guard your PC.
I take this as a positive- my emails are simply links with no editorial content; so the other side must fear & loath the information even reaching the public.
Thanks, kattracks. It's good to see that White House story resurfacing again. If I remember right it was reported, at the time, only in a British publication.
The thing I do remember is that x42 did not attend any of the memorial services for the lost Rangers; not at Benning, not at Arlington, not anywhere. Maybe just as well.
I never understood why you let them live.
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