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Chun Analysis The battle of Mogadishu was a watershed event for Washington. Despite overwhelming odds, TFR survived a harrowing mission. Yet the battle was a costly victory, with many Americans killed and wounded. Amongst the most poignant scenes from Mogadishu was the mistreatment of American dead and of Durant at the hands of the SNA and Mogadishu residents.

Many Americans expressed outrage, especially as US forces had been helping to avert Somali famine. The SNA claimed a strategic victory. This situation appeared similar to that of the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam, in which the Viet Cong had suffered tremendous losses but Washington, stung by a strategic surprise, began plans to curtail its involvement in the war and turn to a negotiated settlement.

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The Mogadishu fight would not only have immediate effects in Somalia, but affect future US involvement in Africa. Mogadishu offers several lessons in fighting a guerilla force in an urban environment. One of the major problems facing the Americans was trying to accomplish unclear political objectives using military means.

The initial UN goal was to feed Somalis, but the objective then changed to securing and finally rebuilding Somalia. Trying to weaken and isolate Aideed and his supporters only seemed to create more friction between Somalis and the UN and exacerbated the situation.

If the UN captured Aideed, would not another clan or warlord take control over Somalia? American forces had a technological advantage over the SNA. Still, technology alone could not trump a wily and dedicated foe.

Helicopters provided speed and surprise at decisive points. Although they were an integral part of TFR, the helicopter also became an Achilles heel when their loss forced a change of mission from raid to rescue.

Surprise was a key element for success in the TFR raids.

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Unfortunately, the location of TFR, at the airport, allowed many Somali contractors and observers to witness activities that could tip off the SNA on pending operations. A potential lapse in operational security allowed SNA operatives to alert the militia throughout the city.

Similarly, the repeated use of templates for planning allowed the Somalis to create countermeasures to the Americans, such as using RPGs as surface-to-air missiles against the helicopters.

TFR also used its ability to operate at night to accomplish most of its previous raids. Much confusion surrounding the TFR operations involved issues of unity of command. Garrison could act independently of the UN and was not obligated to follow their directives.

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By Clayton K. S. Chun Analysis. The battle of Mogadishu was a watershed event for Washington. Despite overwhelming odds, TFR survived a harrowing mission. Get the latest news and analysis in the stock market today, including national and world stock market news, business news, financial news and more.

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