Post Retreat

Post Retreat

Don’t be misled by the notion that war arrives as a gigantic catastrophic event, a North Korean slip for example. War can escalate as secretly and effectively as a gang of boomslang snakes slinking into the shed.

The first admitted U.S. soldier killed and the first four additional casualties since Blackhawk Down in Somalia happened Friday in southeast Somalia. Blackhawk Down was a quarter century ago.

It’s probably not the first casualty in Somalia since Trump assumed power, since the command there has become as secret as the CIA. This time, though, it was very close to Somalia’s second largest city and major port, Kismayo.

There were too many journalists around.

Daslan Radio was the first to pick it up.

Al-Shabaab fighters attacked twice on Friday and were followed by a suicide bomber that drove right up to the base and detonated.

Shabaab claimed it killed 40 soldiers overall. The attack was successful enough that four or more injured soldiers had to be airlifted with Somalia assistance to a hospital in Mogadishu. That lifted the veil on military security.

According to the BBC and others the Americans and their Somali compatriots immediately abandoned the base for a defensive position about ten miles further outside Kismayo.

It’s not clear at all to me why they did this. I’m no military strategist but this pullback technique goes back to the Spartan wars and suggests the retreaters are losing.

It’s a joke but technically American forces are supposed to be in a strict advise-and-supply role. Is this an attempt now that the cover was blown to build up that story?

Obama ramped up the war in Somalia nearly ten years ago. Trump increased it. Obama’s hit hard-say little strategy seemed to be working as Somalia peace efforts did extremely well during his tenure.

I remained doubtful, though, that it would hold. Now it seems pretty clear that Trump’s military’s blunders — (There have been quite a few: click here.) — have ended Obama’s luck. Frankly, though, I doubt that any American administration set on getting rid of al-Shabaab would have come to any different fate.

How long must Americans fight extremists half-way round the world? It seems like it hasn’t stopped since World War II. That’s for longer than most Americans have been alive. We speak disparagingly and with pity and sadness of the citizens of the Mideast or central Africa who have known nothing but war.

Is it not the same with us?