When, Where & How to Use Force: Beyond Self-Defense
On October 3, a company of Army Rangers, the cream of America’s fighting forces, was decimated in the streets of Mogadishu by what had been thought of as a ragtag group of thugs. When word reached home, a cry arose in Congress for withdrawal from Somalia. President Bill Clinton, forced to rely on help from the unlikely quarter of Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, managed to get a six-month grace period for the extraction of American forces. But any plans previously contemplated by the administration for sending American troops to Haiti (to help reinstate the ousted President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide) or to Bosnia (to police a negotiated partition) were thrown into doubt.
Why did a mission that began so gloriously last December end in such ignominious retreat? And what lessons does it teach about sending American forces abroad in the post-cold-war world?
About the Author
Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is working on a book about Arab and Muslim democrats.