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"Black Hawk Down: The Official Documentary" (formerly titled "Somalia: Good Intentions, Deadly Results) is the uncut version of the CNN program co-scripted by Mark Bowden, author of the companion book. This Emmy Award-winning program takes you behind the lines of battle and includes chilling US military radio transmissions, Pentagon video clips and interviews with soldiers and commanders on both sides of the conflict.
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This documentary, which is something of a companion piece to the book Black Hawk Down by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Mark Bowden, chronicles the American military intervention in Somalia. In the waning days of the first Bush Administration, in 1992, American troops were sent to Somalia to assist in distributing food during a famine. Film clips from early in the operation, including scenes of President Bush in fatigues visiting the troops, show the altruistic enthusiasm of that period. But soon things turned bad, as skirmishes with Somali warlords and their followers turned increasingly bloody. True disaster struck when a unit of elite Army Rangers was attacked and surrounded in a disastrous raid on October 3, 1993. Veterans of that bloody action, including Rangers, a member of the secret Delta Force (who is filmed in shadow to hide his identity), and even Somalis, provide their recollections. Also shown are films shot from U.S. helicopters during the lengthy urban firefight, during which the encircled Rangers waited for hours for United Nations ground troops to reach them. This video, which was produced in association with the Philadelphia Inquirer, was not elaborately produced, but it does a fine job of telling the story of the fierce fight the Rangers found themselves in and the increasingly muddled policy that placed them in a hellish predicament. --Robert J. McNamara
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