"Frontline" offers a tour de force tonight. Short on pictures of the October
1993 firefight in the Somali capital, "Ambush in Mogadishu" provides a
compelling account through the memories of United States Army Rangers
who found themselves pinned down for 17 hours. Eighteen Americans were
killed-the most memorable picture was of a body being dragged
through the streets-and scores more wounded, with enduring
consequences for American foreign policy.
...The program suggests
that a legacy of Somalia, which one of tonight's critics calls
"a failed political military operation," was the reluctance of
Washington to be drawn into other danger spots like Bosnia and Rwanda.
One critic says policy makers were left "actually not knowing what to do at all."
Filmmaker William Cran's gripping look at the Somalia firefight in October 1993
tells a deeply tragic tale that has been generally forgotten by most Americans.
That makes this tale-told in often harrowing detail by servicemen, officials,
diplomats and Red Cross nurses-particularly valuable.
Recollections are so vivid that, though only one actual photograph was taken
during the 17 hours of battle, most viewers will feel as if they lived through
every bloody minute.
Whether viewers will also end up with a real grasp on what led up to the crisis
or its subsequent implications is another matter. Still, this newest
installment in public television's "Frontline" series,
produced by InVision Prods., will be essential viewing
for the historically and politically minded.
"...a stunning recounting of the August 1993 attack.....
"Ambush" is a harrowing tale-one that points at problems between the U.S. military and the Clinton
administration that helped lead to a breakdown in the
operation that began in 1992 to help feed the starving millions in the troubled African nation.
Ultimately, caught in all the red-tape hoopla are the U.S. servicemen...In horrifying detail, the American soldiers recount the intense and bloody battle.