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Dear FRONTLINE,

Your program was horrifically gripping and effective at portraying the reality of the Rangers' mission.Your staff honors our Rangers immeasurably by moving our nation to awareness of their commitment and importance - perhaps an understanding of how broadcast by the news press without Pentagon clearance defeats missions.

The next time someone complains of how slowly we are progressing in Afghanistan, let them be reminded of what haste had wrought at the expense of our Rangers in Somalia.

When complaints are voiced about supplying more food to Afghanistan, let these voices be silenced by the facts played out in Somalia.

Where people condemn the reluctant involvement of the Italians in the Afghanistan conflict (as hosts to the deposed King), remember Somalia, WWII, and the recent string of tunnel explosions cutting off ground support from throughout Europe.

Negotiation only succeeds where compromise is obtained from both sides.

At the suggestion of anything less than full commitment to victory over Al Qaeda, let the images of Somalia, Korea, Bosnia and South Vietnam refute this idea. Peacekeeping missions can only succeed when the peacekeepers have the respect of the combatants on both sides.

And upon those short-sighted members of Congress proposing pitifully insufficient Defense funds, let them explain their reason to our Rangers who survived Somalia, and the families of those who perished.

Jona Ricci
suburban philadelphia, pa


Dear FRONTLINE,

. Given the limitations of the one hour segment, I see why Frontline had to make editorial decisions about what to explore and what not to examine. However, we learned little about the firefights for the two helicopters and the incredible sacrifices the Delta Force soldiers made alongside their Army Ranger comrades. However, if this story can forestall future communication breakdown and save lives, then its telling is well worth it.

On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the articulate contributions made by the soldiers who were interviewed for the program. One Ranger clearly stated that regardless of the reasons for their insertion the 18 men did not die in vain, for saving the lives of others and bringing out their dead and wounded made the mission a meaningful one in the long run.

Sure, the US Government pulled our troops out of Somalia after this horrible fight, but the courage of these troops should send a message to Bin Laden and his associates: Americans are willing to die for a cause they believe in and for the protection of their country and way of life. Who needs a better illustration than this one.

Jordan Adair
chapel hill, nc


Dear FRONTLINE,

I was a Ranger with the 2/75 (Rangers) during the mid 80's and Ranger Thomas hit the nail on the head with his final statement of the documentary. Many people die "in vain" every day. Few people die while fighting for something they believe in and not every fight impacts the world. In fact, most battles in our lives go unheard and have little meaning to anyone but ourselves.

I have now been a Police Officer for over ten years, and I have known many Officers that have died in the line of duty. Does the fact that many of their deaths had little or no impact on the world mean that they, too, "died in vain." No! There is a question we all should ask ourselves, and that is, "What makes life worth living?" Those Warriors that fought and died in Mogadisu asked themselves that question, and had found their answer long before they ever landed in Somalia. I only wish more Americans had the intestinal fortitude to ask themselves the same question and to answer it honestly. We all will die someday. What makes our lives of worth, is not how we die, but how we live. Rangers Lead the Way!

Scott Barker
los angeles, california


Dear FRONTLINE,

It's time to defend the USA by bringing our brave military men and women back here to guard our borders while the FBI rounds up these fanatics.Your documantary on Somalia sure registered in my head.Are we going to make the same mistake. we tried to feed the Somalies and they turned against us.The same thing is going to take place in Afganistan. We won't even know who the enemy is.

Does Rumsfield think Ben Laden is still in that country.....I don't think so.And even if we capture him will that be the end?.....No Way.Let's do what Israel does.Defend our country from within. Send a message to these lunatics that if any more damage is caused by you cowards we have the will and the means to destroy you.

Ray Caisse
stgn, ct


Dear FRONTLINE,

Your penetrating look at the events in Somalia failed to reveal a fact relevant to this country's situation today: Colin Powell had a significant role in formulating U.S. Somalia policy that resulted in the problems you described. Not only did he abandon his "Powell Doctrine" of having a clear mission and using overwhelming force, he literally bailed out of the problem at the crucial moment. On October 1, 1993, just days before the disastrous firefight, he resigned as head of the Joint Chiefs, though Clinton reportedly wanted him to stay.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Frontline would neglect these facts, as they have been reported previously (see Joe Klein's article in the October 1, 2001, New Yorker), and add a shading to the policy decisions that were missing in your documentary. You (and others) seem to want to tar the Clinton administration with this problem, but the truth is more complex.

Robert Jacob
laguna beach, california


Dear FRONTLINE,

Where has been the outrage from our wonderful free press over these events which happened during the Clinton administration. Your report has stirred my blood but left me asking about the initial timing. It seems this originally coming out in 1998 was somewhat convenient for certain politicians. Most people had already chosen long before to forget the video of the U.S. serviceman being draggedthro

I can only believe that this was the begining of the events which led to the September 11 agression toward our country. These people have raised the bar in the struggle against evil. Surely America will stay the course and not run away like we have done in the past. GO BUSH!!!

Raymond Emme
kent, wa


Dear FRONTLINE,

I want to thank you for the coverage of the events that took place in Somalia. Media such as this gives Americans insight to the profound standards of professionalism and pride that Rangers of the 75th Ranger Regiment live and fight by. I, especially, want to thank the Rangers that were part of your interview, as well as all of the other Rangers that were not seen and heard from. I remember the faces on all of the guys in 3rd Batt when they got back. Still the quiet proffesionals, you could feel their pain. It was in their eyes, and in their voices. Last night, on your show, I saw and heard those emotions all over. Although, many Americans may believe that the Fire Departments and Police Departments are the new heroes of the U.S. I know who they are. They are the men, past, present, and future of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

James Adams
dallas, tx


Dear FRONTLINE,

It was very hard for me to watch this film, but it was very intriguing and educational. My brother, Sgt. Eugene Williams, was killed on September 23, 1993 in Mogadishu when his helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Sometimes I struggled with the sense of why they kept our soldiers there for so long and there were other unanswered questions surrounding his death because they were unable to recover any of my brother's remains.

At first it seemed unbelievable that no one was able to bring back any of my brother's remains, but after watching this film I have a better understanding of just how hostile the environment was.

Although my brother's particular mission was not highlighted in this documentary, it provided great insight into the situation they were in. Thank you for such an in depth piece of journalism.

chicago, il.


Dear FRONTLINE,

The show left a lot out of the story that is general knowledge. For example,nothing was mentioned about how the press endangered the troops during their landing in Somalia by meeting them on the beach with television cameras and lights.Much more importantly, the whole tragedy was due to failure to authorize armor support for the troops by Les Aspin when requested and by the inept handling of the situation by the Clinton administration in general. The story seems to have been written to discourage use of military force rather than tell the complete story of how the military was tragically misused.

John Gilmore
dallas, texas


Dear FRONTLINE,

As a Somali I was dissappointed the way so many innocent lives were squandered by both sides. Many Somalis like myself regret the lost of any life whether its an American soldier , or Somalian civilian. However, I felt your report did not stressed enough how many innocent Somalis were killed in that ambush. Although, I am not justifying the killings, but these included women, children , and only Allah knows the total number of Somalis that died that day. Secondly, after America withdrew from Somalia it had implemented all kind of policies that up to this day isolated Somalia from the international community, and made it all Somalis suffer in collective guilt. I would like to inform anyone who might read this message that 90% of Somalis approved OPERATION RESTORE HOPE and what it represented, because it gave many Somalis like myself a hope that my beloved country which once was an American ally would have a lasting peace. Thank you

Guled Mohamed
seattle, washington


Dear FRONTLINE,

The incident in Mogadishu is a prime example of the Clinton White House misuse of the military. When your have a self-absorbed man who was too cowardly to serve his country when called and actively disdains the military running a military campaign, the results are bound to be disastrous. Much like a petulant teenager who couldn't control his hormones, Clinton used the military like a toy, a plaything, with no thought of the potential consequences. His indifference led to the emboldening of bin Laden, and indirectly to the events of September 11th. Thank God we have a President now that understands that lives are on the line when he sends our Armed Forces in harms way. Small wonder Clinton era officials declined to be interviewed about yet another in a long line of disasters our nation endured under their administration.

Arthur Sido
walton, ky


Dear FRONTLINE,

First I want to thank my brothers for the job they did. Words do not express how deeply I was moved by their accounts of the horror of Mogadishu. But they did their job. Thank you Frontline for letting them tell the story. I Know the draft dodgers in Washington have a different outlook as to what happened. But then...They weren't there, they never have been. They have never felt the pain, or watched a friend die, due to foolish decisions made thousands of miles away. I salute you Brothers..God Bless You.. Thank You

Rabozzi Robert
simms, texas


Dear FRONTLINE,

It's easy to put up a number to those who died, but remember that each person was someonebody's brother, son or friend. I never knew gary Gordan who came from my town and was killed there, but the whole town will probably never forget him. I know I won't. Coming from this small town is hard to make it big, he did and he died doing it. He will always be a legend here, but to some he is just snother dead from the battle in Mogadishu...I have heard "stories" that disturb any human. I have heard he was the one dragged through the street...is it true and why would another human being do that to someone? I just don't understand...

lincoln, maine


Dear FRONTLINE,

I would like to thank Frontline for bringing this to the attention of the American public. I was deployed to Somalia from Apr to Aug 93 with the 42nd Field Hospital. We were somewhat protected in our compound, but what we saw was the end result of the attacks. We saw the dead and injured. I was there when the Pakisatani's were ambushed. I was there when the Italian's were set up and ambushed by their translator. I ws there when 4 American MP's were blown to bits by a land mine. Did the Italian's change their scope of the mission after their attack, as was related in your broadcast? It stirs my emotions as a Veteran and an American to think that we were sent there as political pawns. We did what we were sent there to do. I personally would like to thank the members of my unit for sticking together as a unit and ensuring that we all got out safe. Most of all, I want to express my deepest sympathy to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, for they are far braver men than I.

Roger Wideman, SSG, U.S. Army (former)
saginaw, mi


Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear Frontline, As I watched this program I felt pride in those soldiers who served and made the sacrifice for if not their country, then each other. I hope our government realizes the loss that they created by poor planning and poor resource management. I hope that in the future if we are going to be invoved in a situation like Somalia that we give our troops the ability and resources to accomplish the misson assigned them to the best of thier abilities. As far as for those Rangers who where there as a soldier who "tabbed out" and did not serve with the regiment, I salute you all and will make it a point to stop and take a second look where ever I go for those of us who did not come home, but will never be forgotten. God Bless you all, and "Rangers lead the way!"

Respectfully, Daniel M. Polonis

Daniel Polonis
holyoke, ma


Dear FRONTLINE,

I don't know if words can describe the feeling that I felt inside last night, as I watched your interviews. I wish that I could have been your M240 Gunner during that time. I served at 2nd Battalion from October 92 to June of 96. You might have heard my name due to the M240G Top Gun competition during Ranger Rendevous 95. I remember watching you board the planes in Texas in 93, and wondered why Colonell Jackson wasn't sending us also. I don't know what else to say, except all of you guys will be in my prayers daily. "Rangers Lead The Way" Wahington National Guard

Drake Forrest
puyallup, wa

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