The Empty Balcony: Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down is perhaps the simplest movie I’ve ever viewed, and also the most complicated. The United States intervention in Somalia is a footnote in America’s foreign policy history, but it is quite weighted, to the point that a student of recent American politics ignores it at their own peril. The initial American operation in Somalia, Operation Provide Relief, part of UNOSOM I (United Nations Operation in Somalia I), began in August 1992 as a response to the massive amount of killing and humanitarian suffering throughout the country. It was followed by UNITAF (Unified Task Force), also known as Operation Restore Hope, which lasted from December 1992 to May 1993. During that time, the United States suffered 43 killed and 143 wounded, but was able to increase the security of much of the country. After the mission ended, however, the peace did not last, as the warlords reasserted their control and chaos took hold once again. This led to UNOSOM II, Operation Gothic Serpent, and ultimately to the Battle of Mogadishu. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Black Hawk Down”

The Right to Unionize

The other day, a friend of mine posted a status update on his wall. “Once again Unions negotiating themselves right out of a job by making ridiculous demands and no concessions!!” referring to the labor fight in Wisconsin between unionized state workers and the GOP controlled statehouse. Below this comment he linked to a video made by the Heritage Foundation titled Wisconsin Union Protest: Myth vs. Fact. To give you an idea of where the Heritage Foundation’s views align, this quote is in the first ten seconds of the video, as uttered by a Wisconsin union supporter: “What did...what did Hitler do first? He busted the unions. Right? First you take away the unions, and then you take away the Jews, and then you take away, you know...That’s where it starts.” Continue reading “The Right to Unionize”

The Empty Balcony: Forbidden Planet

Half dated and half legendary, Forbidden Planet is one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. Hailing from 1956, Forbidden Planet tells the story of the crew of an Earth spaceship, landed on the planet Altair 4 to investigate the fate of a scientific expedition that disappeared there twenty years before. Led by Captain Adams (Leslie Neilsen), they find two survivors, Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his nubile daughter Altaira (Anne Francis). Captain Adams learns from Morbius that the other members of the scientific expedition were wiped out not long after landing by an unknown, all-powerful force. Altair 4 holds other secrets, as well. Namely, the remains of a once-great civilization called the Krell, whose cities have turned to dust with the passage of time, but whose technology survives deep beneath the planet’s surface. Captain Adams and his crew must unravel the mystery of the unknown force and its correlation with the Krell...if they expect to survive. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Forbidden Planet”