“The conflict [in Somalia between the U.S. and warlord Mohamed Aideed] came to a head on October 3 [1993]. Under pressure from the [Clinton] administration to wrap things up, U.S. Special Forces launched an operation into the center of Mogadishu aimed at snatching two of Aideed’s top lieutenants. In the ensuing battle, which spanned 18 hours and involved some of the bloodiest fighting by U.S. forces since Vietnam, Aideed’s men shot down two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 soldiers. …Though the U.S. forces had achieved their objective– the two top-ranking Somalis had been apprehended–albeit after 500-1,000 of Aideed’s men had been killed, the perception was that, once again, as in Beirut [Lebanon], American lives had been lost when the military, acting outside the national interest, had tried to be good Samaritans. Less than a week after the battle, U.S. troops pulled out of Somalia, exactly as bin Laden predicted they would.”

 – John Miller, Michael Stone, and Chris Mitchell, The Cell, Pages 162-163