The BBC reports “Fierce fighting in Somali capital”, a “battle” complete with
…heavy artillery fire in Mogadishu. Both sides claimed to have won the battle, fought with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, inflicting high casualties on the other.
Sounds serious. And it would continue to sound serious if you didn’t read the whole piece. One side says it killed 10 enemy fighters (likely exaggerated); the other side says it killed 21 (likely exaggerated). Another four hapless souls, noncombatants, were killed in the crossfire.
So this fierce battle with heavy artillery exchanges and high casualties actually yielded under 40 dead?
I’m not trying to come across as bloodthirsty here, but I think the BBC is overstating things a bit. By which I mean a lot. I don’t have a number of casualties in mind that, once reached, we’ve left “skirmish” and are into “battle”. But if you tell me there was a fierce battle with heavy artillery and high casualties…I’m thinking Verdun and Kursk and Normandy and Inchon and Hue City and Khe Sanh. I’m thinking Mars and Marduk and the right-effing-hand of Satan. I’m not thinking of so much high-explosive posturing.
And hey not for nothing but if these clowns shoot artillery like our old friends, the Liberian infantry, handle small arms it’s no wonder these wars take 30 years to fight.