Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WWII Soldier's Guide to Iraq

Really great article. The "soldier" and "individual" paradigm from WWII, in no place else but Iraq.

Hat tip Black Five.

Airstrikes Up

Good article on the rise in US airstrikes in Iraq. In in the first quarter of 2007 we dropped as much as we did in all of 2006. Sounds like we are preparing to get out.

Let me add one thing. If we're going to increase sorties during a civil war context we need to do two things. Pick a side and brutally suppress the rebels. We aren't doing either. I'm guessing but it sounds like preparations to leave. More on this later.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Taliban's Production Company

Interesting tidbit from Lt. Col. Patrick over here.

The Exception

Sri Lanka's government has had a time with the Tigers. Recently evicting several hundred from the capital city there, the government continues to be scorned by Western powers. Here's what their Defense Secretary said in response:
`We have to defend ourselves. I`m talking about terrorists. Anything is fair,` Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Reuters and the BBC. He said the United Nations agencies had been infiltrated and misled by the Liberation Tigers over 30 years.
Anything is fair? The exception that we've made of terrorism continues to swallow the rules we live by. Note the obvious complicity in a state of moral ambiguity:
`When the U.S. does operations, they say covert operations. When something is (done) in Sri Lanka, they call it abductions,` he added. `This is playing with the words.`
Playing with words and playing with the devil at the same time. The U.S. will continue to be isolated by this type of rhetoric unless we change course and adopt a comprehensive approach to fighting insurgents engaged in terrorist activity. We can't give in on the this. The battle is fought on the moral ground as much as it is fought on the hard ground and in the air.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Kashmiri Revival

Al-qaeda shows it hasn't forgotten the all important Kashmir region by restarting video propaganda. Interesting they moved away from the region for such a prolonged period of time and only now are back.

LTTE Airstrike

This story highlights some of the weaknesses of the counter-guerrila airpower. No kill information, just notice of a bombing. At the same time, guerrillas caused almost 40 casualties elsewhere. Who does it sound like is winning?

The Flipside of Attrition

Counter-guerrilla airpower is in most circles considered almost by definition as destructive. It isolates and kills the target. Highly mobile, rapid response, overwhelming firepower, intensely concentrated, counter-guerrilla airpower is a very effective tool in the arsenal of any organization engaged in a war of attrition. We should not forget that 9/11 was a display of the awesome capability of airpower in this type of war.

Thinking on the flipside of airpower however reveals numerous weaknesses. Highly dependent on real-time intelligence, easily defended against by simple maneuver, inability to penetrate civilian shields, relative isolation of inserted boots, all are major drawbacks with using airpower to combat guerrilla warfare.

In my experience with the USAF the most awesome results ever attained by airpower were not through its destructive force however. A C-130 delivering aid achieves far greater results than an F-16 delivering JDAMs.

That is a simplification. We can't send care packages to aQ. I'm not suggesting such. We can however realize the potential for airpower to be more than a tool in a war of attrition. This is especially true when the cost to destroy the enemy is greater than the gain realized by their destruction.

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