Thursday, May 14, 2015

Airpower in Isolation - How Many Times Must This be Relearned?

The Madmaxistan that is now Libya is just one in a long line of bitter fruits where the Western military mind, always weak to its technology fetish, has sown chaos from its desire for quick, efficient, bloodless (for us) conflict.

All these facts should crush this sexy little theory, but it is so strong, so inviting, that we keep hoping that this time, it will all be different.

Micah Zenco over a DefenseOne has a nice overview over what our latest Luft Macht ├╝ber alles exercise is accomplishing;
It is possible that the slight increase in coalition contributions since March 25 reflects Canada’s April 8 decision to expand its kinetic operations into Syria—becoming the only other country, besides than the United States, to do so. As of May 5, Canada had conducted 564 sorties by CF-188 Hornet fighter-attack aircraft. However, the Canadian military does not disclose how many of those sorties resulted in the actual dropping of bombs, so the percentage of overall coalition airstrikes that it is responsible for cannot be attributed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has documented that lots of people and things are being destroyed. For a military that often claims it does not do “body counts,” it has done so repeatedly. Most recently, General Austin declared in March that 8,500 IS militants had been killed. The Pentagon lists more than 6,000 IS targets as having been destroyed. Most notably, CENTCOM press releases indicate that more than 500 “excavators” have been destroyed—as if IS is the world’s first terrorist landscaping company. All of this destruction is coming at a direct cost to taxpayers of an estimated $2.11 billion, or $8.6 million per day. How this open-ended air war will shift when the United States begins providing close air support for trained Syrian rebels in a few months is unknowable.
Will it work this time and for our quasi-allies in Yemen?

Don't know, yet - and at least we have ground forces ... proxy ground forces ... but ground forces. Then again, we had proxy ground forces in Libya as well.

Regardless of what we do from the air, as always, it is the person who controls the 19-yr old men with weapons, standing in the street corner that will tell this story - as true now as it was 3,000 years ago.

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