Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Surging to another victory after another after another

USA Today's main front-page story Monday was U.S. military steps up war-zone airstrikes by Jim Michaels 10/22/07:

The U.S. military has increased airstrikes in Iraq four-fold this year, reflecting a steep escalation in combat operations aimed at al-Qaeda and other militants.

Coalition forces launched 1,140 airstrikes in the first nine months of this year compared with 229 in all of last year, according to military statistics.

Airstrikes are up in Afghanistan, too. Coalition planes have made 2,764 bombing runs this year, up from 1,770 last year. The figures don't include strikes by helicopter gunships.
In some ways, that's all you really need to know to see what's happening in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Because especially in Iraq, we're talking about urban warfare. The immediately following paragraph in Michaels' story says, "The increasing use of air power also stems from improved accuracy and smaller munitions that allow commanders to launch airstrikes against insurgents who travel in small groups and sometimes hide among civilians."

When you fire rockets from helicopters and drop 500-lb. and 2000-lb. bombs from planes into urban residential neighborhoods, it wouldn't be far wrong to assume that nearly every one of them kills a civilian. Or several. Or many.

And the comment that the "increasing use of air power" results from "improved accuracy" is hokum. Improved accuracy of air power in urban warfare like in Iraq - and I'm sure it's often the case in Afghanistan in villages as well as cities - means that the 2000-lb. bomb is more likely to hit the residential building at which it was aimed. That means more deaths of civilian noncombatants, not less.

Why, you may ask, is the military expanding the air war greatly, even though of course the war has been one victory after the other since the day of the invasion, at least according to the PR put out by our infallible generals and our great leaders in the Cheney-Bush administration?

Well, remember how Dark Lord Cheney in his speech Sunday told us that the Soviet Union knew how to deal with Muslim terrorists? We get a glimpse of what that meant in the Soviets' war in Afghanistan from the article "Afghanistan" by Patricia Gossman in War Crimes 2.0, Roy Gutman, et al, eds. (2007):

In the countryside, Soviet forces bombed routinely and indiscriminately; the aim was both to demoralize the civilian population supporting the resistance and to destroy its means of providing food and shelter to the mujahidin.
The mujahidin in Afghanistan those days were called "freedom fighters" in America; today we call such freedom fighters Muslim jihadist terrorists. Gossman continues:

Thus, irrigation systems, cropland and other rural resources were bombed as well as villages. The bombing killed countless civilians and devastated the countryside. From the early 1980s on, most refugees arriving in Pakistan reported they had fled because of the bombing. In all, some five million Afghans fled the country. In addition to the bombing, Soviet and [Communist] Afghan forces carried out reprisals against civilians, executing any they believed to support the resistance. Soviet forces also sowed mines throughout the country; many remain a threat to Afghans living in rural areas today.
Yes, you can see why the Dark Lord would appreciate the virtues of that approach.

And, like the Dark Lord told us Sunday, the Soviets were much more successful in dealing with elements like the heroic Afghan freedom fighters cutthroat Muslim terrorists than the wimpy American approach under all administrations prior to this one. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December, 1979. It only took them until 1986 to realize that they had triumphed were fighting a hopeless battle and start their pullout, which was completed in 1988. They left an allied Communist government in power in Kabul, which they supported financially until it fell in 1992 in the civil war that raged until the Taliban took over in 1996.

Great model, there, Dick.

A large part of Michaels' article is just typing up military Air Force propaganda about how they are indispensable in counterinsurgency warfare. You have to read all the way to the final three paragraphs to get this:

However, increased use of air power raises the chances of killing innocent civilians, said Mark Clodfelter, a professor at the National War College. Winning over the population is key to defeating insurgents.

"You don't want bombing to be a recruiting method for the insurgents," Clodfelter said.

Airstrikes in Afghanistan this year allegedly killed dozens of civilians, angering the population and drawing criticism from Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.
To repeat, the increased precision (to the extent that such is not PR hype) when using bombs on cities and even villages means more civilian casualties, not less.

And, you know, it somehow seems to really piss people off when you blow up their family members and cousins and neighbors. One more inscrutable mystery of the Arab mind, I suppose.

Tags: , ,

| +Save/Share | |


"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • Rush Limbaugh's Mea Culpa
  • Under the Thin Veneer of Civilization
  • Video of the Week: "Values Voters Don't Have Valu...
  • There he goes again...
  • Politics and torture
  • From the Same People Who Brought You Bush/Cheney
  • Repubs to Working-Class Families: "Go to Hell!"
  • The 21st century Bionic Woman
  • Nuclear proliferation and the Cheney-Bush administ...
  • Democrats, war with Iran and Republicans for a pro...



    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    www TBV




    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links



    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory



    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse
    image: fpsoftlab.com