Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bombs Away

Military experts have long debated the efficacy of strategic bombing -- the use of air power to overcome an enemy by destroying its economic capacity to make war. Certainly, the German air war against England in World War II failed, as did the United States' massive air war against North Vietnam. Nonetheless, the use of air power has become the lynchpin of American military action, even in Iraq an Afghanistan.

I've always wondered what was meant by the euphemism "surgical air strikes." I doubt that they seemed especially surgical to those on the receiving end, unless you think of undergoing an invasive operation without anesthetic as "surgical." TomDispatch discusses the realities of using air power in the war on terror here. In the article, he elaborates on these nine propositions:
  1. The farther away you are from the ground, the clearer things are likely to look, the more god-like you are likely to feel, the less human those you attack are likely to be to you;
  2. However "precise" your weaponry, however "surgical" your strike, however impressive the grainy snuff-film images you can put on television, war from the air is, and will remain, a most imprecise and destructive form of battle;
  3. In human terms, distance does not enhance accuracy;
  4. If you are conducting war this way and you are doing so in heavily populated urban neighborhoods, as is now the case almost every day in Iraq, then civilians will predictably die "by mistake" almost every day;
  5. Since World War II, air power has been the American way of war;
  6. Since November 2001, the Bush administration has increasingly relied on air power in its Global War on Terror to "take out" the enemy, which has meant regular air strikes in cities and villages, and the no less regular, if largely unrecorded, deaths of civilians;
  7. In Afghanistan and especially in Iraq (as well as in the tribal areas along the Pakistani border), the use of air power has been "surging;"
  8. Force creates counterforce. The application of force, especially from the air, is a reliable engine for the creation of enemies;
  9. U.S. air power has, in the last six and a half years, been an effective force in a war for terror, not against it.

Wellesley and Yale alum Hillary Clinton and millionaire John McCain accuse Barack Obama of elitism (read: "uppity") because Obama had the temerity to suggest that Americans might be pissed off at the current state of affairs. Obama's sin was to observe that “our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives." Obama stated the obvious: When people feel disenfranchised, they turn to things like guns or religion ("the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people") No word as to whether Clinton -- who grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois (median family income $100,000) plans to go duck hunting with the Holy Spirit 0n Martha's Vineyard (see photo above) any time soon...

Unfair And Biased Dept: Don't miss this Comedy Central whuppin' of Fox News, here.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

The "real" Hillary was revealed in that bar in Pennsylvania where she downed a shot among blue collar workers. What drink did she request? Royal Crown. No Seagrams, Jack or Jim for her. Nothing but the best from that working class bar for her.