Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Brave New World of Urban Air Support and Counterinsurgency

The Presidency of George W. Bush will be remarkable for several reasons, but one of this administration's innovations that hasn't received much attention from the media is the development of the tactic of urban air support. Urban air support is using jets and bombers to support US troops in urban areas. No other administration has been willing to use urban air support because it is too powerful and imprecise for the urban setting, there is a tremendous of collateral damage from the unrestrained use of air power in urban settings against insurgents.

Chris Floyd is guest-blogging for Glenn Reynolds and discusses this new tactic at Salon.

Monday, the Pentagon acknowledged a long-unspoken truth: that the bombardment of civilian neighborhoods in Iraq is an integral part of the vaunted "counterinsurgency" doctrine of Gen. David Petraeus. The number of airstrikes in the conquered land has risen fivefold since George W. Bush escalated the war in January...

What we are also seeing with this strategy is, to put it plainly, an attempt to terrorize a civilian population into submission. |Salon|


Floyd links to a post at the Winter Patriot who dissects the conflicting news accounts over one incursion into Sadr City by US forces where multiple airstrikes were called in on the crowded streets of Sadr City.

Floyd feels that this escalation of force is not the issue, but the use of urban air support in an illegal war troubles him.

The military tactic of close air support in a firefight is not the issue here. The issue is why the U.S. military is engaged in this Iraqi urban warfare, with its inevitable killing of civilians, in the first place. And the reason is that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their cohorts have made the deliberate, conscious decision to engage in state terrorism in order to advance foreign policy and energy objectives they held long before 9/11 "changed the world."|Salon|

Here I must disagree with Floyd. I think this tactic of urban air support is evidence of a relaxing of the standards for using excessive force, airstrikes inevitably kill civilians by wiping out entire blocks. In the long run, I think this tactic must surely work against the US in Iraq and diminish our national standing even further in the eyes of the world.

Add to Floyd's analysis urban air support is being employed in an illegal, elective war.... and it makes my blood boil.

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