Doorgaan naar hoofdcontent

U.S. Losing Its Wars

June 21, 2016
Tomgram: William Astore, The End of Air Power?

On October 7, 2001, less than a month after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration launched a bombing campaign against Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.  An invasion to “liberate” the country followed.  Almost 15 years later, with the Taliban again gaining ground, President Obama has just eased constraints on the U.S. military’s use of air power there.  To aid Afghan troops, American planes can once again be sent out in "proactive" strikes against the Taliban whenever U.S. commanders believe it useful or necessary.  In the decade and a half between those two bombing decisions, American air power has been loosed not just in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Somalia -- seven countries across the Greater Middle East and Africa.

So how’d that turn out?  Of those countries, only Somalia might have been considered a failed state in 2001.  Today, it has been joined by Libya, Yemen, and Syria.  All are now egregiously failed states. Iraq, a country invaded by the U.S., occupied, and in most of the years between 2001 and 2016 repeatedly battered by air strikes, is now a riven land. Its Sunni areas are partially occupied by the Islamic State, its Kurdish territories independent in all but name, its government a sinkhole of corruption and nearly bankrupt, its army notoriously open to collapse. And as in Afghanistan, so in Iraq all these years later, the skies are again filled with U.S. bombers and drones and just recently another form of air power as well: U.S.-piloted Apache helicopters have been sent back into action to support Iraqi troops in their faltering offensive against the Islamic State (even as U.S. planes help reduce ISIS-controlled cities to rubble). By now, Iraq certainly qualifies as a failing, if not failed, state. Afghanistan (see above) falls into something like the same category. In all of them, terror groups have spread widely. Of the seven countries in question, only Pakistan might have escaped the failing category and yet, from the expansion of terror groups on its territory to its faltering economic state, it is in worse shape today than it was in October 2001.

Of course, air power can’t be blamed for the sorry fates of these lands, but let’s just say -- as TomDispatch regular and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Astore does today -- that it has proven remarkably incapable of producing any positive results. And yet, though the evidence of its ineffectiveness should be clear to all by now, U.S. politicians from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton respond to just about any development -- linked however minimally to events in the Greater Middle East (including the recent massacre in a gay nightclub in Orlando) -- with calls for loosing yet more air power. A disconnect? No one in Washington seems to notice. Fortunately, William Astore has. Tom
Dominating the Skies -- and Losing the Wars
Air Supremacy Isn’t What It Used to Be 

By William J. Astore

In the era of the long war on terror, Thursday, June 2nd, 2016, was a tough day for the U.S. military.  Two modern jet fighters, a Navy F-18 Hornet and an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, flown by two of America’s most capable pilots, went down, with one pilot killed.  In a war that has featured total dominance of the skies by America’s intrepid aviators and robotic drones, the loss of two finely tuned fighter jets was a remarkable occurrence.
As it happened, though, those planes weren’t lost in combat.  Enemy ground fire or missiles never touched them nor were they taken out in a dogfight with enemy planes (of which, of course, the Islamic State, the Taliban, and similar U.S. enemies have none).  Each was part of an elite aerial demonstration team, the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, respectively. Both were lost to the cause of morale-boosting air shows.
Each briefly grabbed the headlines, only to be quickly forgotten.  Americans moved on, content in the knowledge that accidents happen in risky pursuits.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.


Populaire posts van deze blog

Geert Mak Pleit Nu Voor Vriendschap met Rusland

Ik kwam zojuist mijn oude vriend, de bestseller-auteur en mainstream-opiniemaker Geert Mak in de regen op straat tegen. Na elkaar te hebben begroet, vertelde Geert mij dat hij van oordeel is dat Europa zo snel mogelijk met Rusland om de tafel moet gaan zitten, om de opgelopen spanningen te deëscaleren. De VS heeft heel andere belangen dan 'wij,' aldus Mak, die benadrukte dat de macht van 'onze' Atlantische bondgenoot ingrijpend aan het afnemen is. Kortom, ik hoorde wat ikzelf al enige jaren op mijn weblog schrijf. Opvallend hoe een Nederlandse opiniemaker binnen zo'n betrekkelijk korte tijd zo wezenlijk van oordeel kan veranderen.  Immers, Mak’s gevaarlijke anti-Rusland hetze was een treffend voorbeeld van zijn opportunisme. Mei 2014 beweerde op de Hilversumse televisie de zogeheten ‘chroniqueur van Amsterdam, Nederland, Europa en de VS,’ dat er sprake was van een 'Russische gevaar,’ aangezien ‘meneer Poetin’ aan ‘landjepik’ deed en dat de Russische president d…

America Has Been at War 93% of the Time Since 1776

America Has Been at War 93% of the Time – 222 out of 239 Years – Since 1776 By Washington's Blog Global Research, December 26, 2017 Washington's Blog 20 February 2015 Region:  Theme: 

Native American Rape Survivors

A sign marks the entrance to White Earth Indian Reservation in Mahnomen County, Minn. (J. Stephen Conn / CC 2.0) WHITE EARTH RESERVATION, Minn.—Candice (not her real name) awoke with a start. Someone was pulling down her sweatpants. It was a male friend. “Stop!” she shouted. He kept groping her. She kicked him and he fell off the bed. She dashed out of the bedroom, tripping and tumbling down the stairs. Gripped with fear, she heard his footsteps behind her in the dark and forced herself to stand upright as she staggered out to the porch. Candice was still intoxicated. She got into her car and drove into a ditch. A white police officer pulled up. She struggled to hold back tears as she told him about the attempted rape. All the officer saw was a drunk and disorderly Native American woman. He dismissed Candice’s report of sexual assault as a lie she had made up to avoid getting a DUI. He did not take her to the hospital for a forensic exam. The sexual assault was not recorded in his pol…