Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bomb, bomb, bomb...bomb, bomb Iraq?

I'm going to throw this out as a topic for discussion.

What is the general opinion around this joint about the idea of using the USAF/USN to provide air support for the Iraqi Army?

What I'm talking about isn't some sort of shock-and-awe/bombs-over-Baghdad/Libyan bomb-for-peace sort of air campaign. The sort of thing I'm thinking about is something like Operation Deliberate Force in 1995 only with the Sunni ISIL/ISIS guys in the role of the Bosnian Serbs and the IA as the Croats.

No nonsense about using airpower for some sort of airy-fairy geopolitical sparkle pony magical appearance of happy rainbows and peace unicorns. Straightforward use of aerial munitions to kill people to enable a proxy army to achieve tactical objectives.

Would it solve the clusterfuck that is Iraq?


But these ISIS/ISIL guys seem to be genuine hardcases even by Middle Eastern standards; the precepts of the organization appear to be the need to have a religious war in the muslim world to eliminate the Shia heretics. These guys are, apparently, a sort of Sunni Inquisition only with technicals.

So preventing these guys from establishing any sort of power base in the Tigris region seems worth considering.

This might also enable the U.S. to begin a working relationship with Iran, something that is long overdue given that nation's position as regional power in the Gulf. We don't have to like them, but the present position of the U.S. in the Middle East as a sort of client state of Saudi Arabia seems highly counterproductive, so if air-ground cooperation with their military in Iraq means being able to work with them in the long run? That would seem like a positive side-effect.

I'm not saying this is a good idea. I'm not saying I think the U.S. should do it. I'm saying that I can think of some reasons it might not be a BAD idea and I'm looking for some of the readership to give me their take on it to help me figure out whether it would be on balance a useful tool in the Iraqi box.

Would it fulfill the Geopolitical Prime Directive, "Primum Non Nocere" (First, Do No Harm)? Other than the usual "bombing muslims makes the survivors mad at you" what other possible blowback might there be? Are there any real genuine positive outcomes it might facilitate?

Have at it, ladies and gentlemen.


  1. Are you drinking Air Fore KoolAid?

    Biden was right - let them split three ways

  2. I've never had a real high opinion of Joe Biden's geopolitical savvy and this just confirms my opinion...

    Kidding aside;

    1. How would this be "Air Force Kool-ade"? Most of the USAF hates CAS. I can see how they'd love them some B-2/F-117 missions over Damascus, but getting down in the dirt to strafe some towelheads in technicals? Not their circus, not their monkeys. I have totally NOT seen the USAF or the USN aviators agitating for this anywhere.

    2. I'd agree with Biden if I thought that letting them split three ways would result in a calmer part of the Near East. But I don't - I think that these ISIS/ISIL guys are trouble. Not trouble for the U.S. in the form of "terrorism" but trouble in that they will continue to stir things up in the region. They share one thing with the U.S. - they believe that "war works", and to the degree we can tell they will continue to hammer away on the Shia fragment of Iraq.

    I've said this before and I'll repeat it here: IMO the U.S. has only three "national interests" in the Middle East; open market access to petroleum, passage through the Suez, and overall regional "stability" meaning reducing the number of open wars and failed states. I don't see that an "Islamic" state is a problem provided it gives its people a decent chance at peace and relative prosperity. I wouldn't want to live there, but it's not my country.

    My take on the situation is that, if anything, this constant drumbeat of U.S. hostility to anything "islamic" has a long-term antagonizing effect. It tends to make people in the region associate "islam" with "sworn and effective enemy of the Great Satan". Add to that the fact the between us and the Israelis we've managed to make the non-Islamic Middle Eastern regimes look both weak and incompetent. The islamic theocrats are the only ones to be visibly taking swipes at the Israelis and their American sugar-daddy, and that makes them look pretty heroic to people who must be fairly tired of getting the assess handed to them by those two.

    So if these Sunnis were a bog-standard Baathist outfit I'd tend to agree with you; let 'em have their little desert Disneyland and proceed to negotiate with them as just another damn shithole in the region. But they don't seem to be that, and that's why I'm looking to see if there's any real upside to acting as the Iraqi Air Force for a couple of months until the Shia militias are up and running backed by the Quds Force and have stabilized the rump Iraqi state in the southeast...

  3. FDChief -

    My apologies for the kool-ade insult. I know you better than to think you are another cheerleader for using force in the ME

    From what I have seen on youtube I believe the Iraqi Air Force has already been bomb-bomb-bombing ISIS. And like us before they have done some collateral damage. And like our flyboys they blame it on someone's bad coordinates, ain't our training grand? But the tide has already turned on ISIS. They are already fighting a losing battle regardless of the hysteria in the US press. Unless of course they achieve their wildest dreams in getting the Saudis to interfere on their side, but I do not see that happening.

    Biden is a heck of a lot smarter geopolitically than Cheney and Bush-Junior. We do not have to settle for an ISIS dominated Sunni region in western Iraq. There are non-ISIS elements such as native Iraqi Sunni tribes and former Baathists. If we are going to beat ISIS we need to do it with means other than kinetic. Go with Sun Tzu's advice and win that war without fighting. Attack their alliances, not their allies. Attack their strategy. Attack their economics. Attack their recruiting. Not sure what Clauswitz would recommend - maybe Seydlitz could weigh in.

  4. Chief,
    If we kill every mothers son of them ,what would we gain?
    Is that even a quantifiable question?
    Do we still believe in killing our way out of every scenario imaginable?

  5. I'd say definitely no. Maybe intel or drones but avoid any offensive actions. Best case, you'll minimize collateral but still provide the fundies with propaganda of 'evil Satan' bombing Muslims. Worst case... we've seen plenty of CAS worst cases already but you could throw in a pilot being captured.

    Iraq without a bloodthirsty dictator is probably going to fall apart into 3 countries or at least 3 autonomous regions under the fiction of a nation. The west is trying to maintain the illusion of a country invented in the 1920's out of thin air, it won't solve centuries of war and religion. When they're not hating the US, they're busy hating each other (Sunni/Shiite).

  6. Like I said; assuming this even happens (and the president has said flat-out no at this point) I'll be the first to concede that it won't "solve" anything. The BEST that could happen would be that it stabilizes the military situation enough for the Iranians to intervene and either roll these guys back or set up a new internal border for the new Shia statelet.

    But specifically; No, jim. But you can kill enough people to stop them from doing something if you consider that the thing their doing is not in your interests. That's not a very nice thing but barring some sort of authority the alternatives are either fight or concede. I'm honestly not sure if preserving a Shia statelet is either important enough to fight for or possible given the constraints involved. That's why I'm posing this as a question; IS there an important enough benefit to helping the Iranians save their client state?

    Leon: these guys are going to hate us anyway. We're the evil Satan. I don't see a particularly huge downside there. And, again, I'm not advocating a strategic airwar, I'm not saying "exterminate the brutes". The specific parallel I drew was Deliberate Force, which simply allowed the Croats to drive the Bosnian Serbs out of the muslim parts of the former this would simply be to provide CAS for the Shia/Iranian ground forces to roll these jokers back from Baghdad a bit to establish an internal border...

    I like mike's ideas, that the way to leverage these guys is with "operations-other-than-war". I guess my concern is that the ISIS gang has proved remarkably resilient. The thing that seems to have largely kicked this off is that they proved stronger and more savage than the other Sunni groups in Syria. And their outlook is pretty harsh; they're the Spanish in the Netherlands, and killing heretics is both business and pleasure for them. History shows that those sort of folks usually take a lot of killing to discourage...

    Let me summarize a little here: what I'm hearing is that mostly there's no "there" there, that this will be like shoveling sand and just be treasure and blood (definitely Arab and possibly American) for nothing. Am I on track?

  7. I wonder why they call the U.S. for help. Sounds stupid to me, given the favourability ratings of the United States in Iraq. It makes Maliki look like a puppet.

    They should have asked the Turks, who happen to not like Salafist radicals. Erdogan has good use for a foreign political distraction at home.
    The complications of Kurds, Sunni faith groupings and the Syrian civil war play into this mess, of course.

    By the way; this ISIS crisis makes those who derided the Iraqis for asking for F-16s instead of some propeller "COIN" aircraft look quite silly.
    The best choice might have been Su-25s compatible with GBU-54s...

  8. I think that the ISIS boys will soon wear out their welcome.

    Once things quiet down Sunni tribesmen and the old Baathist folks will encourage them to "move on" (and they will be hailed as a "stabilizing" influence.)

    In other words, take a tranquilizer

    1. Actually, ISIS is based on the not-so-secular wing of the Baathist party, and led by an old lieutenant of Saddam.

    2. Exactly. But the tribal leaders and Saddamites are not religious fanatics, they are practical men accustomed to practical politics. All sorts of practical evil can be done in the next little while, and then a "rebranding" operation will take place to solidify both internal and external legitimacy.

  9. SO -

    Until those F-16s are online, the IQAF is making good use of those propeller "COIN" aircraft. Their Cessna AC-208s have taken out ISIS convoys with Hellfire missiles. And they have also made good use of them as airborne FAC for MI-35s with rockets and guns and Shturm missiles.

    And the reason they asked the US? They figure we are dupes - what else. Iran possibly put them up to it perhaps as a potential future wedge between us and the Saudis and the Gulf States.

    Who is the old lieutenant of Saddam that you mention? Are you talking about al-Douri? I thought he was part of a different group. Is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi just a figurehead at ISIS? Or does the media have it completely wrong?

    1. Al Duri is being suspected to be the mastermind behind the whole thing, and he's a very religious guy, far from the classic secular Baath party wing.

      Maybe I wasn't accurate by writing ISIS is based on the religious wing of Baath, but it may very well be a wing of a larger revolt behind which Duri and Baathists are pulling the strings.
      Isn't it a funny coincidence how ISIS declared its intent to carve a theocratic Sunni realm from the only two (former) Baathist states?

  10. Apparently even COIN cheerleader David Petraeus says the U.S. must not become the Shia military's air force ...

    I think the U.S. needs to continue to extricate itself from the Iraqi box. We don't need, nor do do we need to BE, tools there any longer. Never did in the first place.

    To paraphrase the late Pat Tillman (we just viewed the documentary on the cover-up of his killing): "That war was so efffing illegal."

  11. Simply put the strategic reality of the Iraq war has become obvious to even the most deluded Cheneyite, or well maybe not to them . . . Iran was the big strategic winner of Bush's Iraq fandango and ISIS is the Sunni reaction. What to do besides another astrategic spasm, which has become the US "speciality" in global affairs? Work together with Iran and Syria to decapitate ISIS now . . . Of course that's not going to happen, so instead we'll go in half-azzed and make the situation worse . . .

  12. "Work together with Iran and Syria to decapitate ISIS now..."

    That was kind of the single biggest reason I thought this might not be a completely BAD idea. The U.S. has pretty capable aerial C&C, recon, and strike platforms, and it seemed like a good opportunity to offer those to the Maliki-Iranian axis and, as Sven mentioned, possibly bring in the Turks, too. The bottom line is that "we" seem to have lost the Iraqi Baath and the Iraqi Sunnis in general, so there doesn't seem to be much more there to lose.

    Iran was always going to be the big winner in the Iraq region once we knocked off the Sunni Baath. This seemed like an opportunity to sidle up to them without doing our usual "Uncle Sam crashes the party" act.

    But what I'm getting here is that the bulk of our readership doesn't see any upside, or at least no enough to offset the large downside. OK, I'll buy that.

    Frankly, I thought the whole "advisors" thing was bizarre. The U.S.-built IA doesn't seem to have performed all that spectacularly to date; seems like sending a couple of hundred colonels and majors to tell the Iraqis which end the bullet comes out of is kind of like ramming your head into the wall because it worked so well last time.

  13. Guys,
    I think that we need to stop drinking and sober up a bit.
    We're 1 month away from the 100th anniversary of WW1. On Jun 4 my Dad went to a reunion celebrating the 70th year of the capture of the U505.
    Why do i mention this?
    My point is that farkling around in other peoples problems seldom plays well for the intruder. Wars are mass hysteria and what we're going thru now is exactly that=insanity.
    Where in the heck is the UN or the US trying to settle this situation with UN action? What about the arab league.
    This is not a US show.This isn't 1922,52,56,58,or any of those years.
    Why don't we grow up and quit trying to smell the flavor every time some one yells "fart" in the sand box.
    I find it humorous that we believe in freedom of religion in the US ,but we'll bomb any one to hell if they adopt an extremist version of a religion.
    So, are we fighting for oil, religion , or democracy?
    I think we can rule out democracy.
    The fact that we actually consider bombing is a form of insanity.
    We have been well played in this entire PWOT.
    jim hruska

    1. Well, jim, one thing that comes with the size of a big power is the entanglement in "foreign affairs". I'll agree with you that the whole mess in the Middle East dating back to the recognition of Israel in '48 has been pretty much a clusterfuck, but at this point it's hard to just drop everything and walk away. In that sense it IS 1922, 1952...1958, and 1982. That baggage is attached to us. We ARE involved in oil there, and religion is a huge factor in the region so we're involved in that, too. And democracy, was a nice thought. But at this point it'd be nice if we could be more sensible about how we handled all that baggage.

      And UN action? The Arab League? You're kidding, right? Because those fuckers did SO well in Libya. And Syria. And Palestine. And Iraq.

      Wars are politics by other means. Often stupid, often mistaken, often pointless. But part of the political toolbox, and to pretend otherwise is no better than to pretend that they're the ONLY tool in the box. I think the problem we're facing is that the U.S. is exceptionally bad at figuring which is which and when...

  14. We need to stay out of all of the Middle East. They have been killing each other for numerous years. There is nothing in the Middle East for our soldiers but death.

  15. Seydlitz - I hope that "decapitate'' was just an unfortunate choice of words on your part - I would say instead work quietly behind the scenes with Iran and Saudi Arabia and Qatar to neuter ISIS. Diplomatically, NOT militarily. Aren't there are too many entangled relationships there for the West to know who is backing who. And in any rapprochement with Iran we should make sure that they keep their hands off of Kurdistan.

    SO - al-Douri is hard to read. Is he a fundie Islamist as sometimes stated? Baathist Iraq started out as a non-religious and non-spiritual regime and al-Douri as one of the original founders helped to establish that secular country. It was only after the 1st Gulf War that Sadaam (and al-Douri and other Iraqi leadership) as a ploy ''seemed" to have a religious awakening. Is al-Douri using Sunni fundamentalism or is he a true believer? He is said to have had many Baathist contacts in Syria pre 2003, and sought refuge there during the US occupation. Is he playing ISIS like Chalabi played the US back in 2003? He (or his organisation the JRTN) appears to be pan-Arabist.. Their Logo looks remarkably like the geography of the Arab League from Morocco in the west to the gulf states in the east

    FdChief - Biden may not be the brightest star in the heavens, but he is a lot more geopolitically aware than the R2P crowd like Powers and Slaughter that have advised Obama in the past and had him support fascisti in the Ukraine - religious wars in Syria - and European oil whiners on Libya

  16. Commenters suggest "decapitate ISIS now"; "neuter" it ... I feel it's very arrogant to imagine that we even could.

    For those who imagine an aerial attack will solve the matter: I picture Slim Pickens riding the bomb in "Dr Strangelove". "You can't kill an idea" (V for Vendetta), and THEY have an idea; we haven't a clue.

    Per Chief's comment (the whole mess in the Middle East dating back to the recognition of Israel in '48 has been pretty much a clusterfuck...) I will suggest that the creation of the state Israel -- our one democratic ally in that entire pathetic region -- is not where you will find the origin of the bloody turmoil you see now. Anti-Semitism just happens to be a gift that keeps on giving.

    Rather, I will suggest that Israel is the best gift the fightin' Arabs have received in recent years. It gives them a reason to fight someone not themselves. When they have finally managed to "drive Israel into the sea," woe be it to the rest of the Arab world. (Of course, one could also say that the intractable hatred directed at Israel from the Arab world for the entirety of its existence also has given them something around which to cohere, a common cause of self defense. What would happen to the 100's of factions who would then have to deal with their own intractable differences?)

    1. If Israel is an "ally" we need to redefine the word. Israel as an "ally" is like the "friend" that takes you to the bar, gets drunk, picks on the biggest redneck in the joint and then points to you and slurs "My frien' here's gonna kick yur azz..."

      Israel is a pain in the butt, Lisa. Nice little country, pretty girls and scenery (in a deserty sort of way), tough sonsofbitches, but we need Israel like a fish needs a fucking bicycle. Whether or not the goddamn Arabs would be at each others' throats without it is immaterial. The fact is that everyone who knew the region told Truman that he was screwing that pooch. He did and now we're stuck with it. But Israel is Israel's ally, and only Israel's ally; ask any of the poor bastards on the USS Liberty how good our Israeli pals take care of us.

      I'm not saying that we should just dump 'em like yesterday's trash. But supporting Israel unquestioningly has an immense price in the Middle East and using pretty words like "democratic ally" just elides that fact. They are democratic (of a sort - ask a secular Israeli how much they enjoy the voting patterns of the Ultraorthodox) and they are a sort of remora-ish ally. But we've paid and pay a hell of a high price for that relationship and if we want it we should be honest and accept that price and quit bitching about "why do they hate us"? They hate us for the same reason that they hated the goddamn Crusader States in 1150, duh!

  17. Oh ...

    and as per "advisers", that sounds a lot like the beginning of another quagmire the U.S. entered not so long ago but also far away (Vietnam). Now, we buy our socks and undies from them, items which used to be produced in the Carolinas, stateside. But do we really think we will be outsourcing production of such things to the Mideast any time soon? I don't think they see themselves as being a cheap labor pool for American production interests.

    But of course, we worship at the altar of the God of the Marketplace. If we think there's money to be made, we'll be on point, no? Not money for you and me, mind you ...

    As an aside: Does anyone else see recent events in Iraq ushering in something akin to another Thirty Years War, or something that resembles the great religious wars of the 14th-16th centuries?

    1. I agree totally. The USA is on top of a slippery slope that will lead into a continuous, draining state of war in the Middle East. The other option is to quickly withdraw from all of the Middle East and sit back and watch the killing, go on and on and on.......

    2. What the hell these "advisors" are going to do that a smart Iranian major couldn't I have no idea. But I honestly don't see this as more than ass-covering. This is Obama's way of doing nothing while saying he's not doing nothing.

      And this war's been simmering for some time now, Lisa. The Iraq resistance was part of it, as was the feud between the Afghan Taliban and Iran.

      The difference is that the Wars of Religion were waged by the superpowers of their day. Spain, France, the Holy Roman Empire, the Papacy...all had power projection into Germany that none of the current Islamic nations has today in the region. I don't disagree that we'll see more of these ISlamic "wars of religion" but doubt that they will ever rise to the level of "Thirty Year's War" just because of that..

  18. Lisa-

    Aren't you more worried about what a US shift in policy to support Iran/Syria would do to Likud's ambitions? . . . Now that's an arrogant bunch . . . In any case "decapitate" should be seen as a metaphor. US support for Iran/Syria would send a very strong message to the Sunni tribes supporting ISIS. US support need not be military at all, but rather a simply a green light to Iranian intervention along with an end of support for the Syrian rebels. We would end up saving $$$ and finally sticking it to the Saudis . . . a win all around for the US.

  19. seydlitz,

    I'm not saying to support any of those hosers; I'm saying get out, didi mau.

    You say, "Now that's an arrogant bunch" -- who? The U.S.? Well, YEAH. The Arabs on each side murdering each other? Sure. "Arrogance" -- an eternal human trait. The Likud? Why your allegation? If that's your position, I don't really care, anyway. I wouldn't pretend to tell anyone in that Middle East quagmire how to survive. It's not the U.S.'s role, anyway.

    Non-arrogance for the U.S. would be to extricate itself, now.

    1. Not possible, Lisa. Too many geopolitical and economic connections there, including our Israeli "pals", who would scream like a wounded eagle if we "extricated ourselves now".

      The U.S. is and will be involved there. But it'd be nicer if we'd be smarter.

  20. Seydlitz,
    Shift in policy.??!!
    WTF? The only thing shifting in this scenario is the sand.
    We have no policy, other than reactive,knee jerks,based on whim,fancy and total ignorance.

  21. Lisa-

    It was a question, everyone here operates in a certain context.


    The shift would be from the current Israeli/Saudi/Cheneyite "policy" to an Iranian/Syrian/Realist policy . . . not a chance in hell of happening though due to current US political dysfunctions. The new policy in question would be much more diplomatic and not rely on dubious assumptions regarding the utility of force . . .

  22. Why don't we arm/support Assad and have him take care of the problem for us?

  23. seydlitz,

    Sorry ... I didn't recognize your rhetorical nature ;)

  24. Well...this discussion is pretty much moot. The U.S. "strategy" appears to be to irritate as many people in the region as possible for the least return; airdrop a couple of hundred spare O-4s into Baghdad with a bagfull of Army Achievement Medals and some used oporders from Tal Afar back in 2007.

    The Iranians are pissed off ("Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Washington of "seeking an Iraq under its hegemony and ruled by its stooges". says the BBC), the Jordanians are getting strapped, and the fucking IA is doing it's best impression of the ARVN in 1975. What a goatscrew.

    I swear; sometimes I think my country would have a hard time organizing a child's birthday party...

  25. Assad gets arms and support from Russia and Iran - plus boots-on-the-ground support from Hezbollah so why would he want US support? He is doing very well without us, which is why ISIS went east to Iraq.

    We should listen to and pay heed to the UN Secretary General - though his proposed resolution will not pass the US needs to still abide by it. Ban is against airstrikes on ISIS in Irak also

  26. US "support" would be to stop supporting the Syrian rebels. Would there even still be a civil war in Syria without outside (that is especially Saudi, Israeli, Turkish, Gulf State, US, UK) support?

    1. Probably, but a lot smaller and a lot less dangerous for the region. The Alawite regime was never particularly stable, and between the turbulence in Iraq and Lebanon and the stress of having constant strife with Israel I'm kind of surprised it lasted this long.

  27. seydlitz,4;07,
    Don't forget thhe Russians.
    Have you ever heard the song-THE ENVOY by Warren Zevon?
    jim hruska

  28. jim-

    The Russians support the current Syrian government, that is the status quo. They have a long history in Syria and a naval base there. They are not attempting to de-stabilize the region, but support a regime with whom they have extensive ties . . .

  29. Seydlitz -

    I am not sure I understand your beef with the FSA. Obama seems to have given up on them anyway. He is leery that any weapons given to the FSA would be taken forcefully by jihadi groups Probably he is rightfully so As far as I an determine the only support the US and the west gave to the Syrian resistance was helping get rid of Assad's chemical weapons But Assad is still being supplied with arms by Russia - Belarus - CChina - North Korea and Iran

    And there are many in Syria that believe Assad himself is the one that helped to create a ISIS in order to legitimize his claims that all the Syrian resistance were terrorists See the Newsweek article at: How Syria's Assad Helped Forge ISIS

    sorry for the typos - y keyboard is toast (literally I suspet a precocious 5-year-old granddaughter has been using the laptop to surf for Dora and Lalaloopsy while eating breakfast)

  30. ooops that was mike not ike

  31. Ike-

    FSA? They were never going to overthrow Assad. The FSA, simply a ramshackle front group for powerful non-Syrian interests?

    Syria is perhaps the most oppressive Arab state . . . has been for some time. But it functions and more or less protects the non-Sunni communities. After the Cheneyite adventure in Iraq, who actually would argue for the overthrow of a Middle East state? Replacing it with what? The next Chalabi?

  32. seysdlitz -

    I personally do not want to oerthrow Assad and as far as I know neither does the US goernent \\\

    And I did not want to oerthrow Libya or Irak either

    Perhaps you are thinking of the Bushistas and Saudis and Kataris

  33. mike-

    If you don't wish to overthrow Assad then why bring up the FSA? They aren't going to negotiate in good faith, but act rather as a front organization for various foreign interests whose intent is the overthrow of Assad.

    I was against the Iraq war because I was in active service during the first Gulf War of 1990-91 and knew something of the complexities. Not to mention the massive campaign of lies and distortions perpetrated by the Cheneyites (with the active support of the Israeli govt) followed by the "surging to victory" meme/domestic information op which followed. That's all been laid bear now . . . No one can deny the utter bankruptcy of the neocon dream. The Cheneyites now screaming for intervention should have no voice in any of this . . . but in this dysfunctional political entity of the astrategic spasm, they have the loudest . . .

  34. BTW All.
    I hope that i'm OT:maybe not , but here we go.
    Look at the patch for the DELIBERATE FORCE.
    Isn't it rather sexist and inappropriate for a sensitive integration of females into the force structure?
    Is the function of women in the AF to just be there to hang out their breasts.
    I just think that our patches show our attitudes.
    jim hruska

  35. jim-

    You're way to complicated for me . . . are you talking about poontang?

  36. seydlitz -

    FSA is OK in ^^y book or at least they were up until February when Idris left - Dont know yet about the new guy al-Bashir What is not to like about soldiers who refused orders to fire on protestors and therefore desided to desert and oppose the tyrant who ordered the bloodbath They (FSA) had higher ethiks than the Ohio National Guard troops who fired on the Kent State protestors in 1970

    Assad is not OK in ^^y book But please do not think that I want US gold and gore to o*erthrow the b@st@rd Not sure why you think so highly of Assad and his allies What is publik opinion Portugal

  37. Ranger -

    That is not a USAF bare-breasted girl -- She is RNLAF (ie Holland) the 323rd sguadron -- She has been their logo for years -- And BTW she has been portrayed bare-breasted (or nude) for thousands of years --

  38. Question:
    It was mentioned as MilPub a couple times that Bacevich asserts 'America believs that war works'.
    Do you have a source for this?

  39. SO -

    three posts on AB in the past all by Seydlitz -- find his label in the left sidebar -- I do not see anything about -war works- but I did not look in detail

  40. Sven- The Bacevich quote is from a video of a speech he made a while back. He was quoting someone else.

    Not long before his untimely death the historian Tony Judt observed that “For many American commentators and policymakers the message of the twentieth century is that war works.”

    Bacevich went on later to say:

    The belief that war works has not made soldiering per se a popular vocation; Americans prefer war as a spectator sport rather than as a participatory one.

    1. Hi Al
      I wanted to ask you a question not related to this post. Could you drop me an e-mail at
      Hope you're doing fine.

    2. Thanks aviator, I had found a source in the meantime myself: