Monday, May 16, 2011

Air Libya

May 17, 2001

By Jeff Huber

America’s trade deficit continues to grow, but the good news is that our one viable export shows no sign of going into a slump.  Among our biggest little trading buddies, our Long War on Evil is a hotter selling game than Call of Duty, Gears of War and Tom Clancy’s Insurance Selling Geek Patrol combined. 

Our “days not weeks” of military involvement in Libya have turned into months.  Now the Brits want to sign us on for a commitment that will keep us backing that show longer than The Fantasticks ran off-Broadway (i.e., 42 years).  These would be the same pet bulldogs who begged on their hind legs to take the car ride to Iraq and the Bananastans with us and who extradited our nemesis Julian Assange to Sweden for “questioning” about sexual behavior that by Swedish standards is the equivalent of kissing your prom date on the cheek.

Gen. Sir David Richards
orders infrastructure
raid on Tripoli.
Subsequent to the coalition’s inability to bomb Colonel Moammar Gadhafi into the great game beyond, Britain’s top military commander Gen. Sir David Richards (harrumph) says Gadhafi could remain “clinging to power” unless NATO steps up its bombing operation to include Libya’s infrastructure. 

Next to the importance of air-to-air fighters to maintaining air superiority, the strategic importance of infrastructure bombing is airpower theory’s most elaborate and cynical hoax.  Since the beginning of air warfare, the preponderance of combat air kills came from air defense artillery (aka ADA), which today consists of surface-to-air missiles (aka SAMs) and anti-air artillery (aka AAA, pronounced “triple A”).  The $350 million-a-pop F-22 Raptor is about as effective at ruling the sky as the bi-winged box kites fighter pilots flew during “the war to end all wars” (aka "the great war" aka World War I).  Long after the 8th Air Force had shot the Luftwaffe down in flames in "the good war" (aka World War II), Colonel Hogans and Sergeant Kinchloes were still parachuting into Luftstalags thanks to flak “so thick you could walk on it.”

Snoopy patrols no-fly zone
over Libya.
In our decade of enforcing the northern and southern thou-shalt-not-fly zones aka no-fly zones aka NFZs over Iraq, we never quite established air supremacy because of the Iraqis’ uncanny ability to sneak new SAM sites into the NFZs right under the noses of our spy satellites.  We scored a tactical victory or two by bombing one or two or three of the SAM sites, of which maybe half were cardboard decoys placed in the NFZs to defile with our heads. 

Sadam Hussein’s air-to-air fighters mostly stayed out of the NFZs, mainly because so few of them were able to stay off the ground.  But if they had managed to get off the ground and into the no-fly airspace they wouldn’t have been a threat to the Kurd and Shia populations we supposedly established the zone to protect in the first place because the Shia population lived on the ground and air-to-air fighters aren’t geared to attack ground targets. 

The only confirmed kills of the Iran no-fly fiasco were the two U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters that two U.S. Air Force F-16 Falcon fighters shot down by mistake over the northern NFZ.  The true ignominy of The Blackhawk Downer was that the AWACS controllers who were hundreds of miles away swung in the wind over it and the fighter pilots who actually saw the Blackhawks and shot them down without getting a better look at them skated away on the thin ice of the warrior ethos.  This was in keeping with the Uniform Code of Marsupial Justice (aka UCMJ) tradition later reflected when the person who took the big fall for the Abu Ghraib disgrace was a pregnant retarded corporal.

It was in the grand tradition of tragic American post-World War II strategy-policy mismatches that a decade of no-fly zones over Iraq failed to unseat a dictator who was once our ally and who we now realize, after we’ve tinkled away most of another decade in a no-win war of occupation, that we should have left in place.  I got a morbid case of the mission creeps the second I heard young Mr. Obama had signed on to enforce a wafer-thin NFZ over Libya for the purpose of protecting Libyan civilians from their dictator who we'd be better off leaving in place, knowing full well that once the creeps in charge got their noses in Gadhafi's tent they would escalate the mission.

And so it came to pass.  The NFZ defensive counter air (aka DCA) mission turned into a close air support (aka CAS) mission, which in turn became an interdiction (aka INT) mission, which morphed into a leadership assassination mission (aka ASS).  Then the ASS killed a lot of the Libyan civilians we were supposed to be protecting but failed to kill Gadhafi, just as the ASS in Iraq killed a lot of Iraqi civilians but not Saddam Hussein.
RAF Bomber Command and
U.S. 8th Air Force
liberate civilian population of Dresden.

Now General Sir Fopping Popinjay wants to expand the air mission to encompass good old-fashioned strategic bombing against the dreaded enemy infrastructure.  Strategic bombing (aka “shock and awe” in Newspeak), the core tenet of air power theory, has not once caused an enemy to capitulate or effected a regime change, not in either World War nor Korea nor Vietnam nor the Balkans nor Iraq nor the Bananastans nor no place.  Never.  The only ones who feel the effect of infrastructure bombing are the civilians whose welfare we pretend to be so concerned for.

But a strategic bombing campaign in Libya will serve four main purposes.  1) It will give MacArthur-esque demagogues like General Sir Fop ‘n’ Pop (as his adoring troops so lovingly call him) a bigger fiefdom to fo-fum over, 2) it will give NATO increasingly phony-baloney but nonetheless convincing reasons to continue its existence, 3) it will open the floodgates for corrupt contractors from the participating allied countries to make a fortune in a half-hearted attempt to rebuild the infrastructure we just spent a fortune bombing to smithereens. 

And, oh yeah, 4) it will keep the Russians’ mitts off Libya’s oil, which we now know, thanks to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, was the real reason Susie Rice and the rest of Obama's war mongrels instigated the UN resolution to molest Libya in the first place. 

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) is author of the critically lauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a lampoon on America’s rise to global dominance.


  1. Another damn fool war, another country ruined. All in the name of increasing obscene profits for the "too big to fail" gangsters.
    War, the ultimate failure to communicate.

  2. Well put, Charlie.


  3. Uh, don't look now:

    New Authorization of Worldwide War Without End?

    But Congress is considering monumental new legislation that would grant the president – and all presidents after him – sweeping new power to make war almost anywhere and everywhere. Unlike previous grants of authority for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the proposed legislation would allow a president to use military force wherever terrorism suspects are present in the world, regardless of whether there has been any harm to U.S. citizens, or any attack on the United States, or any imminent threat of an attack. The legislation is broad enough to permit a president to use military force within the United States and against American citizens. The legislation contains no expiration date, and no criteria to determine when a president’s authority to use military force would end.

    They're just protecting the hell out of our precious bodily fluids, aren't they? Soon the whole planet will be a war zone. And just in time for the resource wars, how convenient.

    Now we can go after the, uh, terror wherever it happens to be on the Earth. Of course, any correlation between a particular country's supply of terror and its stated oil reserves will be just a coincidence. And if they discover oil in Antarctica, the sudden surge in penguin-instigated terrorism will likewise be a coincidence.

  4. Wow. I'll never run out of things to write about.

    Agree regarding Antarctica.

  5. Let's not forget the vital necessity of good, regular purges of the ammo locker.

    Getting rid of stale and dated boom-boom is good for the red shirts who have to handle stuff that might well go off in their hands. And in these tough economic times, the extra orders for new supply could only be a bonus. Besides, think of the opportunities to upgrade and try out new, cutting-edge technologies.

    Anybody for the newer, more efficient 250 pound 'feather dusters'?

    Later, after the 'bunker busters' are all gone.

  6. Bingo on the boom-boom inventory, pop.


  7. Here's another one for the "endless war" file:

    Chinese general rattles sabre

    Their crazies and ours should get along like a house on fire. No sir, you will never run out of things to write about. Unfortunately.

  8. ''Man cannot survive without killing''.

    What a world.