Wednesday 2 December 2015

The bombing war
In the post World War one world, airforces were the new big thing.
Inexpensive, by conventional navy and army standards,the airmen offered a way to conduct war on the cheap. Cheap to set up. Cheap to maintain. Cheap in casualties sustained by the attacker.

At the end of WW1, he RAF had managed to free itself from the clutches of  the army, and was the envy of other army controlled airforce throughout the world. In order to continue their operation as a separate service, with all the extra admin and senior officer costs that brought, the airman  began promising great things to the politicians. Victory through airpower.
This theory was tested rather widely during the second world war. And despite huge expense in all resources, the results of independent air action remained , at best, inconclusive.

The most credible claim that air power could conquer a nation came from the USA, whose bombing of Japan did result in that countries surrender. Without a single combat soldier setting foot on its soil.
Its likely that the combination of the air and naval campaign, particularly the submarine war, would have forced japan's surrender without the A Bomb. But it would have taken longer.

In Korea air forces were crucial in preventing the collapse of South Korea and in the ability of the UN to recapture half the country. But without dropping the big bomb, airpower couldn't end or even escalate that war.

The Rolling Thunder operations in Vietnam were possibly the last real attempt by one country to force another to surrender by airpower alone. And even with the entire might of the US army and navy airforce available, it was not possible to defeat even tiny North Vietnam.

With the advent of advanced precision munitions, aircraft were able to target key installations successfully, with greatly reduced casualties. The mission statement moved from war winning .. to war containing.

And in this the western airforces have been very successful The Balkans break up...Gulf War One {resounding success for the airforces as indeed it was for all services..A fantastic operation that doesn't get the recognition it deserves as a skillful campaign, largely because it was so successful its imagined the awesome victory was inevitable.} The Gulf invasion II and Libya.

Libya was particularly impressive for airpower. The rebels were at their last gasp. Retreating into Benghazi. They had been outfought by the Colonel's forces and were almost finished. The French and British aircraft began blunting the advance and then just wiped out the Libyan army.
I remember seeing a Sky news report that showed a burnt out T-72 tank. Its turret blown a good 50 meters away. The reporter explaining that coalition aircraft had done for this steel terror. Then the camera pulled back and the road behind had twenty more destroyed tanks. And armoured personnel carriers. And supply trucks.And AA guns and missiles. Miles and miles of them burnt out as during Desert Storm.

Mr Drew commented here a long while ago about how once Nato aircraft were committed against ISIL, that would end their terrain  taking offensives, which it mostly was.
Heavy weapons cannot be used without air superiority, which ISIL will never have. So they are left as militia in an insurgency war.
Many are now saying over the bombing Syria debate, "Bombing won't stop the terrorists."


Bombing from the air won't stop Isis. It won't stop Euro/world terrorist attacks either.
But it will pave the way for the inevitable ground war that must follow, if, as demonstrated above, a successful conclusion to the war is sought. Because air power alone, cannot do it.

Unless that really, really big bomb is used.


Dick Cheney said...

Excellent piece. I almost want to vote for the bombing but can't. And the reason I can't is your last thoughts.

There is a recognition that bombing is only the foreplay to that wet dream of Dr Fox and his neocon buddies - total war - with all that entails.

Time to grow up and have a full plan for bombing, boots and re-construction. And if there is a plan where is it.

DJK said...

It's the ground war after the bombing that's the problem, as Mr. Cheney says. There are only two credible armies in Syria: the Kurds and the Syrian army. The Kurds won't advance beyond Kurdistan, and anyway have internal conflicts and factions of their own. And for some reason we won't support the Syrian army, preferring instead whichever bunch of Sunni insurgents claim to be the least mad.

At least the Russians and their allies have a coherent plan and are prepared to stick with it.

Electro-Kevin said...

And the last time the free world faced something so fanatical it took saturation bombing and the Big One to do it.

I'm afraid that I think we're in for some serious SERIOUS trouble in our homelands and, unless we can direct some of that Tornado firepower onto our own inner cities.

I don't blame ISIL. I blame our own political and legal establishment for letting radicalism thrive here in favour of multiculturalism.

And still the mass, unchecked, immigration continues. If we are to be a nation at war then at least let us be a war-like nation - with secure borders and internment of likely jihadists.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please bomb Dave, and crack open this nutter.

And quite apart from anything else.

It would be good to know, who or what 'our lot' - the Camer-loonies actually deem to be our 'allies' in Syria.

Has any dude sitting in on Dave's war couch - Sam pointing out stuff on the whiteboard, moving imaginary men on the war games table and with Dave making the tea - thought to ask what they think of the Syrian clusterfuck - in Tel Aviv, those lads always seem to have boys in the know and on the ground.

Are we going and forthwith to make friends with President Putin or, are we still putting all of our eggs in the Wahhabists basket and licking Erdogans arse - because it is way past time to fucking make up our minds on that one.

Thud said...

EK...well said.

Nick Drew said...

Mr Drew commented here a long while ago about how once Nato aircraft were committed against ISIL, that would end their terrain taking offensives

at the same time, innocent fool that I was, it hadn't occurred to me that (a) 'sources close to the Turkish president' were laundering ISIL's oil production and that (b) we would give them a let on that, so as not to upset them

mercifully, little Volodya has no such scruples and has wiped their tanker-truck fleet - the softest, softest target! - from the map in just a few weeks, putting matters where they should have been as soon as the 'allied' air campaign commenced in the first place

I trust their oil wells have followed in short order, everyone knows where they are, it's laughable

BTW, young Mr Benn was using some of the right words, and lots of the right attitude, yesterday evening - probably even stiffened the resolve of some Labour MPs (hey, we actually have a leader - yeah, & it ain't Chukka-boy or Mrs Balls-Cooper) - can Corbyn's breakdown be far away?

i wonder if anyone beforehand said to Benn: "speak for England, Hilary" ..?

david morris said...

EK nails it.


Kind regards

Bill Quango MP said...

He looks a bit like Greenwood too.

When the debate started it was dreadful.With Labour and SNP members displaying the worst of politics with faux outrage and equating their pretendy hurt feelings with the agony of bombed victims.

temptation was to pen a parody of that Chamberlain speech with Tom Watson in the Amery role about Corbyn."

And Corbyn in the Lansbury role.

"I would close every recruiting station, disband the Army and disarm the Air Force. I would abolish the whole dreadful equipment of war and say to the world: "Do your worst"
- George Lansbury, leader of the Labour Party, message to the voters in the Fulham East by-election, June 1933.

Electro-Kevin said...

Nick - I watched some of the debate, including the Benn speech.

Both sides of that house separated by one huge elephant. Now the PM wants us to stop even using the word 'elephant'.

The whole thing was insane by its omissions.

Our greatest risk is not ISIS 'Daesh' (whatever the fuck that is) but ISIB brought to us by our membership of the EU, addiction to cheap labour* and our obsession with economic growth in whatever form it takes.

*Not so cheap if the cost of war and security is added. Not so cheap if welfare is added. Not so cheap of loss of culture and social stability is lost.

In fact not cheap at all.

Raedwald said...

What E-K said

Jer said...

Agree with the above.

What depressed me about the whole thing was listening to David Cameron's speech (not the one yesterday - the one where he set out the case for war, Monday possibly).
It was crap. He sounded insincere and I hope he was, as the alternative is that he is an utter imbecile. Even so stating as facts things that are demonstratively bollocks, especially the 70k "ground troops" ready to sieze land from ISIS is just depressing and embarrassing.

At least Boris would sound intelligent, whether he was any good or not.

Jan said...

Why do we think it's OK to interfere in other peoples' business anyway? Has anybody asked a Syrian person what they would like to happen? Oh yes Syrians all think something different depending on who they support so it's their fight not ours. We (the British) interfered a century ago by drawing lines on a map and this is the result I suppose.

Bombing anywhere isn't going to stop nasty people who want to do damage to people in this country. I absolutely hate the gung-ho attitudes expressed by so many. War does not solve anything. If anything it's a distraction from the dire economic position we face in the west.

And I agree with EK

dustybloke said...

The worst thing about getting old (apart from the obvious ones!) is watching people make the same mistakes over and over.

Unfortunately, in the modern world, history is totally ignored and history begins yesterday.

Bush and Blair seemed to ignore the fact that the British and Americans put Saddam in power for a reason. They ignored the fact that the cruellest, most single minded army in the world had failed ignominiously when it invaded Afghanistan a few years previously.

Now we're ignoring the fact that whether or not to bomb people in Syria is a small tactic in an overall strategy.

The Battle of Britain was a classic example of a tactic that disguised itself as a strategy. Hitler had no interest in invading Britain. The German Navy repeatedly told everyone they couldn't invade. The German Army repeatedly told everyone they couldn't invade. But the battle went ahead because Goering had had such success against European air forces it seemed like a harmless stunt.

Parliament had discussed some years previously what to do about Hitler and had decided to ignore the question. They didn't discuss what became known as the Battle of Britain.

What Parliament should have discussed is "What do we want to achieve against Islam?"

But, of course, that is such a thorny question that everybody was quite happy to ignore it.

Thus history repeats itself.

dustybloke said...

I missed out the "yesterday" in the third from bottom line

Bill Quango MP said...

Good comments all.
Overall the war speeches were better than the peace speeches. But some very able and impassioned people made good speeches on all sides.

As for this new war, what is interesting is the uk is really only moving current operations a few miles along into Syria. We are already engaging Isis elsewhere.
Where was the big debate about that?

dearieme said...

A couple of years ago Cameron wanted to bomb Syria, targeting Assad. Now he wants to bomb Syria targeting some of Assad's enemies. The common factor is the desire to bomb Syria. His bombing of Libya has proved a disaster. He is Blair-lite. Meantime the internal problems, in both the UK and the rest of the EU, are left to grow. And then the House of Commons has a self-congratulatory debate that concerns itself with ignoring the question of essential British interests. Pabloodythetic.

hovis said...

Cameron is despcable facile stupid lying useless cunt.
The idea that using our 3 thirty yearold Tornaod's will "make a difference" is the impotent fantasy of armschair generals who are desparely trying to get hard on.

Intersting that only now do we think about bombing the oil infrestructire because the Russians have called out the utrterfucking lies and dulicity of the US/UK support and complicity in supporting and aiding ISIS and their obsession in remodellling the ME and removing Assad.

The "moderate rebel" meme is just utter bullshit, either those buyimng are mentally defective or it causes such great cognitove disonance that their govt may be a lying duplicitious bunch if utter cunts who are not working in the interesrs of the people it causes them to ignore facts.

Personally I am expecting mission creep and oh miraculously we'll end up bombing teh Syrian Army. It does us no good, and the Russians are the onoy ones in Theatre who have a mandate to be there.

If we are to fight wars of choice, we need:
-A clear objective that is in our interets as a nation(*)
- A credible and workable plan how to acheive it
- The men and material to achieve that end (not two elatic bands and a piece of chewing gum).

Without those it is just murder and wate of life ( I am talking of our own forces before even talking about anything else in amoral context.)

(*)Not one that undermines us or aids so called "allies" who wish to undermine us culturally ad politically, nor serve a tiny clique. For this reason Cameraon like Blair should dance the Tyburn jig.

James Higham said...

The most credible claim that air power could conquer a nation came from the USA, whose bombing of Japan did result in that countries surrender.

Just required a smallish nuclear device and no more than ten million incinerated, tops.

MyCorporateWarriorName said...

Plus ca change for the Tories; Coked-up bum-boys calling for piles of corpses to revel in. Fuckin warped is what it is.

I dont believe for a minute that we are going into Syria to 'help' with anything.

The real problems here are the fascist death cult that is Sunni/Saudi Islam and the Turkish smuggler-atti that masquerades as a government.
Another fucking point too; the last Tory govt lobbied very, very hard for Turkish ascendancy to the EU.

The Saudis have oil and buy our weapons; this is a marketing war, where service personal are put into theatre as a gesture to our customers; We will kill civilians and our own military personnel to preserve our contracts. No wonder the uber-capitalists are so happy.

Thus far only the Russians have the balls to call it as it is; I want to know when airstrikes against Saudi Arabia and the trials of the MPs who voted for this corporate takeover of government will begin.

PS - the *whole aim, intent and direction of economic and social policy is to flood the country with immigrants . This is because without it, **the country is bust. End of story.
(Unless the debtors are forced to pay their debts, of course....)
I'd further suggest that the recent 'beefing up' of surveillance powers was done in an attempt to control the native population (across Europe) when the inevitable social breakdown either *(mass immigration) or **(run on sterling) occurs.

Steven_L said...

It's a failed state, ideally everything bigger than an AK-47 needs taking out. I reckon this is part of the thinking. Sucks if you're a Syrian, but they might have a point.

Then again, maybe it's the start of a u-turn over supporting Assad. I never did understand why the yanks hated Assad so much? Relations with Saddam? Russia? Hostility to Israel? He seemed a fairly moderate sort of a chap for an Arab dictator to me.

Anonymous said...

The purpose of this war is

1. To remove the evil terrorists
2. To bring democracy to Syria
3. To recover the ownership of oil assets for the global energy companies
4. All of the above but mainly #3


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