In late 2005, Seymour Hersh reported on US plans to increase the air war in Iraq. Since then, however, the mainstream has largely kept away from the issue (independent Dahr Jamail’s reports are a notable exception.) The civilian toll of such measures is usually ignored.
Now, Knight Ridder reveals more:
American forces have dramatically increased airstrikes in Iraq during the past five months, a change of tactics that may foreshadow how the United States plans to battle a still-strong insurgency while reducing the number of U.S. ground troops serving here.
A review of military data shows that daily bombing runs and jet-missile launches have increased by more than 50 percent in the past five months, compared with the same period last year. Knight Ridder’s statistical findings were reviewed and confirmed by American Air Force officials in the region.
The numbers also show that U.S. forces dropped bombs on more cities during the last five months than they did during the same period a year ago. Airstrikes hit at least 11 cities between Oct. 1, 2004, and Feb. 28, 2005, but were mostly concentrated in and around the western city of Fallujah. A year later, U.S. warplanes struck at least 22 cities during the same months.
Not unlike the Vietnam war, evidence seems to be growing that Bush administration “logic” dictates gradual withdrawal under the cover of massive, aerial assaults on the Iraqi people. Winning hearts and minds should be easy after that.