Since Bush’s Mission Accomplished moment, the media coverage of the air attacks being conducted by US forces has been all but ignored. The exception to this have been the Lancet Report, which addressed deaths in Iraq due to aerial bombardment, and Seymour Hersh, who in late 2005 reported on the plans to escalate the bombing campaign over Iraq.
Recent reports appear to have vindicated Hersh’s sources.
U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft dropped five times as many bombs in Iraq during the first six months of this year as over the first half of 2006, according to official information.
They dropped 437 bombs and missiles in Iraq in the first half of 2007, compared to 86 in the first half of 2006. This is also three times more than in the second half of 2006, according to Air Force data.
The interesting this about this development is its significance. In June, William S Lind wrote:
To put it bluntly, there is no surer or faster way to lose in 4GW than by calling in airstrikes. It is a disaster on every level. Physically, it inevitably kills far more civilians than enemies, enraging the population against us and driving them into the arms of our opponents. Mentally, it tells the insurgents we are cowards who only dare fight them from 20,000 feet in the air. Morally, it turns us into Goliath, a monster every real man has to fight. So negative are the results of air strikes in this kind of war that there is only one possible good number of them: zero (unless we are employing the “Hama model,” which we are not).
Indeed, based on the observations by the soon to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Lind’s predictions are right on the money.
“no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference” in the war in Iraq. “[P]rudence dictates that we plan for an eventual drawdown and the transition of responsibilities to Iraqi security forces,” he said. In questioning later, he conceded, “there does not appear to be much political progress” in Iraq.