The Gobsmacked Strategy

The US strategy in Iraq was described by some as "shock and awe." It was suppose to be a strategic stroke that would force the enemy to recognize he could not win and therefore surrender. Strategic bombing is rarely that effective, if ever. The Brits use a term "gobsmacked" to mean bewildered or stunned. That is actually closer to what the initial phase of US bombing achieved in Baghdad. As is usually the case tactical bombing was still needed to defeat the troops inthe field. The first phase of bombing compliments the next phase and makes it easier and more effective. However, it is the bombing against the troops that ultimately leads to the rout in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan too much time and ordinance was wasted on empty buildings before moving to the attack on the troops. This could have been caused by the operational difficulty of getting enough special forces in place to direct some of teh hits on ground forces.

In Iraq, the pace was accelerated to accomidate the rapid movement of ground forces toward Baghdad. The ground force atack actually complements the tacital airstrikes, by "fixing" the enemy to a specific location in order to counter the ground attack. Once the enemy is "fixed" he is destroyed in place. If the enemy attempts to move he becomes even more vulnerable to both ground and air attacks by leaving his fortified positions. That is a dilema that the US attempts to put the enemy in.

"Shock and awe" will rarely be enough to destroy a determined enemy's will to fight. Gobsmacking the enemy to set up a coodinated attack of combined arms leaves the enemy defensless, which leads to victory.

"I Support the Troops"

This was a phrase used by politicians who did not support the use of force against Iraq. Many conservatives have been critical of this phrase, while raising the question "How can you support the troops if you do not support the policy?" As a Vietnam vet, I think I have an answer. When coming back from Vietnam, many vets were spate on and called baby killers. I think respecting and supporting the troops is an improvement. Those who did not support the use of force for liberating Iraq were still wrong, and unfortunately, only a few, like Cris Mathews, have the courage and integrety to admit it. Mathews in his opposition to the war, clearly took counsel of his fears, and did not recogize that all of the disasterous examples he gave such as Vietnam and Mogudishu were avoidable with the correct application of force to an effective strategy. Most of the quagmirist still do not comprehend how liberal Democrats caused the war in Vietnam to be a quagmire.

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