Operation Allied Force (Kosovo 1999) and other airstrike/UAV failures in Iraq and Lebanon

7/7/2008

"We cannot escape some of the ways war must be fought...if our Soldiers cannot fight and kill at close range, our status as a superpower is in question"

--Robert Kaplan, Neocon but before becoming a prejudiced fascist fantatic was a prescient author of The Coming Anarchy

A detailed presentation of how our alleged global Surveillance Strike Complex (SSC) firepower has been defeated by enemy C3D2 and ground maneuver capability and our own institutional stupidity, denying us decisive victories in Iraq (twice), Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

RMA/PGM air strike mentality meets its Waterloo in Lebanon thanks to the IDF


The photo above shows a Hezbollah rocket/missile still being fired amidst the IAF "air campaign", note the firing signature and smoke.

Our hats off to the IDF for leading the way once again.

They have taken our RMA/PGM/UAV air strike anti-physical, pro-mentalism BS we have fed them and applied it to hilly, rocky mountainous urbanized Lebanon against C3D2 camouflaged sub-national terrorists and its FAILED miserably for all the world to see. RMA has failed miserably in open desert and urban Iraq, too but it was covered up by the DoD lie machine. This is a blessing we need to take to heart as we reform ourselves to have effective an military.

The only way to expel Hezbollah and keep it out of south Lebanon will be by MANEUVER on the ground.

However, keeping Hezbollah from firing rockets using UAVs and then dispatching a F-15/F-16 fighter-bomber sitting on an air base on strip alert before war broke out is not the best air power approach and has failed miserably, too.

Here's a web page showing two approaches to getting a manned observation/attack plane with sensors over the Israeli/Lebanon border to target Hezbollah rockets instantly:

Modifying a Cessna (less to work with but cheaper)

www.reocities.com/usarmyaviationdigest/grasshoppersmustreturn.htm

Modifying a Crop-Duster with sensors, armor, armament (can attack, too)

www.combatreform.com/killerbees3.htm

(scroll down to nearly bottom for AY-65 Vigilante II)

Plus, having Aerostat blimps with sensors could enable as soon as a rocket team or firing signature is detected, the manned observation/attack plane to launch a missile if its within range to take them out (Armed Crop Duster option).

The best thing America could do to help the Israelis defeat the rockets would be to buy them some O/A attack planes and Aerostats that they can afford to run 24/7/365. Israeli AH-64 attack helicopters are simply too expensive and cannot fly continuously overhead like fixed-wing O/A aircraft can as former DoD Director of Air Warfare, Chuck Myers [cmyersaero@aol.com] calls: "Maneuver Air Support by COntinuous Overhead Presence". Relying on F-16s on strip alert at air bases rearward even as fast as they are takes too long.

www.nytimes.com/2006/07/20/world/middleeast/20military.html?fta=y

Military Analysis: Strategy
To Disarm Shadowy Guerrilla Army, Israeli Air Power May Not Be Enough

By THOM SHANKER
Published: July 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 19 — With its bombardment of Lebanon, Israel aims to accomplish the military goals of eliminating Hezbollah’s ability to fire missiles over the border, cutting its lines of resupply from Syria or Iran and demonstrating — under pain of chaos — the cost to the Lebanese government of allowing the militant group to operate freely from its territory.

PIC

David Furst/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

Israeli Soldiers carried a wounded Soldier in the Israeli area of Avivim at the border between Lebanon and Israel.

But recent combat history provides a chastening lesson that air power, regardless of its accuracy and punch, cannot defeat even a conventional adversary unless it is backed by ground forces. Thus, American military analysts monitoring the conflict caution that Israel may be unable to reach its goal of disarming a shadowy guerrilla army by missiles, bombs and long-range artillery alone.

To that end, small numbers of Israeli commandos already have entered Lebanon, senior Israeli officials acknowledged Wednesday, and more ground forces may be sent in.

The Israeli Defense Forces are “right now doing pinpointed entries into south Lebanon to deal with Hezbollah locations,” said one senior Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing his nation’s classified military planning.

Israel is wary of replicating its demoralizing, 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, and there are no plans for “clear and hold” missions, these officials said. Instead, once their tactical objectives are reached in missions aimed at clearing the rocky, cavernous, bunker-laden terrain of militants and their arsenals, Israeli forces would return home.

Then it would be up to Lebanese troops, perhaps with assistance from an international force, to fill the security vacuum under the Israeli plan, the Israeli official said.

Geoffrey Kemp, a Middle East expert who served on the staff of the National Security Council under President Reagan, said that while it may not be possible for the Israelis to destroy Hezbollah completely, especially through bombardment alone, “They can degrade that guerrilla army’s capacity to inflict unacceptable pain on Israeli civilians and Israeli cities with rockets.”

But even a successful conclusion of the current military effort in southern Lebanon cannot resolve Israel’s broader security problems, he cautioned.

“The Palestinian suicide bombers were much more effective than these rockets have ever been,” said Mr. Kemp, who is now director of regional strategic programs for the Nixon Center, a Washington policy institute.

Over the past week of fighting, after Hezbollah forces captured two Israeli Soldiers, Israeli forces have carried out air and artillery strikes to degrade Hezbollah military capabilities in southern Lebanon. The attacks focused first on rockets and launchers.

“We are still working through our original targeting menus, but we are chasing these strategic missiles as we find them,” said the Israeli official. “This is our first priority — and it will take weeks, not days.”

American military officers who study the missile threat noted that Israel faced significant problems in countering Hezbollah’s arsenal. Even with perfect missile defenses — which do not exist — the short-range weapons that have struck northern Israel follow such a brief trajectory that they are nearly impossible to hit. For those short-range rockets, and the longer-range missiles that have struck Haifa, the Israeli tactic is not to defend by bringing them down in flight, but to hit their launchers in hiding or immediately as they are rolled into the open before firing, which requires persistent and detailed surveillance.

More broadly, Israel also has sent its missiles and artillery shells into Hezbollah outposts, weapons depots and command posts, aiming at troops and ammunition buried in the rocky Lebanese terrain. The goal is to create less a cordon sanitaire than an empty zone to be refilled by forces, either Lebanese or international, capable of preventing Hezbollah from returning within striking range of Israel.

To destroy Hezbollah’s ability to plan and communicate, the neighborhood in southern Beirut that served as the unofficial Hezbollah capital has been pounded; Israeli officials acknowledge that this is part of an attempt to strike directly at the organization’s leadership, as well as to disarm its fighters and dismantle its support infrastructure.

In addition, to keep weapons from reaching Hezbollah, a number of road links and bridges to Syria, and Beirut’s airport, have been hit, as Israeli warships impose a quarantine of the Lebanese coast. To the same end, Israeli officials are demanding that a stringent monitoring regime be put into place along all entry points to Lebanon.

But the Israeli military campaign is intertwined with another goal aimed at the Lebanese government and civilian population, in the view of some American experts. “That is to create enough pain on the ground so there would be a local political reaction to Hezbollah’s adventurism,” said Edward P. Djerejian, who formerly was the American ambassador to both Israel and Syria.

Mr. Djerejian, now director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, warned that, ultimately, there was no military solution to reduce the security threats to Israel — and that the Israeli leadership understood it had a limited time to achieve its current military goals.

“There is only a certain window of time before the international community truly weighs in,” he said.

Until the United States and other nations decide to pressure Israel to rein in its attacks, Israel itself must weigh the impact of bombarding civilian infrastructure targets and even legitimate Hezbollah operations centers within residential areas. These attacks could quickly undermine any potential for the Lebanese government, and its population, to support actions to constrain Hezbollah.

“Everybody understands the Israelis want to degrade Hezbollah’s ability as a military fighting force and as an organization capable of launching missiles into Israel,” said Theodore H. Kattouf, a former American ambassador to Syria.

“I believe they want to turn the Lebanese people — those outside of the true believers within the Shia community — against Hezbollah,” he added. “I think they are quite misguided in the policy they are following. These [air] attacks are, if anything, making people feel somewhat less hostile to Hezbollah and more convinced in their dislike of Israel.”

Precision Bombing of Nothing: an American Tradition

www.reocities.com/operationalliedforces/airinterdictionfails.htm
www.history.navy.mil/library/online/bombing_tool.htm

Americans want to replay WW2 on the cheap and do the firepower part from sexy aircraft and not do the necessary ground maneuver to take a Berlin or a Tokyo. Since nuclear SHEs are off the table to break the will of a nation-state foe, small amounts of HEs from small fighter-bombers from extremely costly, vulnerable aircraft supercarriers or piss-off-the-locals land bases going too fast to see what they are hitting means they can only hit what is obvious. Smart foes will not offer obvious targets seen from the air. Foes that are not nation-states with American-style industries will not HAVE ANY OBVIOUS air targets. Only if many heavy bombers are used to mass HE effects can nation-states be forced to bend their wills but only if we are willing to carpet-bomb and kill many civilians in the process and be just as evil as the government leaders we are opposing if those citizens are victims and not guilty accomplices of placing the governmental leaders in power.

The power of planet earth to absorb our inefficient fighter-bomber airstrikes is greater than our ability to throw money down the drain or create narcissistic egomaniacs to fly such pricey aircraft. America will continue to be defeated by foes refusing to play our partial WW2 re-enactment game with small amounts of HE until we finally realize that firepower cannot win wars short of SHE annihilation of all the people we THINK are against us, and to develop a MANEUVER based warfighting force structure that can DIFFERENTIATE between good guy and bad guy from the ground without getting itself hurt by it being in armored tracked combat vehicles with EFFICIENT firepower proving leverage to HELP. This would mean projecting massive amounts of precision HE BALLISTICALLY via guns from ships and artillery pieces whenever possible so as to prevent a human pilot from having to fly over or near a target to try to hit it. We must preserve THE WILL OF OUR OWN PEOPLE and not fritter it away delivering HE against mud huts. Men in aircraft flying low and slow must help ground forces find the enemy to not only hit him with HE/KE attacks but to control the ground itself so he cannot use it to wage war. Robbing the enemy of the ability to wage war by not allowing him the ground needed can force him to conclude that he should stop trying. When an enemy can no longer fight you, he is defeated. When an enemy has been made to changed in his mind to stop trying to fight you, you have hope that he can someday be your friend.

The Good News: Post-Lebanon Conclusions will enlighten the general public

We think the general public will realize for first time:

1. Wars can't be won just by air strikes---even precision ones

2. Israel succeeded but it used tanks (things with tracks)

Its up to us now to connect-the-dots and remind them their tax dollars are still being wasted on air strikes-can-win-wars and wheeled trucks-are-combat vehicles.

I. Air strikes without effective recon does not hit targets

The USAF and Navy commanded by fighter and bomber jock egotists (instead of adult professionals who use the best tools possible to win the war and save lives) go to war without the best physical platforms/systems like air recon aircraft because the SR-71 as the fastest plane on earth bruises their egos so they retired the aircraft! Its not been available ever since General Schwartzkopf asked for them and they were gone in Desert Storm!

Even the USAF has had to grudgingly admit recently that it needs men on the ground to control air strikes:


European Stars and Stripes
August 15, 2002

Afghanistan War Showing Air Force The Importance Of 'Eyes On The Ground'

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes

ARLINGTON, Va. - Afghanistan has added a "new wrinkle"; to the Air Force's basic doctrine, according to the service's top analyst for the war on terrorism: Wars aren't won by air alone.

The rugged and unforgiving mountains of Central Asia have revealed many hard truths to each of the services. But for the Air Force, perhaps no single lesson resonates more clearly, Col. Fred Weiners said Tuesday: "Eyes on the ground" are essential to round out the advanced space- and air-based sensors, weapons and platforms that make up the service's inventory.

"You can have all the high technology you want, but it's these 25-year-old staff sergeants on the ground making strike decisions" that, according to Weiners, have in the past been made by high-level planning officers located nowhere near the battlefield.

Weiners is acting director of the Air Force's Task Force Enduring Look, and spoke with Stripes in an interview in his office in Arlington, Va.

Air campaigns traditionally have been planned in advance. Coordinates have been known, and target sets could be chosen from data gathered weeks or months in advance.

To hear an Air Force official emphasizing the need for "boots on the ground" is a significant shift in conventional U.S. military thinking.

The Army and Marine Corps both are founded on the principle that war is never won until "boots hit the ground" - when military personnel actually occupy the turf. The Air Force has tended to be dominated by officers who believe air operations alone can conquer an enemy.

In Afghanistan, however, forward air controllers and special operations forces -not planners sitting in Washington with maps and satellite photographs - have been responsible for almost all critical targeting calls, Weiners said.

"They are our most versatile and highly sophisticated sensor, and they are proving highly effective," Weiners said. "They dramatically enhance overall air power and bombing effectiveness."

Thanks to ground controllers, "We've enjoyed an accuracy like we've never enjoyed," Weiners said - and not only due to more sophisticated "smart" bombs, such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition.

Sensor-To-Shooter Loop

But Afghanistan also revealed a critical break in this "sensor-to-shooter" loop: Air Force pilots had not had enough practice working with the ground operators, particularly the special operations forces.

The service has moved with extraordinary speed to remedy that deficiency, Weiners said.

His task force first identified the need for more pilot training with ground forces in January, and by June, pilots at the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., were "engaging special operations forces on the ground, including full mission profiles and simulations, to replicate what we were doing [in Afghanistan]."

Not every lesson coming out of Afghanistan is revolutionary. Much of what the Air Force is gleaning validates tactics and technologies that have worked well in exercises, but never have been proven in combat, Weiners said.

One especially critical validation to come out of the Central Asian campaign is proof that the Air Force's Air and Space Expeditionary Forces, which were designed for peacetime, also work in war, Weiners said.

As the Defense Department continued to pull back from its overseas bases throughout the 1990s, Air Force leaders decided they needed a way to keep the increasingly home-based service ready for action.

C-17 Proves Itself

One example: Afghanistan is the first major conflict for the Pentagon that has required "everything to come in and out by air," Weiners noted.

The Air Force's newest transport, the C-17, was key, Weiners said.

"The C-17 really proved itself, given the austere nature of our bases" in Central Asia, he said.

Creative aircrews also have found ways for the C-17 to perform that its designers never anticipated, Weiners said, citing in particular its function as a "mobile filling station."

Afghanistan has no fuel supply infrastructure, and roads there are so treacherous that trucking large amounts of fuel in is out of the question.

That means every drop of aviation gas and jet fuel needed by the U.S. forces is supplied by the Pentagon's fleet of KC-10 and KC-135 tanker aircraft.

Meanwhile, Army and Marine helicopters and the assorted special operations aircraft stationed at the rough airfields that dot Afghanistan "need a lot of gas," Weiners said.

During Operation Anaconda in March, when fuel was at an absolute premium, an unknown airman came up with a novel idea to get fuel to the fighters quickly: Combine the C-17's ability to land almost anywhere with its large fuel tanks.

"We would park a tanker in an orbit, and the C-17 would go up, tap the tanker, land and off-load the fuel - and now you have avgas [aviation gas]" where tankers can't land, Weiners said.

Bombers With Eyes

Another much-discussed evolution was the decision to use of Cold-war era strategic bombers in tactical combat.

The Air Force's B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers all were originally designed to deliver nuclear munitions in end-of-the-world scenarios.

In Afghanistan, however, Air Force officials took advantage of the bombers' extensive payloads, range and high-altitude capability to deliver lethal strikes on enemy forces - all while being directed by ground-based forces.

The bombers proved very effective, Weiners said.

"The B-1s and B-52s flew approximately 10 percent of the sorties and delivered close to 60 percent of the weapons," Weiners said.

During the Gulf War, B-52s dropped some 30 percent of all U.S. bombs. Neither the B-1 nor the B-2 was deployed.

One reason for that is the versatility of the bombers: They can carry traditional "dumb" bombs, but thanks to modifications, they also can deliver a range of smart weapons.

Secondly, all this can be done with greater standoff. The bombers fly much higher than fighter craft with no need for a visual, using coordinates from forward air controllers - the eyes on the ground.

Change comes with difficulty for the military; it's a "risk-averse group," Weiners said.

But, he said, "this is a great time to question the old way of doing things."


But will the USAF admit that we need GROUND MANEUVER to win wars?

Or that slower-flying MANNED, armored attack aircraft are needed to do CAS?

The X-45 UCAV will be unmanned "fall guy" to do dirty work of making enemy Air Defenses reveal themselves to clear way for manned fighter-bombers to strategic bomb with some token USAF FACs and SOF on the ground shining laser beams so USAF can get the glory.

However, X-45 UCAV will neither be agile or observant enough to do CAS to enable ground MANEUVER. It will have problems like most UAVs have of simply not flying themselves into the ground.

The answer is:

CAS/MAS Air-Ground Team

A-10s in a "Cactus Air Force" guided by USAF FACs for CAS

Army helos and U/MCAV "Killer Bees" flying Maneuver Air Support (MAS) guided by Army Attack Pathfinders

In the August 2002 issue of G2mil, "GPS Guided Munitions and Fratricide" Carlton Meyer writes:

"The May 2002 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette has an interesting article by LtCol John T. Rahm entitled: 'Bombing Accuracy for Idiots'. He points out the circular error probable (CEP) is commonly used to measure the accuracy of a weapon. However, he points out that "probable" means the circle, often very elliptical, where 50% a projectile or bomb is likely to hit. While that was good for ballistic weaponry, it is very misleading for GPS guided munitions. While they have great CEPs, many of their guidance systems malfunction and the bomb goes miles off target. LtCol Rahm states that testers disregard such failures when measuring CEPs anyway, and he worked at China Lake were the testing occurred. He writes this makes them too dangerous for close air support.

This explains the frequent 'mistakes' in Afghanistan where bombs landed far from any real target. The complexity of GPS guided bombs like JDAM, or the Navy 5-inch ERGM still under development, or the proposed 155mm Excalibur will often lead to friendly fire casualties which may be caused by any of these factors: a defective guidance system; a guidance system damaged during transport or installation; an incorrect GPS coordinate sent by the targeting system; and incorrect GPS coordinate entered into the bomb; GPS signal interference from nearby mountains, buildings, or solar flares; or GPS signal jamming. So if an aircraft drops a GPS guided bomb from several miles away, any guidance problem may prove disastrous. Even if 90% work great, that loose 10% may prove too dangerous".

If we over-rely on just UAVs then its inevitable that they will be shot down and crash by mishaps resulting in us not having adequate reconnaissance to either target properly or maneuver. Consider UAV loses during Operation Allied Forces:

TOTAL OFFICIAL UAV LOSSES (by June 3, 2000): 48 (49)

(According to a June 3 New York Times article "at least 21 drones" were lost by NATO during the war in Yugoslavia. Following the publication of this article another UAV loss was officially admitted by NATO on June 8. This brings the number of officially-acknowledged UAV losses to 22 aircraft. A July 6 article from the French Le Monde newspaper mentions that France lost a total of 5 UAVs, two CL-289s and three Crecerelles.)

Two articles published on the official U.S. Navy web site (http://uav.navair.navy.mil) and on Pilot Online web site report that at least 14 U.S. UAVs were lost in Yugoslavia, including 4 Pioneer types, three of which are believed to have been lost due to fire. Some 6 Hunter UAVs were also lost: 4 due to enemy fire and 2 because of technical failures. Four more U.S. UAVs were lost, three of which are Predator types (serial numbers: 95-3017, 95-3019, 95-3021).

Yugoslav military sources claimed 30 NATO UAV kills: 25 UAVs shot down by the 3rd Army air defenses (the 3rd Army was stationed in Kosovo under the command of Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic), 3 UAVs were downed by Yugoslav Navy air defenses (information released by FRY Navy Commander, Milan Zec), and 2 UAVs were shot down by the 2nd Army air defenses (information released by Major General Spasoje Smiljanic).This includes only those UAV that crashed in Yugoslavia.

According to some sources, a fourth Predator UAV, serial number P-016 95-3016, crashed during the Operation Allied Force in May.

Shortly after the Phoenix UAV was exhibited at the Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum, government sources in Britain told the BBC that some 12 British UAVs were lost in the operation "Allied Force". The report by the British National Audit Office mentions a loss of twelve British UAVs. This brings the total number of confirmed UAV losses to 45-46. This is at least 15 UAVs more than claimed by the Yugoslav military officials.

United States: 17 (3 Predators, 9 Hunters, 4 Pioneers, 1 UAV of undetermined type)

Germany: 7 (presumably all CL-289 turbojet drones)

France: 5 (3 Crecerelle, 2 CL-289)

Britain: 14 (14 Phoenix)

4 UAVs of undetermined origin (possibly U.S., German, or Italian)

The U.S. Army Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) Afghanistan report reveals that UAVs have weather limitations that prevent them from flying at all:

http://call.army.mil/products/handbook/02-8/02-8ch2.htm

"Weather Limitations

The weather must be considered in developing the collection plan. If any of the following conditions are present, the mission will not launch:

Ceilings of 6,000 feet or less will prevent collection during mission.
Winds: Headwind of 35 knots, tailwind of 3 knots, and crosswind of 20 knots.
Winds aloft of greater than 50 knots.
Lightning within 10 nautical miles.
Ice."

A U.S. Army Master Aviator notes about manned recon platforms:

"Any helicopter we have now certainly can operate in this environment, but it will be a bumpy ride in a OH-58D. Eventually UAV's will be able to operate in this environment, but it will be a while, and the dreaded software monster (the same one that is eating RAH-66) could easily get an appetite for UAV."

II. Air Strikes alone and the actual realistically possible "situational awareness" will not defeat a capable foe

To set the U.S. military and the debate on a better course, this presentation is one of a series of presentations by the 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) which lays out an optimal, reality-based force structure for primarily the U.S. Army transformation and why it must be based primarily around air/sea-transportable and numerous light tracked armored fighting vehicles for the 3D force and heavier tracked AFVs for the 2D force both with robust mobility and human reconnaissance capabilities that can overcome nation-state as well as sub-national group C3D2 evasion and their own SSC fire effects not vulnerable rubber-tired armored cars nor over-relying on mouse-clicking firepower to defeat the enemy---Air-Mech-Strike Force structure---in order to to achieve decisive world-wide strategic operational maneuver (AWSOM).

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) defines "Cover, Concealment, Camouflage, Denial and Deception (C3D2). Many potential adversaries, nations, groups, and individuals are undertaking more and increasingly sophisticated C3D2 activities against the United States. These operations are generally designed to hide key activities, facilities, and capabilities (e.g. mobilization or attack preparations, WMD programs, advanced weapons systems developments, treaty non-compliance, etc.) from U.S. intelligence, to manipulate U.S. perceptions and assessments of those programs, and to protect key capabilities from U.S. precision strike platforms. Foreign knowledge of U.S. intelligence and military operations capabilities is essential to effective C3D2. Advances in satellite warning capabilities, the growing availability of camouflage, concealment, deception, and obscurant materials, advanced technology for and experience with building underground facilities, and the growing use of fiber optics and encryption, will increase the C3D2 challenge.

Counter-Space Capabilities

The U.S. reliance on (and advantages in) the use of space platforms is well known by our potential adversaries. Many are attempting to reduce this advantage by developing capabilities to threaten U.S. space assets, in particular through denial and deception, signal jamming, and ground segment attack. By 2015, future adversaries will be able to employ a wide variety of means to disrupt, degrade, or defeat portions of the U.S. space support system. A number of countries are interested in or experimenting with a variety of technologies that could be used to develop counter-space capabilities. These efforts could result in improved systems for space object tracking, electronic warfare or jamming, and directed-energy weapons".

Is JCROP really an attainable goal, ever?

The U.S. way of war is increasingly characterized as leveraging our asymmetric advantage in information superiority to attack with precision, often from a distance. Policymakers and military theorists have long talked of the U.S. potential for dominant battlespace knowledge (DBK) - essentially knowing everything of military significance within a theater, perhaps a 200km by 200 km box, based on the capability of our sensor grid, information processing technology, and superior intelligence analysis. Central to DBK is achieving a Joint Common Relevant Operational Picture (JCROP), implying that everyone across the joint force can access a single, accepted, operational picture of the battlespace, that incorporates all the information available to the joint sensor grid, in real time. Ideally, such a capability would ensure that what is on your screen and what is in the battlespace is the same - a goal that is much easier said than done.

Background to the "situational awareness" panacea

Great progress has been made in the technological sophistication of our sensors and the ability to process and display the stream of data from those sensors. We have also improved the interoperability of those sensors and the information from them, with an increasingly broad array of intelligence processing and analysis systems, and command and control systems. That is the good news. The less-than-good-news is that with the proliferation of strategic, operational, and tactical sensors across our joint military force and other government agencies, we have literally dozens of sensors looking at the same battlespace, at approximately the same time. And they all see it a little differently! Consequently, a fighter pilot or tanker looking at their platform's digitized display may see a dozen entities or "blips" on the far side of a hill. The first problem is figuring out whether those entities or good guys, bad guys, or neither - that is a difficult enough problem in itself. The more troublesome issue is knowing whether those blips actually represent 12 different entities over the hill, or 12 sensors looking at the same entity a little differently, or the more likely outcome of somewhere inbetween.

Discussion: will precision strike work? let alone replace ground maneuver?

The United States either has, or will soon possess the air, land and naval platforms and munitions to hit any location, virtually anytime, anywhere on this planet. But that is not relevant! The issue is ensuring a viable target is at that location when the munitions explode. In light of enemy C3D2 and the proliferation of active decoys and countermeasures its highly likely the enemy will give us the targets we want to see to waste away our expensive ordnance on nothing or civilians to turn world public opinion against us, which is likely the critical win/lose center-of-gravity in 4th Generation Warfare (4GW). Platforms and ordnance are only a subset of the operational end-to-end architecture associated with long range precision strike they must be backed by other forms of military force like ground control and maneuver or else we present an easy asymmetry for the enemy to exploit. In short, until we demonstrate in a joint venue the technical capability to fuse information from the strategic, operational, and tactical sensors of all services and agencies, and automatically recognize targets, verify they are targets (not decoys) with reliable air/ground HUMINT and THEN dynamically plan missions, we will never realize the potential of long range precision strike against an actual enemy to enable decisive dominant MANEUVER that encircles, isolates, and collapses enemy forces, controls the lands that people live on and changes governments. The idea that firepower, even precise firepower will win wars without us taking any risks with men on the ground doing maneuver is a false goal and waster of national resources. When this approach inevitably fails, men's lives are wasted as maneuver is done underfunded but in dire emergency. Rather, we will continue to kid ourselves about the effectiveness of the current "fixed aimpoint approach" to warfare. Furthermore, we will sustain the current approach of all services/agencies wanting to rely on their own budgeted electronic sensors -- case in point: the U.S. Army's interim RSTA squadron.

Challenge

In its simplest form, U.S. sensors obtain "blue force" and "other" information. Getting the blue part should be relatively straightforward. The challenge is that the processes underlying our JCROP must differentiate the "other" category into enemy, noncombatant, decoy, and "friend without functioning identification systems;" and do so in real time. Such a capability requires instantaneous fusion of information from multiple sensors to include the best input, mankind in the air and on the ground actively investigating if targets are real and not decoys, across multiple spectrums -- a task for which we still must develop the required suite of stable mathematical algorithms and as diverse platforms as possible to cover as many enemy countermeasures as possible.

The Kosovo Cover-Up: NATO said it won a great victory, but the war did very little damage to Serb forces. By not conceding this, the Pentagon may mislead future presidents about the limits of U.S. power. A Newsweek exclusive.

By John Barry and Evan Thomas
Newsweek
May 15, 2000, Pg. 23

It was acclaimed as the most successful air campaign ever. "A turning point in the history of warfare," wrote the noted military historian John Keegan, proof positive that "a war can be won by airpower alone." At a press conference last June, after Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic agreed to pull his Army from Kosovo at the end of a 78-day aerial bombardment that had not cost the life of a single NATO Soldier or airman, Defense Secretary William Cohen declared, "We severely crippled the [Serb] military forces in Kosovo by destroying more than 50 percent of the artillery and one third of the armored vehicles." Displaying colorful charts, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Henry Shelton claimed that NATO's air forces had killed "around 120 tanks," "about 220 armored personnel carriers" and "up to 450 artillery and mortar pieces."

An antiseptic war, fought by pilots flying safely three miles high. It seems almost too good to be true-and it was. In fact-as some critics suspected at the time-the air campaign against the Serb military in Kosovo was largely ineffective. NATO bombs plowed up some fields, blew up hundreds of cars, trucks and decoys, and barely dented Serb artillery and armor. According to a suppressed Air Force report obtained by NEWSWEEK, the number of targets verifiably destroyed was a tiny fraction of those claimed: 14 tanks, not 120; 18 armored personnel carriers, not 220; 20 artillery pieces, not 450. Out of the 744 "confirmed" strikes by NATO pilots during the war, the Air Force investigators, who spent weeks combing Kosovo by helicopter and by foot, found evidence of just 58.

The damage report has been buried by top military officers and Pentagon officials, who in interviews with NEWSWEEK over the last three weeks were still glossing over or denying its significance. Why the evasions and dissembling, with the disturbing echoes of the inflated "body counts" of the Vietnam War? All during the Balkan war, Gen. Wesley Clark, the top NATO commander, was under pressure from Washington to produce positive bombing results from politicians who were desperate not to commit ground troops to combat. The Air Force protested that tanks are hard to hit from 15,000 feet, but Clark insisted. Now that the war is long over, neither the generals nor their civilian masters are eager to delve into what really happened. Asked how many Serb tanks and other vehicles were destroyed in Kosovo, General Clark will only answer, "Enough." In one sense, history is simply repeating itself. Pilots have been exaggerating their "kills" at least since the Battle of Britain in 1940. But this latest distortion could badly mislead future policymakers. Air power was effective in the Kosovo war not against military targets but against civilian ones. Military planners do not like to talk frankly about terror-bombing civilians ("strategic targeting" is the preferred euphemism), but what got Milosevic's attention was turning out the lights in downtown Belgrade. Making the Serb populace suffer by striking power stations-not "plinking" tanks in the Kosovo countryside-threatened his hold on power. The Serb dictator was not so much defeated as pushed back into his lair-for a time. The surgical strike remains a mirage. Even with the best technology, pilots can destroy mobile targets on the ground only by flying low and slow, exposed to ground fire. But NATO didn't want to see pilots killed or captured.

Instead, the Pentagon essentially declared victory and hushed up any doubts about what the air war exactly had achieved. The story of the cover-up is revealing of the way military bureaucracies can twist the truth-not so much by outright lying, but by "reanalyzing" the problem and winking at inconvenient facts. Caught in the middle was General Clark, who last week relinquished his post in a controversial early retirement. Mistrusted by his masters in Washington, Clark will retire from the Army next month with none of the fanfare that greeted other conquering heroes like Dwight Eisenhower after World War II or Norman Schwarzkopf after Desert Storm. To his credit, Clark was dubious about Air Force claims and tried-at least at first-to gain an accurate picture of the bombing in Kosovo. At the end of the war the Serbs' ground commander, Gen. Nobojsa Pavkovic, claimed to have lost only 13 tanks. "Serb disinformation," scoffed Clark. But quietly, Clark's own staff told him the Serb general might be right. "We need to get to the bottom of this," Clark said. So at the end of June, Clark dispatched a team into Kosovo to do an on-the-ground survey. The 30 experts, some from NATO but most from the U.S. Air Force, were known as the Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team, or MEAT. Later, a few of the officers would refer to themselves as "dead meat." The bombing, they discovered, was highly accurate against fixed targets, like bunkers and bridges. "But we were spoofed a lot," said one team member. The Serbs protected one bridge from the high-flying NATO bombers by constructing, 300 yards upstream, a fake bridge made of polyethylene sheeting stretched over the river. NATO "destroyed" the phony bridge many times. Artillery pieces were faked out of long black logs stuck on old truck wheels. A two-thirds scale SA-9 antiaircraft missile launcher was fabricated from the metal-lined paper used to make European milk cartons. "It would have looked perfect from three miles up," said a MEAT analyst.

The team found dozens of burnt-out cars, buses and trucks-but very few tanks. When General Clark heard this unwelcome news, he ordered the team out of their helicopters: "Goddammit, drive to each one of those places. Walk the terrain." The team grubbed about in bomb craters, where more than once they were showered with garbage the local villagers were throwing into these impromptu rubbish pits. At the beginning of August, MEAT returned to Air Force headquarters at Ramstein air base in Germany with 2,600 photographs. They briefed Gen. Walter Begert, the Air Force deputy commander in Europe. "What do you mean we didn't hit tanks?" Begert demanded. Clark had the same reaction. "This can't be," he said. "I don't believe it." Clark insisted that the Serbs had hidden their damaged equipment and that the team hadn't looked hard enough. Not so, he was told. A 50-ton tank can't be dragged away without leaving raw gouges in the earth, which the team had not seen.

The Air Force was ordered to prepare a new report. In a month, Brig. Gen. John Corley was able to turn around a survey that pleased Clark. It showed that NATO had successfully struck 93 tanks, close to the 120 claimed by General Shelton at the end of the war, and 153 armored personnel carriers, not far off the 220 touted by Shelton. Corley's team did not do any new field research. Rather, they looked for any support for the pilots' claims. "The methodology is rock solid," said Corley, who strongly denied any attempt to obfuscate. "Smoke and mirrors" is more like it, according to a senior officer at NATO headquarters who examined the data. For more than half of the hits declared by Corley to be "validated kills," there was only one piece of evidence-usually, a blurred cockpit video or a flash detected by a spy satellite. But satellites usually can't discern whether a bomb hits anything when it explodes.

The Corley report was greeted with quiet disbelief outside the Air Force. NATO sources say that Clark's deputy, British Gen. Sir Rupert Smith, and his chief of staff, German Gen. Dieter Stockmann, both privately cautioned Clark not to accept Corley's numbers. The U.S. intelligence community was also doubtful. The CIA puts far more credence in a November get-together of U.S. and British intelligence experts, which determined that the Yugoslav Army after the war was only marginally smaller than it had been before. "Nobody is very keen to talk about this topic," a CIA official told NEWSWEEK.

Lately, the Defense Department has tried to fudge. In January Defense Secretary Cohen and General Shelton put their names to a formal After-Action Report to Congress on the Kosovo war. The 194-page report was so devoid of hard data that Pentagon officials jokingly called it "fiber-free." The report did include Corley's chart showing that NATO killed 93 tanks. But the text included a caveat: "the assessment provides no data on what proportion of total mobile targets were hit or the level of damage inflicted." Translation, according to a senior Pentagon official: "Here's the Air Force chart. We don't think it means anything." In its most recent report extolling the triumph of the air war, even the Air Force stopped using data from the Corley report.

Interviewed by NEWSWEEK, General Clark refused to get into an on-the-record discussion of the numbers. A spokesman for General Shelton asserted that the media, not the military, are obsessed with "bean-counting." But there are a lot of beans at stake. After the November election, the Pentagon will go through one of its quadrennial reviews, assigning spending priorities. The Air Force will claim the lion's share. A slide shown by one of the lecturers at a recent symposium on air power organized by the Air Force Association, a potent Washington lobby, proclaimed: "It's no myth... the American Way of War." The risk is that policymakers and politicians will become even more wedded to myths like "surgical strikes." The lesson of Kosovo is that civilian bombing works, though it raises moral qualms and may not suffice to oust tyrants like Milosevic. Against military targets, high-altitude bombing is overrated. Any commander in chief who does not face up to those hard realities will be fooling himself.


It is good that Newsweek is airing some of the fallacies of the Kosovo War and the exagerations of the "Air Power" Myth. I was amazed the the reknowned historial John Keegan esposed the "revolution" in warfare. For a historian of his stature to do so is gross intellectual dishonesty. However, the author draws the wrong conclusions: airpower directed against civilians is largely ineffective, also.

The bottom line is that we are about to establish foreign policy, military doctrine and defense funding decisions around a flawed interpretation of the outcome of this war. This will only result in failure in the international arena in the future and stack high the flag-draped coffins at Dover AFB.

Based on his book, On Killing, LTC Dave Grossman found that bombing civilians is largely ineffective. In every case in which strategic bombing was tried (with the exception of two atomic weapons detonated on Japan at the close of WWII) it has failed to produce the results the airpower proponents said it would. The Brits were ever more defiant of Hitler and the Luftwaffe than when they were under constant bombardment.

This campaign was declared a "victory" because it met the real objective: draw heat of the President Clinton's impeachment trial (re the film, "Wag the Dog"). Several independent sources have again and again (though largly unnoticed by American mainstream press) that the figures the Admin provided and the severe atrocities alleged committed by the Serbs in order to justify this foray were about as exaggerated as the damage assessments touted by NATO. We claimed victory while Milosevic marched, defiantly out of Kosovo under his own terms (which was a victory for him).. Indeed, more Serb armored vehicles road marched out of Kosovo than we even thought the Serbs HAD in the region to begin with. It is alarming that a Presidential Administation that would spend substancial political and military capital on such a shallow aim as to preserve the sitting President. At least LBJ was trying to thwart the spread of Communism.

Scarier still is the quickness with which the Pentagon is ready to support such a dishonest boondoggle to save a few careers and secure the next promotion. It is the job of the military to follow the legitimate orders of the civilian leadership. It is also their responsibilty to question orders that are unlawful and disastrous. After WWII, we hung several German Soldiers and officers whose only defense was they were "only following orders" so this is not a valid excuse.

Indeed, what little bloodshed we were trying to prevent has not been averted, merely exchanged.

The trouble with bombing an enemy into submission is that bombing alone only presents a problem to the enemy, not a dilema. To avoid our efforts the enemy can dig deeper, disperse the targets, bolster air defenses, and/or deceive our air forces. He can then weather out the storm until he can achieve favorable results though attrition of our aircraft or though back room political negotiations. To truly affect REAL defeat upon an enemy, you must present him a dilema through the employment of two or more differing problems like MANEUVER. We bombed Iraqi forces in Kuwait into the "stone age", but it was not until we sent ground forces into Kuwait and Southern Iraq that we achieved our goals and even then, the Republican Guards still put up a fight. It was not until the real threat of ground forces was perceived that Serbia's resolve began to wane.

The real conclusion we should take is that airpower alone will never affect defeat. We should, therefore, realign our focus on improving the rapid deployabilty of subtantial ground and sea combat power along with air power and prepare to suffer casualties to achieve worthwhile political goals. We should, likewise, question the integrity of our current crop of civilian and senior military leaders who are willing to sacrifice the truth and service members' lives to further their own temporal careers based on lies of aircraft bombardment attaining results. Have we not learned anything from Vietnam?

July - August 1999 issue of Military Parade magazine, "LESSONS OF THE BALKANS WAR", Yuri Rodin-Sova, President of the Defence Systems Financial and Industrial Group writes:

March 1999 was marked by the beginning of yet another war in the world, one in a long series of armed conflicts. However, this war was different. First, it began in the center of Europe, and second, it was blatantly aggressive. The situation reminded one of a school fight when a gang of high school guys beat up a junior school pupil, while other students stand around them, feeling sorry for the boy and wondering why he still keeps on resisting. Indeed, why did Yugoslavia resist NATO air raids for so long? Why did NATO's anticipated 'blitzkrieg' fail? NATO obviously planned to carry out a small victorious war to mark its forthcoming 50th anniversary, but those plans failed.

Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf area had been such a success! The anti-Iraq Coalition's first air raid quickly shattered Iraq's air defenses, and soon after Coalition aircraft freely flew above Iraq, destroying targets without being afraid that they could be shot down. Also, they showed to the whole world how they could guide their missiles-even into a targeted window of a building.

And now such a failure in Yugoslavia! Yugoslavia had the same air defense systems that Iraq had, and made at the same time, but the effect was quite different. The war in the Balkans has proved once again the old truth: it is not the weapons that fight but the people who control them that makes the difference. A well-organized fire system, an efficient combination of different arms and fire means, and a good knowledge of the enemy and the enemy's tactics, enabled Yugoslav air defense troops to down NATO aircraft, including the much-vaunted F-117 stealth plane, cruise missiles and other aircraft.

In the not so remote past, during the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East, aircraft that participated in air raids had to fight air defenses in order to make their way to targets. Both aircraft and air defenses suffered heavy losses in such fighting. According to an established practice, if aviation losses reached 20 percent in fighting air defense systems, pilots terminated their missions and returned to their bases. The self-preservation instinct prevailed over combat orders.

To reduce pilots' deaths, many countries around the world began to develop pilotless aircraft to break through air defenses and deliver strikes at targets. Emphasis in those efforts was made on cruise missiles (Tomahawks, ALCMs and others). The first cruise missiles were far from perfect: they had a small range, were not accurate, and were intended to destroy targets largely owing to the great capacity of their (usually nuclear) charges.

Now things have changed. The understanding that a global nuclear war would be suicidal, together with the strong wish to flex their muscles and show to the world who the real boss is, prompted the United States and its NATO allies to develop precision-guided weapons. These are really very accurate missiles capable of delivering a high-yield conventional charge into any window at a distance of 2,500 kilometers. To ensure this accuracy, a global navigation, communications and information support system was set up, comprising satellites and ground-based centers equipped with state-of-the-art computers.

Why put pilots' lives at risk now? Today, one can hit targets from the deck of the Missouri battleship [Editor the Russian doesn't realize we mothballed our battleships even though our foes respect/admire/fear them as his statement indicates], while drinking coffee after each Tomahawk launch. Usually cruise missiles break through air defenses at a low altitude and in a narrow sector, covered by jamming. This factor faces air defenses with the need to destroy all cruise missiles breaking through them. Now one cannot expect that heavy missile losses will lead to the termination of combat missions, so targets will remain in danger until the last missile is destroyed. Air defense systems have to concentrate all of their available means to repulse missile attacks, fire very many antiaircraft missiles, and use all reconnaissance and target designation means available. The enemy easily reconnoiters an intensively operating air defense system, detects its active elements and then destroys them. After that, pilots can fulfill their missions, fearing no resistance. Such tactics were used in Iraq.

Of course, it is difficult to say how exactly Yugoslav air defenses operated, but the little information that was made public gives one an idea about some elements of their tactics.

Yugoslavia's air defenses were comprised mostly of Soviet-made medium-range missile systems built in the 1970s-1980s. It was these systems that quickly cooled down the combative NATO warriors. Deployed on advanced defense lines and mutually connected by a system of control from highly protected command posts, the systems created zones and belts of defense, forcing enemy aviation to act in extremely unfavorable conditions. The systems did not attack cruise missiles, but tried not to let piloted aircraft reach their targets. Their efforts produced good results, forcing NATO pilots to make very many mistakes. The pilots either dropped their bombs onto the wrong targets, or their missiles flew into neighboring countries. NATO aviation suffered losses too, despite its immense superiority.

To combat cruise missiles, Yugoslav air defenses took avail of the missiles' weak points in combat uses. The main weak point of a cruise missile is that to fulfill its combat mission it must reach and hit its target, just like a kamikaze. The Yugoslavs placed small-range air defense systems and small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery around and at possible targets and successfully downed cruise missiles while they were approaching a target.

These tactics resulted in the high survivability and high efficiency of the Yugoslav air defenses. The use of small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery instead of medium-range anti-aircraft missiles (this factor was very important in conditions of a total blockade) made the Yugoslav air defense system efficient and mobile.

One may ask, if the Yugoslav air defense was so well-organized and efficient, why did NATO keep destroying facilities and buildings and killing people in Yugoslavia?

First, NATO ensured an overwhelming superiority of forces for itself (remember the example with high school guys beating up a junior school pupil?). Second, it achieved complete isolation of Yugoslavia, after which it began an all-out war of extermination. The damage inflicted on the Yugoslav air defenses was not repaired and kept increasing, resulting, in the final analysis, in their reduced efficiency.

Other factors that weakened the air defenses included the lack of an early warning system and insufficient electronic intelligence and radar reconnaissance.

So, what conclusions can one draw from the war in Yugoslavia?

1. Short and medium-range air defense missile systems should be placed not around potential targets in a bid to defend them on all sides, but on advanced lines, creating zones of solid fire and defense lines far from the targets, on the country's borders. Such zones will keep piloted aircraft at a distance, forcing them to deploy into combat formations while they are away from the targets, imposing on them direct land-air fighting, inflicting heavy losses on them and forcing them to cancel their mission. Such air defense systems must not combat cruise missiles, or they would expose their fire systems too early, or it would be the equivalent to shooting at sparrows from a cannon.

2. To defend target facilities properly, it is advisable to use highly mobile, short-range air defense missile systems and small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery. These armaments are characterized by their high accuracy, high rate of fire and short reaction time, and are capable of destroying all types of cruise missiles and, if armed with hypersonic air defense missiles, even individual warheads of tactical missiles at the final stage of their approach to targets. Being highly maneuverable, these air defense means can create, within a short period of time, a high density of fire in a narrow sector of an enemy cruise missiles' breakthrough, thus ensuring their maximum destruction.

Also, they can quickly disperse, avoiding enemy strikes. Their high cross-country ability and small size make it possible to use them inside large-area targets (towns, areas of troops' location, etc.) and thus increase the depth of the air defense fire zone. Small-size air defense systems can be used to cover larger systems from air and ground attacks.

3. It requires a stable and reliable control system to allow such air defense systems to function, and thus to ensure the high efficiency of all air defenses. Today, the creation of a centralized air defense control system is a must for any country wishing to have highly efficient air defense.

The main elements of any modern air defense system must include stationary and mobile command posts which must be equipped with automated control systems that will ensure the automatic solution of a majority of arising problems, and allow people to concentrate on strategic issues in forthcoming or current land-air fighting.

Other important elements are large-scale reconnaissance and communications. An early detection of the enemy, exposure of its plans, and the fast transmission of information about them to command posts will help to quickly and efficiently distribute tasks among the system's elements and concentrate the main air defense means on the main axis of the enemy's advance. The lack of such a system will lead to the scattering of forces, require the creation of circular defense zones around facilities, and cause a sharp increase in the cost of the air defense system to achieve the required efficiency, or a decrease in its efficiency, which is unacceptable.

In this article I have deliberately not mentioned possible actions of air defense fighter aircraft and electronic warfare means. First, these issues must be analyzed by specialists from those arms, and second, I believe their analysis will only confirm the main conclusion of this article, namely that the future belongs to zone-based air defense groupings. Attempts to create circular defense zones around facilities will only cause the undesirable scattering of forces and means and reduce their efficiency.

The main element of zone-based groupings must be automated command posts capable of controlling various air defense means, united by a high-speed and reliable communications system, while being provided with all kinds of reconnaissance information.

III. Air strikes without ground maneuver does not win wars.

Employing air strikes against Serbia over Kosovo, Bill Clinton, the liberal anti-war protestor, followed the same policies as Lyndon Johnson, the man he protested against in the 1960s as a college student. Air strikes, isolated from a general warfighting strategy with ground MANEUVER, does not convince adversaries of our resolve but that we are actually weak. Serbia, like North Vietnam, drew the conclusion that the U.S. is not prepared to wage war against Serbia in an effective way via ground maneuver. Like Vietnam, Serbia saw weakness in U.S. policy. Let's consider the utility of air power as a force, by itself, for influencing the behavior of adversaries.

WWII

The use of air power to compel political acquiescence has a long and not particularly distinguished history. First, the Germans launched an air campaign against Great Britain in 1940 intended to force the British to accept a peace treaty that acknowledged German domination of the European continent. The campaign failed to achieve its end. Second, the Anglo-Americans launched a massive air campaign against Germany in 1943-1945. The goal of this campaign in the mind of some air power advocates was to force unconditional surrender without the need for a land assault. In the minds of most strategists, the goal was to attack and destroy Germany's industrial infrastructure so as to undermine Germany's ability to wage war. "Unconditional surrender" required the death of many tankers and infantrymen employing ground maneuver, while the post-war Strategic Bombing Survey cast serious doubt on the effect of the air assault on German wartime production. Third, the United States launched a massive air campaign against Japan in 1945. Its goals were similar to the air campaign against Germany. The Japan campaign has the greatest possible claim to success. Even here, the outcome was ambiguous, since it is not at all clear that it was the conventional air campaign that compelled surrender. Surrender came only after atomic bombing, different in nature from conventional air attack. The more serious challenger for war-ending act was the encirclement of the Japanese home islands by ground maneuver.

All three of these campaigns are examples of great powers using the air campaign as an instrument against other great powers. We also have examples of the use of air power by a great power against a secondary or even tertiary power: the U.S. air campaigns against North Vietnam, and then against Iraq in 1991. These may be more germane in evaluating a bombing campaign against Serbia or any other minor power.

Vietnam War

The initial theory of the campaign against North Vietnam was divided into two parts. The first was the assumption that North Vietnam did not take American resolve seriously, that North Vietnam did not think the United States was truly committed to the defense of South Vietnam. The second assumption was that North Vietnam would not place at risk its own infrastructure, industrial, military and social, merely to continue its support of the National Liberation Front in the South. Therefore, the theory went, once the North experienced an intense bombing campaign, it would quickly understand American resolve and it would also rationally calculate that continued support for the NLF was not in its interests. The North would either abandon the war in the South or negotiate an acceptable settlement.

The North Vietnamese saw the air campaign in a very different light. They saw the air campaign as proof of a lack of will and an inability on the part of the United States to risk serious casualties. For both demographic and political reasons, the North understood that the United States could not afford to lose 5,000 men a week in combat. From the North Vietnamese point of view, the use of air power represented a desperate attempt on the part of the United States to wage war without incurring the risks and costs of warfare. The recourse to air power during the early stages of war convinced the North Vietnamese that the Americans lacked resolve. The North Vietnamese strategy, therefore, was to absorb the American air attacks while drawing the United States into a war of attrition on the ground in the South. They understood fully that they would absorb much greater casualties than the Americans in such a war. But they also understood that the Americans, in the final analysis, would find almost any level of casualty unacceptable -- while they were prepared to incur massive losses.

The psychology behind this strange calculus had to do with something social scientists like to call "issue saliency." In simple English, this means simply the relative importance of an issue to each side. To the United States the future of South Vietnam was an important issue but not one on which the survival of the United States in any way depended. For North Vietnam, the absorption of South Vietnam into a united, communist Vietnam was a matter of fundamental national interest. No other interest superceded it.

Therefore, the idea that the United States could stage an air campaign that could impose a level of pain sufficiently high to dissuade North Vietnam to abandon a national obsession was delusional. It was not clear that any level of pain would have persuaded North Vietnam to capitulate on this subject. Second, it is not clear that, short of carpet bombardment with nuclear weapons, the United States possessed sufficient aircraft and weaponry to impose the necessary level of pain. How much pain would Washington's army have endured before surrendering at Valley Forge? How much pain would the American Confederacy have been willing to endure, even after Gettysburg, to secure secession? How high a price were the Russians willing to pay at Leningrad or Stalingrad? These are measurable, quantifiable indications of national endurance. It takes a great deal to compel capitulation where fundamental national interests are at stake. Threats of bombing North Vietnam back to the stone age not withstanding, it is simply not clear that air power has ever had the ability by itself to impose levels of suffering that are unendurable to a people committed to a national goal.

In Vietnam, to the contrary, the air campaign convinced the North of the lack of American resolve. It understood that a nation seriously committed to the defense of South Vietnam would not take recourse to the air campaign as the foundation of its national strategy. They understood, particularly in its early stages, that the air campaign was a bluff, covering up American weakness. Indeed it was a bluff. McNamara and Johnson both hoped that the air campaign would persuade that North Vietnamese to back down. For some reason, in spite of the fact that they were fully aware of their own lack of resolve, the Johnson administration genuinely believed that this lack of resolve would not be apparent to their adversaries.

It is not that an air campaign cannot work. Its problem is that it cannot work except as part of a comprehensive warfighting program in which the air campaign operates as part of a single, integrative, strategic, operational and tactical package which employs decisive ground maneuver. The purpose of this package is, as Clausewitz saw clearly, to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war primarily by rendering its armed forces inoperable. Air strikes used as a weapon against populations has consistently failed. Air strikes used in isolation as an instrument against conventional military power has similarly failed. However, air strikes, when it is used as part of an integrated war fighting system based on decisive MANEUVER, is invaluable.

Desert Storm

In 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, air strikes were used as a direct instrument of war, intended to reduce the ability of the Iraqis to wage war. It was not intended to signal American resolve nor was it intended to win the war by itself. Rather, air strikes were an all out assault on the Iraqi war fighting ability. Starting as an assault on Iraq's command, control, communications and intelligence capabilities and on its air defense system, it shattered the ability of Baghdad to command its armies in the field. Following this, the air campaign turned on the major formations of the Iraqi army in Kuwait, destroying tactical command and communications, as well as killing soldiers and destroying equipment. At the end of the air campaign, Allied ground maneuver forces were able to encircle, engage and destroy Iraqi forces, while aircraft cut off the retreat on the famed "highway of death." Air strikes made the successful ground war possible at lower costs, but without the ground maneuver war, Kuwait would not have been liberated and Desert Storm would have failed. In fact mosdt of the damage done to the Iraqi army was done by U.S. ground maneuver forces not air strikes.

Serbia and Kosovo

Political leaders seeking low risk ways to wage war are constantly tempted by air strikes. They expect the other side to collapse in fear at the very thought of bombing. During the early stages of Vietnam, the Johnson administration seriously hoped that the air campaign would constitute the essence of the war or, to be more honest, as an alternative to waging war. Now, there are some cases in which this may happen. That is a case where the issue at hand is of only marginal importance to the people being bombed. But it is not effective when the campaign is against a country pursuing its fundamental national interest. In that case, the only thing that can dissuade the nation is to take actions that threaten the very survival of the regime or even of the nation. It was when the Japanese realized that the survival of the nation was at stake from ground maneuver encirclement that they capitulated to the air campaign. The North Vietnamese never felt that either the nation or even their regime was at risk from the air campaign. Therefore, the campaign was futile. In the later stages, in 1972, air power may have motivated the North to be more flexible at peace talks, but it never caused them to abandon fundamental national interests.

Serbia reminds us of Vietnam. From the Serb point of view, the introduction of NATO forces into Kosovo will end their sovereignty over it. They see this as part of an ongoing American campaign to dismember Serbia. Having blocked the secession of predominantly Serbian regions from Bosnia, they are now seeing support for the secession of predominantly Albanian regions from Serbia. They see this inconsistency in American and NATO policy as a sign of a desire to destroy Serbia as a nation. The question of Kosovo, like the question of South Vietnam, represents a challenge to a fundamental understanding of what the Serbian nation means. Whatever other calculations might intrude, the threat of air attacks will not cause them to surrender fundamental national interests.

Serbia studied both Desert Storm and Vietnam very carefully. It was aware that Serbia's terrain and weather reduce the effectiveness of an air campaign substantially, as compared to what the U.S. was able to achieve over Kuwait and Iraq. They were aware that the United States has not deployed anywhere near the ground maneuver forces it had available during Desert Storm. The Serbs were fully aware that neither the United States nor NATO have the stomach for the type of casualties that they would have to absorb if they were prepared to attack Serbia. Finally, they were aware that during a bombing campaign, stories about Kosovo casualties in the Western Press would be replaced by pictures of dead Serbian children; and that human rights protestors, eager to be on both sides of any photogenic issue, would quickly begin condemning the war on the Serbian people.

What makes all of this possible was the Serbian government's sense that it has the support of the Serbian people. The Clinton administration's dream that a bombing campaign will drive a wedge between the Serbian government and the Serbian people, with the people demanding a change in policy because they were unwilling to endure the pain. There is not a single instance in history in which an air campaign caused a split between a government at war and its people. It didn't happen during the Battle of Britain, in Germany, in Japan, in North Vietnam and it hasn't yet happened in Iraq.

Thus, an air campaign, isolated from a comprehensive warfighting strategy with ground maneuver designed to defeat the Serbian army did not succeed. The Serbs, as a nation, have too much at stake to permit their territory to be occupied by foreign troops. Moreover, with Russian winds shifting, the Serbs calculated that they have a great power ally prepared to sustain them, just as North Vietnam did. The U.S. could have defeated North Vietnam by invading it. It chose not to, rationally understanding that the prize was not worth the cost. The United States could have defeated Serbia by invading it, but again, the prize isn't worth it. The problem is that as in Vietnam, the United States can neither commit the forces needed to win nor abandon the issue. In search for a solution at a cost the United States can bear, Clinton, the anti-war protestor, paradoxically followed the precise policy of Lyndon Johnson, the man against whom he protested. Sadly, he is not the only U.S. civilian politician and DoD leader deceived by the air strike madness. The British politician Baldwin summed up the narrow-minded smug attitude best when he said: "the bomber will always get through". Viewing air strike bombardment as a cheap, politically safe panacea for waging war has been a siren's song for western societies for the entire 20th century. The question is will we survive the 21st century or smash on the rocks as we fail to effectively destroy with decisive maneuver enemies avowed to destroy free societies?

A DoD "transformation" to digital firepower without ground maneuver is suicidal madness be it from a sexy fighter-bomber at 15,000 feet or a peacenik gentle-looking LAV-III/IAV armored car along a paved road. We must have air-deliverable 2D/3D ground MANEUVER combat forces--Cavalry--that can VERIFY targets with HUMINT not soda straw vision UAV/UGVs are hit not decoys and civilians. We need stealthy light tracked scout vehicles, scout-tracker dogs and dismounting Soldiers to do this. We must be able to do close combat and not get hurt by smarter use of tracked tanks in better-organized combined-arms units or we are finished as a nation as Kaplan has warned us.

Its increasingly clear that as the U.S. retreats into introversion and hedonism, it embraces mentalism through computers and gets less and less physical. We have a Navy that doesn't want to bombard shores effectively with battleships or clear seamines. A marine corps that doesn't want to wear helmets when its in a combat zone or parachute jump that wants a half-helicopter/half-airplane to deliver them ashore, but not in any kind of force so they can rush back to the ship and eat ice cream to start their bragging and selective mention of what took place. We have an Air Force that doesn't want to fly below 15,000 feet and bomb for the Army, but is increasingly excited about robot planes doing all their dirty work. Then you have an Army that doesn't want to leave roads riding comfortable in an thinly armored Sport Utility Vehicle with air-filled rubber tires called a LAV-III/IAV and thinks its doesn't have to fight because it will be a long distance away and can email someone else to drop ordnance onto where they think the enemy is according to their computer screen. That Field Artillery doesn't want to do direct support to maneuver units is no surprise or that Armor branch wants to ride around in a 70-ton invincible tank or ride in nothing at all. They are perfectly happy sitting on their asses waiting for Desert Storm II so they can joust with other heavy tanks. What's even worse is we have civilians in DoD who take this lethargy as a signal to get rid of artillery and rely on air strikes ALONE.

Internally, the OSD leadership should ask some hard questions about Anaconda:

Why was there NO ARTILLERY BROUGHT INTO AFGHANISTAN FOR THIS FIGHT? Did Secretary of the Defense Rumsfield or his minions "do an Aspin" and deny artillery to our fighting men so he could showcase his favored aircraft delivered firepower and later use a success in Afghanistan as an excuse to get rid of Army gun artillery just like the missile-crazy Navy got rid of battleships?? Notice the U.S. marines, the biggest braggerts on earth, didn't bring any artillery during their short time ashore in Afghanistan...we certainly would have heard about their "big guns". Was this no accident? Or was it someone else that told everyone no arty in Afghanistan?? Who determined the force structure would have no artillery? CENTCOM? This is a telling question in light of Rumsfield's DoD trying to cancel the Army's Crusader self-propelled howitzer system...


David Hale, Editor of the Lawton Constitution newspaper wrote in his editorial:

Battle: Secretary Rumsfeld, airpower advocates about to overrun "Firebase Crusader"

The ambush that November day nearly 37 years ago was a total surprise to the American column on its way to Landing Zone Albany in the Ia Drang Valley. The well-prepared North Vietnamese attack separated, killed and wounded many American troops. In some areas, the North Vietnamese were inside the defensive perimeter, moving toward the positions occupied by the Americans.

Often on the battlefield, a shot would ring out, followed by a scream. The enemy was taking no prisoners.

Lt. Bob Jeanette, a weapons officer of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, was severely wounded, but had a radio. "As it got dark, I was still in the same position. I was trying to maintain contact with whoever I had talking to me back at brigade. There was a lull in the battle, and suddenly I was talking to an artillery outfit.

"The North Vietnamese were now running around the area, and we could see them moving. Bunches of 10, 20, more of them circling the perimeter of the landing zone. It was maybe 150 yards to the landing zone perimeter, and the enemy were between us and them."

Ultimately, Jeanette was able to convince the artillery unit to bring high explosive rounds down on top of the enemy.

"I never really knew how effective that artillery fire was until two things happened," he remembered.

The first incident happened while he was recovering from wounds at St. Albans Navy Hospital in New York, "I met someone who had been in that fight, a 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry guy, who came over to me and thanked me for that artillery fire. I was out in the halls on my crutches for exercise and he came up to me on crutches, too. He had an empty trouser leg. He told me the artillery took his leg, but it saved his life and he was grateful. I was stunned."

Later at Fort Levenworth, Jeanette met a sergeant who was in the same battle whose position was about 50 yards from his position. "Sgt. Howard said that every time the enemy got close to them, the artillery would come in close, too, and really whack them. He said the artillery fire was the only thing that kept the enemy away and kept them alive."

The above is just one of many war stories from the Vietnam conflict, but maybe the civilian movers and shakers in Washington need to re-read "We Were Soldiers Once And Young" by Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway.

The scene described occurred after air strikes by the highly efficient A-1E Skyraiders. Despite napalm and other ordnance, many enemy soldiers remained alive. It took artillery fire to save American lives.

That was long ago. But proof that it wasn't just an artifact of history emerged only weeks ago during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, when a U.S. infantry company found itself under mortar and rocket fire for nearly 12 hours without close air support. Unfortunately, it also had no artillery support: the unit's artillery had been left behind in the U.S.

Pentagon civilians who threaten to cut the Crusader artillery system seem to have forgotten their history. Airpower is a wonderful tool, but it isn't enough. Infantrymen on the ground need the combined firepower of both close air support and artillery.

Strangely, combat veterans who understand the value of combined firepower have been deafeningly quiet about the need for more advanced artillery. That's hard to understand, because they know air power has its limitations and that their grandsons will pay the price.

In the late 1940s when air power advocates tried to eliminate aircraft carriers and shift responsibility for power projection to the Air Force, active duty admirals revolted, cranked up the public relations machine on the need for Naval airpower and won.

The battle for Crusader may be over. The "after action report" will be prepared soon. Maybe the report should look at why the Army failed to convince the Pentagon, public and President that the Crusader was a vital asset. If so, it should also examine why the combat veterans who experienced the live-saving value of artillery hid in their foxholes.


In the 1930s the British and French tried to keep the peace against sub-national groups with aircraft and a few troops in armored cars called "Colonial Air Control". When WWII came along they thought they were "high speed" but were actually unready for the next would-be nation-state dictators that actually did transform their militaries to real improved capabilities. Clearly we are headed for a huge collapse.

Many when they talk about 1939-40 wail endlessly about how the Germans had a "new" style of mechanized infiltration warfare to where "blitzkrieg" has become a cliche' that brings yawns. That's only PART of the story.

While the Germans were "transforming", the French were also "transforming" to their vision of the future battlefield; the Maginot Line of forts along the border with Germany. The story is NOT the wily Germans had a vision and the decadent Allies sat on their asses doing NOTHING, they did the WRONG THINGS.

The Germans had a vision AND THE ALLIES HAD A TRANSFORMATION VISION. The Germans were right and the Anglo-French vision was wrong even though mechanized infiltration was the idea of Englishmen B.H. Liddell-Hart, J.F.C. Fuller and Percy Hobart NOT German General Guderian.

Just having a transformation vision does not mean its right (Gen Shinseki's wheeled armored cars). The U.S. DoD RMA/Tofflerian C4I digital this and digital that mentalism to direct FIREPOWER that thinks it doesn't need PHYSICAL, ROBUST PLATFORM MANEUVER IS... WRONG.

It has already failed 3 times: Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan as the ppt slides and links below document.

If we invade Iraq for "Desert Storm II" and its "Air-Centric" (code word for air strike firepower) its highly likely after all the bombing is over the Iraqis will still be there. Just like the Serbs.

The issue is not "Air-Centric" versus "Ground Centric". Its Firepower or Maneuver. America, a nation of increasingly cowardly persons that like the decadent French who thought a wall could do all of their their dirtywork, thinks C4I directed firepower can take their place on the ground doing maneuver. When it fails really badly we are going to have to fire almost all our current crop of senior officers that believe in firepower non-sense and promote some maneuver believing officers if they are still around and hadn't given up in frustration or forced out of the service by the Courtney Massengales. To win WWII, General Marshall had to retire 50+ Generals and 100+ colonels, America post-911 has yet to do this, heck we haven't even declared war!

Realizing the apathy of the U.S. for ground maneuver combat requiring troops, our European Allies have created an Allied Mobile Force of about a Brigade in 1991. In 1992 it was expanded to a DIVISION of 4 Brigades. In 2000 it was expanded to the European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF) of 100,000 men! Its now larger than a Corps, its an ARMY. Now they can intervene if they want to anywhere in the world WITHOUT THE U.S.

They have a Eurodollar. They are clearly on the march to a United States of Europe, a 10 nation confederation predicted in the Bible in the Book of Revelation as the tool of the false messiah, the antichrist. All because the U.S. is turning into a bunch of pussies.

The U.S. marine corps has 172,000 men and women yet it can only field 3, read that 3 puny battalions of foot-sloggers at sea?

The U.S. Army has 475,000 men/women and fields 10 Divisions of about 10,000 men but how many of this force of 100,000 trigger-pullers is really world-class ready-to-fight when everyone thinks our air strikes will do all our dirty work?

The more the U.S. declines, the more Europe will have to rise, and frankly I don't want to see it. As screwed up as America is executing missions, I trust her to defend world freedom more than the Europeans who are so full of naive relativism as evidenced by their absurd support of the Palestinians recently when Israel was defending itself by MANEUVER against terrorists. If NATO had a 9/11 attack, believe me, the ERRF would be knocking on whoever did it's doorsteps in a matter of hours, led by the bulldog and pugnacious Brits.

I believe that the world we live in is run by God as communicated to us by the King James Bible, and he specifically warns us to not turn against Israel. The minute we do this, Secretary of Defense Rumsfield's Ballistic Missile Defense shield will not stop America from becoming a nuclear parking lot as per Ezekiel 38. The Israelis are in the right and have offered to co-exist with the Islamic Palestinians time and time again, but Arafat and others do not want peace. They want Israel to cease to exist because as easterners it bothers them to see a western society put their evil totalitarian ideas to shame. The point is that the west must be strong and use its resources to build a security fence and vigilantly guard it, and to on demand do effective, skilled MANEUVER--which takes thinking professionals----into enemy lands to spoil terrorist attacks before they can become 9/11-type asymmetric attacks.

History is repeating itself today just like the 1920s/30s. The storm is gathering. Time for everyone to become Winston Churchills and save the west from the east (Red China/Islam). WWIII is coming.

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62618-2002Apr16.html washingtonpost.com

U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight
Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error

By Barton Gellman and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 17, 2002; Page A01

The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.

Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border. Though there remains a remote chance that he died there, the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December.

After-action reviews, conducted privately inside and outside the military chain-of-command, describe the episode as a significant defeat for the United States. A common view among those interviewed outside the U.S. Central Command is that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the war's operational commander, misjudged the interests of putative Afghan allies and let pass the best chance to capture or kill al Qaeda's leader. Without professing second thoughts about Tora Bora, Franks has changed his approach fundamentally in subsequent battles, using Americans on the ground as first-line combat units.

In the fight for Tora Bora, corrupt local militias did not live up to promises to seal off the mountain redoubt, and some colluded in the escape of fleeing al Qaeda fighters. Franks did not perceive the setbacks soon enough, some officials said, because he ran the war from Tampa with no commander on the scene above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The first Americans did not arrive until three days into the fighting. "No one had the big picture," one defense official said.

The Bush administration has never acknowledged that bin Laden slipped through the cordon ostensibly placed around Tora Bora as U.S. aircraft began bombing on Nov. 30. Until now it was not known publicly whether the al Qaeda leader was present on the battlefield.

But inside the government there is little controversy on the subject. Captured al Qaeda fighters, interviewed separately, gave consistent accounts describing an address by bin Laden around Dec. 3 to mujaheddin, or holy warriors, dug into the warren of caves and tunnels built as a redoubt against Soviet invaders in the 1980s. One official said "we had a good piece of sigint," or signals intelligence, confirming those reports.

"I don't think you can ever say with certainty, but we did conclude he was there, and that conclusion has strengthened with time," said another official, giving an authoritative account of the intelligence consensus. "We have high confidence that he was there, and also high confidence, but not as high, that he got out. We have several accounts of that from people who are in detention, al Qaeda people who were free at the time and are not free now."

Franks continues to dissent from that analysis. Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, his chief spokesman, acknowledged the dominant view outside Tampa but said the general is unpersuaded.

"We have never seen anything that was convincing to us at all that Osama bin Laden was present at any stage of Tora Bora -- before, during or after," Quigley said. "I know you've got voices in the intelligence community that are taking a different view, but I just wanted you to know our view as well."

"Truth is hard to come by in Afghanistan," Quigley said, and for confidence on bin Laden's whereabouts "you need to see some sort of physical concrete proof."

Franks has told subordinates that it was vital at the Tora Bora battle, among the first to include allies from Afghanistan's Pashtun majority, to take a supporting role and "not just push them aside and take over because we were America," according to Quigley.

"Our relationship with the Afghans in the south and east was entirely different at that point in the war," he said. "It's no secret that we had a much more mature relationship with the Northern Alliance fighters." Franks, he added, "still thinks that the process he followed of helping the anti-Taliban forces around Tora Bora, to make sure it was crystal clear to them that we were not there to conquer their country . . . was absolutely the right thing to do."

With the collapse of the Afghan cordon around Tora Bora, and the decision to hold back U.S. troops from the Army's 10th Mountain Division, Pakistan stepped in. The government of President Pervez Musharraf moved thousands of troops to his border with Afghanistan and intercepted about 300 of the estimated 1,000 al Qaeda fighters who escaped Tora Bora. U.S. officials said close to half of the detainees now held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were turned over by the Pakistani government.

Those successes included none of the top al Qaeda leaders at Tora Bora, officials acknowledged. Of the dozen senior leaders identified by the U.S. government, two are now accounted for -- Muhammad Atef, believed dead in a Hellfire [Predator UAV launched] missile attack, and Abu Zubaida, taken into custody late last month. But "most of the people we have been authorized to kill are still breathing," said an official directly involved in the pursuit, and several of them were at Tora Bora.

The predominant view among the analysts is that bin Laden is alive, but knowledgeable officials said they cannot rule out the possibility that he died at Tora Bora or afterward. Some analysts believe bin Laden is seriously ill and under the medical care of his second-in-command, Ayman Zawahiri, an Egyptian-trained physician. One of the theories, none supported by firm evidence, is that he has Marfan syndrome, a congenital disorder of some people with bin Laden's tall, slender body type that puts them at increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

The minority of U.S. officials who argue that bin Laden is probably dead note that four months have passed since any credible trace of him has surfaced in intelligence collection. Those who argue that he is probably alive note that monitoring of a proven network of bin Laden contacts has turned up no evidence of reaction to his death. If he had died, surely there would have been some detectable echo within this network, these officials argue.

In public, the Bush administration acknowledges no regret about its prosecution of Tora Bora. One official spokesman, declining to be named, described questions about the battle as "navel-gazing" and said the national security team is "too busy for that." He added, "We leave that to you guys in the press."

But some policymakers and operational officers spoke in frustrated and even profane terms of what they called an opportunity missed.

"We [messed] up by not getting into Tora Bora sooner and letting the Afghans do all the work," said a senior official with direct responsibilities in counterterrorism. "Clearly a decision point came when we started bombing Tora Bora and we decided just to bomb, because that's when he escaped. . . . We didn't put U.S. forces on the ground, despite all the brave talk, and that is what we have had to change since then."

When al Qaeda forces began concentrating again in February, south of the town of Gardez, Franks moved in thousands of U.S. troops from the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Mountain Division. In the battle of Shahikot in early March -- also known as Operation Anaconda -- the United States let Afghan allies attack first. But when that offensive stalled, American infantry units took it up.

Another change since Tora Bora, with no immediate prospect of finding bin Laden, is that President Bush has stopped proclaiming the goal of taking him "dead or alive" and now avoids previous references to the al Qaeda founder as public enemy number one.

In an interview with The Washington Post in late December, Bush displayed a scorecard of al Qaeda leaders on which he had drawn the letter X through the faces of those thought dead. By last month, Bush began saying that continued public focus on individual terrorists, including bin Laden, meant that "people don't understand the scope of the mission."

"Terror is bigger than one person," Bush said March 14. "He's a person that's now been marginalized." The president said bin Laden had "met his match" and "may even be dead," and added: "I truly am not that concerned about him."

Top advisers now assert that the al Qaeda leader's fate should be no measure of U.S. success in the war.

"The goal there was never after specific individuals," Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week. "It was to disrupt the terrorists."

Said Quigley at the Central Command: "There's no question that Osama bin Laden is the head of al Qaeda, and it's always a good thing to get rid of the head of an organization if your goal is to do it harm. So would we like to get bin Laden? You bet, but al Qaeda would still exist as an organization if we got him tomorrow."

At least since the 1980s, the U.S. military has made a point of avoiding open declaration of intent to capture or kill individual enemies. Such assignments cannot be carried out with confidence, and if acknowledged they increase the stature of an enemy leader who survives. After-action disclosures have made clear, nonetheless, that finding Manuel Noriega during the Panama invasion of 1989 and Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Persian Gulf War were among the top priorities of the armed forces.

The same holds true now, high-ranking officials said in interviews on condition that they not be named. "Of course bin Laden is crucial," one said.

In Britain, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told BBC radio yesterday that bin Laden's capture "remains one of the prime objectives" of the war.

Staff researcher Robert Thomason contributed to this report.


General Zabecki's dynamite "reality check" for DoD:

Landpower In History
Strategists Must Regain An Understanding

Of The Role Of Ground Forces
Brig. Gen. David T. Zabecki, USAR

www.afji.com/AFJI/Mags/2002/August/landpower.html

SYNOPSIS:

Landpower In History
Of late, an airpower-centric mindset has taken hold among US leaders that promises little risk to U.S. military personnel, but really has gained little for American interests. The principal historical lesson that strategists must understand is that physical occupation of territory by ground forces facilitates positive and direct control over the social, political, and economic destiny of that territory.

INTRO

The United States confronts challenges to its interests by drawing on diplomatic, economic, and military policy tools. Wise strategists know what each tool can do and when to apply it for maximum effect. As the U.S. meets its first great challenges of the 21st century, strategists must understand exactly what the military tools at their disposal can and cannot do. Least understood, perhaps, are ground forces, which are the military instrument most capable of producing lasting changes in the international arena.

Only ground forces can take and hold territory, which is an absolute prerequisite for any political, economic, or ideological change. Cold War strategists understood this. Of late, however, this joint approach has fallen victim to an airpower-centric mindset that promises little risk to U.S. military personnel, but really has gained little for American interests. As a result, many modern strategists have little understanding of the role and capabilities of ground forces.

The use of ineffectual air and missile strikes in recent years has led many of our potential enemies to conclude that Americans are willing to kill to advance their interests and values, but not willing to die for them. Our reluctance to put boots on the ground looks weak to friends and foes alike.

LESSONS OF HISTORY

Every war is different; no war is like the last one. Military planners cannot draw upon the same type of historical analysis that is central to the medical and legal professions. Military planners cannot forecast future contingencies in absolutes, because the very nature of war is that enemies adapt against each other. Instead, planners must confront the unexpected and apply their training, doctrine, and equipment to the situation at hand.

Defeat is often war's best teacher; opponents learn from their own mistakes and those of others. Strategists, therefore, must revise their plans continuously to account for countervailing enemy capabilities. Iraq, for example, continues to study the Coalition air campaign in Kosovo, so as to better blunt American airpower in any future conflict.

Military planners must adapt to the particulars of each new conflict, and historical lessons about how force has been used can guide these adaptations. Because training and technology change over time, the tactics used to capture a city in 1943 most likely would not work against that same city in 2003. But the strategic value of capturing that city does remain just as valid for strategy planning 60 years later.

The principal historical lesson that strategists must understand is that physical occupation of territory by ground forces facilitates positive and direct control over the social, political, and economic destiny of that territory in a manner unrivaled by any other instrument of national power. This truth can best be understood if examined through a series of maxims about the role of ground forces.

During war, however, [nation-] states seize enemy territory to bolster their own power by forcibly imposing a new social contract on the conquered. Only ground forces can do this in newly seized territory. Soviet forces occupied Eastern Europe after World War II and were able to dictate the fate of those nations for the next 50 years-the more than 400 Red Army divisions occupying the ruins of Nazi Germany in 1945 gave Moscow a monopoly on violence and sealed Eastern Europe's fate.

Lasting Control Requires Physical Occupation. If forces do not occupy a given piece of territory, they cannot control what happens in it. Soviet forces did not seize Western Europe, and those nations escaped the yoke of Communism. By contrast, the American occupation of Imperial Japan and two-thirds of Nazi Germany transformed those two states into stable, prosperous democracies. It follows, then, that to control a territory effectively, ground forces must occupy it for an extended period.

As soon as a force withdraws from territory, it can quickly revert to a hostile base. The Vietnam-era truism that "we controlled the day; they controlled the night" is the best recent example of this. Because most American Soldiers withdrew to secure bases each night, Vietnamese Communist forces had carte blanche to maneuver to better effect for the coming day's operations.

Occupation Decisively Signals Intent. Occupation to defend territory signals that a nation is willing to spend its blood and treasure for that particular piece of ground and the resources contained therein. This signal is understood clearly by friends and foes alike. Robust NATO ground forces in Western Europe, for example, signaled clearly to the Soviet Union that because NATO troops were vulnerable to attack, the Alliance was willing to risk violence to preserve its interests against Soviet encroachment.

Defensive Occupation Raises The Cost Of Conquest. It follows, then, that if defensive occupation signals intent, it also raises the cost of conquest. Aggressors may still choose to attack, but they do so knowing that the price in personnel and materiel will be much higher than if the territory were undefended. Moreover, if the defenders can make the price of aggression sufficiently costly, the result is deterrence. This balance between costs and benefits is the basis of traditional conventional deterrence. Thus, NATO ground forces stationed in Western Europe meant that, although the Soviets might invade, the costs would likely exceed the benefits.

Occupation Limits Strategic Choices. Territory occupied by a nation's military forces cannot be used by others. In peacetime, sacrosanct national boundaries ensure that states deal with one another through political and economic means. Occupation prevents encroachment by adventurous states. The presence of NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo, for example, precludes further attempts by either the Serbs or the Kosovars to redraw boundaries. Unlike observer overflights, which can be avoided or interdicted, the NATO ground force in Kosovo is a tripwire that cannot be avoided.

Destruction Of Enemy Ground Forces Produces Political Leverage. Occupied territory limits an enemy's strategic options during conflicts as well as in peacetime. Ground forces take territory by destroying or otherwise neutralizing the enemy forces in that territory. These tactical and operational gains create a cascading effect that reduces and eventually eliminates the enemy's strategic flexibility.

Each time an enemy unit is destroyed, the enemy's overall capabilities decrease, making it harder for that enemy to prosecute its political objectives. As additional territory is seized, the restrictive effects cascade, and the enemy government's diminishing ability to execute its will produces diplomatic concessions as the defeated power cuts its losses rather than face capitulation.

As Coalition forces surged into southern Iraq and Kuwait, for example, Saddam Hussein's diplomatic position eroded rapidly. Prior to the start of the ground war, Hussein was able to reject calls to abandon his newly occupied territory in a negotiated withdrawal. After the start of the ground offensive, however, that option of intact withdrawal was stripped from him, as many of his heavy forces were destroyed in the field. He was forced to make more expansive diplomatic concessions to end the war.

Airpower Alone Can Coerce Only Slow And Indecisive Negotiations. Air forces cannot occupy territory; they can only attack infrastructure or interdict enemy operations within the territory. Whenever aircraft are not overhead, the enemy has freedom of action. Indeed, even when aircraft are present, dispersed enemy forces can still operate, albeit with decreased effectiveness. Serbia, for example, actually increased ethnic-cleansing activities in Kosovo despite the NATO air campaign. After all, it is very hard to decide from a mile up who is a paramilitary, and harder still to kill that paramilitary without harming civilians-even with a laser-guided bomb. Moreover, continued difficulties with concealment, dispersal, and decoys make true control of the battlefield by air forces a questionable issue.

Because hostile governments are able to operate despite air interdiction, it becomes harder to pursue diplomatic objectives through military means. Sustained bombing of North Vietnam achieved no lasting effect because both Hanoi and the North Vietnamese army remained functional. Hanoi was willing to absorb the punishment from the air and saw no reason to concede the fight to the United States.

The Changing Nature Of Deterrence. The nature of deterrence is changing. In the post-9/11 campaign to combat dispersed, often substate terrorism, classic deterrence frequently does not work. Al Qaeda, for example, appears content to abandon its destroyed bases in Afghanistan and re-emerge elsewhere. There is a real need to find a new way to defeat or deter such foes on the ground in their widely dispersed operating bases. [Editor: Air-Mech-Strike]

Simply put, the fact that the U.S. can rapidly put boots-on-the-ground anywhere in the world gives our opponents pause. Missile strikes interdict; American ground forces destroy and occupy. This capacity for destruction terrifies, and fear is the currency of deterrence. As our foes realize that there are no more safe havens because we will bring the battle to them, conventional deterrence will resume.

The Fallacy Of Shock Without Maneuver. Military forces take and hold territory by applying firepower (shock) and maneuver (positional advantage). These classic elements of combat power act in concert. Maneuver positions the forces to better apply shock, which destroys or disrupts the enemy and creates favorable conditions for subsequent maneuver. When ground forces operate on a piece of terrain, they restrict or prevent enemy maneuver. The cumulative effect of this continuing cycle of controlled violence renders the enemy ineffective and delivers victory.

Designed for speed, maneuverability, and range, aircraft cannot be heavily armored. Aircraft cannot remain in fixed positions; to stop moving is to die. As a result, aircraft can only produce a temporary battlefield presence. The moment they expend their fuel or ammunition, aircraft must leave to return to distant bases, thereby freeing the enemy to maneuver.

The only way to overcome this problem is to constantly cycle aircraft to and from the battlefield. This places a tremendous stress on the personnel and equipment involved and requires large numbers of aircraft as well as mountains of stores and fuel.

One study of the Rolling Thunder air campaign estimated that every dollar of destruction caused to North Vietnam cost America $9.60 to produce. Indeed, if one considers the resource drain of Operation Northern Watch's no-fly zone, the notion of a large-scale, sustained, independent air campaign quickly becomes prohibitive.

By contrast, ground forces are designed to be sustained without leaving the battlefield, through forward area re-supply points just behind the forward edge of the battle area. They can maintain their battlefield presence and continue to deliver shock and maneuver-with fewer units and with significantly lower levels of consumption.

Airpower cannot maneuver in the classical sense, and it cannot prevent reoccupation by enemy ground forces. Airpower, by itself, is essentially nothing more than an extension of firepower. And firepower by itself, no matter how devastating, cannot produce a lasting military effect. [AMEN!]

Airpower and ground forces must work in a combined, synergistic relationship. World War I represents a tragic attempt to produce military victory through firepower alone. The German Blitzkrieg in World War II and the American AirLand Battle in the Gulf War, however, are remarkable examples of the combined application of shock and maneuver with technologically sophisticated equipment.

The Problem With Proxies. The experiences of Kosovo and Afghanistan have led many to the erroneous conclusion that the U.S. can "buy" cheap ground combat power by employing local ground force proxies where needed. Ideally, these hypothetical proxies will prosecute future ground wars supported by American stand-off weapons. This assumption, however, is dangerously misguided.

Proxies simply may not exist. American strategy and force structure cannot be predicated on the assumed availability of allied ground forces. Local proxies were available in Afghanistan, but not in Mogadishu. Moreover, available local proxies may not fight effectively. The poor performance of the South Vietnamese army made it a liability rather than an asset. American planners cannot guarantee any combat effectiveness that they themselves do not create.

In addition, although local proxies may be aligned with overall American objectives, this will not necessarily produce effective command and control over them. Local proxies' own allegiances may impugn American objectives. To understand this problem, one need only recall that al Qaeda and Taliban commanders were allowed to escape by using tribal arrangements and bribes.

Finally, the consistent use of foreign proxies to protect U.S. interests corrodes America's international standing. To friends and allies, such a policy signals that American Soldiers are not willing risk death or even injury and privation to protect the country's interests, which by extension means that the U.S. would be even less willing to risk anything to protect friendly and allied interests. Moreover, perceiving weakness, our foes would further challenge American interests.

Foreign proxies must be employed on a case-by-case basis. Foreign allies and friends are vital to any American military effort, but they are not likely to accept an ancillary role based on an "our airpower, your bodies" strategy. Washington must lead from the front, using American ground forces to bolster coalition forces when possible and to defend American interests alone when necessary. This will ensure battlefield victory and diplomatic respect.

LASTING CHANGES

Occupying territory creates the conditions for lasting political and economic changes while limiting other international actors' freedom of action. History offers no starker lesson than this.

Acting in concert with the other services, ground forces create lasting changes on the battlefield and at the international level. Creating lasting change will be absolutely critical when the U.S. confronts the unexpected adversaries of this century. Given the changing nature of deterrence and the need to retain the traditional balance of shock and maneuver, American ground forces remain indispensable.

War is an extension of political will; therefore, it is essential to put American boots-on-the-ground to defend American interests. We cannot pay others to fight our wars while we strike from over the horizon. But this doesn't require a return to the massed infantry assaults of World War II. Rather, what is needed is a highly trained and superbly led force equipped with every advantage that 21st century American technology can provide, including the world's finest air support.

The U.S. must continue to maintain and further transform its robust ground forces to protect our national interests. Today we enjoy a combat overmatch so fearsome that our adversaries must look to asymmetric warfare to even begin to challenge our power. This predominance is a political asset, not a liability. Transformation will guarantee that American ground forces remain preeminent.

AMERICA'S FLIGHTS OF FANCY: FROM AIRCRAFT TO NOW COMPUTERS?

World Weariness and flights of fancy

There are serious fundamental world-view flaws in the current DoD vision which is based on the Tofflerian world-view that centers around the computer. In the following article on Aviation it reveals that we have swapped our fascination with physical flights of fancy to virtual, make-believe flights of fancy for war doctrine.

We offer a sound, truthful understanding of war in the following PPT presentation:

www.reocities.com/transformationunderfire

The truth we need to consider is that actually WAR is not just armed groups of men doing violence but a CONFLICT OF IDEAS. If we are fighting for the wrong ideas like computers-mean-we-can-be-lazy-and-not-do-the-physical-things to-win-wars like have tracked AFVs with gunshields, we are going to have our half-baked "romance" with computers end up in flames like our unsound love affair with aviation did on 9/11/2001.

When the status quo is diving into a building, its no time for world weariness to tone down our message so its lost in the shuffle of other things going on. Real people are dying and being maimed in Iraq while the enemy escapes and if we are human we should call it the bullshit it is. If this is "unprofessional", what is being mum and saying and doing nothing?

Bravo! to a good article revealing America's unsound fascination for flight.

However, the ability of man himself to fly in direct contact with the elements lives on much more akin to the Wright Brothers through ultra-light aircraft.

What McDougall decries is a lack of wide-spread public use of aerocars as the utopians promised. The problem of massed Aerocars is current heavier-than-air flight requires forward motion through the air to get lift using fixed or rotary wings. This puts too many Aerocars in motion across the earth at one time and would create too many collisions.

What we need is a more docile, controlled flight that gets us out of contact with the ground that doesn't have to keep moving forward or spinning furiously overhead. If we combined helium lighter-than-air technologies with heavier-than-air technologies we could create practical and safe Aerocars. Of course, anti-gravity drives would work, too.

But McDougall is right that flight as long as its a flight of fancy will not progress if we give up on it for the latest wundertoy, today being the computer.

Walter McDougall on the Wright Brothers' Centennial
Date: 12/19/2003 4:58:39 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: fpri@fpri.org (Foreign Policy Research Institute)

Foreign Policy Research Institute
A Catalyst for Ideas
www.fpri.org

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THE ECSTASY AND THE AGONY OF OUR ROMANCE WITH FLIGHT A MEDITATION ON THE CENTENNIAL OF THE WRIGHT BROTHERS' TRIUMPH

by Walter A. McDougall

December 17, 2003

Walter A. McDougall is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and chairman of FPRI's History Academy. He is author of "...The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age," which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1986.

I: THE HUNGER

I believe it was 1979. While researching the history of space technology at the NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., I frequently visited the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum--the most visited museum in the world. It had recently installed a two-story high IMAX movie theater and crowds flocked to view its inaugural film, "To Fly!" A paean to the romance of human flight, the cinematography thrilled. But the magic began for me even before the lights dimmed. Music was played over the speakers while the audience filed in and found seats. Music that did not still the chatter of children, but reduced most adults to silence, then wonder, as if setting the mood for a religious experience. It was the Canon in D Major by the Lutheran organist Johann Pachelbel. Sublime beyond words, its haunting, bittersweet melody put into sound the feelings of a mortal race able to imagine heavenly things, but unable to grasp them. Alas, Hollywood spoiled Pachelbel's magic the following year by using the Canon for theme music in Ordinary People, whereupon it devolved into Muzak. But I shall always associate Pachelbel with the sweetest of human hungers: To Fly!

The story of human flight is rightly called a romance, both in the sense of a romantic affair full of anguish and joy, and in the grander sense of Romanticism, that cultural mood expressing the human psyche's disillusionment with its rational efforts to control and give meaning to life itself. Wild Nature, to the Romantic, is a beautiful temptress who beckons mankind to possess her only to turn all of our dreams into nightmares. Our youth is vanquished until we aging dreamers succumb to what Germans called Weltschmerz (world-grief ) and Lebensmuedigkeit (life-weariness). And no part of Nature conjures our hopes and fears more than the sky. Who hasn't dreamed in their sleep they could fly, cruising like Superman over the houses and trees in the neighborhood? Who hasn't envied the birds? Who hasn't imagined that if heaven exists surely we shall be able to fly there, like angels? The dream of breaking the chains of gravity and escaping our two-dimensional life seems to be part of what makes us human.

Our own wistful fairytales tell of magic carpet rides, the pixie dust in Peter Pan, and the plaintive lament of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz ("birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can't I?"). But abundant evidence suggests that all human civilizations have imagined flight a privilege reserved only to the gods whose abodes are in the "high places." The Greeks placed their pantheon on Mt. Olympus and warned of the hubris mere mortals displayed in attempting to poach on their preserve. Thus, Icarus soared on the waxy wings crafted by Daedalus until he dared to approach the Sun and fell to his death. Thus, Bellerophon was permitted to ride the winged horse Pegasus in order to slay the monster Chimera, but was cast down the moment he tried to fly to the top of Olympus. He should have remembered that Pegasus was born of the blood of the hideous gorgon Medusa and his destiny was to serve as Zeus's courier, "air-mailing" thunderbolts to him. Hindu, Buddhist, and Chinese mythologies contain similar cautionary tales about human efforts to fly. In Hebrew texts the Lord was "up there." He led His people from the sky as a pillar of cloud or light, met with Moses on the top of Mt. Sinai, showed Jacob a vision of angels ascending and descending from heaven, and carried Elijah on high in a flaming, flying chariot. In Christian texts the Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus, who in turn ascended into heaven after the resurrection. Likewise, the Bible offered the sternest of warnings to men who would build a Tower of Babel and attempt to reach heaven through artifice. Wrath--be it divine or evil--invariably came from above. The Chinese version of nemesis was the fire-breathing dragon. Christians named Satan the Prince of the Power of the Air. Many civilizations endowed ravens, cranes, albatrosses, and eagles with transcendent powers. After all, birds can fly and we cannot, hence they must somehow share in the godhead. Finally, the human hunger to fly has often been distinctly erotic. The pagan Romans made that explicit in myths about people abducted or raped by deities disguised as birds. They even sculpted intricate pendants depicting winged penises. To fly! It must be, the ancients imagined, "like sex with gods!"

II: THE HUNT

Birds inspired the first technological efforts to realize humanity's primordial lust. As a boy, Leonardo Da Vinci dreamed that a swooping hawk brushed his mouth with its feathers. (Freud linked such dreams to infantile sexuality). As an adult, Da Vinci observed how birds manipulated their tail and wing feathers to regulate attitude and lift: the basic principle behind rudders and ailerons. But the ornithopters he and later inventors sketched were based on the assumption that a flying machine needed wings that could flap. The source of aerodynamic lift was a mystery until Daniel Bernoulli, an 18th-century Dutch mathematician, discovered the principle of fluid mechanics named after him. As the speed of a liquid or gas moving across a surface increases, the pressure exerted on that surface decreases. The brilliant English scientist Sir George Cayley applied that principle to aerodynamics: a curved and tapered wing (airfoil) would force air to pass more quickly over the top than under the bottom, thus creating a "low-pressure center" that sucked the wing up. By 1800 he identified thrust, lift, drag, and gravity as the forces in need of control and imagined the first true airplane with fuselage, cockpit, wing, and tail. Suffice to say the Wright brothers said "Cayley carried the science of flying to a point which it had never reached before and which it scarcely reached again during the last century."

By then human beings were already aloft in balloons. In "the astonishing year" of 1783 the paper-making Montgolfier brothers and scientist Jacques A.C. Charles kicked off a frenzy in Paris with their ornately painted egg-shaped balloons inflated with hydrogen. But as thrilling as ballooning could be (Thomas Jefferson wrote of those "endeavoring to learn us the way to heaven on wings of our own"), it was not really flying but rather drifting at the mercy of winds. Not until 1884 did French aeronauts construct the first lighter-than-air "dirigible" boasting a propellor driven by an electric motor and an elevator and sliding weights for steering. That was humanity's first controlled, powered flight, and it sparked the imagination of the retired general, Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin. His LZ-1, a gigantic cigar loaded with 400,000 cubic feet of hydrogen, first flew in 1900, giving birth to the brief and ultimately tragic era of luxurious, earth-circling zeppelins. But "birdmen" believed the future belonged to wings, if someone could just figure out how to keep a heavier-than-air craft aloft and under control.

The most charismatic "birdman" was another German, Otto Lilienthal. Suspended beneath two bowed gossamer wings he leapt from heights and glided for long distances controlling his flight by shifting his weight. He was more of an "aerial gymnast" than a scientist, and even if he had succeeded in perfecting hang-gliding as we know it today, his methods were useless to those trying to design aero- planes. Still, Lilienthal's Icarus-like death in 1896 inspired others, not least the Wright brothers, to realize his dream through meticulous observation of the behavior of gliders.

No one contributed more technocratic optimism and acumen to the United States than the dapper Parisian-born Octave Chanute. Brought to America by his immigrant father, a history professor, Chanute became a builder of railroads, bridges, and the great stockyards of Chicago and Kansas City. He grew rich, famous, and honored with the presidency of the American Society of Civil Engineers until, in 1883, he gave it all up to pursue his real dream: To fly! He imported all the aeronautical texts he could find over in Europe, consulted with Thomas Edison, physicist Albert F. Zahm, and engine designer F.A. Pratt (later of Pratt & Whitney). He staged conferences to share information and ideas, experimented with trusses to stabilize wings, and taught Americans scientific flight-testing. Scoffers denied the possibility of heavier-than-air flight. But Chanute gave birdmen reason to persevere, above all Samuel Langley. If anyone could conquer the air, he believed, it was he. A distinguished scientist and president of the Smithsonian, he enjoyed the patronage of Theodore Roosevelt and Alexander Graham Bell, and won grants totaling $73,000 (almost $1.5 million today) from the Army, Smithsonian, and private donors. Langley proceeded methodically for seventeen years, experimenting with scale models of flying machines he called aerodromes. He hired crack engineers, expanded his staff, and at length built a full-size fabric-winged flyer powered by a 52 horsepower gasoline engine. Confident of success, Langley launched a publicity campaign that fixed all eyes on his Great Aerodrome moored in the Potomac River. On October 7, 1903, rockets and horns signaled the moment of an apotheosis. Whereupon the machine snagged on its launcher and "slid into the water like a handful of mortar." So much for big government R&D. But even if Langley had succeeded, his Aerodrome was a turkey. It needed to be catapulted into motion and lacked control mechanisms, landing gear, and a cockpit. Had the plane reached its planned cruising speed of 50 mph, the pilot would have been doomed!

Unbeknownst to the crowds on the Potomac, the venerable Smithsonian Institution housed in its Norman-style "Castle" on Washington's Mall had already made a far quieter contribution that proved nothing less than decisive. It happened on June 2, 1899, when an invisible bureaucrat named Richard Rathbun perused a letter from a humble citizen asking if the Smithsonian might send him materials to assist his "systematic study" of flight. Rathbun, a paleontologist, might have discarded the letter or considered its author a crank. Instead, he bade his office assemble the best available scholarship for a Mr. Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio.

The Wright brothers were middle-class, Middle West foliage of a family tree nurtured by English, Dutch, and German roots. Their father, in good Yankee fashion, sired seven children, and served as a bishop in the stern, evangelical Church of the United Brethren. The boys Wilbur, born 1867, and Orville (nickname "Bubbo"), born 1871, grew up behaving in ways the next century's shrinks would term repressed or compulsive. They both stuck close to home, were very shy (especially around females), and displayed obsessive interest in their serial projects. When a fad for bicycle racing swept the nation they went into that business in 1892. Then news of Lilienthal's death reminded them of a passion kindled way back in 1878 when the bishop gave a toy to his sons. It was a rubber band-driven whirligig that "flew" around the room when released. The boys tried to fashion bigger versions without success. But by 1899, when the Wright brothers took up their quest for powered flight, they were experienced mechanics, self-taught mathematicians and philosophers, residents of one of America's "highest- tech" towns, and in possession of the best current data by grace of Rathbun. Above all, they adopted the method known today as systems integration. Uppermost in their minds was the challenge of mastering attitude, pitch, and yaw, because getting an airplane into the air would be suicidal if it could not be controlled. That in turn obliged the brothers to mesh several new or improved technologies, including an engine/propellor, handles and pedals, and a sturdy airframe. As any reader of Robert Pirsig's classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance knows, acquiring the "feel" of a complex machine is an art as much as a science. Third, the Wrights engaged in dogged research, development, and testing, first with gliders and models in a makeshift wind tunnel, then prototype flyers. Their temperaments suited them to such careful, repetitive, empirical work. Thanks to the principles established by Cayley, Chanute, and others, the negative examples of Lilienthal and Langley, their own trial-and-error adjustments, and a light 12 horsepower aluminum engine with magneto ignition, the Wrights made remarkable progress in just a few years, spending just $1,000 of their own money.

After the disaster on the Potomac, Orville wrote Chanute, "I see that Langley has had his fling, and failed. It seems to be our turn to throw now, and I wonder what our luck will be." A month later, the "Whopper Flying Machine," as the brothers called their minimalist box of fabric and struts, was assembled at breezy Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk on North Carolina's Outer Banks. On December 12 they positioned the craft on a slight downward slope thinking to help it gain speed. But that only forced Wilbur (who had won a coin toss to go first) to lean too much on the elevator. The craft stalled, then fell gently to the sand. So it was on December 17, a date which would live in ecstasy, that the brothers tried again from a level surface. Orville reclined at the controls, warmed up the engine, then broke the tether holding the airplane in place. The headwind plus the velocity generated by the propellor sufficed to lift the biplane while Orville, learning the pilot's trade "on the wing," kept it aloft and stable for 12 seconds and 120 feet. On their fourth trial that morning Wilbur stayed in "thin air" for just under a minute and covered almost three football fields. A small group of locals witnessed the historic event, of whom juvenile Johnny Moore was most eloquent: "They done did it, they done it, damned if they ain't flew!" The brothers, collected as always, shared a lunch basket then walked casually down to the coastal lifesaving station at Kitty Hawk where they scribbled a telegram to the bishop in Dayton:

"SUCCESS FOUR FLIGHTS THURSDAY MORNING ALL AGAINST TWENTY-ONE MILE WIND STARTED FROM LEVEL WITH ENGINE POWER PLANE AVERAGE SPEED THROUGH AIR THIRTY-ONE MILES LONGEST 57 SECONDS INFORM PRESS HOME CHRISTMAS."

III: THE HONEYMOON

Invention of the airplane did not kick off a frenzy. The Wrights did not want it to. Indeed, they spent several years dodging publicity while conducting private test flights and awaiting approval of patents. So most Americans did not know, understand, or believe what had happened at Kitty Hawk until September 1908 when the Army Signal Corps asked Orville to perform at Fort Myer, Virginia. The brass wanted to know if this alleged "aeroplane" might have some military utility. News spread by newspaper and word of mouth until 5,000 civilians crowded the fort on Labor Day in what came to resemble a religious revival. Some people said it was "inhuman" or even "occult" for man to take flight. Most just cried, "My God, my God," and called it a miracle. The Wrights went on tour, charging $5,000 per exhibition, and performed their wonders before entire towns. They opened a school to train pilots who competed to top each other's daredevil loops and rolls. Dozens of copycat mechanics and birdmen soon built variations on the Wright flyer and taught themselves to pilot them. William Randolph Hearst put up prize money for the first person to fly across the United States. Calbraith Rodgers did it in 49 days in 1911 and was greeted in Pasadena by 20,000 screaming fans. Women leapt at the chance to soar above the confines of terrestrial society, truly "equal in the eyes of God." Air races were front page news, as well as each "first" such as the first scheduled passenger service in 1914 and first airmail service in 1918. A new age of limitless, if ineffable potential seemed to have dawned. Aviators were gods; aviation a secular religion.

The sole sour note was played by motorcyclist Glenn Curtiss, who founded the second U.S. aircraft manufacturing company and viciously challenged the Wrights' patents. When the courts ruled against him Curtiss conspired with Smithsonian officials to cobble a case suggesting Langley's aerodrome deserved legal priority! In 1929 the issue became moot when the Curtiss and Wright firms merged. But Wilbur died unvindicated of yellow fever in 1912, and it took the Smithsonian until 1942 to apologize to Orville and display a replica of his flyer in its castle.

Not even World War I troubled the honeymoon of America and the airplane. Aviation advanced rapidly under the impress of war. The Packard auto company designed the V-12 Liberty engine with Delco ignition that powered the Curtiss Jennies on which hundreds of military pilots trained. They returned home eager to own planes and either barnstorm or fly for airlines serving the post office. Even aerial combat seemed pristine and chivalric by comparison to the barbaric slaughter in the trenches below. Hollywood rode the craze with films featuring fighter pilots and stunt men. The public thrilled as the earth shrank. In 1919 the six-man crew of a U.S. Navy "flying boat" crossed the Atlantic. In 1923 two Army pilots made the first nonstop coast-to-coast flight in just 27 hours. In 1924, four Army crews flying Douglas World Cruisers took off from Seattle bound for ... Seattle! Clinging to coastlines and hopping islands, two of the aircraft circled the globe in 175 days. A quarter of a million people cheered their return. In 1926 Commander Richard E. Byrd flew over the North Pole.

The federal government promoted aviation, but with a light hand. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (1915) was nothing like the NASA behemoth it would become in 1958, but a modest assemblage of scientists with a meager budget and a few wind tunnels. They nonetheless did a great deal to advance airfoil design, avionics, and navigation. The Kelly Air Mail Act (1925) fostered free enterprise by authorizing the Postmaster General to contract with airlines and establish a national grid of lighted airports, emergency runways, and meteorological radio stations. The Air Commerce Act (1926) provided for the licensing of pilots and federal regulation of aircraft for safety. Hence, far from setting up government-owned airlines as most other countries did, the United States subsidized private competition. That is what gave a lease on life to entrepreneurs such as Clement Keys (North American), Malcolm and Allen Loughead (Lockheed), Pop Hanshue (TWA), Juan Trippe (Pan American), Erle Halliburton (Delta), Donald Douglas, William Boeing, Glenn Martin, Jack Northrup, Leroy Grumman, Jerry Vultee, Chance Vought, Tom Braniff, William Piper, Clyde Cessna, Walter and Olive Beech, Curtiss, and Wright.

The only threat to public ownership of airplanes and airlines was Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. In 1934 the President, Postmaster General James Farley, and Alabama Senator Hugo Black claimed the former Republican postmasters had been "dictators" whose choice of airmail contracts in "spoils conferences" spelled death for some airlines and windfall profits for others. Roosevelt ordered the Army Air Corps to start delivering mail. But due to penurious budgets the corps' obsolete aircraft and fledgling pilots were so inadequate to the task that a dozen crewmen and planes were lost in three weeks. Roosevelt repented of socialism. He did, however, press Congress to create the Civil Aeronautics Board to regulate the airlines and approve routes and rates (thereby granting himself the same powers he claimed Republicans had abused).

"Our gaze drew upward--from the skies you taught, Man is divine, and meant by God to soar!" So did a poet express what "air-minded" Americans took on faith in the interwar years. First thousands, then hundreds of thousands of people were born again as disciples of the "winged gospel." If flying was reserved for gods, then human beings must themselves be, or on the way to becoming, gods. Aviation, said its ecstatic proponents, promised to end war for all time, either by making neighbors and partners of all nations through cultural contact and trade, or by making war so horrible no sane person would wage it. Aviation, said its proponents, promised to liberate people from their sooty cities and tenements, mundane jobs and impediments, indeed from each other. As Henry Ford put an automobile within reach of each working man, soon every family would own its own airplane and commute from rustic retreats. Most of all, the "air-minded" testified to the spiritual high, the almost orgasmic thrill, of soaring through the skies under one's own control. To look down on the world from high above made instantly clear how base and petty was the earthly rat race for money, power, prestige.

Believers in the "winged gospel" formed myriad clubs and gathered at air shows. They took their air circuses on the road to woo converts. They made shrines of the Wrights' bicycle shop and Kitty Hawk. The very site chosen by the Wrights--Kill Devil Hills--seemed inspired. They made December 17 into a holy day, a sort of technologists' Christmas, and gathered to hear the gospel read anew from the Wrights' journals. Tracts, posters, models, statuary, futuristic artistry depicting the transformation of society through aviation: all were employed to spread the "good news," especially to children. But evangelization, however pervasive, would not have moved so many American hearts were it not for a lone eagle named Lindbergh.

In 1919 a prize of $25,000 was offered for the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris. By 1927 aircraft of sufficient size and power were coming on line, and three French aces from the Great War plus three famous American pilots were determined to win. But two of the Frenchmen perished in the attempt, while the other four pilots were thwarted by accidents or injuries. Against all odds, the prize was still up for grabs when Charles "Slim" Lindbergh, a handsome tow-headed barnstormer from Minnesota, arrived in New York in his single-engine Ryan NYP monoplane. When he announced his intention to cross the ocean alone through uncertain weather just days after the Frenchmen disappeared, people called him "The Flying Fool." But all Americans held their breath when the Spirit of St. Louis took to the air on May 19. The next morning Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget Aerodrome, Paris, exhausted and utterly unaware of what he had become in the hearts and minds of his countrymen. "He is US personified," wrote The New Republic. "He is the United States." Lindy "is the dream that is in our hearts," wrote the North American Review. He taught America "to lift up its eyes to Heaven," said the New York World. He was Lucky Lindy, the Lone Eagle, the new Daniel Boone calling America back to its pioneer virtues. He was welcomed back to New York by 4 million people, and millions more turned out in all 48 states, which he toured in the Ryan. What did it mean? Did Lindbergh's solo flight thrill Americans who instinctively felt that modern, industrial, urban life ground down individuals and left no room for heroism? Not quite, because, as President Coolidge noted, Lindy's "silent partner" was American industry. "I am told that more than 100 separate companies furnished material, parts or service" to the airplane. Lindbergh himself honored his "partner" by naming his memoir WE. We did it: my Ryan and I. What Lindbergh and the winged gospelers hallowed was the marriage of man and machine, rugged individualism and modern science. U.S. Ambassador Myron Herrick, Lindy's host in Paris, had no doubt as to the source of his luck. "He was the instrument of a great ideal, and one need not be fanatically religious to see in his success the guiding hand of Providence."

Many more such flights in the 1920s and 1930s rekindled Americans' new faith. But with the possible exception of Amelia Earhart's feats all subsequent aerial "firsts" were like routine visits to church by contrast to the thrill of their initial conversions. From the Wright brothers Americans learned Yankee pluck and know-how still trumped big money and organization. From Lindbergh they learned that Ralph Waldo Emerson was wrong when he wrote, "Machines are in the saddle and ride mankind." Self-reliant Americans were still in the saddle, and through their machines could make magic.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the aviatrix who married Charles, put it exactly that way. Gazing down from 10,000 feet she thought the busy, bothered old earth looked frozen in form, as if a glaze were put over life. "And if flying, like a glass-bottomed bucket, can give you that vision, that seeing eye, which peers down to the still world below the choppy waves, it will always remain magic." Pilot John Magee, Jr., looked up not down, so to him magic became mystique. "I have slipped the surly bonds of earth..." he wrote, "and touched the face of God."

IV: THE HEARTBREAK

When and why did the honeymoon end and heartbreak ensue? The answer most likely to leap to mind is December 7, 1941, when Americans awoke to the truth of what many Jeremiahs and Cassandras had prophesied about fire and death from above. As early as 1908 H. G. Wells predicted in The War in the Air that the 20th century would witness urban conflagrations of Biblical proportions. The Allied powers' Spring 1919 offensive against Germany would have inaugurated massive, if primitive bombing behind enemy lines had the Armistice not intervened. In the 1920s, Italian strategist Giulio Douhet wrote in The Command of the Air that future wars would be won in a matter of days by whichever side boasted the superior air force. America's own Cassandra was Army pilot and war hero Billy Mitchell. He lectured incessantly on the potentially decisive impact of air power and proved it in 1921 by demonstrating how a few flimsy biplanes could sink a Dreadnought-class battleship. In 1924 he even described in a secret report how the Japanese were planning to build aircraft carriers and inaugurate the war they considered inevitable by launching aerial attacks at first light on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. Mitchell was ignored, derided, and reprimanded to the point that he accused the War and Navy departments of "incompetency, criminal negligence, and almost treasonable administration." That earned him a court martial.

By the 1930s, the dictators made abundantly clear how the winged gospel might be perverted. Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin all patronized aviation to prove their regimes were futuristic, scientific, and mobilized by contrast to democracies enervated by the Depression. Italian designers and pilots won numerous air races. Hitler made the Luftwaffe a showpiece of Nazism commanded by his henchman Hermann Goering. Visitors such as Lindbergh were impressed, if not cowed, by the evident superiority of fascist regimes to promote air power. The Soviets called their pilots "Stalin's Eagles" and plastered cities with placards crowing over their international triumphs. The most terrified nation was Britain since aviation promised to nullify her traditional naval defenses. Even before the Nazis took power Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin lamented, "Whatever people may tell , the bomber will always get through." By 1935, when Hitler lied that the Luftwaffe already enjoyed superiority, Englishmen feared London might be destroyed on the first day of a war. Baldwin confessed, "I wish for many reasons flying had never been invented.... Somehow we have got to Christianize it." Evidently, the winged gospel needed the old gospel to realize its promise. When war did come, in Spain, China, and Europe, Americans shuddered at newsreel footage of Guernica, Shanghai, and the London Blitz. Still, the horror seemed oceans away until Pearl Harbor "brought it home" to Americans. Right?

Wrong. Americans' romance with flight continued in spite and because of the war. The principal reason was undoubtedly the fact that the American mainland was spared any attack, much less the carpet bombing that flattened cities in the other belligerent nations. Aerial war did not poison the whole enterprise of flight. Rather, the Germans and especially the Japanese had sinned against the dreams of mankind by perverting technology to their evil purposes. Hence, the Allies, led by the U.S. Army Air Corps, had the right, duty, and necessity to pay the enemy back, many times over, in their own coin. Meanwhile, of course, World War II was the greatest opportunity yet to educate average Americans about the wonders of flight. Millions of servicemen got their first ride on an airplane during the war. Tens of thousands of male pilots were trained plus thousands of Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), who ferried aircraft and supplies around the world. The technology leapt forward, from the Lockheed P-38 Lightning to the Grumman F6F Hellcat, and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress to North American's B-25 Mitchell to the B-29 Superfortress. No airplane was more beloved than the sturdy Douglas DC-3 (C-47 transport), whose production run surpassed 13,000. Far from repenting of what aviation had come to, Americans honored their brave bomber crews, undisturbed by the napalm- lit firestorms that consumed Hamburg and Dresden, Tokyo and Yokohama. Walt Disney Studios promised "Victory Through Air Power" in a stunning animation in which armadas of American bombers crossed the Pacific then morphed into angry eagles tearing at Japan's vitals with their talons. The climactic events, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were greeted as godsends by the million servicemen poised for a bloody invasion of Japan and their tens of millions of family members back home. The atomic bomb, not the airplane, was the horrific invention, and in any case the United States had a monopoly. By 1945 Americans' industrial might and technological supremacy seemed to ensure they would enjoy air superiority, even invulnerability, forever and ever. World War II, far from disillusioning the "air- minded," seemed only to have hastened the day when the full promise of aviation would be fulfilled.

Polls conducted near the end of World War II showed hopes far outpacing fears. No less than 85 percent of Army Air Force pilots said they intended to own their own planes after the war. Some 43 percent of businessmen and professionals expected their firms to own planes after the war. Almost a third of all American civilians confessed to wanting a private plane, while 39 percent of the readers of Women's Home Companion intended to take flying lessons! In 1946 alone, civilians purchased 33,254 private planes and back ordered so many more that new manufacturers leaped into business. Even Macy's department store peddled a line of aircraft.

Then reality sank in. The novelty wore off. Other consumer goals ranging from homes to automobiles and appliances soaked up Americans' cash. Not least, the Soviets tested an A-bomb in 1949 and boasted they would soon deploy transcontinental bombers. So if one had to pick a date and say, with the country song, "that's when the heartaches begin," the year 1950 is as good as any. The Cold War turned hot in Korea where North American's F-86 Sabre jet fighters dueled Soviet MIG-15s nearly equal in prowess. The military again monopolized aviation technology and personnel. The most symbolic of sad events may have been the recall of baseball star Ted Williams to duty as a fighter pilot despite his having lost four years already to World War II. In the mid-1950s Congress investigated an alleged "bomber gap," suggesting the sort of armageddons visited upon other continents might next time touch North America. The Eisenhower administration built the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line of radar stations in Canada and convened secret scientific committees predicting imminent Soviet parity in strategic weapons. Most shocking of all, the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 seemed to prove the Soviet Union had grabbed the lead for control of outer space and possessed ICBM's able to hurtle nuclear weapons on to America's cities. Suddenly the sky became as scary as it had been to the ancients. Men could fly, perhaps even rocket in space, but they were still men: some evil, all flawed, and none gods.

Aviation's progress continued by leaps, in good part because of the Cold War arms race. Americans might have exulted when test pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947, but it was kept a secret. They put on their Sunday best when boarding commercial airliners in the 1950s, assured by elegant stewardesses there was nothing to fear. But even the advent of jet travel with the Boeing 707 and DC-8 airliners in 1957 only postponed disillusionment for a time. If anything, the very success of routine mass transport by air helped to kill the nation's excitement about flying. Anne Morrow Lindbergh foresaw it all in her 1938 memoir Listen! The Wind. "As time passes," she prophesied, "the perfection of machinery tends to insulate man from contact with the elements in which he lives. The 'stratosphere' planes of the future will cross the ocean without any sense of the water below. Like a train tunneling through a mountain, they will be aloof from both the problems and beauty of the earth's surface. Only the vibration of the engines will impress the senses of the traveler with his movement through the air. Wind and heat and moonlight take-offs will be of no concern to the transatlantic passenger. His only contact with these elements will lie in accounts such as this book contains."

Once upon a time people dreamed of flying by themselves, free as birds. But the experience of late 20th-century travelers made sense of poet Bob Dylan's query: "Are birds free from the chains of the skyways?" Instead of a liberating, almost sexual thrill, passengers had to beat their way by car or smelly bus through traffic to a distant airport, then stand in lines to get ticketed and check baggage, then allow themselves to be crammed into a seat to remain immobile for hours. Pressurization made the cabin a stale, artificial environment. Even those with window seats might see nothing but clouds. Far from being in control, white-knuckled customers felt thoroughly out of control as they trusted the pilots to take off and land safely. Airplanes were surely much faster than railroads or cars, but their speed annihilated the romance of distance.

The magic died for manufacturers and airlines as well. Individual engineers and pilots might still take pride in an elegant new design, a problem solved, or a feather-like landing on instruments in a cross wind. But the truth was, aerospace and airlines were very tough industries in which to make an honest dollar. The Pentagon and NASA-Eisenhower's "military industrial complex"-dominated the R&D market, forcing aerospace firms to underestimate costs, overpromise results, and lobby hard in order to win government contracts. Firms that failed to gorge at the public trough disappeared, while the survivors merged into ever larger conglomerates or diversified, thereby shedding their mystique. The federal aviation bureaucracy became ever larger and more opaque, especially after Lyndon Johnson subsumed it into the new Department of Transportation in 1967. Then deregulation cut the legs out from under marginal carriers. Grand old airlines went bankrupt, while those still in business pushed fares into the stratosphere or else offered cut-rate fares subject to endless penalties and restrictions. Airlines routinely over-booked, thus ensuring a certain number of outraged customers every flight. The "once in a lifetime" thrill turned into an all too frequent annoyance, not least for those who suffered from air sickness, jet lag, and inner ear disequilibrium.

For a few nervous years, the Space Race kept alive the memory of men and machines braving the unknown, while spaceflight enthusiasts dusted off the utopian or calamitous projections applied earlier to aviation. Americans were ecstatic with relief when John Glenn matched Yuri Gagarin's feat by orbiting the earth in 1962. A United States rent asunder by race riots and Vietnam War protests managed to pull together for a week in July 1969 when Apollo 11 touched the Moon and returned safely to earth. Then even Moon missions grew boring. The Nixon administration canceled the final Apollo missions. Even more tellingly, it canceled the U.S. program for a Supersonic Transport (SST) plane. For the first time in the air age Americans surrendered "faster, higher, longer" technology on the grounds it was too expensive, noisy, and polluting. Aviation was no longer "sexy." The romance was gone.

Ironically, the mistresses that replaced aviation in Americans' hearts, that provided the kicks they craved, were computers (a high-tech industry spawned in part by the needs of modern air war) and Hollywood (which had done so much in the past to promote the romance of flight). How could NASA's routine Space Shuttle missions compete with the titillations and virtual omnipotence served up by Star Wars movies and video games? That they weren't real experiences didn't matter: the winged gospel wasn't real either except for the intrepid birdmen and women themselves.

V: THE HORROR

The good Doctor Samuel Johnson wrote a fantasy satire in 1759 called Rasselas. It told of an Abyssinian savant who learned the secret of flight. His king was elated until told by the sage that the secret could never be shared. "If men were all virtuous," he explained, "I should with great alacrity teach them all to fly. But what would be the security of the good if the bad could at pleasure invade them from the sky?"

Heartbreak turned to horror on September 11, 2001. None of us will ever purge those television images from our memory banks. They cannot be consigned to our "Recycle Bin," then deleted. Recently, in my seminar called "In Search of the American Civil Religion" at Penn, I showed the students a Ken Burns' video on the Statue of Liberty. They enjoyed it and learned a good deal. But they all confessed to being disturbed by the program. Why? Because it was shot in 1985, the Twin Towers loomed behind the Statue, and Burns repeatedly employed footage in which airplanes soared in the background. The very image of Liberty was spoiled for them, spoiled by the sight of routine takeoffs from JFK International.

In the latest American war, the one against Terror, aviation has played as large a role as it did in Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Gulf War of 1991. American dominance of air and space is greater than ever, making ours the most powerful military machine in history. Some smart (at least in their own eyes) strategists suggest air power can trump all other sources of coercion and somehow erase centuries of history and hatred in such places as Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet over the same decades when U.S. technology surpassed all rivals, the airplane became a weapon of choice in the hands of primitives. Beginning in the late 1960s terrorists hijacked airliners in search of asylum, ransom, or hostages. Later they managed, on a few dreadful occasions, to blow up crowded planes in mid-air with missiles or bombs smuggled on board. Finally, they seized on the diabolical notion of taking over the pilots' controls and steering giant jets into buildings.

We pray it may not happen again. But the cost we bear after 9/11 is still more annoyance and tedium due to security checks, still worse service and amenities from the financially-strapped carriers, and still less pleasure in flying. It calls to mind the memoir of an old Vietcong soldier. Captured by the French around 1950, he survived cruel imprisonment by focusing on his dream of a free and united Vietnam. After 24 more years of war and privation he thought his dream realized only to witness how Hanoi's Communist conquerors shunted the Viet Cong aside and ruled the South with an iron fist. I wish, he confessed in old age, I could somehow be transported back to that French prison. Were Wilbur and Orville Wright alive today, doubtless they would wish to be transported back to Kitty Hawk, where they hungered only: To Fly!

* * *

The author thanks his "air-minded" brother Prof. Duncan McDougall for valuable suggestions and corrections, and Orbis managing editor Trudy Kuehner for editorial assistance.

Bibliography

Many books and articles read over many years contributed to this essay, but those I consulted directly and from which the quotes are drawn include these excellent works:

Joe Christy, American Aviation: An Illustrated History, 2 ed. Blue Ridge Summit, Penna.: McGraw-Hill AERO, 1994.

Joseph J. Corn, The Winged Gospel: America's Romance With Aviation, 1900-1950. New York: Oxford University, 1983.

Tom D. Crouch, The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright. New York: W.W. Norton, 1989.

Tom D. Crouch, A Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane 1875-1905. New York: W.W. Norton, 1981.

Richard P. Hallion, Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age From Antiquity Through the First World War. New York: Oxford University, 2003.

Leslie Haynsworth and David Toomey, Amelia Earhart's Daughters. New York: William Morrow, 1998.

Peter L. Jakab and Rick Young, eds., The Published Writings of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 2000.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Listen! The Wind. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1938.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1935.

Charles Lindbergh, "We". New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1927.

Walter A. McDougall, ...the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York: Basic Books, 1985.

Alex Roland, Model Research: A History of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958. Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1985.

Michael S. Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power: the Creation of Armageddon. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

Bayla Singer, Like Sex With Gods: An Unorthodox History of Flying. College Station: Texas A&M University, 2003.

John William Ward, "The Meaning of Lindbergh's Flight," American Quarterly 10:1 (Spring 1958): 3-16.

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Table of Contents

Operation Allied Force (Kosovo 1999)

Operation ALLIED FORCE Battle Damage Assessment

Kosovo - Additional Information

Desert Storm Battle Damage Assessment

USCENTCOM Estimate of Iraqi Losses During the Ground Campaign1 1 Mar 99

Desert Storm – Additional Information

Desert Storm – Additional Information

Author: Sam Damon Jr.

Email: itsg@hotmail.com

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