Wednesday, January 31, 2007

REACH OUT AND CRUSH MOVING FORWARD: Kinetic solutions equals 'bomb the $%#! out of 'em

Last week, your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow gamed Operation Radiating Rubble, a strategic and tactical air assault on Iran. It maintained that any way the bread is sliced, a good deal of what is allegedly Iran's modern military is maimed.

In today's Los Angeles Times, a story entitled "Air Force's role in Iraq could grow," focused to a large extent on bombing Iran.

The Air Force, you see, is feeling blue. It just hasn't had enough to do since the heady two weeks after March 19, 2003. And being low on the totem pole in Nicky Fury'sDavid Petraeus's strategy for Baghdad escalation isn't enough.

However, bombing various parts of Iran until rubble bounces is something the USAF can do very well.

For the Los Angeles Times, anonymous Pentagon zoomies don't use the "B" word. Instead, it's "kinetic solutions."

"Air power plays major roles and one of those is as a deterrent, whether it be in border control, air sovereignty or something more kinetic," said an anonymous senior zoomie to the newspaper's Julian E. Barnes.

"Other military officers," wrote Barnes, "argue there may be no need for 'kinetic strikes.' It is possible stepped up air operations over Iraq could provide a deterrent..."

In Iraq, "[y]ou will see the full spectrum of [Air Force] capabilities all the way from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to kinetic effects," said an air force man to the paper.

Kinetic effects. Make it's sound like a physics or chemistry course.

Note above picture, from the Uncle Sam & the JDAMs page, on "kinetic effects." (Apologies for the white space.)

" ...Air Force officials argue that smaller bombs and precision guidance systems can minimize civilian casualties and play a vital role in fighting the insurgency," writes Barnes. " ' I wouldn't automatically write off air power in an urban environment for fear of collateral damage," said one zoomie to the Times reporter.

The reader of the article isn't given any indication whether or not reporter Barnes still believes this old swill.

In any case, DD can argue that the above pic, from those days of 'mission accomplished' in no way indicates minimization of civilian casualties. Hey, wouldn't you feel great seeing that on your street? Oh man, sorry, your head's crushed and your lungs blown out by the blast wave!

But back to Iran. Iran is a place the air force can workover but good.

"For every [IED] that goes off in Iraq, a bomb should go off in Iran," said Thomas G. McInerney, a retired air force man, to the newspaper.

"Iran is precisely the type of target they know how to deal with," said Loren Thompson, another expert, to the newspaper. Attacking Iran "[may] actually be used if we feel the Iranians are trying to subvert democracy in Iraq."

Democracy in Iraq, it's being subverted! That's an interesting way of putting it. Ha-ha, such funny experts the newspaper uses.

Returning to Operation Radiating Rubble, one thing war sims cannot model is the people factor. There's simply no consistant and always reliable way to model the excellence of ineptitude of individuals in combat in a large operation. You can sort of get at it by rating the combat power of formations and detachments upward or downward.

The engine for Radiating Rubble, however, relies on relatively straightforward assessments of combat power based on operating doctrines, equipment, platforms and ordnance.

For example, one could argue that Iran will be less of an opponent in an immediate air campaign than was modelled in Radiating Rubble. The Iranian air force, for example, could be so bad that it's something of a danger to itself.

Will Iranian pilots fly upside down, crash into mountains, swerve off the runway and tank under fire on the take-off roll, shoot at each other in the dark and go in the wrong direction? Perhaps we'll all find out.

The LA Times piece is here. Note: No direct link to newspaper. Reason: The LA Times has a stubbornly reader hostile design. DD is a Times subscriber and the old-fashioned paper copy in no way reflects this. It is excellent.


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