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  1. #301
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    I respectfully disagree on this point. Saddam Hussein ruthlessly suppressed everyone and his government included a large number of high ranking Shias. The absence of sectarian conflict is what enabled the Hussein government to function. This false narrative is part of the current problem in formulating an effective response and it's part of the cause of Iraq's instability in the first place since the US administration actively institutionalized sectarian differences in the post-Hussein political system. Sustainable democratic governance is not created through active division of the population.
    AP, you could be right. However, I think that history has demonstrated in Iraq, Syria, and even places like Kosovo that, in places where there are traditional sectarian differences that have been suppressed via extreme cohesion, once that suppressive force is released those old hatreds surface with a vengeance. Until they are properly addressed, there will be no peace.

    However, I will argue against your ideas that sustainable democratic governance is not created through active division of the population. I believe that democracy is easier to achieve where there are bonds that hold the target population together. The idea of power sharing is easier to accept where there is not already a strong distrust. There is trust among homogenous groups. I believe that democracy is actually easier to achieve in a homogenous population than in a sectarian one. I believe the research on the matter will back me up. Again, see http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/dem...obayashi-maru/.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 06-30-2014 at 11:49 PM.
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  2. #302
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    AP, you could be right. However, I think that history has demonstrated in Iraq, Syria, and even places like Kosovo that, in places where there are traditional sectarian differences that have been suppressed via extreme cohesion, once that suppressive force is released those old hatreds surface with a vengeance. Until they are properly addressed, there will be no peace.
    That's true to an extent. But "traditional sectarian differences" implies that they not inherent and that they are mutable. The escalation and descalation of conflict goes through phases over time and across generations; some time periods better or worse than others. Each of those countries you cited have long periods of both, and in the eras of peaceful co-existence normalcy consisted of mixed neighborhoods and marriages, and significant cross-cultural polination. Ethnicity is a specific frame not always correctly selected and accurately applied, and sometimes, like the recent conflict in Iraq, it takes on a life of its own after some instigatation. This is actually true in nearly all instances of intensifying inter-ethnic conflict, including cases of genocide. Once one group decides to seize power for itself (or is placed into power by an external force), the situation compels all other groups to act accordingly. Identifying division is an act of alienation in itself, and institutionalizing it in the political system invariably leads to conflict since someone is always the out-group. This is what the United States did in Iraq by attempting legitimize in law the religious differences of the population. It's a structural problem, not a cultural one.

    "Those old hatreds" did not "surface with a vengeance" in Syria, Iraq, and Kosovo until instigated by intervention. In the case of Iraq, it was the failure of the Bush administration to replace the Hussein regime with an effective government - instead, the CPA dismantled government entirely starting with the security forces and administration. And we held on to the narrative of Baathists = Sunnis = repressive minority to justify their legal alienation in the new political system. And in Syria, it was the instigation of armed groups through US allies while the US itself worked diligently to destablize the Assad regime, obstructing Syria's ability to actually keep its civil society together.

    There's a reason why the West has generally abolished laws distinguishing rights and priveleges on the basis of race or religion.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  3. #303
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    However, I will argue against your ideas that sustainable democratic governance is not created through active division of the population. I believe that democracy is easier to achieve where there are bonds that hold the target population together. The idea of power sharing is easier to accept where there is not already a strong distrust. There is trust among homogenous groups. I believe that democracy is actually easier to achieve in a homogenous population than in a sectarian one. I believe the research on the matter will back me up. Again, see http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/dem...obayashi-maru/.
    The "bonds" do not necessarily have to be cultural or ethnic. This is a narrative imposed on the majority on the minority to justify the exclusion of the minority from the political process. Those in power do not want to share and deliberately create filters through which to distribute power - this often comes down to ethnicity, religion, race, and so on. The power of a democratic society is not created by its homogenieity but through its plurality in which all groups (or alliance of groups) have similar levels of power and access to power. This is why successful power sharing agreements distribute power rather than separate those seeking it.

    Maliki's refusal to share power is invitation by other groups to contest it. The problem is complicated because the most empowered opponents have been so radicalized by the trauma of the War in Iraq, the Arab Spring, and the War in Syria, that the two sides are light years apart in their political positions. Our policy in Iraq and Syria has more or less propelled Al Qaeda from a marginal terrorist threat to one of the most robust movements in the Middle East in decades. It was not sectarian differences that created this problem, but the many years of violence and instability by our failure to create a stable government in Iraq in 2003.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  4. #304
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Our policy in Iraq and Syria has more or less propelled Al Qaeda from a marginal terrorist threat to one of the most robust movements in the Middle East in decades. It was not sectarian differences that created this problem, but the many years of violence and instability by our failure to create a stable government in Iraq in 2003.
    I disagree in general, but this comment I find odd. The key players now, ISIS, are not AQ. They have deliberately separated themselves from that organization, which probably had it height of power in 2006 and has been on the decline ever since. I am not sure our policy (other than our occupation of traditional Islamic lands) has done much to alter that groups opinion of us.

    We might have been able to create a stable government in Iraq, but it would not have been democratic. The odds against that were 1725 to 1, and estimates were that it would've taken 50 years of active support. I think it was a pipe dream that we could recreate the middle east in our own likeness. Worse, it was not even a well thought out pipe dream. It was stupidity on the highest level. A massive waste of blood and treasure. The best thing we did was leave that country. It is folly now to think that we are going to save it.

    We destroyed Iraq. Humpty-Dumpty cannot be put back together again. Perhaps we only accelerated what would have happened eventually. I cannot say. But I think that better tactics in targeting or a more effective aerial bombing campaign is not going to fix the political realities on the ground.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    1. I don't think the statistical evidence supports the theory that "airpower alone" is a practical strategy; now if we're looking at producing specific political outcomes then I suppose that, in theory, under some conditions airpower alone could be successful. I'm not aware of any examples of this, however.

    2. Is ISIS a 'system' or a 'network'? Does the distinction matter? In a system, you destroy a component or sub-component in order to produce failure in the system as a whole. In a network, if you destroy a component or sub-component, the rest of the network still operates. And there is an argument to be made that any organic organization is not a system, but a network.

    3. The problem with ISIS is that it represents a fundamental contradiction in American foreign policy in the Middle East and the difficulty is in deciding which component of our policy should be discarded.
    Responses in order of the questions:

    1-Your right on this point. Which is why Warden points out in the PPT that the Peace plan comes first then the War Plan then decide if you need an Air plan or an Army,Navy,Marine plan, etc. However the overthrow of Guatamala in 1954 was accomplished by Airpower and Airpower alone after the Army plan failed, but of course that never happened since it was a CIA Air Force that was used.

    2-It is a system and it does matter. Simply attacking a personnel Network(Ring #4 IMO) is not going to get you the results you want, especially in War. This is a point that is often overlooked about Warden's rings, he has always maintained that you need to do something to ALL of the rings as close to Parallel as possible depending on your available resources. Attacking in Parallel hellps with the fact that war is the most unpredictable and dangerous activity that man engages in so it is best not to take chances.

    3-I pretty much agree with this one, so has Warden, you can hear part of that in the radio interview when he talks about Left over Wilsonian thinking.Which is reference to President Wilson's "we will make the world safe for democracy speech"

  6. #306
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Again Warden Has Been saying.....

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    You are correct that I am not familiar with his earlier works. They may sway my opinion, but I doubt it.

    The reason we are not "Winning" is because we are incapable of achieving the political objective. See http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/dem...obayashi-maru/. You cannot kill or bomb your way out of an insurgency. It is a political beast from start to finish. Military types don't like to think that all problems cannot be solved with high explosives, so they deride this fact, but they cannot change it.

    The prescription he offers is not going to "Win" anything but a longer war. That is the reality. Too many people want simple explanations to complex problems. That has been our problem since 2001. I am sorry, but reality is knocking on the door. It is not a pretty reality. It is not one that can be solved by air power. It is just a dark, ugly reality that humans are the way they are.

    The good Colonel seems to forget Clausewitz' maxim that war is merely political policy conducted by other means. Bombing is not going to achieve the political policy objective of a democratic Iraq secure within its traditional borders. We screwed the pooch on that in 2003-4.

    There are two ways this plays out. Either 1) we replace the dictator we overthrew with a dictator who is capable of viciously suppressing sectarian differences, or 2) the state of Iraq ceases to be. That is the political reality that we have been fighting against for over ten years. Better targeting or thinking of the enemy as a system are merely better tactics. Tactics alone cannot achieve strategic objectives. They certainly cannot achieve the desired political objectives
    Pretty much the same thing for some time. If you listen to the radio interview he brings these same points up during that interview. Also if you look at panel #2 of the PPT I posted he explains that Military force does not work against Religious,Cultural or Politcal belief systems. So the Military should not be tasked to do something for which Military cannot accomplish. I know you are busy but look at the PPT and listen to the actual inteview if you get the chance.

    P.S.
    I would add that we the USA cannot kill our way out of an insurgency but the COIN case involvoing the Tamil Tigers shows that it can be accomplished by the Home team.
    Last edited by slapout9; 07-01-2014 at 06:10 AM. Reason: stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    You cannot kill or bomb your way out of an insurgency. It is a political beast from start to finish. Military types don't like to think that all problems cannot be solved with high explosives, so they deride this fact, but they cannot change it.
    My experience in my country has been quite contrary to your statement that - Military types don't like to think that all problems cannot be solved with high explosives,

    Actually, it is the politicians who think that military actions alone can solve insurgencies while they dither over trying to find a political solution and then dither away endlessly.

    Even in the Second Iraq War, the Plan envisioned the tactical aspect but only to the point of how to win the military aspect and not how to disengage once the military action was over and occupy to implement the political plan.

    Events thereafter indicate a series of 'spit and paste' jobs which lacked any political vision, resulting in the chaos that ensued and still ensuing.

    The issue is that it is incumbent to 'think through' the Plan and coalesce the political objectives with the military plan, and also how the political objectives will take over from the military once the military action is over, in a seamless manner.

    In most cases, I think the military does it part of the Plan well, but then the politicians seem to lose their way since they cannot think beyond the immediate.

    That leaves the military holding the can, with the hapless politicians hoping that 'something' is conjured so as to exit the mess with as much of 'saving face', as is possible.

    Here, in this dilemma of the politicians, 'whiz kids' amongst the military keep alive this false hope with gung ho ideas and schemes.

    It is totally an incorrect surmise that gung ho military actions can replace political solutions. It fact, military action without political actions, is the sure shot elixir to lose whatever is gained.

    I could go on and indicate how Indian UN contingent do better than most in war ravaged countries, including Somalia which was a horror to many. But then that would not be on topic.
    Last edited by Ray; 07-01-2014 at 07:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    P.S.
    I would add that we the USA cannot kill our way out of an insurgency but the COIN case involvoing the Tamil Tigers shows that it can be accomplished by the Home team.
    The LTTE case is unique and one has to understand why it cannot be done in Iraq.

    The animosity of the Buddhist majority towards the Tamil is historical and they don't honestly recognise that Tamils belong to Sri Lanka. Therefore, there is no love lost if the Tamils exist or they are wiped out.

    The animosity is more intense because the Tamils flourished under the British since they learnt English and were in positions of influence that were open to the 'natives'.

    On the other hand, the majority Buddhist Sri Lankans looked upon the British as interlopers who came to subjugate them. They boycotted the British and did not learn English and so were left out in the blue whereas the Tamils (who in the first place the Buddhists did not feel belonged to Sri Lanka or Ceylon then) were ruling the roost, after the British.

    One of the thing the Sri Lanka Govt did was abolish English and adopted Singhalese Only (the majority Buddhist's language) so that the Tamils did not have the advantage. Then more restrictions were placed. This cause the Tamil heartburn and the LTTE was born.

    Therefore, given the equation, wiping out the Tamils ruthlessly and without a care for Human Rights, was not taken to be a crime, and instead applauded.

    This cannot be replicated in Iraq.

    The Muslim world is not that small a demographic size as the Tamils in the island of Ceylon.

    The Muslims are a huge number around the world and increasing.

    Any Sri Lankan replicating will have serious repercussions and no country is ready for that, because even now, the chaos that the Muslim fundamentalists are capable of doing and are doing, is more than what can be chewed!
    Last edited by Ray; 07-01-2014 at 08:26 AM.

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Pretty much the same thing for some time. If you listen to the radio interview he brings these same points up during that interview. Also if you look at panel #2 of the PPT I posted he explains that Military force does not work against Religious,Cultural or Politcal belief systems. So the Military should not be tasked to do something for which Military cannot accomplish. I know you are busy but look at the PPT and listen to the actual inteview if you get the chance.

    P.S.
    I would add that we the USA cannot kill our way out of an insurgency but the COIN case involvoing the Tamil Tigers shows that it can be accomplished by the Home team.
    I looked at the slide set. It was not terribly helpful. Full of platitudes like "short is good, long is bad"; "If you can't do it quickly, maybe you should not do it at all"; "get out at the right time and place" (my stock broker tells me the same thing); "you must have clear, concise, measurable national objectives". I don't think any of our plans to date were designed to violate these rules. In fact, I would say that the early days of Iraq were all about "short is good, long is bad", which is why there was no plan for Phase IV because there was not supposed to be a Phase IV. We had "clear, concise, and measurable national objectives" back in 2004, but no one bothered to check if they were achievable.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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  10. #310
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    Default Prime Directives Not Platitudes

    Curmudgy,

    I think they are more guiding precepts or prime directives based upon his experiences. But from the Link to the article you posted at War On The Rocks you must be a Star Trek fan. so here is an episode on the Prime Directive.......could be about our involvement in Iraq and the long term fight between the Sunni and Shia or anybody else for that matter. As they say Art imitates life.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLHH-mE94Pk

  11. #311
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Slap,

    I fully appreciate the Prime Directive, I just think it is not possible as described in the Star Trek series. We cannot pretend we do not already have contact with other parts of the world. I doubt there is anywhere on the planet where you could go and show the people a picture of the White House or the Pentagon and not have then understand what those building represent. That is why those ideas will not work in our world.

    On the other hand, I believe we need to let others find their own way. That is a painful concept for many. the thought of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians dying to allow political reform to take its natural course bothers many. Take for example UNICEF. It is a great idea to help innocent children survive childhood deceases and starvation but what do you do when you suddenly have more adults than the system can bear. War of course. But UNICEF will never admit that they are the cause of conflict in Africa. It is a funny thing playing God with entire societies. That does not stop people from feeling that it is their duty to do it.

    I am a serious skeptic when it comes to human nature. I would like to believe that some day we could reach the apex that is represented in Star Trek. I just don't know how many people will die to allow that to become a reality.
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  12. #312
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Slap,

    I fully appreciate the Prime Directive, I just think it is not possible as described in the Star Trek series. We cannot pretend we do not already have contact with other parts of the world. I doubt there is anywhere on the planet where you could go and show the people a picture of the White House or the Pentagon and not have then understand what those building represent. That is why those ideas will not work in our world.

    On the other hand, I believe we need to let others find their own way. That is a painful concept for many. the thought of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians dying to allow political reform to take its natural course bothers many. Take for example UNICEF. It is a great idea to help innocent children survive childhood deceases and starvation but what do you do when you suddenly have more adults than the system can bear. War of course. But UNICEF will never admit that they are the cause of conflict in Africa. It is a funny thing playing God with entire societies. That does not stop people from feeling that it is their duty to do it.

    I am a serious skeptic when it comes to human nature. I would like to believe that some day we could reach the apex that is represented in Star Trek. I just don't know how many people will die to allow that to become a reality.
    Elijah Craig and Porter go so well together, but I really gotta quit posting after my fourth Boilermaker ...
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Curmudgy,

    I think they are more guiding precepts or prime directives based upon his experiences. But from the Link to the article you posted at War On The Rocks you must be a Star Trek fan. so here is an episode on the Prime Directive.......could be about our involvement in Iraq and the long term fight between the Sunni and Shia or anybody else for that matter. As they say Art imitates life.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLHH-mE94Pk
    I loved this, not I have a new toy to play with "the prime directive," you'll regret ever sharing this with me.

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    Slap,

    I listened to the interview, read the article, and looked over the brief you provided on Col Warden's proposed strategy for dealing with ISIS. At the end of all that, I'll admit he is a more measured than I thought, but he still offers little that is helpful or new.

    He starts out in the radio with a lot of ifs, if we can do this, and if we can do, then we would be put ISIS in the hurt locker. He said ISIS was surrounded and if we could get Iran, Turkey, and Syria to cooperate with us and attack them they would be very vulnerable. That argument is based on the premise we could persuade Iran, Turkey, and Syria to fight with us, and that the President would be willing to pursue this when we're in a proxy war with Iran, and we're certainly no friend of Assad, and I doubt we have any more influence over Turkey now than we did in 2002/3 when we requested their assistance in dealing with Iraq.

    He then states that is an easy situation to deal with using air power, which made me wonder if he had a temporary moment of insanity. The insurgents are exposed now because they're not being targeted from the air, so they can afford to be exposed. If we start targeting them, it will be a "see me now, now you don't" as they blend into the civilian population.

    In his brief the chart states air power can achieve strategic objectives directly, IF they're strategically conceived. I didn't hear anything that resembled a strategically conceived objective until the end of the interview when the interview pulled it out of him. His view is we want a stable Iraq (think about that objective and his proposal to conduct an air campaign and get Iran, Turkey, and Syria to target ISIS) without a strong Sunni extremist center.

    Nothing he proposed would lead to that end state, it would further destabilize the region, and provide a lot of propaganda value to ISIS for recruiting if we side with the Shia against the Sunni (at least doing so openly).

    He didn't explain how ISIS was a system and what that meant and how to target it. ISIS isn't a system, it is a network that thrives in an ecosystem.

    I gave it an honest read and still don't buy what he is trying to sell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    There are some valuable parts to Warden's stuff, but his biggest shortcoming is that he sees airpower as capable of doing EVERYTHING on its own and being applicable in every situation...even when it's not. Airpower is his hammer, and every situation is a nail...
    I concur. Air Power is important within the purview of applying a "Parallel Warfare" strategy to a functioning Nation State with a hostile military establishment. It also plays a vital role in CAS. But ISIS is an amorphous entity prosecuting an "unconventional war" that requires counter unconventional warfare methods along the lines of Internal Defense, COIN, etc. I don't think conventional force, even if it does follow COIN doctrine, should be applied to an unconventional warfare situation. Vietnam proves this out, as do the efforts of the Armed Forces in Iraq, which have been wasted along with many lives of brave men and women. The VC today would be called "Terrorists," not "Freedom Fighters." The terms "terrorist, guerrilla, and irregular" are somewhat interchangeable. I make this point only to say that Unconventional Warfare is more suited to Special Forces, and possibly "Light Fighters" conducting "snatch & grab" ops of Tier One personalities for interrogation supported by good, reliable intelligence collection and information constituting "ACTIONABLE INTEL"; PSYOPS, to include "special effects" and perhaps some VOA involvement; and some unspeakable Black Ops. The GWOT should be prosecuted by covert means with very minimal press coverage. Air Power cannot accomplish these things. This is the only way to root ISIS out and destroy it. The prerequisite however, is a friendly pro-American government in Iraq and a well trained Iraqi Army of mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds willing to defend their country in a common cause.
    Last edited by novelist; 07-28-2014 at 03:02 AM.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default The Warden Collection (merged thread)

    Link to Warden interviewon Strategic Compressio or Winning Fast. Ends with some advice to the President!


    http://www.westernjournalism.com/ret...now-cant-wait/

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    Default The 'Five Ring' advocates forgot interdiction

    Hat tip to WoTR for this article, so from near the start as a taster and the author is a USAF veteran:
    World War II decisively disproved many elements of Douhet’s theories, at least in Europe, where strategic airpower was critical to victory, but not independently decisive. Since then, the most zealous airpower advocates have latched onto each new promise of airpower-centric victory, from nuclear weapons to the combination of stealth and precision. In the process, we lost sight of some of the most effective air efforts undertaken to neutralize enemy forces on the battlefield and render an adversary’s goals impossible to achieve militarily. Somehow, we relegated interdiction to the back benches. The most pernicious of the prevailing airpower theories is Col. John Warden’s “five rings,” which returned to the vision of a decisive strike against enemy leadership through airpower, with the expectation that the target country would quickly fold. This theory, tied closely to an unambiguously decisive air campaign in Desert Storm, remains deeply ingrained in the Air Force — a beguiling mirage that seems to have been proven in Iraq in 2003, discounting the twin facts that the air campaign did not succeed in either decapitating the government or causing its collapse. Twenty-four years later, we remain mesmerized by the prospect of quick victory against any opponent without actual regard to the limits of military force, much less the limits of airpower. This theoretical framework has handicapped the next generation of airpower strategy development and blinded the Air Force to airpower applications that are effective, but not quick, easy, or subject to the beguiling lure of advanced technology. Extended interdiction campaigns are proven, war-winning efforts that have been given short shrift in the face of a misty vision of landing a decisive blow. The effectiveness of airpower in battle is a result of interlocking, coordinated efforts that deliver mutually supportive effects as part of an integrated campaign.....

    Link: http://warontherocks.com/2015/09/the...interdiction/?
    davidbfpo

  18. #318
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Not so fast!

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Hat tip to WoTR for this article, so from near the start as a taster and the author is a USAF veteran:


    Link: http://warontherocks.com/2015/09/the...interdiction/?
    This article may not qualify as plagerism but it is pretty darn close!
    Read "The Air Campaign" planning for combat. Chapter 6: Air Interdiction!

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