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By Lenny Siegel
“The Air Force … takes a long view: Many expect the Army to draw down its Iraq forces by 2009, but the Air Force is planning for a continued conflict in which it supports Iraqi troops.”—Associated Press, July 14, 2007
Unless the American people and our elected representatives take a clear stand, the hoped-for withdrawal or redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq could create conditions similar to Richard Nixon’s secret plan for ending the Vietnam War. Ostensibly in support of Iraqi government forces, U.S. aircraft, supported by the latest in high-technology electronic gizmos, will continue to bomb, rocket, and strafe Iraq indefinitely. This might lead to fewer American casualties, but it will not salvage military victory from the jaws of defeat. More important, unless the air war in Iraq is halted, the devastation and civilian death toll will not only continue; it will grow.
Air power, particularly when applied to unconventional warfare, is by its nature indiscriminate. Even where U.S. planes do not intentionally target noncombatants, they are likely to kill civilians. TomDispatch.com has collected reports on such incidents from the mainstream press, but they are likely only the tip of the iceberg. Of course insurgents and evildoing militias are not going to sit out in the middle of the desert, with concentric circles painted on the top of their tents. They live, train, and fight in Iraqi cities. So of course, even when U.S. forces actually know whom they’re bombing or firing at, there is inevitably “collateral damage.”…
Lenny Siegel email@example.com is Director of the Pacific Studies Center, in Mountain View, California, and a member of Mountain View Voices for Peace. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a leader of the anti-war movement at Stanford University, where activists challenged the U.S. air war and electronic battlefield in Southeast Asia.
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