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27 August 2011


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Cold War Zoomie

"According to the CIA, they have been the decisive factor in everything violent since World War 2."

Strike "violent" and just make it "everything."

They are wonderful self-promoters.

The story of OBL's demise is but one example where they rush in and blow their own horns.

Patrick Lang


I originally wrote it without the "violent." i should have left it that way. pl

SAC Brat

"Resolute action by a few determined men is often decisive." - Infantry In Battle, 1934


I've noticed in most fields amateurs worry about tools instead of techniques, and miss the bigger picture.


"More worrisome is the feature of the American mind that insists that war is about machines and technology to the exclusion of any significant role for humans as humans."

Thus Secretary Gates and company can continue to proclaim that health care costs are eating DOD alive and we need to 'reform' (eliminate) military pensions. The folks think 'people' are expendable. Just what do they think is worth defending - money, budgets, tax cuts? The Libyans involved in this revolt did not fight for tax cuts or a fat contract with DOD.


Col. Lang:

Here we go again! And, it’s not just the CIA. Having grown up as an EM in Lemay’s SAC during Korea why am I surprised? The USAF argument for “air power” as the only way to win a war will never die no matter how many official histories to the contrary. The Predator drone is a good example of how that myth will be inappropriately perpetuated. Despite recent changes in DOD such as SecDef Gates replacement of a “fighter jock” with a “transport guy” as Air Force Chief of Staff the air power myth is so entrenched now in our general culture that the civilian world will continue to insist that we spend unnecessary billions to support it.


I'm sure the Beltway Bandit crowd is already claiming the victory for their programs.


The media might be reminded that all of the elements that they thought resulted in success in Libya were also present in Lebanon in 2006. However, I didn't see any success for the Israelis.


'...this little war was won by a combination of covert assistance in training and advising the Libyan rebels AND NATO airpower. pl'

True, but the media should get some credit too.


I have always thought that Wars are fought and won by the initiative of individual men spilling their blood on the battlefield in defense of their fellow brothers for the pursuit of a better world.

The result in Libya was no different.

Patrick Lang


No, none at all. they consistently poopooed the possibility of victory after their attention span had been exceeded. that was about 48 hours. pl


True but that was because we'd been told it would be a quickie. Once NATO decided to get serious the media seemed more gung ho. I do recall some reporters having a few qualms about rebel excesses but that soon blew over.



Being raised in a Boeing family, I do have prejudices for air power. From the Ardennes to Libya, air support directed by Forward Air Controllers (FACs) will take out regular enemy units even troops in tanks. The US Army cannot fight wars without air superiority. Strategically, the Air Force can make radioactive desolation but that is it. As long as there are families and tribes alive, drones or F-22s can not determine who is and who is not the enemy below in the wastelands. You can try to kill anything that moves but like Vietnam or Afghanistan showed that strategy does not work.



There are a lot of foreign nations that are none too happy with NATO intervening in Libya, they're not upset at the French or Brits or even U.S. intervention helping Libyans free themselves from Daffy Duck, just NATOs involvement.

The Twisted Genius

Amen to the Colonel's comments.

One of the critical moments early in this revolution occurred at the gates of a large military base outside Benghazi. Qathafi's forces were mowing down the demonstrators outside the base when one man, after loosing family members to Qathafi's violence, decided he had to act. Using his car as a bomb (VBIED), he blew up the gate to this base allowing the protesters/rebels to storm inside and take control. That was a human triumph, not a technological trick. There will be statues dedicated to this hero of the revolution.

NATO airpower's biggest contribution to the rebels was not the physical destruction of Qathafi's war machine. There seems to be plenty of that left in working order. The main effect was psychological. The air campaign caused Qathafi's men to loose any sense of invulnerability they felt when they were facing unarmed protesters and practically unarmed rebels.

Patrick Lang


The media sold themselves the idea tht it would be a "quickie." it was, but it was a quickie that took six months. Then, through the intervening months as the situation 'cooked," the media whined continuously about the cost, the bloodshed, etc. The MSM would have whined about Valley Forge. pl



I have come up with the perfect nickname for the media, the 'premature squirters'. It fits doesn't it? Must be too many fast-food fried have addled their media senses regarding what conflict and wars are all about. All that cholesterol clogging their media motor neurons when it come to thinking and reasoning capacity, ergo they are often times premature in their newsflash squirts.

And they then expect us the media consumers to be 'satisfied' with their media flashiness. Go figure.


Propaganda was very important to maintain NATO involvement. The media dutifully relayed what they were told. My sense is that the MSM did a pretty good job of demonizing Ghadaffi and glamorizing the rebels. The targets of course were all threatening civilians.

Certainly a few bloggers were a little unhappy about the way 'protecting civilians' morphed into regime change and how quickly 'no boots on the ground' got forgotten. I'm still waiting for the BBC and CNN to take a close look at the rebels. Maybe when they get established in Tripoli we will get a better idea who they are.

Patrick Lang


Where do you get your talking points? pl

Paul in NC

"...this little war was won..."

Not yet.


The MSM would have whined about Valley Forge. pl

Amen to that Brother!

Most of today's MSM, would probably have been Tories. Sad but true.

I mean after all, the British were ever so much more sophisticated and wordly. Than those coarse, uncultured, Continentials, what Ivy League educated MSM type, could identify with the American rabble at Valley Forge?


What about Kennewick Man?


Oops, wrong thread.

Medicine Man

The whole process of combat is just something alien and fictional to the media elite, Col Lang. You could try to explain it to them, but their only real interest is translating it into a story to fill a few news cycles.

Medicine Man

My own feeling has always been that the infantryman is (still) the most powerful weapon that exists. All of the military hardware are basically tools that can be of great influence but have little meaning without men who are willing to kill/risk death.


Col. Lang;

"More worrisome is the feature of the American mind that insists that war is about machines and technology to the exclusion of any significant role for humans as humans."

This is a simple feature of human behaviour not exclusive to Americans.

When you are required to explain and deal with a new phenomena, you reach immediately for concepts and tools you already have to hand.

..or to put it another way, when your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail.

I understood this instinctively when I was once issued with a Coleman petrol stove - great machine...only who the heck is going to transport that much gasoline, just for cooking in a tropical jungle setting? The Australian Army issue was hexamine tablets.

Similarly, my Dad remembers burying Americans in New Guinea in WWII in their jungle hammocks. I almost bought a war surplus one myself, until Dad explained that the beautiful mosquito and weather proof enclosure was:

(a) Impossible to get out of in a hurry.

(b) Suspended you at exactly the right height to accept the worst from a mortar burst, unless you slung it in a trench - which made (a) even worse.

On the other hand, the Jeep and the Caterpillar bulldozer....

Walk into any office today and you will see a manager trying to implement a computer system to try and fix a problem that could be fixed by simple leadership and understanding.

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