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March 17, 2011

Lindsey Graham: I'm Just Thinking the American President Should Be As Bold As The French One. Is That Too Much To Ask?

Vid at CNN.

A couple of points here: The problem is not just that Obama has been, until now, de facto in support of Qaddaffy staying in power. That sort of realpolitik judgment might be defensible.

The problem is that his desire to look good for the cameras and his Michael-Jackson-like dwindling band of worshippers causes him to say things like "Qaddaffy must go" and then sneak in a quick long 18 holes of golf.

Announce a policy, idiot, and then commit to it. Do not encourage Libyans to join the rebellion only to then sit back and be slaughtered in huge numbers.

That's blood on the hands.

If it is your policy to sit back and do nothing, then say so, so people can make potentially life-saving decisions based upon the real facts of the situation.

Meanwhile, the French say they're ready to begin airstrikes at 6:00 ET tonight. And that will entail attacking Qaddaffy's air-defense network and radars and radio towers and such. (That always needs to be done as a first step if you're flying over hostile territory, of course.)

I actually think the French can do this and turn the war around.

I don't get people. They don't seem to understand the difference between Western infantry capabilities and Western airpower and seapower capabilities.

Our infantry is the best in the world, but even the best infantryman in the world isn't an order of magnitude better than a third-world militia. Of course he's trained better, has better tactics, better communication. He has better armor, though that's hardly a decisive advantage because no typically-worn body armor can stop a rifle bullet. He may or may not have a better main gun, but he does have better grenade launchers and such.

When our infantry is in the field, there's a good chance there will be a lot of deaths on our side, because infantry guys are still doing the same things as other infantry guys, and have all the same weaknesses. Our guys are better (and bigger and stronger and braver, too), but at the end of the day they are still individual men running around in an extremely dangerous environment with a spotty armor advantage and using offensive weapons technology that came to maturity at or around 1940.

There may have been a few small improvements here and there in automatic carbines and rifles since 1947, but they're tiny. Our infantry's weapons are, by and large, not particularly more effective than a squad of Nazis were armed with in 1942.

That is not the case with airpower and seapower, which have the full benefit of 70 years of rapidly-maturing technology since WWII.

It's also true of tank technology. Compare the Gulf War to the War in Iraq. The Gulf War was fought on terms most advantageous to us -- tank vs. tank, and our jets vs. their tanks, and our helicpoters vs. their tanks. Infantry was involved but lightly.

100 casualties on our side. We could have killed virtually the whole Iraqi army as it retreated from Kuwait but we didn't out of pure mercy.

Another thing I don't get is this idea that we have to commit fully and actually win the war for the rebels. The hell with that. They're big boys. If they want to fight, let them fight.

But we do not have to go to full and total warfare in every foreign conflict. This should not be a binary thing. It should not be full and complete commitment up to and including a massive infantry invasion or nothing.

But taking out their tanks and jets? And maybe a few columns of troops?

This is not a difficult task for a Western-tech-level air force. It's still dangerous, as planes can be shot down, but wiping out a backwards, Soviet-crap-export-model third-world tyrant's airforce and tanks is not a tough row to hoe for a Western force.

Yes, even France should be able to manage this.

France doesn't have to win the fight for the rebels. All that needs be done is to subtract Qaddaffy's advantages from the equation.


Disagreement, From Andy McCarthy: He notes that no one seems to be calling for Obama to seek and receive Congressional authorization -- for what it's worth, I think he's right to point that out. Congressional authorization is necessary. Congressional authorization would also be useful in limiting the parameters of any engagement-- that is, no invasion.

Which is what he seems to want to avoid most of all.

I'm Not Knocking Our Infantry: didn't mean to knock our infantry. I don't know how many times I can say it is the best.

But our infantry's key technology will, and always will be, a 20 year old man's body. That is the "weapons platform" we add weapons to, same as we add bombs under the wing of a jet.

Even though our guys are physically stronger and tougher and smarter and better trained, we are all working with the same basic weapons platform -- a 20 year old man's body. There is a limit as to how much better one 20 year old man's body may be than another.

Compare the difference between an M1A1 Abrams tank and a T72 soviet export model tank.

There is a far, far larger gap between those two. A T72 cannot even penetrate the armor of an M1A1 -- it poses no risk to it.

That is obviously not the same situation with the human weapons platform, no matter how much better it might be than the enemy's.

A T72's shells will literally bounce off an M1A1's armor. With the exception of pistol ammo hitting a covered area-- bullets don't bounce off infantry.


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posted by Ace at 05:16 PM

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