Air Strikes Astray — what did we tell you?

mq9 and JDAMs

PGMs on an MQ-9 Reaper. If it only had a brain.

Repeat after the WeaponsMan:

  1. PGMs, no SOF on ground, result misery.
  2. No PGMs, SOF on ground,  result misery.
  3. PGMS, SOF on ground, result happinesss.

You will recognize the first case as the Clinton pinprick Tomahawk raids of 1998, and the aerial operations of the Kosovo war of 1999. The second, of course, fits Operation Gothic Serpent to a T. (Mogadishu, 1993). The third is Afghanistan, 2001.

So given two proven failure pathways and one proven success pathway, what did Washington do? Pick Failure Door #1. Result, misery:

U.S.-led air strikes hit grain silos and other targets in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern and eastern Syria overnight, killing civilians and wounding militants, a group monitoring the war said on Monday.

The aircraft may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij for an Islamic State base, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There was no immediate comment from Washington.


The strikes in Manbij appeared to have killed only civilians, not fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory which gathers information from sources in Syria.

“These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people,” he said. He could not give a number of casualties and it was not immediately possible to verify the information.

via U.S-led raids hit grain silos in Syria, kill workers: monitor – Yahoo News.

We’re not really upset that some Syrian grain elevators did what grain elevators have occaisionally done entirely on their own, namely, blew up. That’s just collateral damage, and it’s not like any faction of Syrians are our friends these days. What’s upsetting is that this kind of warfare is ineffectual and does not damage the enemy’s centers of gravity or, really, just about anything about him.

We have chosen a mode of operations that is more or less guaranteed to fail.

But hey, we understand the Army is sending help to Iraq… a Division Headquarters. That’ll surely help. Hope they remembered the divisional band, because they might as well go under playing Autumn or Nearer My God to Thee.

3 thoughts on “Air Strikes Astray — what did we tell you?

  1. Stefan van der Borght

    I’m glad we agree it’s unlikely any factions in Syria are worth anything more than expending ordnance on; but please don’t forget compassion. There’s likely a few likeminded folks in Syria that wish they hadn’t been born into such an orifice of a place and ideology, and rely on the food in those grain silos. Very few, even, but for their sake I pray their miserable lives aren’t made even worse by the money my government stole from me. I’d rather my worthless overlords used it to catch syphilis or a dose too many of their favourite entertainment substance.

    1. Bill K

      Amen, Stefan. And I also hope that apart from divine intervention, the decent folks in Syria would have said to themselves, “This is no place to raise a family”, and departed for more hospitable habitats. Fortunately, there’s no commandment that says, “You were born here, and here you must remain.” Which goes for us in the US as well.

  2. McThag

    What is wrong with carpet bombing with cluster munitions?

    Nobody there likes us already, so what’s there to lose? And no need for risking SOF people we actually do like.