Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On Securing Your Own Job

It's not at all uncommon for members of the various branches of the armed services to go around arguing that they're the only ones who can get a certain job done (especially around budget time) but for the AF Deputy JAG to run around claiming that air power is the key to victory over Iran is a little ridiculous (via Yglesias.) As Armchair Generalist points out, Dunlap has also claimed that air power is the answer to counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. I read Dunlap's column then (and failed to blog about it somehow) and found him to be severely overstating the effectiveness of air power in general, and not just in counterinsurgency. He does so again in his column about Iran, prompting AG to respond thusly:

...this idea is beyond lunacy. As much as Dunlap protests that there are no current plans to attack Iran, the idea that he puts forward - to attack the oil refineries in the second largest oil-producing state in the Middle East - is not "creative thinking." The shock waves that would hit the economic markets would be profound (there probably was a reason why the US military didn't ever hit Iraq's oil production sites when Saddam was there). The screams for "jihad" by what could be a moderate Iranian population would be overwhelming (hordes of Saudi sucide bombers aren't enough?)

And then there's just the plain immorality of attacking the economic viability of a state that poses little to no immediate threat to us except in Iraq (where claims of Iranian IEDs are slightly exaggerated, to put it kindly.)

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