Sure, they're vulnerable. But the Iraqi insurgents don't have AA-guns or stinger missiles (I hope). They're quite safe over Iraqi cities.
Christ on a blanking crutch. When was /any/ battle last won on 'hope'?
WHAT do you /think/ hit Captain Campbell's A-10 as she was working with infantry to clear approach lanes into BIA? Strong language?
'Bullet holes' my lilly white heineken.
The Coalition started a buy up program for the /thousands/ of MANPADS stolen from Saddam's armories. At 500 bucks apiece.
Thus far, of 5,000 known missing, less than a third have been recovered.
Allah only knows how many of those have working batteries and coolant.
Yet the threat is _so bad_ in Iraq that U.S. helicopters fly mainly at night or foul weather, especially when near the Syrian border where 'rumours
say' that Soviet SA-16/18 are available and _unstoppable_ with conventional EXCM/IRCM (_1_ bucket of M130 + non-coherent, omni = ALQ-144 and 157)
which continue to be the only anti-heat option 90% of U.S. combat helicopters have.
In the 'big cities' U.S. helicopters /prefer/ being shot at by snipers and AHMs from high buildings (where they can't shoot back into) because they
can at least use them as masking against manportables.
Helicopters having been shot down by MANPADS as little as 6 miles from downtown Baghdad _proving_ that we have ZERO means to suppress these weapons.
Even using the simplest of (155 or HIMARS counterbattery) cued shots from drones 'flying along' (reverse AMUST) to spot and record the downings and
blow away anyone who approaches the crash sites.
Don't spew 'hope' all over my shirt Mister. I'll spit a loogey in your eye.
1. It takes upwards of FIFTY MILES of cleared airspace baselane to bring in heavies on final. Even if you reduce that to ten with a tactical STOL
letdown, you cannot keep a determined enemy from launching so close that the MAWS doesn't have time to cue enough expendables to beat the weapon.
Because AB security patrols are more afraid of small ambush and IED and there is no indication of Camp Sentinel or similar MTI systems being used with
preemptive fires to sterilize the surrounds.
2. The highest altitude (according to Guiness BOWR) at which any aircraft has been hit is 25,000ft wherein a Hunter was hit over Oman or Yemen
because the pilot 'didn't think it was possible' and so did nothing about it. There is thus _firm proof_ that the British C-130 which was lost
somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000ft could well have been hit at this height because it's even slower. More importantly, if it is using (typical)
UV based MAWS, it may well be saturated out at altitude. Or indeed simply not /able/ to detect a coasting weapon.
3. The Iranians have or had RBS-70. They have -access to- QW-3/4. Both of which _PAY NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER_ to conventional EXCM and virtually
scared the Iraqi AF off the battlefield in PGW-I. And are feared the world over because they have larger LARs due to the superior aerodynamics and
larger motor. Indeed, almost all the late model 'MANPADS' (actually VSHORADS) in fact have _separabale booster_ segments well able to take the
weapon over 12,000ft. Even if they are IR homers.
Tell me then, to your opinion, why would they want to move in 4 AC-130's?
Because they are desperate.
Because they have lost sensor overwatch and/or need a sustained vertical fires weapon to gain 'precision' firepower in the cities where mortar
attacks haven't stopped, even with shut down of the transport grid. And helicopters can't cut it because they are too badly threatened
Because by making it /seem/ like they are 'doing something' (droning oppressive 'presence', even if it is restricted in where it can shoot, 24:7)
they hope to coast through this latest Tetian proof that our 'professional' armed farces don't know a damn thing about how to cut an insurgency off
at the neck as well as the grassroots knees.
The reality is, as I have stated for the last week and a half on other boards:
A. By bombing the Golden Mosque, the Iraqi's have lost whatever credibility as 'offended pious peoples' because while they won't let _U.S._ into
them to remove arms cache` they are not above striking each other's to retaliate for sectarian killings that comes down to Shiia regime 'security
forces' (death squads by any other name, the only uniformed force allowed off reservation without explicit orders) 'solving' the Sunni problem by
making random-terror examples 10-20-50 'by a roadside'. They have ZERO right to judge us. When THEY have proven, irrevocably, that 'whether we
are there or not' they will slaughter each other. In direct contravention of the Koran.
B. When every element, Kurd, Shiia, Sunni can manage to come together at the Prime Minister's home in a _single evening_ to condemn (and forbid)
attacks on Mosques. When even Al Sadr 'says so'. It's clear what these places really are: BMC2 nodes. Like a military internet where the dumb
can go for their daily dose of propoganda and where /their leaders/ can control-rod their power base via 'sermon'. Whether it be to hate the
Americans. Or butcher each other. Destroy/Occupy the nodes (as we should have done, since they used them to shoot at us from Day 1) and the
insurgency becomes a low-order mob rather than a focussed hate.
C. The Sunni were doomed to lose from the start. Like whites in South Africa, their only real power lay in the relations they had outside the
country and their vested ownership of various resources. As such, the only thing they can /hope/ to do is continue the insurgency indefinitely.
Because as long as they 'embarrass the Americans, but not too badly', we will keep fighting the bad fight on pure-stubborn. The moment things 'get
real peaceable' they have lost not only all hopes for real power. But also quite likely a month-of-long-knives worth of putting the minority in
Under the ground.
It is time for U.S. to admit that we have stepped directly into UBL's trap. That by destabilizing Iraq, we have given him /exactly/ what he always
wanted. Which was an inroad to bringing revolutionary Islamic fundamentalism throughout the ME.
It is _time_ for us to 'step over the horizon' and let Iraq meltdown completely. Because we lacked the big brass ones to refuse to be told by a
/defeated enemy civillian populace/ where we could and could not go. Who would and would not be allowed to form 'private political parties' as
insurgent militia's. And most importantly because we are _training_ those militia members to better slaughte civillians because we are so scared
that we have blocked ourselves into garrisons, terrified of intervening. Just like the French did when faced by the Viet Minh.
We cannot save Iraq. We cannot save our oil production contracts there. We /may/ be able to put up border guards which isolate her (again) like the
rabidly diseased animal she is. So that her violence cannot spread south.
But either way, the moment where 'get to winning or get to leaving' was anything but an illusion of choice has long since past.
And AC-130's won't solve the problem now. The only thing left to determine is how many more dead gun bunny's we want to 'explain' to the Cindy
Sheehan's of this world. And whether we still have the righteous authority to continue hunting UBL as the man our focussed WILL should have been
mounty-or-bounty behind getting to begin with.
Certainly 'measure fore measure' riding a kettle that is set to blow is stupid if you lack the gusto to start poking holes in the specific
personalities and strategic effectors by which the pressure is added from the inside. And those, a 'gunship' is not needed for.
There is a view of cognitive rationalization as a thought process called the Cybernetic Paradigm. It basically states that humans tend to reduce
complex problems to a simple template of (perceived) dominant factors and, right or wrong, jam those factors over the existing relational values
'until something fits' and they get the justification for the whole model by virtue of forced agreement with their initial perceptions of it.
Politicians, in the wake of Vietnam, have shied away from this on the basis of never being caught looking like fools for saying something is when it
isn't. While /not quite/ admitting that they have no better idea of what is going on than Jo Schmuck. The problem is that society itself creates
Cybernetic Paradigms and so if you -don't- aggressively LEAD THE WAY an uncertain or complex model variable is perceived, you get left behind by
those who ARE willing to say what you yield the field to them on.
A good leader, a STRONG leader, who has a strategic vision beyond the moment can steamroll that nay-sayer peanut gallery opinion. PROVIDED he is
willing to speak to each failure of that vision, what is _specifically_ being done about it and how it 'still all fits with the grand plan'. Bush,
an incompetent orator and strategic myopian has long since lost that confidence. And so we are now in 'pure coast mode' hoping that things don't
blow up beyond a few-per-day current basis. Until a newly 'elected if not representative' force can have the authority if fresh-start politics. In
pulling the plug.
I'm about the only guy out there who thinks that even if the are dumber than a sackful of rocks for volunteering to kill for a stranger they don't
know. Our muzzle mutts deserve more than a continued attritional intermission with it all hanging out there.
U-Boats be damned.