Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blowin' In The Wind


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.."Blowin' In The Wind" featuring Cpl Earl Keeton (right) on vocal with Cpl CD Rossi (left) and Pvt JC Lang on guitar; others on background and percussion.
Recorded in 27th Marine Regiment radio hootch in May, 1968; at Camp Duong Son (2); south of DaNang, Republic of South Vietnam on a reel-to-reel tape recorder.







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Friends All Tried to Warn Me


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ISIS: Air Power vs Boots on the Ground


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FOLLOWING ARTICLE REL TO ODYSSEY DAWN; THE SIEGE OF BENGHAZI

(PUBLISHED DATAMORGUE 4/10/11/622PM PDT; EARLIER AT BENGHAZI POST)--
Odyssey Dawn: Ground Operations Prelude
If history shows anything, it is that air operations are always a prelude to ground operations. In Vietnam this was especially true; the first aircraft were deployed in South Vietnam almost immediately following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and subsequent resolution in 1964; followed in the coming months by massive troop deployments.
In the Balkans, there were already UN peacekeeping forces on the ground before the no-fly zone was established but this was followed later by NATO forces in Kosovo.
Also true in Iraq at the outset of the Gulf War, a major air assault was followed by ground troops in a shock and awe campaign that drove the Iraqi army from the border at Kuwait back to the streets of Baghdad in a matter of days.
Now again, we are faced with the same tactical maneuver; never mind who's in charge, be it the United States, Great Britain, France, the United Nations or NATO, the principle is still the same.
The war will expand when the humanitarian objective is not achieved by air superiority alone and eventually ground forces will be introduced. If anything, the Obama handoff of command will only facilitate the ground troop involvement either by UN peacekeepers or NATO in Libya.

THE GROUND ENGAGEMENT, IN FACT, WAS NOT TURNED OVER TO WESTERN ALLIES BUT LEFT IN THE HANDS OF A NUMBER OF REBEL MILITIAS FROM VARIOUS CITIES ACROSS LIBYA. THE TURNING POINT IN THE ADVANCE THAT EVENTUALLY CRUSHED THE LIBYAN ARMY FOLLOWING THE AIR OPS AGAINST THE APPROACHING TANK COLUMNS ON BENGHAZI CAME A FEW WEEKS LATER AT AJDABIYA:



IT TURNED OUT THAT THE SO-CALLED MARCH OF 10,000 TROOPS ON THE ADVANCING REBELS WAS A BLUFF AND THE LIBYAN ARMY SOON FELL APART AND RETREATED BACK TO TRIPOLI FOR A LAST DITCHED STAND. THE DOWNFALL OF THE KHADAFFI REGIME SOON FOLLOWED.


AGAIN, IN MALI IN 2013, THE FRENCH ADVANCED NORTH FROM BAMAKO ON TWO FRONTS TOWARD THE NIGER LOOP; PUSHING BACK THE ANSAR DINE AND THE MNLA TO TIMBUKTU AND  GAO RESPECTIVELY WHEN, BY SURPRISE AND A MIDNIGHT AIR DROP THE FRENCH 2REP PARATROOPERS SEIZED TIMBUKTU.




THE REBELS RETREATED HASTILY TO THE POINT OF LEAVING BEHIND VALUABLE DOCUMENTS SCATTERED ALL OVER THEIR HEADQUARTERS.

AFTER ACTION EVALUATION:
There is no indication at all that the assumption that ISIL cannot be dismantled by air power alone is indeed true. What was seen from Odyssey Dawn was not an organized military quasi-NATO, allied, occupational force that defeated the Libyan army but ragtag militias that refused to surrender and took the fight to Khadaffi. The militias filled the vacuum on the ground where there was no force to complete the work of the air missions.

In Mali, the French certainly acted as a ground force but only after the Malian army crumbled and retreated in the face of the AQIM, Ansar Dine and MUJAO that had pushed as far south as Mopti before being caught out in the open by air power and forced to retreat north leaving behind its decimated vehicles. The stunning reversal of fortune gave the Malian army enough backbone to take the fight to the insurgents; who eventually evaporated into the remote Kidal mountain ranges even as other rebel units, such as the MNLA,  volunteered to act as governate militias to keep the peace. Even though the French did not initially accept the proposal, it did allow Operation Serval to wind down and the Bamako government a chance to regain control of the north. Once again, organized militias rose to the occasion to fill the ground troop vacuum...

 
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SUMMARY: In the case of the current Islamic Caliphate Operation; air power alone is not considered enough to take out the ISIL. However, it was seen in Libya and Mali that the ground force is already in place and does not necessarily have to be "drafted" by the allies to go into action. The Kurds have already demonstrated their ability to take back the neighborhood and as the air campaign expands north and eventually into Syria, it remains to be seen who else will rise and confront the ISIL brigades; without a plan by the allies to choreograph what happens on the ground.


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SYRIAN OPPOSITION MILITIAS:


View Syrian Militias in a larger map

 

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