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Obama sends B-52s to Iraq

Posted by John Reed on

The Air Force sent B-52s to Iraq. If they do Arc Light strikes with them—a plane load of 2,000 pound bombs—expect IS to leave Syria and Iraq. We hit Hanoi with them during Vietnam and the POWs said the guards at the Hanoi Hilton were totally freaked out by it. It is hard to overstate the physical and psychological effect of B-52 strikes on the targeted enemy. IS members will not feel jihad is fun anymore. They will also thereafter prefer the old ball and chain to 72 virgins.

I experienced one of those in Vietnam. We saw nothing and heard nothing of the explosions, but all of our buildings shook violently and loudly about once every two seconds. “WTF?” we thought and asked each other.

We later heard it was an Arc Light strike about 20 miles away. They can drop from 50,000 feet, about 15,000 feet higher than civilian airliners. You can barely see them or hear them coming. All the people at the target know is where they were standing suddenly turned into unspeakable hell without warning. Instant PTSD for the survivors.

When I flew around Vietnam in Hueys and Loaches, the whole countryside seemed full of round swimming pools. The soil is white sand and the B-52 craters were the size of houses. They get a lot of rain there so the craters soon fill up with water. As with a suburban swimming pool, the combination of a white-sided pool and water is an azure pool.

Here is an article about the psychological effect on the enemy: Please make sure you read that article. If you don’t you miss a fantastic description of the profound, transcendent power of one of these attacks.

The problem is the Obama administration does not have the guts to do Arc Lights. (…/Thomas.Pils…/AirOps/arclight.html) The Internet says they were only using 500 and 750 pound bombs. Really? I heard 2,000 at the time.

Cruz said we should “carpet bomb” them. ( That is sort of illegal because of a 1977 international agreement. Also, bombing patterns generally need to match the shape of the target. Carpet bombing matches the shape of sections of a city or suburb. It was used in WW II on cities and on the Germans in the hedgerows in the St. Lo area to achieve the breakout from the Normandy beachhead.

Here is a call-out box from that Wikipedia article:

“The B-52s were restricted to bombing suspected Communist bases in relatively uninhabited sections, because their potency approached that of a tactical nuclear weapon. A formation of six B-52s, dropping their bombs from 30,000 feet, could "take out"... almost everything within a "box" approximately five-eights mile wide by two miles long. Whenever Arc Light struck ... in the vicinity of Saigon, the city woke from the tremor.”

Neil Sheehan, war correspondent, writing before the mass attacks to heavily populated cities including North Vietnam's capital.

I don’t think Obama will use them in the way they are most effective. Maybe he thinks the B-52 reputation alone will do the trick. Nope. That is cancelled out by Obama’s reputation as yet another pussy-footing, punch-pulling, paper-tiger American commander in chief. (The fictional “Mike Medlock” of my forthcoming novel The Unelected President is not a pussy-footing, punch-pulling, paper-tiger American commander in chief.…)

If he uses those planes to wipe out, say Raqqa, the capital of IS, he needs to do it in a way that permits some to survive—so they can tell the others what it was like—or their way back home far from any future B-52 target.

In class at West Point one day in the 1960s, our Air Force officer professor detailed how effective the B-52s were. I raised my hand and got called on and said in every war there are one or two weapons that are the decisive weapons of that war, and it looked like the B-52 was the decisive weapon of the Vietnam War. He appeared embarrassed and denied it—likely because he was at the Army’s Service Academy, not the Air Force’s.

I think I was right and that we lost the Vietnam war because we did not fully use the B-52s.

One way to tell what weapons or tactics are most effective is to see what the enemy whines most about to the media. By that standard, our most effective weapons are B-52s, snipers, and midnight raids on homes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If Obama Arc Lights Raqqa, count on the IS guys running to the media to scream about the civilian casualties. Yes, that will take chutzpah for IS, but the alternative is to be on the receiving end of more B-52 strikes, which is not an option.

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