Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Air Attack, Air Assault, What's The Diff?

MSM were flatfooted in their ignorance of military operations during the current Operation Swarmer, mixing up "air assault" and "air strike," leading to misjudgements of the campaign.

I admit it; I didn't understand the difference either. But I'm not paid to report accurately from Iraq. I'm not the network expert on military operations. An air assault, for those of you who are one minute further behind than me, is when infantry is moved by helicopter into contested territory to conduct an operation; an air strike is when we bomb something. Many media, and consequently many Americans, thought we'd begun a new bombing mission.

Jack Kelly's new column explains all this, taking off from milblogger Bill Roggio's recent appearance on a CNN show, "On the Story." Roggio genererously gave the media a D+ in their Swarmer reports and shared with Kelly (and us) the two most significant points of the campaign:

That Operation Swarmer has so far been bloodless by no means indicates it is a failure or "overblown," Smith said. Dozens of suspected terrorists -- including one thought to be a ringleader of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra last month -- have been captured, and several large caches of weapons have been seized.

It's also significant that Operation Swarmer was conceived by, and largely planned and executed by, the Iraqi army. An air assault is the second most difficult tactical maneuver for ground forces (only crossing a river under fire is more difficult), one which requires meticulous planning. That this one was pulled off essentially without a hitch indicates how far the Iraqi army (which, for all practical purposes, didn't exist a little more than a year ago) has come in a very short time.

So, good news from Iraq. You'd never know it.

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