The Taliban attack on an air base in southern Afghanistan on Friday drew coverage for the way the insurgents cloaked themselves in U.S. army uniforms to gain a tactical advantage, but few have taken note of the historical proportions of the damage inflicted.
The loss of life is sad but nothing for the bigger picture. And the ability to penetrate a major base is a tactical failing that must be corrected.
But the "historical proportions" of this attack are pretty small.
The aircraft design is old and being phased out in favor of the F-35 variant with similar take off and landing capabilities.
The loss of 8 aircraft does not--as the article says--deny the nearby Marines fixed wing air support--we continue to have unchallenged air supremacy and no ground unit will lack air support because of this loss.
The fact that this is the same unit that became combat ineffective at Wake Island in December 1941 during the epic but ultimately failed defense of that position against Japanese invasion should teach us the real lesson of the attack on Camp Bastion: In 1941, VMA-211 became combat ineffective and the nation rallied to the war we suddenly found ourselves in. In 2012, the squadron loses 8 aircraft and the press deems it an event of historical proportions that shows how badly we are doing and how little the public cares.
All in all, I'm glad nobody noticed.
But if you want to highlight something with strategic impact, how about discussing the loss of our intelligence capabilities in eastern Libya as a result of the consulate attack?
UPDATE: Strategypage has more.