Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Back to Iraq (Again)

We are engaged in a fairly low level bombing campaign in support of Iraqi (including Kurdish) troops who are fighting the Islamic State in Iraq. Are American special forces involved on the ground?

This article says yes we are:

The role of American Special Operations Forces in Iraq has remained hidden even while the U.S. air war expands. As momentum against ISIS picks up, they may be emerging from the shadows. In a pitched battle on Monday, Kurdish Peshmerga, backed by American airpower and what appeared to be U.S. troops, struck at ISIS positions in the strategic crossroads of Zumar.

We say no, it seems.

But the strikes have been effective. Remember that in the Libya War, our initial efforts to support rebels weren't that effective. Sure, our opening days attacks against fixed targets and Khaddafi's troops in the open didn't need spotters. But when Libya's troops reacted, the targetting got tough.

It took the quiet introduction of special forces and others from I assume a number of Western and Arab countries to put these forward air controllers on the ground to turn air power into ground support.

So it makes sense that we would have learned a lesson from that war and jumped to forward air controllers right off the bat.

Yet it isn't necessarily American military assets. It could be CIA. It could be contractors. It could be Western special forces or non-military assets.

But somebody is making the air strikes effective.

That is good. Let's re-win the Iraq War, shall we?