Air War Key to Iraq Strategy

Columnists and reporters around the country are writing about airpower operations in Iraq, citing both the increase in combat sorties over the past year and the growing likelihood that US airpower will be left to sustain Iraqi ground forces even after US ground troops depart. And, that means USAF battlefield airmen will still be on the ground to guide coalition aircraft. An Air Force official tells Knight Ridder correspondent Drew Brown, writing in the Detroit Free Press, that US Central Command Air Forces probably would embed the airmen with Iraqi forces. CENTAF reports that coalition air flew 306 air strikes in 2005, compared to 214 the previous year.