Precision, Not Tonnage, Is the Answer

The recent operation in Iraq for which USAF dropped 40,000 pounds of bombs in 10 minutes was a precision mission that should not be mistaken for indiscriminate brute force, the commander of 9th Air Force and US Central Command Air Forces said yesterday. “The newspaper headlines” about the Jan. 10 mission read: “40,000 pounds dropped,” said Lt. Gen. Gary North, in an airpower seminar on Capitol Hill. But, he declared, “Tonnage is not the answer folks.” This particular mission, which involved multiple passes by two B-1B bombers and four F-16 fighters, continued beyond the first 10 minutes to hit “107 desired mean points of impact, very surgically and precisely planned,” North said. “We surgically hit the exact targets the division commanders needed.” GPS-guided weapons laid waste to three large target zones in the Arab Jabour area, near Baghdad. The mission should clear up any misconceptions that a massive air strike by today’s Air Force would be a broad-area carpet-bombing run. (For more from General North, read Where Middle Eastern Meets West, According to North)