As was entirely predictable, the “airstrikes only” campaign in Libya failed to bring down the well-armed and well-financed regime of Moammar Gadhafi . So, what is John McCain’s solution? Even more airstrikes. From the Hill:
McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should revive its air attacks to incapacitate forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.
“All we need to do is get sufficient air power in there to really nail Gadhafi’s forces, and we can succeed,” McCain said on KFYI radio. “A stalemate is a terrible outcome, because if you have a stalemate you open the door for radical Islamists to come in and hijack this revolution.”
It seems Sen. McCain doesn’t know that Gadhafi’s forces are fully aware of the three, very simple, low-cost tactics that make airstrikes highly ineffective: bunkers, hiding, and human shields.
No amount of airstrikes is going to change the fact that his well-financed army is dramatically larger, better trained, and better armed than the rebels.
I had hoped this latest idiotic act of military adventurism would at least remind us that it is impossible to win wars solely with airstrikes and extremely difficult to win wars that result in stable regime change, even with massive ground forces. I thought our experiences in fighting insurgents in Iraq would at least teach us something about the clear limits to air power in the urban battlefield.
Sadly, it seems the only thing Washington learns from our mistakes is to try the same bad idea again, but, this time, twice as hard.