Bombing Paupers: We took out their ‘stills’

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 12:45 pm by George Smith

When the American bombing campaign opened against ISetc, early news announced the destruction of “refineries.” This was said to be hitting the caliphate in its pockets, depriving it of an unstated amount of money from oil revenue.

Well, what about those refineries?

From the Los Angeles Times, six days ago:

Making the first major push to choke off financing for Islamic State, U.S. and allied Arab warplanes bombed a dozen small oil refineries in eastern Syria on Wednesday that U.S. officials said were part of a $2 million-a-day revenue stream for the Sunni Muslim extremist group …

“These small-scale refineries provided fuel to run ISIL operations, money to finance their continued attacks … and an economic asset to support their future operations,” [said a leaflet from US Central Command.]

The statement said the facilities produced 300 to 500 barrels of refined petroleum per day …

By Sunday:

Six U.S. and 10 allied Arab warplanes also bombed a dozen “small oil refineries” in eastern Syria, the Pentagon announced. The raids made headlines, but the facilities proved to be improvised stills used to produce total of only a few hundred barrels of gasoline a day.

More and more, the dilemma is how to package strikes against a group of people, an agency, an emerging country, that lacks the power to provide any opposition to bombing campaigns?

How do we always do this? By invoking the magical word — asymmetric!

As I’ve defined it previously, an asymmetric threat is a fancy term used only as a deception. It describes going to war with anyone who has less resources, money, manpower and technology than the United States.

Which is to say — everyone else — from the angry but poor rabble at home to emerging power in the Middle East.

An example of a press cheerleader, describing the asymmetric power of ISetc, last week with the headline:

Modern airpower versus tribal warriors

Someone named James Kitfield explains it for the non-participating American public:

In the annals of warfare there have been few conflicts as asymmetric as the United States against the Islamic State, which pits a global superpower at the head of an international coalition against a brutally ambitious terrorist group …

This taking and holding of territory is not textbook asymmetrical strategy for a weak combatant. To pursue it, al-Baghdadi relies on a deep connection and understanding of the disaffected Sunni militant groups and tribes who rose up to embrace his black banner. When IS fighters swept out of Syria into Iraq, it may have looked like a standard if daring military maneuver, but it was more akin to an organic uprising by viral flash mobs of locals, with Twitter the method of choice for tactical communications.

[He neglects to mention the big part about the America-trained and equipped Iraqi army running away and deserting.]

“The enemy will spread disinformation in hopes the media will achieve what they cannot, which is to put restrictions and limits on our use of airpower,” said [retired USAF General Dave Deptula, who ran the Bombing Paupers campaign — bin Laden, notably, escaped — over Afghanistan in 2001]. “ISIL knows it has asymmetric advantages on the ground, but we have our own asymmetric advantage: we can project power from the air, without projecting vulnerability.”

“The key is using our advantage in airpower to apply unrelenting pressure that impacts ISIL and its allies psychologically as well as physically, because in 21st century military operations the most important battle space is your adversary’s frame of mind,” said Deptula …

As Obama declared at the United Nations, such men understand only one language. And the message the United States and its allies are delivering from the air needs no translation.

Fine talk.

Nothing has inspired minds in the Middle East more than over a decade of no-translation-needed we’ll-beat-’em-into-bench-holes bombing campaigns and special operations. The result is probably not what Deptula had in mind when being consulted at Pebble Beach, or wherever he was.

As for destroying stills that provided “a few hundred barrels of gasoline a day,” we bombed the equivalent of a couple gas stations in LA County.

That’s some real strategy. Or delusion, depending on your choice in words.

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