Jeffrey LewisAirstrike in Fallujah

The Washington Post is reporting that “the U.S. military launched precision weapons into a poor residential neighborhood of Fallujah on Saturday to destroy what officers described as a safe house used by fighters loyal to Abu Musab Zarqawi and perhaps, at times, by the fugitive terrorist leader himself.”

“Residents said about 20 people were killed, including women and children …” Kimmit cited “multiple confirmations of actionable intelligence” as the rationale for the attack.

I just don/’t believe these kinds of operations are worth the costs in civilian casulaties. DOD must have a statistical analysis of the sucess rate for these kind of strikes, including the ratio of civilian casualties for each combatant killed.

The only data point that I/’ve seen along these lines was a report in the New York Times that some 50 airstrikes using precision guided munitions were carried out during a one month period beginning March 19, 2003 (the start of major combat operations) against 13 “high-value targets”–i.e. Iraqi leaders. The Times reported that “All were unsuccessful, and many, including the two well-known raids on Saddam Hussein and his sons, appear to have been undercut by poor intelligence …”

Human Rights Watch made an effort along these lines, but I/’d like to see what DOD concluded.

I suspect a proper statistical analysis would demonstrate that these operations have a negligible success rate, at a cost of scores of civilians killed and increased hostility that results in more attacks on Coalition personnel. My guess is these operations reflect self-destructive frustration more than anything else.

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