U.S. Airpower Terrifies Civilians

19.09.08

Categorie: Africa, Air |

On August 22 a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan allegedly killed as many as 90 civilians.The Air Force disputes this, despite a corroborating U.N. report. Defense Secretary Robert Gates “said avoiding civilian casualties is a high priority,” according to the Air Force Association Daily Report:

“We’re very concerned about this,” he said. “We work at that hard, work at it harder, and then take another look to see what more we can do to limit innocent people who are killed when we go after our enemies.” … Coalition forces are meticulous in planning and executing air strikes to avoid civilians. During Gates’ visit, Brig. Gen. James Holmes, commander of Bagram’s 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, showed streaming imagery of an F-15E air strike against insurgents that was called off due to concerns over potentially hitting innocents in the area. 

Gates might be right about all those precautions, but reality and perception are often leagues apart, and the sad reality is that U.S. airpower absolutely terrifies many foreign civilians at a time when winning civilians’ consent is critical to defeating entrenched insurgencies.

Consider that a mere sighting of supposed U.S. warplanes was enough to cause a near riot on August 29 in southern Somalia, which has been targeted by U.S. forces pursuing suspected Al-Qaeda operatives.

Hundreds of civilians broke into a gallop after the warplanes flew low-speed in threesomes over the town [of Kismayu] which is situated 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu, a Press TV correspondent reported. The reason for the presence of the aircraft in the Somali airspace is yet unknown.

Regardless of the truth regarding civilian casualties of U.S. airstrikes, it’s clear that America has a perception problem. The perception is that U.S. warplanes mean indiscriminate death. As U.S. ground forces become exhausted, forcing air power to fill the gap, this perception might undermine efforts to turn foreign populations against extremist elements.

(Photo: Kevin Lampinen)

|

7 Responses to “U.S. Airpower Terrifies Civilians”

  1. [...] Related: U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  2. [...] Related: Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  3. [...] Related: Somalia peace deal impresses no one Cholera strikes Somalia Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  4. [...] Related: Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims 1 Comment so far Leave a comment [...]

  5. [...] Related: Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  6. [...] Related: Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  7. [...] Related: Fact vs. Fantasy in Somalia Verified: kidnapping an inside job Somali journo released Inside job rumors persist Hope for kidnapped journos Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims New prez = hope for Somalia A.U. rescues Somali lawmakers Building a Somali coast guard? Somali government falls Peacekeepers attacked Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

Leave a Reply