This makes me very nervous.
Air Force quietly building Iraq presence
By Charles J. Hanley, AP Special Correspondent | July 14, 2007
BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq --Away from the headlines and debate over the "surge" in U.S. ground troops, the Air Force has quietly built up its hardware inside Iraq, sharply stepped up bombing and laid a foundation for a sustained air campaign in support of American and Iraqi forces.
The escalation worries some about an increase in "collateral damage," casualties among Iraqi civilians. Air Force generals worry about wear and tear on aging aircraft. But ground commanders clearly like what they see.
"Night before last we had 14 strikes from B-1 bombers. Last night we had 18 strikes by B-1 bombers," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said approvingly of air support his 3rd Infantry Division received in a recent offensive south of Baghdad.
Statistics tell the story: Air Force and Navy aircraft dropped 437 bombs and missiles in Iraq in the first six months of 2007, a fivefold increase over the 86 used in the first half of 2006, and three times more than in the second half of 2006, according to Air Force data. In June, bombs dropped at a rate of more than five a day.
I remember vividly Sy Hersh on some show talking about how the administration wanted to use the Air Force more in Iraq, with an eye out towards Iran. Specifically, how with bombing raids the "collateral damage" is more antiseptic, less personal.
They aren't people, they're targets.
This interview with Amy Goodman goes into that, read the whole thing but this bit stood out.
In the latest issue of the New Yorker, Hersh reports that the Bush administration has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack.
Sources told Hersh that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups.
Iran is just a quick fly to the east. No big deal, hit some "targets" and you're out.