30 March 2011
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Our estimate is that the Pentagon has dropped at least one million pounds of bombs on Libya. The Pentagon has lapsed back into its mode of excessive secrecy so we once again do not know the facts.
The actual total may be twice as much. We also do not have a list of each target struck. The target list is apparently secret, which is absurd. The Libyans certainly know where each bomb struck, but that information is being withheld from the American people.
While the goal of removing Colonel Qaddafi may be sound, like Iraq and Afghanistan the problem is once again in the execution. Secrecy is necessary in wartime to some degree, but it can also be used to hide mistakes, faulty equipment, targeting errors, poor decision-making and ineffective tactics. The Pentagon has a history of all five.
What we know is that the U.S. fired off approximately 200 BGM-109 cruise missiles. Each carries a 1,000 pound warhead (200,000 pounds of explosives). On Saturday the U.S. flew 96 strike sorties. Assuming that each aircraft dropped at least one bomb and most U.S. air munitions have 1,000 pound warheads (such as the AGM-158), that would be about 100,000 pounds of explosives per day. As the air campaign has been going on for nine days that would put the total at over 1 million pounds. To put that into perspective, that would be more than 2 million sticks of dynamite (as each stick weights about half a pound or .23 kilograms).
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama have declared that the United States is not at war with Libya. Compare the U.S. attack on Libya with the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attacked in two waves with a total of 353 aircraft. They dropped a variety of ordinance including Type 91 torpedoes, Type 99 anti-ship missiles and even some small Type 97 land bombs. Most aircraft only carried one bomb.
Despite the fact that the total ordinance dropped by Japan was less than half a million pounds, President Roosevelt considered that to be enough to put the United States at war with Japan. So if half a million pounds of bombs dropped put the U.S. and Japan at war, why is the U.S. not at war today with Libya after dropping twice as many bombs?
The saying goes that truth is the first casualty during wartime. What that saying does not explain is: Why is that so?