Grounding the Air Force


| Mar.-Apr. 2008


It’s time for a radical reorganization of the U.S. military—starting with the not-so-friendly skies. In the American Prospect (Nov. 2007), military expert Robert Farley of the University of Kentucky argues that the Air Force’s raison d’être—strategic bombing—is inappropriate for the post-9/11 counterterrorism fight. Though the Air Force won its independence from the Army by trumpeting its World War II bombing campaigns against German and Japanese cities, the prized tactic, which targets infrastructure and industrial capacity, has seen little success in subsequent conflicts. What’s worse, overreliance on airpower hinders war efforts on the ground. A 2002–2006 Lancet study estimated that 13 percent of Iraqi civilian casualties—some 50,000 to 100,000 deaths—were caused by air strikes. Such devastation doesn’t temper counterinsurgency; it fans the flames.

Farley recommends that the Air Force stick to what it does best: supporting the Army by bombing military targets in advance of ground troops. The branch could be dissolved, with its other responsibilities divvied between the Army and Navy. This change would not only cut down on bureaucratic wrangling; it would also disarm warmongers who claim that strategic bombing can win quick, bloodless victories.














Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265