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Dec 07, 2005

The Victory Plan Revealed: ...Bombs Away

(click image for larger view)

So, how often do you see one illustration that so captures a story?  (I particularly like the symbolic, non-mechanized Iraqi observing from the sidelines.)

Guy Billout's illustration in the December 5th New Yorker accompanies Sy Hersh's article outlining the Bush plan to sub bombs for boys.  As compelling as the speculation is, however, the background on U.S. bombing activity to-date is probably more significant.

Considering the use of air power in Iraq is only inferentially noted by the MSM, Hersh's "plane"-as-day discussion seems quite bold.

Here's a key passage:

The American air war inside Iraq today is perhaps the most significant—and underreported—aspect of the fight against the insurgency. The military authorities in Baghdad and Washington do not provide the press with a daily accounting of missions that Air Force, Navy, and Marine units fly or of the tonnage they drop, as was routinely done during the Vietnam War. One insight into the scope of the bombing in Iraq was supplied by the Marine Corps during the height of the siege of Falluja in the fall of 2004. “With a massive Marine air and ground offensive under way,” a Marine press release said, “Marine close air support continues to put high-tech steel on target. . . . Flying missions day and night for weeks, the fixed wing aircraft of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing are ensuring battlefield success on the front line.” Since the beginning of the war, the press release said, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing alone had dropped more than five hundred thousand tons of ordnance. “This number is likely to be much higher by the end of operations,” Major Mike Sexton said. In the battle for the city, more than seven hundred Americans were killed or wounded; U.S. officials did not release estimates of civilian dead, but press reports at the time told of women and children killed in the bombardments.

Article: UP IN THE AIR: Where is the Iraq war headed next?

(Illustration: Guy Billout.  New Yorker Magazine.  December 5, 2005.  p. 42)


The line of tanks and airplanes extends all the way to the drawing's vanishing point and beyond. As far as the American occupation is concerned, there's no end in sight. Fortunately for the man on the right, the soldiers are pointing their guns in the opposite direction.

From a bye gone era this is: 'How The West Was Won' or 'Westward Ho The Wagons' observed by a solitary Indian watching helplessly as his lands are over run by foreigners and settlers. (here its not land or settlers but oil and whatever else the trans national corporations can steal) While cities are flattened the oil remains safely underground, as life on the surface is lived precariously and in constant fear, as the greatest industrialized killing machine in history goes about its daily work.

Interesting picture and very telling. I think it is a bit misleading though, or perhaps is more of a preview.

It is certainly easy to read, but is missing something.

The planes going in has essentially happy people... they get to train, execute their mission, get combat flight time, and do not have to face dogfights or SAM's (for at least 99.9% of the cases, unless tactics change).

The jeeps/Bradleys going out are certainly happy as they are leaving a combat zone where they had to show themselves and hope the IDE's were somewhere else.

That leaves the desert, or theater in the picture,

and one person on a animal, either confused, paused, or blocked. I assume that is the viewer (me).

There is no nod to what is over the horizon, no nod to the actual war and destruction.

I guess it is just am image stricly for the American side of the conflict. There is also an element of endlessness in the imgage.

Is that a local on the animal (donkey?)? I don't thinks so, but it could be. Is that the negotiator that can't make it across the thin red line? Perhas its just a non-combatant there to get the viewer to give pause and think.

Its interesting that the line going out is made out of Humvees while the line going in is made up of B-52s. Could be that the artist was not familiar with any other form of American aircraft, but it suggest the kind of hell that the Iraqis are in for, one way or the other.

Hey everyone, I have written a piece called "Truth and Mainstream" detailing, and backing up with facts and polls that all of Howard Deans supposed "gaffes" have either been vindicated by facts, or American public opinion. We should use this to shoot back at the media. I also back up with polls issue by issue how the Gov. is directly in the mainstream of American political thought. Please check it out and leave me comments-

One more right turn might equal Victory, but too many might go wrong.

There are dark clouds in the sky; a storm is coming. (I'm trying to resist the urge to find a link for "Desert Storm"...) Or maybe the storm has passed and clear skies are on the way?

I don't know whether or not the artist meant this, but the person's shadow looks like a little airplane, too.

some extracts from Sy's article: quotes from Pentagon consultants (eg Pc)

Pc. General John Jumper..retired ... Air Force chief of staff, was “in favor of certification of .. Iraqis...allowed to call in strikes,” Pc..“I don’t know if it will be approved. .. Army generals were resisting despite the fact that they would benefit the most from it.”

Pc..plans to integrate..two hundred and three hundred Special Forces ..into Iraqi units..a compromise aimed at meeting the Air Force’s demand to vet Iraqis ... involved in targeting. But in meant that “the Special Ops people will soon allow Iraqis to begin calling in the targets.

Pc " Replacing boots on the ground with air power didn’t work in Vietnam, did it?”

Pc “If Allawi becomes Prime Minister, we can say, ‘There’s a moderate, urban, educated leader now in power who does not want to deprive women of their rights.’ He would ask us to leave, but he would allow us to keep Special Forces operations inside Iraq—to keep an American presence the right way. Mission accomplished. A coup for Bush.”

Pc "When you’re fighting an insurgency, you have to strike everywhere—and at once.”

Sounds like a great recipe for intensifying the on going civil war, Iraqi deaths, minimizing US causalities, prolonging the slaughter, maintaining illusions of "freedoms progress" while a deluded GWB waits for another religious revelation.

The drawing simply reflects the new strategy of the army pulling back (out?) of Iraq and allowing the air force to be the front line US presence, so the article and the drawing are as the BAG suggests congruent.

Guy Billout! I once tried to hire him for an ad campaign and couldn't get him. This was in 1999, before he started getting the NYer jobs or very early in his frequent call-back status period.

The guy is astounding. My favorite of his illustrations is the image of uniformed men walking to a house where a woman stares out. The story is about the military giving the bad news about service deaths to family members. The only 'off' thing in the image is the smoke from the chimney. There's a noticeable 'catch' in how it's come out, a slight discontinuity in the rhythm of the puffs, as if the sight of the men coming up to the front of the house has surprised the house. Brilliant.

(Sorry for the late comment.)

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