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December 15, 2010
Operation DENY CHRISTMAS - a series of blasts from the pastBy Greyhawk
(A Mudville Christmas re-run from December, 2009...)
Members of the 437th Security Forces Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., board a U.S. Air Force C-141 Starlifter on Dec. 18, 1998, as they deploy to the Persian Gulf region in support of Operation Desert Fox. (DoD photo by Senior Airman Diane S. Robinson, U.S. Air Force)
Ghosts of Christmas Past: Obama Ordered U.S. Military Strike on Yemen Terrorists.
One of the targeted sites was a suspected al Qaeda training camp north of the capitol, Sanaa, and the second target was a location where officials said "an imminent attack against a U.S. asset was being planned."
"The Obama Administration has dusted off a Clinton-era strategy of dealing with terrorists," says Jonn Lilyea.
And a damned effective strategy it was. At least, if your goal is domestic popularity. Osama bin Laden used America's long-distance war to great effect as an al Qaeda recruiting tool (and swore that paybacks would come), but President Clinton's popularity on the home front - having plunged during his early months in office - soared higher with each missile that fell on Baghdad (or Sudan, or a remote campsite in Afghanistan.)
A U.S. Navy ship launches a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) during Operation Desert Fox December 17, 1998. Warplanes and cruise missiles are aiming at military targets in Iraq, including Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces, air defense installations, and an elite security force headquarters in Baghdad, defense officials said today. (US Navy photo by Todd Cichonowicz)
And all that peaked eleven years ago today, as we approached the end of the eighth year of our shooting war with Iraq. While the president's stated purpose for the four-day assault was to eliminate the imminent danger posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, many would question the timing of the attack (in which "more cruise missiles were fired on Iraq ...than during the entire Gulf War in 1991"). The official name for this particular headline-making effort was Operation DESERT FOX, for military members involved it will always be known as Operation DENY CHRISTMAS.
And now, a blast from the past...
An F/A-18C Hornet awaits the signal from flight deck personnel to launch from the deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) on the second wave of air strikes against Iraq on Dec. 18, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. The Hornet belongs to Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 312, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. Enterprise and its embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 are operating in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Fox. DoD photo by Airman Brian C. McLaughlin, U.S. Navy.
December 8, 1998: Chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler reports that Iraq is still impeding inspections. Cooperation ends between Iraq and inspectors when the country demands the lifting of the U.N. oil embargo. UNSCOM and the IAEA pull their staffs out of Iraq in anticipation of a US-led air raid on Iraqi military targets.December 9, 1998: The Special Commission submits its second weekly report to the Security Council describing monitoring activities and the difficulties encountered in the course of those activities, including blockage at a site.
December 11, 1998: The House Judiciary Committee approves three articles of impeachment on a 21-16 party line vote, passing them to the full House of Representatives. The three articles accuse Clinton of lying to a grand jury, committing perjury by denying he had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, and obstructing justice. Clinton declares himself "profoundly sorry" and willing to accept censure.
December 12, 1998: The committee approves a fourth article of impeachment on a party-line vote, accusing Clinton of abusing power in a direct parallel to Watergate-era language.
A U.S. Air Force B1-B Lancer bomber from the 28th Bomb Squadron is loaded with MK-82 bombs at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, as the aircraft is prepared for a mission in support of Operation Desert Fox, on Dec. 17, 1998. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Krista M. Foeller, U.S. Air Force.)
December 15, 1998: UNSCOM reports to the Security-General concerning UNSCOM's activities and the status of Iraq's cooperation with the Commission in the period since 14 November 1998. The Executive Chairman concludes that Iraq did not provide the full cooperation it had promised on 14 November 1998 (S/1998/1172). The report details a repeated pattern of obstructing weapons inspections by not allowing access to records and inspections sites, and by moving equipment records and equipment from one to site to another.
December 15, 1998: With military action looming, France suspends participation in Operation Southern Watch.
December 16, 1998: The United States and Great Britain begin a four-day air campaign against targets in Iraq, Operation Desert Fox. The stated mission: "to strike military and security targets in Iraq that contribute to Iraq's ability to produce, store, maintain and deliver weapons of mass destruction." UNSCOM withdraws its staff from Iraq.
December 16, 1998: CNN reports responses from key congressional leaders:
Armey and Fowler had supported the president in his February decision to allow time for a UN solution to work, Lott was reportedly opposed.
Air traffic controllers in the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center on board the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) assist in guiding the strike aircraft in and out of Iraq on Dec. 17, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. Enterprise and its embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 are operating in the Persian Gulf in support of Desert Fox. (DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael W. Pendergrass, U.S. Navy.)
Also quoted was Representative Gerald Solomon of New York, a Marine Corps veteran:
A Navy Lieutenant "flies with her hands" as she discusses her night-time strike against Iraq on Dec. 17, 1998, after returning on board the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) during Operation Desert Fox. She's an F/A-18C Hornet pilot from Strike Fighter Squadron 37, Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Fla. Enterprise and its embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 are operating in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Fox. (DoD photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tedrick E. Fryman III, U.S. Navy.)
"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.
"The responsibility of the United States in this conflict is to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to minimize the danger to our troops and to diminish the suffering of the Iraqi people. The citizens of Iraq have suffered the most for Saddam Hussein's activities; sadly, those same citizens now stand to suffer more. I have supported efforts to ease the humanitarian situation in Iraq and my thoughts and prayers are with the innocent Iraqi civilians, as well as with the families of U.S. troops participating in the current action.
"I believe in negotiated solutions to international conflict. This is, unfortunately, not going to be the case in this situation where Saddam Hussein has been a repeat offender, ignoring the international community's requirement that he come clean with his weapons program."
December 17, 1998:The Congressional impeachment vote is postponed until the conclusion of US military action against Iraq.
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) steams to the southern end of its operating area in the Persian Gulf the morning after the first wave of air strikes on Iraqi targets on Dec. 17, 1998, in support of Operation Desert Fox. (DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Todd Cichonowicz, U.S. Navy.)
December 19, 1998: Operation Desert Fox concludes. "On Wednesday when U.S. and British forces launched strikes against Iraq, I stated that we were pursuing clear military goals. And as President Clinton has announced, we've achieved those goals. We've degraded Saddam Hussein's ability to deliver chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. We've diminished his ability to wage war against his neighbors. Our forces attacked about 100 targets over four nights, following a plan that was developed and had been developed and refined over the past year. We concentrated on military targets and we worked very hard to keep civilian casualties as low as possible. Our goal was to weaken Iraq's military power, not to hurt Iraq's people.
"As the President's principal military advisor, I am confident that the carefully planned and superbly executed combat operations of the past four days have degraded Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs, his ability to deliver weapons and his ability to militarily threaten the security of this strategically important Persian Gulf region. Gen. Zinni made the same assessment."
Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, U.S. Marine Corps, commander in chief, U.S. Central Command, briefs reporters at the Pentagon, Dec. 21, 1998, on his assessment of Operation Desert Fox which was the four-day bombing campaign against Iraq. (DoD photo by R. D. Ward.)
Following the statements above, the Secretary responded to questions from the media:
UN weapons inspectors would not return to Iraq until late November 2002.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, briefs reporters in the Pentagon on the bomb damage assessment of strikes in Iraq during Operation Desert Fox on Dec. 18, 1998. (DoD photo by Helene C. Stikkel.)
"Now that Operation DESERT FOX is over, we will carefully evaluate the forces we need to keep in place in the region to keep an eye on Saddam. Make no mistake about it, we will maintain a significant capability there to defend our national interests and the security of the region as we have for many years." - General Hugh Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Bomb damage assessment photo of the Zaafaraniyah Fabrication Facility, Iraq, used by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, on television on Dec. 20, 1998.
December 19, 1998: President Clinton is impeached as the Republican controlled House approves two of the four proposed articles of impeachment by narrow partisan majorities: 228-206 and 221-212. Mr Clinton is sent for trial in the Senate.
December 21, 1998: In the wake of his impeachment, President Clinton's approval level with the voters leaps 10 points to a personal all-time high of 73 per cent in a Gallup poll. Sixty-eight per cent believe the Senate should not convict Mr Clinton in the pending impeachment trial, while support for resignation falls to 30 per cent. Other polls confirm the trend. CNN's top news stories of the year will list the attack on Iraq as #9, and the impeachment scandal at #1.
December 28, 1998: DoD press release: At approximately 1:30 p.m., Iraqi time, coalition aircraft were attacked by Iraqi surface-to-air missiles fired from sites in northern Iraq. The Iraqis fired three SAMs at Northern Watch aircraft; all missed. Although initial reports claimed that the planes retaliated by launching three HARMs, in fact three F-15Es each dropped two GBU-12 500-pound precision guided munitions (PGMs). Two of the F-15Es hit the SA-3 target site tracking radar and optical guidance unit. The other F-15E had one bomb hit the SA-3 missile site command and control van, and the other hitting the target site tracking radar and optical guidance unit. The other F-15E in the four-ship formation did not drop bombs because he did not have positive target identification. Video footage from U.S. aircraft responding in self-defense to Iraqi aggression on Dec. 28 show that coalition forces attacked the launch sites only after being fired upon. Video of the Iraqi missile firings clearly shows time of their fire prior to any release of coalition ordnance. The SA-3 site used both radar and optics when firing their offensive missiles.
December 30, 1998: An SA-6 site near Talil fires 6-8 missiles at Southern Watch aircraft. F-16s retaliate by dropping six GBU-12 laser-guided bombs on the site. They also launch two HARMs "as a preemptive measure" to deter Iraqi radar operators.
Excerpts above from "A Brief History of a Long War (Iraq, 1990-2003) / 1998". More here.
(Originally posted 2009-12-19 15:44:47)
Posted by Greyhawk / December 15, 2010 9:09 AM | Permalink
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November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com