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05/15/2006

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Rob

He seems to think that, if we accept a fairly conventional notion of causation, then we have to accept his version of EBO. How strange.

Sonny

FX-Based is not solely devoted to the defense of EBO. Read other posts and find out for yourselves. No one on the Allied side during WWII expected the Nazis to surrender as result of the Allied air campaign. The bombing in Europe was part of a greater, combined effort. The Allied air campaing did contribute to the withdrawal of the Nazis back to Germany. Resources that the Germans had to use to repair their infracstructure were resources that did not go to Rommel or Paulus. Was the air campaign against Germany the decisive blow against Germany? Few things in war are by themselves decisive. There's no silver bullets in war.

Since you mention Kahn. MAD. What nation has attacked another with a nuclear bomb since 1945? MAD might sound ludicrous but it achieved the intended effect.

First time I read that Wolfowitz is a member of the "EBO school", whatever that means. I consider him more a member of the "pipe dream-based operations" school. The vast majority of EBO theorist (Mitchell, Deptula, Warden, etc.) are (of have been) practicioners. EBO was not conceived in academia and it's actually practiced every day around the world by many forces, including terrorists who mostly operate using an EBO approach. 9/11 was an EBO; we are still feeling the effects long after the smoke cleared, the rubble was collected and the bodies were buried. The damage extended far beyond thephysical targets.

Regarding "Shock and Awe": Is Saddam in power right now? Shock and awe was succesful in meeting its intended effect: depose the Saddam regime. "Shock and awe" was never meant to address the reconstruction and insurgency.

"But that's not what Duohet, Wolfowitz, and other members of the EBO school have been arguing. Instead, they've claimed that attacks on the strategic foundation of an enemy's warmaking ability can single-handedly win a war."

Find me a quote by Douhet (or Wolfowitz who I don't think even knows what EBO is) that claims that.

There is no such thing as "EBO enthusiasts". EBO is not a hobby. Most people who use EBO approaches actually do this for a living.

ROLLING THUNDER? Not an EBO.

Nobody has to accept "my version" of EBO. EBO plans are very rarely (if ever) formulated by a single person.

Most of the critics only criticize. Seldom they provide viable alternatives. Most of the time they don't have to. We practicioners, on the other hand, have to come up with solutions every day. EBO is just one of the many toola in our toolkit. Take care,

Capt "Sonny", out.

Rob

Sadly, I don't have my Douhet with me, but there's no doubt that he (and other strategic bombing enthusiasts, including Arthur Harris) most certainly believed that bombers were THE weapon necessary to win the war. Harris relentlessly fought the idea that strategic bombers should be used for anything other than the destruction of enemy morale; he resented their use against industry, communications, and in a tactical role.

Rob

On the question of what Douhet believed, let's ask Lt. Colonel Richard H. Estes, USAF:


http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/6win90.html

"Douhet believed that, with the advent of technology, the army and navy had become "organs of indirect attrition of national resistance." The air arm, on the other hand, could act directly to break national resistance at the very source. But not just any air force would do. Douhet rejected the idea of an auxiliary air arm of the army or navy or a collection of "knights-errant" flying fighters. Rather, he called for a fleet of massive, self-defending bombers that would dominate not only the enemy, but also the military budget of Italy--or any other country that would listen to his ideas. He wanted an air force that could win not just air battles but total command of the air. This command of the air would have a debilitating effect on the capability of land and sea forces, which would be relegated to a secondary role in future conflicts. The army and navy would remain part of an "indivisible whole" of the three armed services but would no longer be a significant factor in successfully resolving a war.7 With the ascendance of the air force, "the history of the war ... presents no more interest."8"

Sonny

Fair enough, however the influence of Douhet's writings on current EBO approaches (and the Air Force) should not be overstated. Also, remember that Douhet was writing during the initial years of air combat. There's is usually a tendency to overestimate (or at least misjudge) the impact of new technologies. Douhet also assumes that if you create and atmosphere of terror in a population through aerial bombardment, a sane leader will eventually surrender because the population will rise up and revolt. Based on our experience since WWI, we know this is seldom the case. Even Billy Mitchell, a comteporary of Douhet, did not entirely spouse Douhet's ideas. Neither did the Air Corps Tactical School later on. Most current airpower thinkers clearly acknowledge and recognize the limitations of Douhet's theories and, more importantly, of airpower itself. An effects-based approach to operations (with all its limitations) is, however, not exclusive to the application of airpower, and not exclusive to the Air Force. Again, I would like to see alternatives to this approach other than "Only killing wins wars".

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