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6 - The Result Is Never Final: Operation Iraqi Freedom

The Greater Thirty Years War, 1990–

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 December 2021

Phil Haun
Affiliation:
US Naval War College
Colin Jackson
Affiliation:
US Naval War College
Tim Schultz
Affiliation:
US Naval War College
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Summary

For more than thirty years, a conventional mindset of applying force has clashed with the passions of the Iraqi people, complicating decisive outcomes despite US-led coalitions possessing overwhelming technological superiority in Iraq. Most studies of Operation Iraqi Freedom focus almost exclusively on the first few weeks of largely conventional

force employment, thereby missing how much this campaign has in common with other contemporary air campaigns. Air power made enormous contributions against the military “leg” of the Clausewitzian triangle over the course of thirty years with precision and stealth capabilities, but this advantage does not translate neatly into enduring strategic effect. As such, OIF should be reevaluated in a balanced manner that focuses more on the complex interactions between militaries, governments, and people and less on the overwhelming application of US kinetic force.

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Chapter
Information
Air Power in the Age of Primacy
Air Warfare since the Cold War
, pp. 121 - 147
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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