1 History Department, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University
Fire case-studier fra 1965 til 1999Four case studies from 1965 to 1999
The use of airpower has played a central role in American warfare in the Twentieth Century. By examining four cases of American air war, this article analyzes the causes and reasons for the failures and the successes obtained when American governments have used airpower to achieve political aims. The Rolling Thunder campaign from 1965 to 1968 shows how highly restricted use of airpower without the necessary doctrinal foundations of the right training, aircraft and ammunition, was an exercise in futility against a rural opponent conducting low-intensity warfare, particularly with two major powers providing aid and protection against a drastic escalation. The Gulf War of 1991 demonstrates that despite almost ideal geopolitical and military conditions, airpower could not achieve the maximalist aims of President George H. W. Bush on its own. There are still limits inherent in airpower, which could not be overcome except by limiting the aims. However, Linebacker and Dessert Storm demonstrate that when geopolitical and military conditions are right, and when limited objectives are set, airwar to a large extent constitutes the kind of low-cost, low-risk Post-heroic warfare which for political reasons has become crucial to the continued use of military power.
Jyske Historiker, 2006, Vol 2006, Issue 113-114, p. 86-118