U.S. Set to End 20 Years of Bombing Iraq

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
(photo: Ronald C. Wegner)
With the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, the United States will finally conclude the longest air war in world history.
For 20 years, beginning with the 1991 Gulf War and now ending in December, the U.S. carried out almost continuous air combat missions over Iraq. In the intervening years between the two wars (from 1992 until the March 2003 invasion), U.S. warplanes enforced the United Nations’ no-fly zone, conducting low-level air assaults in the process.
Major General Russell Handy, commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq, told AlterNet that the two-decade air campaign will end next month, because there are no arrangements in place to allow the U.S. to fly missions over Iraq after December 31, 2011.
In 1991, during the presidency of George H. W. Bush, U.S. forces dropped 265,000 bombs on Iraq (about 70% of which missed their target). During the opening months of the 2003 invasion, his son approved the launching of another 27,000 bombs. In between the two Bushes, President Bill Clinton’s attacks on Iraq were highlighted by an intense bombing campaign in December 1998 that included the first bomb-dropping by female combat pilots.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

U.S. Combat in Iraq is Over…Except for the Air Strikes and Deaths (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


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