Hit or Miss

Courtesy Reuters

A Neater Way to Win

Merrill A. McPeak

Robert Pape ("The True Worth of Air Power," March/April 2004) seems to think that all modern war is of a kind, featuring large formations of mechanized infantry, artillery, and armor. He asserts that wars are still decided "the old-fashioned way," by pounding opposing forces into submission. He concedes that the advent of air-delivered precision-guided munitions (PGMS) has made the task easier; formerly the largely ineffective handmaiden to ground forces, air power is now a "hammer" to be used in concert with the ground forces' "anvil." Still, Pape argues, it would be a mistake to think of air power as useful on its own, particularly when it is put to the service of a "decapitation" strategy-the elimination of enemy leadership-which "has never been effective." As a consequence, tomorrow's Air Force should look much like yesterday's, with perhaps a "few F-22s (or electronically

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