It’s been pointed out by many (and so asserted by me during my ’04 conversation with Noocyte) that the European militaries have been pared back past the point of their being useful allies in any significant conflict. This harvest of shame is the fruit of their folly in the war of the Euroweenies versus the Arsenal of Kleptocracy. In an article in the April 16, 2011 WaPo, we learn this:
“Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in sustaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time, according to senior NATO and U.S. officials.”
Good grief, but there’s more:
“[…] the current bombing rate by the participating nations is not sustainable. “The reason we need more capability isn’t because we aren’t hitting what we see — it’s so that we can sustain the ability to do so. One problem is flight time, the other is munitions,” said another official, one of several who were not authorized to discuss the issue on the record.”
The problem of flight time is a function of their having to traverse relatively long distances from Allied airbases to Libyan targets. This has multiple effects on the campaign, all of them bad:
– Large quantities of expensive fuel are consumed,
– Wear & tear are put on aircraft, leading to increased maintenance costs and overall downtime, as well as hastening the point at which the aircraft will have to undergo overhaul.
– Fewer sorties can be flown overall because the strike craft spend so much time in transit.
– Enemy weapons can inflict damage on their targets in the meantime.
– Intelligence can become stale, and enemy targets can move out of area or into a protected space, like a residential neighborhood.
Would that they had carrier groups to park offshore, but of course, they don’t.
“European arsenals of laser-guided bombs, the NATO weapon of choice in the Libyan campaign, have been quickly depleted, officials said. Although the United States has significant stockpiles, its munitions do not fit on the British- and French-made planes that have flown the bulk of the missions.”
European airframes not compatible with American weaponry. How very stupid. What’s next? “We can’t put boots on the ground – our dainty stiletto heels will sink into the sand! Help us, Uncle Sam!”
“Libya “has not been a very big war. If [the Europeans] would run out of these munitions this early in such a small operation, you have to wonder what kind of war they were planning on fighting,” said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a defense think tank. “Maybe they were just planning on using their air force for air shows.”
Perhaps a fresh salvo of strongly worded memos from the U.N. will do the trick, or it’s on to the big guns of U.N. binding resolutions!
Remember this the next time you hear a leftist indignantly whine about how U.S. military expenditures exceed those of our allies. Butterflies and rainbow unicorn farts do not win wars. It is our allies who have been underspending and are woefully unprepared.