[promoted by BooMan]

This story began last April 29th:
RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war
Michael Smith; Times On Line UK; May 28, 2005

From there we began searching for the terms “Spikes of Activity”

Then last November Norman Solomon reported in CENSORED NEWS:

Hidden in Plane Sight: U.S. Media Dodging Air War in Iraq
by Norman Solomon

The U.S. government is waging an air war in Iraq. “In recent months, the tempo of American bombing seems to have increased,” Seymour Hersh reported in the Dec. 5 edition of The New Yorker. “Most of the targets appear to be in the hostile, predominantly Sunni provinces that surround Baghdad and along the Syrian border.”

Hersh added: “As yet, neither Congress nor the public has engaged in a significant discussion or debate about the air war.”

Here’s a big reason why: Major U.S. news outlets are dodging the extent of the Pentagon’s bombardment from the air, an avoidance all the more egregious because any drawdown of U.S. troop levels in Iraq is very likely to be accompanied by a step-up of the air war.

So, according to the LexisNexis media database, how often has the phrase “air war” appeared in The New York Times this year with reference to the current U.S. military effort in Iraq?

As of early December, the answer is: Zero.

And how often has the phrase “air war” appeared in The Washington Post in 2005?

The answer: Zero.

And how often has “air war” been printed in Time, the nation’s largest-circulation news magazine, this year?


This extreme media avoidance needs to change. Now. Especially because all the recent talk in Washington about withdrawing some U.S. troops from Iraq is setting the stage for the American military to do more of its killing in that country from the air.

It’s time to go back and reconsider Sy Hersh’s speech last year at University of Chicago, where he said that the Bush administration never had an exit strategy because the troops are not coming home, ever.

No matter what message comes out in the state-sponsored media, the truth is that the war is expanding and public attention is being diverted away from the reality of an ever-expanding air war on Iraq. No matter what message comes out in the state-sponsored media, the truth is that the war is expanding and public attention is being diverted away from the reality of an ever-expanding air war on Iraq. Bush is now, just this minute trying to sell Iraq first-strike by using Iran…. his intentions are clear… the expanded air-war in Iraq is laying the groundwork for expansion of the war into Iran. Report Backs Iraq Strike and Cites Iran Peril. This is the very point we were at in Vietnam when Nixon attempted to expand the war into Laos and Cambodia.

From yesterday’s Knight Ridder:

U.S. military airstrikes significantly increased in Iraq
Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder Newspapers
March 14, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq – American forces have dramatically increased airstrikes in Iraq during the past five months, a change of tactics that may foreshadow how the United States plans to battle a still-strong insurgency while reducing the number of U.S. ground troops serving here.

A review of military data shows that daily bombing runs and jet-missile launches have increased by more than 50 percent in the past five months, compared with the same period last year. Knight Ridder’s statistical findings were reviewed and confirmed by American Air Force officials in the region.

The numbers also show that U.S. forces dropped bombs on more cities during the last five months than they did during the same period a year ago. Airstrikes hit at least nine cities between Oct. 1, 2004, and Feb. 28, 2005, but were mostly concentrated in and around the western city of Fallujah. A year later, U.S. warplanes struck at least 18 cities during the same months.

The spike in bombings comes at a crucial time for American diplomatic efforts in Iraq. Officials in Washington have said that the situation in Iraq is improving, creating expectations that at least some American troops might be able to withdraw over the next year.

On Monday, President Bush stopped short of promising a withdrawal. But he said he expects that Iraqi government forces will control more of Iraq, allowing U.S. forces to carry out more targeted missions.

There are risks to a strategy that relies more on aerial bombings than ground combat patrols. In the town of Samarra, for example, insurgents last month were able to spend several hours rigging explosives in the dome of a Shiite shrine that they later destroyed, in part because American troops patrolled less. The shrine’s destruction triggered a week of sectarian violence that killed hundreds. U.S. soldiers interviewed in Samarra three weeks earlier said patrols in the city had been scaled back because the number of troops had been reduced by two-thirds.

See also:
Air War, Death Squads, Surging Peace Movement”

Tom Hayden
December 3, 2005

As long predicted, the Pentagon and White House are preparing to “draw down” [not “withdraw”] thousands of troops from Iraq beginning with ten thousand in the near future and 20-30,000 by spring 2006, while turning over bases to Iraqi troops with ceremonial fanfare, and proclaiming the coming of political democracy. A sample front-page headline in the LA Times predicts it all: “U.S. Starts Laying Groundwork for Significant Troop Pullout From Iraq.” [Nov.26, 05]

Before you celebrate, ask yourself the purpose of these gestures.

Is it to end the war?

Or to end the anti-war movement?

If there’s any hope that this story will be covered in the US mainstream media, I think it’s time once again to remind remind them that this is their job. It’s time to confront what I can only call a “conspiracy of silence” around the air war on Iraq that has been ongoing since 2002, and has dramatically increased over the last five months.

THE MEDIA IS ENTIRELY COMPLICIT IN THIS NEWS BLACKOUT. We have never been given answers as to why this story has not been covered in the MSM. Last year Pincus said lamely, “Well, I thought it was a UK story.” Seymour Hersh, Norman Solomon, Dahair Jamail, Tom Hayden, Ron Brynaert, Michael Smith, and Tom Lasseter know otherwise. Now is the time for the American people to be asking, “I wonder what else they are not telling me about the war in Iraq.”

Do us all a favor, friends, run with this one.

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