- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2011


Your article “Airstrike kills al Qaeda cleric al-Awlaki” (Web, Sept. 30) celebrates the counterterror success but minimizes the force that made it possible: air power.

Air-surveillance planes and satellites tracked al-Awlaki for weeks around the clock. Our unmanned aircraft supported by a global air-control network conducted the attack and U.S. fighters provided backup and in-depth offense. This was air power at its best - competent, efficient and precise.

But the looming cuts in defense as part of deficit reduction - $1 trillion by most estimates - would carve the heart out of air-power forces. Those are fighters, bombers, unmanned drones and surveillance aircraft, the very forces that we need to continue our global counterterror fight.

Libya and the al-Awlaki raid teach us a valuable lesson: The air-power solution is far superior to endless, mindless ground invasions and nation-building adventures, and far less costly in dollars and American lives. We should be increasing our air forces, not cutting them.


U.S. Air Force (retired)

Williamsburg, Va.

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