Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

On those Iraqi F-16s we aren’t delivering

I know there are good political reasons not to help out Maliki right now with F-16s. But it doesn’t look like that to someone in the know, who writes: "There are Iraqi pilots in Tucson today who are/were training to fly the F-16. Instead of training them on a syllabus designed to produce relevant combat ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

I know there are good political reasons not to help out Maliki right now with F-16s. But it doesn't look like that to someone in the know, who writes:

"There are Iraqi pilots in Tucson today who are/were training to fly the F-16. Instead of training them on a syllabus designed to produce relevant combat power as quickly as possible, our institutional inertia insisted on teaching them skills like offensive and defensive counter air... because that is the way we always do things. 

While we say we could not have delivered F-16s any faster, we are simultaneously paying storage fees on at least four American-owned F-16s originally designated for Egypt that could have been provided to Iraq with a change of decals and 2-3 weeks of staff work."

I know there are good political reasons not to help out Maliki right now with F-16s. But it doesn’t look like that to someone in the know, who writes:

"There are Iraqi pilots in Tucson today who are/were training to fly the F-16. Instead of training them on a syllabus designed to produce relevant combat power as quickly as possible, our institutional inertia insisted on teaching them skills like offensive and defensive counter air… because that is the way we always do things. 

While we say we could not have delivered F-16s any faster, we are simultaneously paying storage fees on at least four American-owned F-16s originally designated for Egypt that could have been provided to Iraq with a change of decals and 2-3 weeks of staff work."

On the other hand, the Pentagon said this morning that it is sending Apache attack helicopters to Iraq. I suspect needed to provide cover for U.S. observers moving around. And in a pinch much easier to coordinate for CAS.

Meanwhile, C.J. Chivers does his usual solid work looking at how and why an Iraqi brigade fell apart.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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