Friday, January 05, 2007


I was reading this morning about doctrine, strategy, and . I came across Operation El Dorado Canyon. Something caught my eye that I wanted to record.

After several days of diplomatic talks with European and Arab partners, President Ronald Reagan ordered the strike on Libya on April 14. F-111 aircraft flying from 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath and 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Upper Heyford in England, along with A-6, A-7, and F/A-18 planes from the aircraft carriers USS America, USS Coral Sea and USS Saratoga struck five targets at 02:00 on April 15, in the hope that their destruction would send a message and reduce Libya's ability to support and train terrorists. The United States was denied overflight rights by France and Spain as well as the use of European continental bases, forcing the operation to be flown around France and through the Straits of Gibraltar, adding 1,300 miles (2,100 km) each way and requiring multiple aerial refuelings. The attack lasted about ten minutes. Several targets were hit and destroyed, but some civilian and diplomatic sites in Tripoli were struck as well, notably the French embassy, when a number of bombs missed their intended targets.
-wikipedia article "Bombing of Libya (April 1986)"
The French embassy was hit by accident. The French also wouldn't let us fly over their country, which made the whole operation more difficult. If you look at the airport photos post-strike, you see individual aircraft that were hit, with good aircraft right nearby.

So, if we can hit a Mig-23 (56.8 ft long), a F-27 (77 ft long), and a MI-8 (59.67 ft long) in an airbase, how do we hit a French Embassy. I should find a map and see how close the embassy was to the places that we hit. We did aim for some tents that might have held leadership, they would have been in a residential area.

I am not saying that we intentionally hit the French embassy. I would not rule out the use of precision strike to send messages to other governments though. The probability of success of the mission went down due to French actions, and the Libyans had just injured 63 US troops (and killed one) in Germany. Remind me to look into the other embassy bombing that I know about, in Kosovo.

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