We Need Shore-Based Aircraft in Iraq
By Major Scott A. Cooper, U.S. Marine Corps
Before the current war in Iraq, then-secretary of State Colin Powell laid out the problem: "You break it, you own it." Iraq's problems have indeed become America's. One way in which we can immeasurably improve the situation is by shore-basing naval aircraft.
Throughout the 1990s, there was frequent talk about the anti-access challenges that our military faced. The Navy and Marine Corps advocated the operational flexibility of sea-basing. From 1991 to 2003, carrier aviation was crucial to the enforcement of the southern Iraqi no-fly zone. The complications of host-nation basing, diplomatic clearances, and bilateral allied relationships were not issues that had to be addressed if we flew off a carrier in the Persian Gulf.