Recently a few have come out and openly attacked Senator Ted Cruz for his reference to carpet bombing ISIS. Individuals such as Sen. Lindsey Graham have flat out ridiculed Sen. Cruz for using this kind of language. As myself a retired TACP and JTAC, I can defend Sen. Cruz's use of this kind of language. I have fought overseas and as a JTAC and called in many air strikes against the enemies of this nation. I have many friends with shared experiences as fellow TACPs and JTACs who have done likewise and been akin to Titans on today's battlefields. Those are the men I look up to in my career field, men who do not go off and ridicule others who may not understand how it all works, but instead recognize that some exist who will never get it and leave it at that. I felt that way because no matter what, there are those who refuse to learn and prefer their own misconceptions.
That being said I cannot simply remain silent when people like Sen. Lindsey Graham and others ridicule of Sen. Cruz for his use of language like “carpet bombing.” He may as well condemn ME since I've used that same descriptor a thousand times in conversation. Not only is it still a legitimate tactic in the toolbox of our military, it has practical applications today. The point of carpet bombing is to attack a concentrated enemy force seeking to do maximum damage such as large vehicle formations, large troop formations, cratering terrain in an effort to deny enemy freedom of movement such as airports and major highways, and that is just a few of the many practical applications today.
I mentioned using the term carpet bombing about a thousand times in conversation as well and that is because it is often used as a metaphor to indicate simply the desire to obliterate terrorists. Case in point: “what should we do to the Taliban.” Carpet bomb them back to their caves! “What should we do to Al Qaeda?” Carpet bomb them back to the Stone Age! “What should we do to ISIS?” Carpet bomb them out of existence!!! Perhaps my own personal favorite for ISIS: “Nuke em till they glow and shoot em in the dark!!!” It's a metaphor, one that is used to convey the disgust we feel for the enemy and the desire we have to eliminate their evil from this earth. However, in a fight with an enemy, the military tactic of carpet bombing is entirely valid against an enemy that holds geographic territory like ISIS, especially when they are moving forces en masse from point A to point B.
We also have the capability to bomb precise locations and specific targets en mass. Carpeting an area with precision strikes in rapid succession is a form of carpet bombing adapted to requirements needing added precision. Both Gulf Wars are littered with examples of this.
So there it is folks, my two cents. For the sole purpose of providing clarity as a JTAC to what others rather obscure for political purposes and posturing as others have done recently.
SSGT (RET) Seth M Peña
USAF TACP (JTAC)