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SKYBIRD:
Dale Brown’s Ops Report
Copyright © 2003, TDPI

TARGET STUDY: Extraordinary success--that no one's heard about

Did you know that the U.S. Army, searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, unearthed DOZENS of Iraqi MiG-25 fighter-bombers and Su-25 ground attack jets that were buried under the sand near al-Taqqadum Airfield west of Baghdad on 2 August 2003?

The Mikoyan-25 "Foxbat" fighter is one of the world's fastest combat warplanes, originally designed to chase down America's SR-71 Blackbird supersonic spy plane. The Sukhoi-25 "Frogfoot" attack plane was the Soviet Union's version of the U.S. A-10 "Thunderbolt" tank-killer, designed to engage masses of armored vehicles on the battlefields of Europe.

In short: these planes are not war surplus airframes that were buried in the sand like the garbage. These are capable, dangerous front-line jets, which in the hands of skilled pilots could've wreaked havoc against Coalition forces and friendly forces all over the Middle East. Obviously the Iraqis buried them there in hopes of someday recovering them and secretly reconstituting part of their air force.

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It is an extraordinary find. We've been wondering what happened to the Iraqi air force: several dozen planes were flown to Iran during the first Gulf War, in hopes they would eventually be returned; we destroyed many others in the air and on the ground. It leads to the obvious question: how many more caches of weapons like this will we find? We've been wondering what happened to the Republican Guard, the Special Republican Guard, and the rest of the Iraqi army--maybe a good portion of it is buried in the sand as well.

And yet this incredible find was not reported in the press. I first heard about it on the "Hannity & Colmes" talk show on Fox News Channel. I searched the Internet and found only one other mention of it--in the Taipei Times. NOTHING in the U.S. press.

You may feel burying fighters in the desert is an act of desperation or nuttiness and that the find really doesn't matter. My take on it is that it is a significant find that shows one tactic the Iraqi military planned to use to reconstitute its forces: hide them until the invaders went away, then dig them up, make them flyable, and use them to hit the invaders from the blind side. It can be done even easier with tanks, artillery, missiles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, small arms of all kinds…

… and, yes, weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear, chemical or biological artillery shells, bombs, mines, and weapon components.

I have been saying for many months that the main reason we invaded Iraq and continue to occupy it is NOT because of weapons of mass destruction--although we certainly have a lot of questions about Iraq's WMD programs. We invaded Iraq in order to establish a foothold in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, a position of strength and domination over a region vitally important to American security. But if Iraq can hide billions of dollars' worth of advanced fighter and attack jets in the sand, imagine what they can do with drums or artillery shells filled with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons or components?

And it amazes me that this find has not been publicized or even hardly mentioned in the press. Have we already forgotten about the conflict in Iraq? Are we focused on Kobe Bryant, the California governor recall vote, Larry Flynt's candidacy for governor of California, or the last season of "Sex and the City" to care what happens in Iraq?

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Air Battle Force (MAY 2003)

Maverick Pilot Patrick McLanahan Takes aerial warfare into unknown territory in a heart racing new adventure.

Still smarting from recent losses, the brilliant but unpredictable former USAF Major General is accepted back into the fold and assigned a simple task: devise and build the air combat unit of the future. McLanahan's answer: the Air Battle Force - a rapid-response team of elite commandos protected by state-of-the-art body armour and supported by an armada of anmanned planes.

His idea is soon put to the test when the oil rich Republic of Turkmenistan becomes a battleground between Taliban insurgents, former Soviet overlords, Iranian opportunists and American oil companies and politicians. But can a handful of commandos half a world away, aided by an unproven force of robot warplanes, fight and win a war in which semingly everyone - even 'friendly' forces at home - want them to fail?

'Whe a former pilot turns his hand to thrillers you can take their authenticity for granted. His writing is exceptional and the dialogue, plots and characters are first-class... far too good to be missed.'
--Sunday Mirror

‘Dale Brown is a superb storyteller’
--WASHINGTON POST

‘Dale Brown is the best military adventure writer in the country’
--CLIVE CUSSLER

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