The Military: The Risks Of Air Power

American forces in the sky can inflict damage, but they can't guarantee a change of heart

It seemed for a brief moment like it was going to be such an antiseptic war: invisible fighters and bombers sneaking through Yugoslav defenses and bringing back proud videos of their kills. But on Saturday night, the antiseptic evaporated. Flying into one of the few hornet's nests of surface-to-air missile activity, a U.S. Stealth F-117A fighter ended up near Belgrade at that most dreaded of air-combat locations: the wrong place at the wrong time.

The quick rescue of the pilot gladdened Pentagon hearts, but the downing remained a reminder that air power, despite its omnipotent, high-tech gloss, does have stark limits....

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