Today, American forces called in an AC-130 for support when they came under fire in the Kazimiyah district of Baghdad.
The Associated Press editorializes:
The AC-130, a lethal tool used by the military since the Vietnam War, can slowly circle over a target for long periods.
Human rights groups have criticized their use in urban settings where militants may be among crowded populations of noncombatants. The four-engine gunships were also used to support the U.S. attack that took the western city of Fallujah from insurgents in November 2004.
What the Associated Press does not mention is that the modern AC-130U is the most complex aircraft weapons system on the planet, and the reason for its complexity is that the aircraft's sensors, navigation, and fire control systems are calibrated to conduct exceedingly accurate surgical strikes. It is likely because of their precision strike capabilities that the AC-130U was chosen for this mission over other available means of attack.
The Associated Press reporter attempts to recall the image of the 40-year-old Vietnam-era AC-130A and it's ability to saturate large area targets, portraying it as an indiscriminate and careless weapons system to use in an urban area... and so it is good we haven't fielded that particular model in decades.
It's a dishonest conflation of aircraft using technologies developed decades apart, but sadly emblematic of the kind of reporting we've come to expect where creating imagery is as important as reporting facts.
Cross-posted to Confederate Yankee.