|Smart and Happy, but do they have a conscience?|
With a firm-sounding UN resolution on Iraq, the Warmongers and armchair
generals may have to wait until the next war before seeing the latest US war technology.
Nonetheless, the US are still preparing for war, because they are not really
The US has perfected a very obvious, but very simple weapon - an intelligent, but passive
bomb which makes the smart bombs used in the last Gulf War look positively dumb
Veteran CNN viewers may remember the carefully edited video-clips of US smart
bombs flying into the front doors of Iraqi bunkers and such-like, as proud
generals narrated like doting parents. Of course the ones that missed
ended up on the cutting room floor.
That technology relied on a pilot flying a guide plane above the target area,
and a navigator guiding the weapon down to its target. Quite a few flight crews
were shot down in the process, and Saddam made life very uncomfortable for them
until the end of the war. He had them beaten up until they agreed to be videoed
saying what a great guy he was. Even at the end of the war he wouldn't release
them until their bruises healed.
But the latest US technology doesn't even need the navigators to guide the bombs.
These are pretty much conventional bombs, but they have computer controlled
tail-fins with Global Positioning System (GPS) and inertial guidance
backup. They can be programmed for their destination, and released 10,000m up
and 20Km away and drift gracefully down to their targets while the pilots turn
and head for home. The crew can be most of the way back to some R&R by
the time the weapons hit (within a few meters of) their target. And in case they
can't find a gung-ho pilot to fly the plane, they can even be launched
from their pilotless Drones.
Of course the weak GPS signal can be blocked, but then the inertial guidance
takes over, which halves the accuracy.
And the cost? Well because the US military is such a good customer, their
suppliers have been giving them a bulk discount at a mere $30,000 each. Much
cheaper than a Tomahawk cruise missile, which comes in at over $1 million.
Ever wondered why the Americans seemed to be using Tomahawks like they were
going out of fashion in the Gulf? Well, it's because they were. Can you imagine
the embarrassment of having to use out-of-date tomahawks for 40 times the price
of the newer technology. The American military would be the
laughing stock of the Middle
East - until they got bombed anyway.
The US is getting pretty good bang for their buck. Modern wars
are won on industrial strength and technology, and both require fragile
infrastructure. At 30,000 a pop, the US can easily destroy more
infrastructural asset than the cost of manufacturing the bomb, and all without
risking an American life.
This makes the outcome of any conflict with the US quite predictable. Provided
the US could ensure air-supremacy, they could simply use these weapons to
battle an opponent's economy, and win any war by technological attrition.
Quite literally bombing them back to the stone-age.
Now that's progress!