A Bunch of Stuff...

Ian Andrew Bell fork@ianbell.com
Mon, 20 Jan 2003 01:04:49 -0800


Why does anyone who criticizes America automatically get labeled as 
Anti-American?  Why do all such criticisms, be they right or wrong, 
endlessly result in insult and ridicule from patriots who seem to have 
nothing to learn?  Why, at this critical time in the evolution of our 
world, can no debate be held without detractors being burned at the 
stake, figuratively speaking?

As for Owen's statement that Iraq only suffered 1500 combat deaths 
during Operation Desert Storm (history records that the term "Gulf War" 
refers to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war), well that's a farce.  At the 
Highway of Death alone, where more than 10,000 Vehicles were destroyed 
over the course of 10-12 hours by dozens of bloodthirsty A-10 pilots 
(some of whom went back to base, re-armed, and hit the snarled traffic 
jam on multiple sorties), estimates vary widely between guesses that 
10,000 to 30,000 personnel were killed.  Actually assessing these 
casualties is difficult, of  course, because most of the bodies were 
incinerated in their vehicles as they desperately tried to escape, 
mostly unarmed.

Another 150,000-200,000 Iraqi conscripts left starving out in the 
desert just north of Kuwait City, who had been ponied up as cannon 
fodder by Saddam Hussein, were killed by B-52s as they attempted to 
surrender.  Stormin' Norm told us that these were the feared Republican 
Guard, but the reality was that those forces had long since withdrawn 
to Baghdad.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kruschev made a crucial 
miscalculation.  He anticipated American protest, however his reasoning 
seemed sound:  The US had Medium Range missiles in Europe, so placing 
his in Cuba merely achieved a modicum of parity.  These missiles were 
part and parcel of the USSR's ongoing bolstering of the Castro 
government, and they were very much welcome -- as was fuel, coal, 
wheat, and machinery.  We'll never really know whether Castro invited 
them or whether the missiles were foisted upon Cuba by the Soviets.

Incidentally, Curtis LeMay, of the US Strategic Air Command at the 
time, wanted to nuke Cuba straight away.  He was, during his reign of 
terror, a big believer in Tactical Nuclear Exchange.  He was also 
thought by many to be a complete psychopath.  The F-111 was his baby.  
He wanted an attack aircraft that could deliver multiple low-yield 
nuclear warheads while scraping the ground on the ingress.   The B-1 
was a later fiasco which was an attempt to make the idea stick.  
Neither aircraft has really seen a shot fired in anger, except for a 
couple of F-111s which got shot up over Libya in 1985.  Strangely, the 
reason the F-111 has swept wings is because it was originally designed 
to be used by the Air Force, Navy, AND Marines... which meant it was 
supposed to be launched and recovered by Aircraft Carriers.  This 
didn't work too well in practise, and the Navy built the F-14 instead 
(which was another disaster, since F-14s ended up being Air-to-Air 
only).

Up until its limited use in Afghanistan, the B-1 had the distinction of 
being the only aircraft in US history to serve two decades without ever 
being used in combat.   Truth is, during a time of conflict, TRULY the 
safest thing in the world to be is a B-1 pilot.  :)

The reality is if you're gonna bomb strategically and you're worried 
about a nuclear exchange, the next best thing is to drop lots and lots 
of unguided iron onto a target of opportunity and thoroughly demoralize 
the enemy.  The US got rid of a bunch of expired iron munitions left 
over from Vietnam during Desert Storm but there's still plenty more 
left.  The only vehicle in inventory that can do that well is the B-52. 
  Yes it was designed in the 40s, yes it came into service in 1955-56.  
But while the airframes are the same ones left over from the original 
744 units delivered between 1955-62, a lot has changed.  The engines 
are radically upgraded, the avionics and electronics are a lot 
different, and in most units the tail gun has been removed.  Also, for 
a short time they tried to make the B-52 a low-level bomber which 
required lots of structural upgrades.  On the whole the thing is likely 
to be in service for another 20 years, used exclusively where the US 
has total air superiority.

So, in essence, bombing really has three phases:

1)	Attack Aircraft - Go in and target RADAR and missile sites w/
          Anti-radiation missiles (F-15Es, Panavia Toronados, F-117s,
          F-4Es)
2)	Tactical Bombing - Work over defensive and command/control
          systems with little to no warning using precision guided muni-
          tions (B-2s, B-1s, F-16s, F/A-18s)
3)     Strategic Bombing - Pound the enemy's cities into submission
	(The B-52) by dropping more bombs in one sortie than in the
	entirety of World War II.

You'll know the war is starting when the B-2s take off from their bases 
at McChord in Seattle, and from the UK.  The B-2 pilots will be the 
hardest-working combatants during Desert Storm II, running 30-36 hour 
long missions at a time with 4-5 mid-air refuels per mission.  The US 
is reticent to land these anywhere outside sovereign soil because they 
don't want anyone looking at 'em or testing their RADAR against them.

As for Canada supplying nuclear power plant technology to developing 
nations?  So what?  Isn't power a resource that enables the provision 
of other aspects of quality-of-life such as heating, light, 
communications, and cooling?  Many of the countries mentioned have very 
few renewable energy sources to speak of.. Nuclear Power is a 
quick-and-dirty method to get these up and running, and was critical to 
them moving from agrarian to commercial societies.

Besides, connecting the proliferation of Nuclear Power to the spread of 
Atomic Weapons is a dramatic oversimplification of the technology -- 
it's like saying that because someone has a bicycle that they can enter 
the Indy 500.  You wanna join the Holocaust Round Table?  You've got to 
figure out how to purify depleted uranium, build the perfect implosion 
device, and design a reliable delivery mechanism capable of dropping it 
on a target.  Remember:  Einstein failed at trying to build these.

Why did Saddam waste so much time building really fucking big cannons?  
Because he thought it'd be cheaper and more accurate than using 
missiles to deliver whatever sort of crude nuclear weapons he was 
working on.  Whatever technology he was trying to cobble together was 
probably so big and heavy that the cannons had to be gargantuan, and I 
would guess that whatever shell casing / launch explosive he was 
working on had a 50% chance of imploding the device right then and 
there, thus his ambivalence when the sites were dismantled.

-Ian.

On Sunday, January 19, 2003, at 12:12 PM, Bill Kearney wrote:

> It seems Owen's got his "let's all hate America" hat on again.  It 
> seems to be
> cinched a bit too tight for rational thinking however.
>
> Do the deaths of children in Iraq (numbers of which are extremely 
> debatable)
> fall to blame on their dictatorship government?  Or that just too 
> rational a way
> to look at it?  After all, when seeing their population dying what 
> good is a
> government doing by prolonging their suffering?  Soverign pride?  
> Tough to feel
> proud from the grave. Yeah, shut up and let your children die while 
> your
> soveriegn builds new palaces.  Don't they have cake?
>
> And of course!  The cuban crisis was the US's fault!  The Soviet 
> efforts to
> install nuclear missiles in Cuba had nothing to do with escalating the 
> risks of
> anihillation, of course.  The US presense, invited, in Europe 
> contrasts quite
> unevenly with the Soviet use of an island in the Caribbean.  But hey, 
> why mix
> facts with rhetoric?
>
> The Irish resistance to British colonialism is quite a bit different 
> than most
> conflicts of today.  Drawing parallels is weak at best.
>
> But you go Owen, all that hatred of the US must be the only thing that 
> keeps you
> posting.
>
> -Bill Kearney