Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Meet the New War
Photo: Pazuzu
 Same as the Old War
Photo: Hautala
NY Times: The United States and allies launched airstrikes against Sunni militants in Syria early Tuesday, unleashing a torrent of cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs from the air and sea on the militants’ de facto capital of Raqqa and along the porous Iraq border.
"I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles," said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. 

The first picture is of an AGM-86 C Air Launched Cruise Missile, the second is of the Fieseler Fi-103, known to the West as the V-1.  While referred to as the Buzz Bomb in England, the Germans called it Vergeltungswaffen; translation: retaliatory or reprisal weapon.

The AGM-86 C carries either a Block 0 2000lb conventional warhead or a Block 1 3000lb conventional warhead, the AGM-86 D carries a 1290lb unitary penetrator or bunker buster.

I just blundered across the striking similarity in design and purpose, again... the AGM-86C and the Fieseler Fi-103:

 The more things change
the more they remain the same

Air attacks in support of ground troops can be decisive in battle, air attacks alone are likely to be no more effective than the 9,521 V-1's launched at London by the Germans in WWII, that is unless you're willing to launch the B-variant which contains the "Physics package".

And in the world of believe it or not, the AGM-86C costs roughly 1.2 million, the AGM-86D costs 1.8 million... 

The AGM-86B only costs a clean 1 million, and if you hadn't figured out what the "physics package" is, it contains a W80 variable yield 5-150 kiloton fusion device. 

Strategic Bombing

If you lived in London or Berlin in WWII or today, if not killed outright in the attack, conventional bombing could ruin your whole day and many days to follow.  The problem is we're bombing people, if not killed in the actual attack, whose lives aren't really going to change at all - post bombing.  Strategic bombing is an element of psychological warfare designed to break the enemies will to fight, without the psychological impact of altered lifestyle there is no impact.  

The people of London and Berlin in the bombings of WWII suffered major impact from the loss of utilities: electrical, water, sewer... you cant deny electricity to people not reliant upon it, you can't deny water to people who draw it from a river, and you can't deny sewer service to someone that poops in a hole.  I would venture that this costly escapade is no more, if not less effective than our previous strategic bombing campaigns against other pre-industrial militaries such as the Viet Cong.

Despite its precision, this is nothing more than weak albeit expensive strategic bombing... strategic because without boots on the ground to exploit the effects it cannot be considered 'tactical'.  Frankly, it's pointless, except for the very minor psychological feel-good effect it generates because we're doing something.

If you bomb cavemen back into the
stone age, how will they know?

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