UPDATED 12 September 2009

Understanding High Explosives: our Survival Depends on It

What a small anti-ship missile (ASM) with a small high explosive warhead (HE) will do to an unarmored "modern" surface ship

This photo from Vietnam shows both sides of the HE contest; the earth-filled 55 gallon steel drums are revetments to protect UH-1 Huey helicopters and in the background is a B-52 heavy bomber strike on suspected enemy positions

One of the great mysteries of the 20th century continuing into the 21st is WHAT CAN HIGH EXPLOSIVES (HE) DO AND NOT DO IN WARFARE?

If you think this is just a military question, consider that the fundamental misunderstanding of HE has resulted in over 100 MILLION people dying. Who knows how many of those had they lived might have solved cancer, perfected anti-gravity flight, and solved dozens of social ills? We lost their human potential in a miscalculation over a man-made chemical reaction. If we do not want to end up wiped out in the ultimate super "HE"--a nuclear miscalculation, we need to get a handle on non-nuclear HE and perfect a realistic military force that uses it for the good before those unsatisfied that HE has not annihilated us, turn to something that can.

It's Easier to Destroy than Build on Planet Earth, but will destroying bring us Peace?

Today, we can see what's visible on the surface of the earth if the weather doesn't block our view. Does this mean we can destroy what we see? What if its dug in deep into the earth? What if what we see is what the enemy wants us to see and destroy?

To understand warfare, you must realize there are always two conflicts underway; a battle against the earth itself to stay biologically alive and THEN against humans with differing wills. The earth is covered in 21% oxygen and EVERYTHING will burn (chemical reaction with oxygen) if made flammable by drying or adding an accelerant. However, countering this atmospheric reality is the even larger land mass of the planet of dirt that doesn't burn, surrounded by 70% water which puts fire out. So while the earth itself will destroy everything by entropic decay if left unattended, if Soldiers were to put a torch to things, the fires would only consume what on the surface was made vulnerable by drying; the dirt and the water would stop the fires after the easy fuel is gone. Alert enemies are not going to offer themselves as easy fuel for a fire; so while civilian life creates lots of things that can be burned up, trying to use fire against an organized-for-war enemy who isn't going to be lit on fire places the attacker himself in even greater danger walking around with accelerant be it "Greek Fire" or a flamethrower strapped to his back.

Ever since the Chicago fire, urban planners have used steel and concrete buildings that cannot themselves burn up as wood structures do so entire cities will not go up in flames from the occassional fire. Even if fires gut the inside, steel buildings remain standing and not topple much less implode. Thus, an entire cottage industry of demolition experts have come into being in order to implode buildings with controlled demolitions. If kerosene/jet fuel fires could implode buildings we wouldn't need such demolition specialists.

Fire Cannot Implode Steel Skyscrapers but Controlled High Explosives Can: 9/11 Attacks a U.S. Government-Sponsored False Flag Operation


New False Flag Terrorist Attack to Be Blamed on Iran to Deceive Americans to nuclear attack Iran's deep underground facilities


The most fundamental misunderstanding of fire and high explosives is the 9/11 attacks which the U.S. Government staged to make the ignorant American masses driven by irrational emotions to want to kill "ragheads" and go to wars for corporate convenience in Afghanistan (drugs and oil pipeline) and Iraq (oil and proximity to Iran). The consequences of misunderstanding high explosives is fatal in more ways than just death/maiming/loss of battles/wars for Soldiers on the battlefield. Ripping out the cancer-causing asbestos in the financially failing World Trade Center (WTC) towers would cost too much money for greedy evil men so they decided to stage a false "terrarist" attack and implode the buildings with some Americans inside. Rich, corrupt people like the Paris Hilton family (father refused to give fortune to charity as his father ordered be done upon his death) "are another country"; they have no loyalty to the United States of America. WTC owner Larry Silverstein made billions from insurance pay-outs since he and other conspirators conned the gullible masses into thinking it was a "terrarist" attack. Years later there still are no new WTC buildings--construction costs lots of money that greedy people would rather keep to themselves, so New York City still has a huge gap in its center.

When man builds things, theses efforts take up huge amounts of effort, sacrifice and discipline but are more easily destroyed the farther they stray from being raw water, stone or earth which can bring forth hardened steel. Evil men are drawn to the lust of destruction over the hard work and toil of building. We postulate that in general its 10x times easier to destroy than it is to build anything on planet earth; 10 hours of hand effort can be easily smashed by just 1 hour of hand vandalism. To build large amounts of things to attain stable shelter people from the forces of the earth requires a stable food supply and a group of security defenders to keep initially hunter/gatherers who keep moving (offense) and rival organized societies from destroying and taking things the static people (defense) created. To think deeply and discover the nature of things, one needs to not have hunger occupying his mind 24/7/365 by virtue of a stable food supply that a structured, civilized society using co-operative teamwork can provide. This is not to say that the hunter/gatherer technique as epitomized by Genghis Khan's horse warriors is not invalid; a civilized society's army would be very wise to sweep into an enemy nation-state's civilian areas and taking their food stuffs to keep themselves going and then smashing their war means as Sherman did to end the U.S. Civil War in 1864-5.

The bottom line is that taking up arms to do destruction is an un-natural, self-destructive act because what nature demands for survival is for humans to create shelters and create food for themselves to keep their bodies functioning. When the creator was here on the earth, he was a CARPENTER. The paradox is many men like the fact that its 10x times easier to destroy than build and if for nothing else than just boredom, like the excitement of destroying things in war. If people want to live at peace from criminals all the way up to organized armies, they will need to subsidize their own group of "destruction-lusters" and somehow not let them take over the society (military, industrial, congressional, think-tank complex) and corrupt it into the very thing they were supposed to be fighting against.

Military Force is more than Blowing Things Up

Therefore, from the dawn of man to 1600, there were essentially no explosives at all in warfare though men were trying relentlessly to have such a power to destroy things faster than by hand.

In the "rock, paper and scissors" (RPS) of war as pointed out by Washington Post writer, Tom Ricks, humans killed other humans to force them into doing things with metal objects to pierce and cut in their hand or thrown or shot as short range spears/arrows. Aside from Roman engines of war exploiting mechanical advantage, kinetic energy (KE) levels of these attacking objects was low enough that portable shielding was possible for each Soldier and could several could make a group shield with the phalanx, a de facto human assault "tank". "Rock" defensive effect was achieved by nearly any hard armor in a shield or worn on the body and literally in walled forts and cities. There was no way at that time to easily lay on a substance upon a foe and make him burn or explode. You could set fire to his easy-to-burn cities but only if you can avoid your own destruction from the military forces defending them. Some refer to this "1st Generation of War" as hand-powered. The "paper" was surrounding the "rock" walled areas and starving them out if costly human assaults by ladders were to be avoided. The basic problem is that for humans to stay alive they need food grown across a large surface area of the earth that they move across breaking up the soil and planting seeds. Humans that remain static in a small area of a walled city or fort may have a water supply that can last far beyond their own lifespans but they will eventually run out of food and die because they don't have enough land area to grow enough food to be totally self-sufficient. While the "rock" wall of defense stopped "scissors" attacks cold, even the Romans couldn't wall in their farmlands to be self-sufficient in a siege, so when attacked the poor peasant farmers retreated to the walled city or fort to be defended by a warrior class paid for such a rainy day from their toils, run by a king. The war would have to be won before the food supplies ran out so they could go outside and grow food in peace.

This is the beginning of the offense (moving) vs defense (static) pendulum that swings back and forth throughout human history, one side getting the advantage over the other until a RPS asymmetry is found.

The Age of Vauban: Defensive Stalemate, smashed by gunpowder

Until 1600 AD, the kinetic energy of weapons was stopped cold by the defensive wall and French engineer Vauban perfected the art of the fortress to such a degree that military stalemate followed as long as offensive forces prevented an attacked fort from falling from encirclement.

The advent of low explosives (LE) gunpowder smashed holes in Vauban forts and made them obsolete since attackers could no longer be kept out; the pendulum had swung back to offensive movement as armies fought in the open in meeting engagements to determine the fate of nation-states. French General Napoleon became the master of this era of warfare. A LE fired in a tube in a cannon or a hand-held firearm is an internal combustion engine in one direction, so Van Crevald calls this the "Machine Age" or the "2nd Generation of War" (2GW). With LEs, 10 hours of work could be destroyed by just 1 minute of vandalism.

During this offensive period, to get kinetic energy projectile (bullet) effects to pierce men's soft bodies (effective body armor not available), lines were formed shoulder-to-shoulder to fire at the same time, then take a knee and reload while a line behind them fired. 1st Generation hand-to-hand combat could still work if you got close so sharp metal bayonets were placed on the end of rifles and muskets if there was no time to load in an organized, linear war fashion. Men on horses (cavalry) were used to move behind and deep into the enemy to attack with hand weapons and dismount and fight with the new LE firearms. Such attacks could be repelled by forming into 360 degree circles or squares and the cavalry were slaughtered. By the time of the U.S. Civil War, Cavalry was used as a find-the-enemy-first and hold key elevated terrain "paper" arm for the marching infantry main body to catch up to and hold. Watch General Buford's Cavalry in action in the movie, "Gettysburg". Sam Elliott should have got an Oscar for his portrayal of Buford, who saved the day and our nation. Americans involved in the Civil War quickly learned the truth about small arms fire as expressed much later by the late U.S. Army General Depuy:


The human body in order to move has to detach itself from protective earth, making it vulnerable to LE attacks of KE bullets and exploding cannon shells. The side that is down with some objects like wood, stone or dead bodies or better yet BELOW THE GROUND is able to inflict casualties upon the attackers 3-to-1 in their favor. So while the "rock" of rapid entrenching and the "scissors" of LE bullets were ripping lines upon lines of soft bodies, Union Generals persisted with offering them "paper" again and again thinking they'd be able to encircle the Confederates and get the Napoleonic decisive outcome. Sherman, seeing the nature of modern war would result in huge losses and stalemate, realized to get offensive maneuver he had to become like Genghis Khan's hunter/gatherers and cut loose of his predictable railroad lines bringing him a stable food, ammo supply and instead march into the enemy's civilian areas and unromantically stop his brothers from having the arms to continue rebelling by taking the means from them.

World War 1: misunderstanding High Explosives results in mass carnage, 1914-1938

After the Civil War, Alfred Nobel invented nitroglycerine and this chemistry lead to the vaunted and much feared High Explosives (HE) like TNT. With HE, it was now possible to destroy what took 1, 000 hours to build by hand in 1 second. The power of HE is so much that time is not adequate a measure, we must go directly to the offense vs. defense, RPS event itself and measure by weight. 1 pound of HE will destroy 1, 000 pounds of any material if the two are directly together.

Meanwhile, the world's militaries did not learn from the ominous LE warnings of the U.S. Civil War and seek to add protection to ground Soldiers to counter-act the new HE attacks as the world's navies did by ditching wood and sails in favor of fossil fuel-powered, armored dreadnoughts (battleships). German Army generals thought they could paper-maneuver their way around enemy HE scissors and get the Napoloeonic encirclement victory of taking Paris and end the war very quickly. It worked against inept Czarist Russia, but not the alerted French. The French 75mm rapid-firing guns and riflemen stopped them from "passing" as HE scissors tore into the German maneuver paper.


Stalemated, both sides dug in and extended trench lines from the Alps to the sea. Those under the ground were safe from HE near misses (NM) except for a direct landing hit (DH) but as soon as they "went over the top" they were cut to pieces by KE bullets fired from gun machines in the open, snagged on the "rock" of barbed wire. It was a horrible disaster that has lead to the end of Colonialism, another couple world wars and possibly the end of the nation-state as a social organization with a new dark age of uncontrolled sub-national conflicts or more super power nation-state duels. The land forces of nation-state militaries not populated by the "best and the brightest" failed to understand the pattern war was taking and the role HE played in creating a defensive stalemate.

World War 2: the pendulum swings back in favor of offensive maneuver thanks to the Airplane and Tank, 1939-1945

The good news is that the forces of invention that created HE also created faster maneuver via the internal combustion engine in two directions; airplanes and ground vehicles. The genius Churchill lead the effort to create a "tank" with tracks to rumble over the wire as maneuvering "paper", that CARRIED ITS OWN ARMOR "rock" to withstand the enemy's LE/HE scissors firepower. Aircraft could attack from above the enemy's open trench lines as the tanks punched through and WW1 was finally ended. Yet for some strange reason, the under-estimation and resultant lack of preparation for HE which exposed millions of men to being UP AND MOVING and savaged by those down and firing caused the French to return to Vauban rock fortifications instead of mechanized tank maneuver. The best way to defeat enemies with HE is to surround them with paper/rock/scissors tanks carrying with themselves all the combined arms using MECHANIZATION---MACHINES---TO INCREASE HUMAN CONSTRUCTIVE BUILDING CAPABILITIES AT LEAST AS FAST AS HE COULD BE MANUFACTURED. 1 pound of HE could still explode 1, 000 pounds of material, but in the hour it takes to make the pound of TNT, at least 1, 000 pounds of steel could also be made. Building had caught up with destroying for the moment. The real story of WW2 is the French reliving Napoloeon on the receiving end when their Maginot Line forts fell to German aircraft inserted paratroops and tracked tank maneuver and the return of offensive warfare. Van Crevalds calls this the "3rd Generation of War" (3GW) or in Lind's words; "Maneuver warfare". Find what holds the enemy's army together, strike it through mechanized air/ground infiltration and the rest collapses.

However, as WW2 raged, HE now over-esteemed in the air forces by Douhet/Mitchell via Taranto/Pearl Harbor/Midway etc. was thought by aircraft enthusiasts to be able to annihilate entire civil populations and deprive their armies from war means. A sort of Sherman's March to the Sea---without the march to the sea. These folks, all firepower (scissors) forgot and to this day still forget that in the BATTLE AGAINST THE EARTH, there's still far more earth than we have HE even if we worked around the clock, 7 days a week, year in and year out. We bombed and bombed and bombed Germany, killing thousands upon thousands of exposed civilians, but the earth and machine made building absorbed the HE. We tried to be moral and give civilians a chance to escape the firebombings.


Firebombing_leaflet.jpgý (49KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

Caption from CIA article: Front side of OWI notice #2106, dubbed the "LeMay bombing leaflet," which was delivered to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and 33 other Japanese cities on 1 August 1945. The Japanese text on the reverse side of the leaflet carried the following warning:

"Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately."

(See Richard S. R. Hubert, "The OWI Saipan Operation," Official Report to US Information Service, Washington, DC 1946.)"

In the face of the air bombings, the enemy went underground. War in Germany stopped when maneuver forces took Berlin. Even the Japanese dispersed their arms industries. A retired USAF officer writes:

"The strategic bombing theorists were ahead of their time due to the technological shortcomings of non-guided bombing from anything other than low altitude, and the cost/exchange ratio advantage of AAA (and later SAMs) vs. increasingly complex/costly/labor intensive aircraft. Their idea was to be able to break the will of the enemy to continue to fight (not annihilate entire civilian populations) and disrupt the ability to continue the flow of arms and expendables to the fighting forces through strategic bombing. Breaking the will of the enemy took a level of shock only achievable with WMD and is thus all but irrelevant strategically -- it is as hard/costly to break the will as to eliminate the enemy altogether, which usually means TOO hard and TOO costly except in cases of total war. Hitler, Tojo, and Stalin ensured that WWII would be total war. Disrupting the operation, movement, and resupply of conventional armies from the air was beginning to be effective in WWII, and is unquestionably effective today, which is why land warfare is shifting (back) to irregular warfare and/or much smaller and more widely dispersed conventional units heavily dependent upon aerial firepower to defeat enemy strongpoints/concentrations."

What he is saying is that to evade HE air strikes, ground civilians and military disperse, burrow and hide in both nation-state (regular) and sub-national conflicts (irregular). Only WMD; weapons of mass destruction like biological, chemical or nuclear attacks can destroy with enough power to break the will of the people or annihilate them in the absence of ground maneuver. Since WMDs are off-limits to civilized nation-states and sub-national groups, they are not used for the wars that are happening now. However, once an actor uses WMD, aircraft and missile air strikes might be able to get conclusive people breaking results.

On the battlefields of the earth less than nuclear explosive effects by using HE are often simply not enough to dislodge a burrowed foe, a Tarawa or a Monte Cassino flattened by less than WMD air bombing becomes rubble protective cover for suicidal or professional defenders that survive first in underground shelters. In the Pacific, Army/marine generals due to the closed terrain there that generally doesn't allow early technology steel tanks to maneuver freely wrongly conclude that WW1 style foot infantry fighting with some fire gadgets like flamethrowers to mop up is all that is required and after the war their anti-tank mentalities to subsidize a easy-living "From Here to Eternity" garrison lifestyle of lawn care, parades and back stabbing between wars prove disastrous in Korea. Let's take a look at Tarawa/Betio and Kwajelein island actions.


From the "bird's eye view" from the air, its easy to see how RUNWAYS draw enemy attention and HE fires. A fixed-wing aircraft needs to roll forward to generate lift over its wings to take-off and to reduce lift to land and roll to a stop. What the U.S. military has failed to do since its not been effectively bombed from the air by enemies since WW2 and by ground observed artillery fire since Vietnam, is to come up with a way to visually HIDE runways to avoid this kind of targeting. Or use ESTOL or STOVL planes that need LESS RUNWAY. One way to avoid the problem is to have planes capable of landing on grass and dirt as the Lockheed Hudson/Ventura patrol bombers do in the picture above. However, the post-WW2 aviator has opted for more comfortable bases using the self-made excuse that his jets need long, hard runways to generate lift for their thin wings needed for sexy supersonic flight lest they injest dirt/sand and rip out their engines. To finish their excuse construct, the flyboys in all the services lusting for jets that subsidize their sex life have squeezed out of existence all the prop-driven observation/attack planes we used to have that could operate from grass/dirt and not ruin their engines. Even when an armored ground attack plane like the A-10 is forced by common sense from Congress upon them, the USAF makes sure their tires are too small to operate from grass/dirt. In the short term, ground maneuver troops suffer without responsive maneuver air support (MAS) and are playing with model airplanes to try to spot hiding enemies with soda straw views. In the long term, the static air base mentality U.S. military flyboy clubs are asking for another "Hickam Field" disaster in a future war in light of the ease they can be targeted and hit with precision-guided HE weapons that are increasingly becoming available to anyone with lots of American oil-dependancy monies in their pockets.


The U.S. military is composed of at least 50% narcissistic egomaniacs. It may be ok to beat your chest and say how you charge into machine guns and dodge HE mortar and artillery shells to get a girl to sleep with you, but its DANGEROUSLY WRONG to take such bullshit seriously and base your FORCE STRUCTURE and DESIGN on it. As you can see above, for all their macho trash talk, the marines were cowering into any fold of terrain they could find to hide from the Japanese enemy fire and were pinned down until light and medium tanks came along to act as moving shields for them. Now we have a "moving pillbox" to defeat the enemy's static one. It works and you don't have to tell your girlfriend. However, in PRIVATE in the councils of war YOU DAMN WELL BETTER BE TELLING THE TRUTH THAT YOU NEED TANKS AND LOTS OF THEM TO ADVANCE IN THE FACE OF ENEMY FIRE. Has this honesty taken place in the USMC?


That marines are taking heavy casualties in places like Iraq is directly connected to their self-worship and lack of professionalism, not that they are "tough" fighters, they dying because they are STUPID. This is one major reason why the USMC should be disbanded as its based on a corrupt culture.

Notice that while busting through enemy fires, even medium weight M4 Sherman tanks were hit and set on fire for the sake of the foot infantry to advance. So if in WW2, the starving and supply-poor Japanese could knock out MEDIUM tanks with 3 inch thick hull armor, what in the hell does the USMC think its doing riding around in wheeled trucks with not even 1/3rd of the armor protection and none of the tracked cross-country mobility to go along an unexpected direction? Today's marines in air-filled rubber-tired trucks couldn't even get off a WW2 beach under any kind of fire like the Japanese offered. It gets worse. The amphibious tracked armored personnel carriers the USMC does use are being again replaced by an oversized to carry 25 marines at-a-time, huge target called the EFV all again because the marine corps ego cannot tolerate the thought that it would have to cough up more marines to act as tanker "pussies" if they used instead more numbers of smaller, more agile, harder-to-hit, armored M113 Gavin-based amphibious infantry carriers. Its hard to believe, but this tale of juvenile stupidity does get worse. The marine ego doesn't like tracks even if they are bloated to be as few as possible so less marines are "gold bricking"---riding inside them as crewmen. So HQMC has now cut back on the EFV program in light of its technical flaws (it can't float unless its moving through the water) and is going to buy even MORE BS WHEELED TRUCKS despite the OBVIOUS FACT THAT THE TRUCKS ARE NOT PROTECTING MARINES WHO ARE DYING BY THE DOZEN IN IRAQ. So much for "war-time" causing people to wake up and cut out their BS.

We are still not done with USMC stupidity in the face of the HE dominated battlefield dating back to WW2. The whole point of a ship is that it can carry MORE and HEAVIER things than aircraft can. A Navy amphibious assault aircraft carrier can carry 42 x M1 Abrams heavy tanks IF the dumb marines inside wanted to. How many heavy tanks does the USMC deploy per battalion-sized MEU?


That's right, 1-2-3-4.

With just 4 tanks, even heavy ones, how long before all that enemy fire concentrating on these before they are knocked out? You could say, well if that happens marines could get some tracks from the U.S. Army.

First off, WHERE DO YOU THINK THE M1 Abrams heavy tanks came from in the first place?

The U.S. Army.

Secondly, the few tanks the USMC does have are not well suited to leading tank-infantry advances because U.S. ARMY HEAVY TANKER EGOMANIACS WHO WANT TO DUEL OTHER TANKS insist that they have turbine engines that are too damn hot for infantry to follow directly behind lest they get burned by their own tanks. Did the USMC think of switching their 1500 hp 7 gallon-per-mile fuel hog turbine engines for 1500 hp Europack diesel piston engines with a reasonable 1 mpg fuel rate an allegedly "expeditionary" force would want and that allows infantry to follow closely behind as a moving shield?

No. No, a thousand times no.

"Marine tankers are not going to have tanks that are lesser hot rods than the Army has". Let's go back to tank quantity--the lack therof, again.

What makes the marine narcissist think the U.S. Army will be around to bail the marines out for their own lack of preparedness? Are they not supposed to be the "first-to-fight" if one takes their lying propaganda BS at face value?

Oh, we see. The fact is the U.S. Army is usually the first-to-fight, starting with its Airborne light forces then followed up by its heavier forces. So finally some admission of truth from the vain marine--the U.S. Army is the first to fight and has all the weaponry needed to prevail, the marine corps is fucked up. This has been the pattern ever since Vietnam: Grenada--Army first. Panama--Army first. Iraq PART 1--Army first. Balkans--Army first. Afghanistan--Army first. Iraq PART 2--Army first. So what the lazy marine "grasshopper" wants to do is walk around in dress uniforms and chase ladies and screw off in peacetime then expects in war for the hard-working, more humble U.S. Army "ant" to have such an excess of military capability to bail him out when he's in dire need. Again, more proof positive that the USMC as an ego death self-worship club needs to be disbanded or totally gutted and reformed starting all over from scratch with an ADULT view of war as a necessary evil that appreciates the HE threat.

Another lesson not learned by either the USMC or the Army's light forces is to STOP PLAYING AROUND WITH SUPPLIES USING BREAK BULK!

The photo above shows the WW2 marines hand moving artillery shells during a WW2 beach off-load. The picture below it shows a LVT light amphibious tractor receiving gasoline in 55 gallon barrels from a crane on an off-shore barge. The bottom picture is a Willys 4x4 jeep towing a trailer with 25 x 5 gallon "jerry cans" of gasoline. During the off-load at Guadalcanal, because of break-bulk being so slow and inefficient, supply ships had to stop and sail away in the face of Japanese air and sea threats having only half unloaded the vital supplies the marines ashore needed. How many marines would die as a result of being short of food, water, medical supplies and ammunition is a very good question.

The WW2 generation had an excuse, they were doing this for the first time. Dangerous gasoline has been replaced by safer diesel/JP-8 fuel except for "special" forces who want to ride in ATVs. However, what excuse does the current generation have with 60+ years to get this right, for sitting around in clusterfucks fiddling around with fuel cans, MRE food ration cases and ammunition crates/cans making ideal targets for the enemy's HE weaponry?

Heavy units of the Army use HEAVY PLS PALLETS to handle all their supplies since they need more quantities than light forces and have the large vehicles to move them. However, this is no excuse for light forces to continue to break-bulk when SMALL PALLETS and SMALL PALLET MOVING SYSTEMS are available to them.

In Europe, WHERE THE USMC DID NOT FIGHT AT ALL, the U.S. Army's heavy and Airborne units learned that tracked, mechanized forces could only be smashed if artillery shells, bombs and direct-fire rockets struck them directly. At least in these institutions there is some memory of "what right looks like".

Dive bombing from German JU-87 "Stukas" could place the bomb on a direct line-of-sight (LOS) path to the ground or sea target but made the pilot black-out from G-forces and placed his plane into enemy anti-aircraft fire. Dive bombing to get precision HE effects was costly in lives and aircraft.

After WW2, we created "toss bombing" to prevent aircraft from having to fly over ships and become in the range of their anti-aircraft guns. This of course doesn't do much to prevent SAMs from shooting you down.

Low-level dropping of unguided torpedoes and skip-bombing also placed pilots and aircraft into heavy anti-aircraft fire causing heavy losses but was necessary to hit and destroy targets.

When bombers at higher altitudes to avoid enemy anti-aircraft fire are massed and carpet bomb against enemy maneuver forces not in direct contact with the earth for protection like the Cobra break out in 1944, unguided HE can have a decisive effect attributable all to itself. However, it has to be a LOT OF BOMBERS DROPPING A LOT OF UNGUIDED HE BOMBS INTO A SMALL, CONCENTRATED AREA. Only in Japan, where the people there live in flimsy flammable wooden frame houses did firebombing worked at the destruction intended. We were taking out easy fire destruction upon the enemy civilians but their war means continued by going underground and their ready-to-fight-to-the-death army was waiting for us to invade and lose 1 million of our men rooting them out.

WW2 does provide an urgent warning us about the limitations of HE even when large bombs of it land in direct hits: the German U-Boat pens in France were NEVER knocked out of service. Former U.S. Navy Sailor and noted author Jerome O'Connor writes:

U-Boat Pens VIDEO



Of all the cruel arts and sciences in the Nazi arsenal, only the Biscay bunker bases were built to last for at the least the regime's promised thousand-year reign. Compare the construction requirements of only the Lorient bunker base with the accomplishment of another modern day wonder, Hoover Dam. From 1931 to 1936, 5,000 men controlled the Colorado River and built a dam equivalent to a 65-story skyscraper. Still one of history's greatest engineering feats, the dam contained 4.4 million cubic feet of concrete poured over a 1,244 foot length and 726 foot height. That singular accomplishment almost was exceeded by just one of the five bases. In Lorient, beginning 2 February, 1941,15,000 mostly slave laborers and German overseers began three separate pen enclosures 2,000 feet in total length, 425 feet wide, and 63 feet high, topped further by a seven section, 25-foot thick reinforced concrete roof - itself a daring work of extraordinary engineering skill. Finished in only 23 months, concrete mixers in the hundreds and trucks by the thousands poured concrete exceeding 3.4 million cubic feet. For comparison, Chicago's Sears Tower, for years the world's tallest building, would fail to reach the Lorient pens total length by 6oo feet. The Titanic twice over - with 44 feet to spare - could occupy the combined Lorient pens.

Construction raced ahead as the five Biscay bases swallowed 14 million cubic feet of concrete and one million tons of steel. By mid -1942, the Allied Bomber Command had fully awakened to the threat the bases posed. It was too late; although construction was interrupted, it never stopped. The Germans recorded at least 300 air raids on Lorient alone by the U.S. Eighth Air Force and British Bomber Command. Not one mission succeeded in putting the pens out of commission.

The pens that had the full pre-detonation and deflection layer on top were never even penetrated despite hundreds of Allied bombing raids costing us 30, 000 dead. This is not ancient history, the techniques of hardening key facilities to defeat even specific direct hits from guided HE bombs are being employed today to hide North Korean and Iranian nuclear facilities and being applied tactically by proxies like Hezie-B in Lebanon. We will discuss the German submarine pens in detail at the end of this web page.

SIDEBAR: Specific Direct Placement (SDP) of HE

To demolish some sturdy objects like bridges, specific spans have to be hit in force. In WW2, both the Allies and the Axis tried to ram airplanes full of HE into specific targets in some case guided remotely as the painting above of a Mistel bomb shows and other cases guided intimately by a human committing suicide (kamikazes).

HE charges can be applied against things to destroy them other then by projecting them with kinetic energy. Guy Fawlks in the "Gunpowder plot" tried to lay lots of LE barrels necessary to blow up the English government but was caught and hung. We remember him each year with a bonfire and now an excellent freedom fighting movie, "V for Vendetta" about a fascist totalitarian society formed in response to a "terrorist attack". Hmmm. Sounds familiar...and I'm not talking about a movie.

Life Imitates Art?


The Union tried to blow open a hole in Lee's lines guarding Richmond with a huge gunpowder mine (see beginning of movie, "Cold Mountain" with Nicole Kidman). HE improved the chances of commandos/saboteurs by offer more punch at lighter weight over HE; 50 pounds of HE in a man's back equals two artillery shells. Getting HE to explode at the exact spot to do the most damage is an effective technique, the British "Dam Busters" raid in 1943 using Barnes Wallis' spinning bombs that sank against hydroelectric dam walls was effective. However, the prospects of sneaking in to lay HE James Bond-style are bleak against an alerted enemy as the British SAS Team Bravo 20 disaster demonstrated during the Gulf War. Our elitist commandos think they can sneak in but refuse to take the necessary precautions of having stealthy, band-tracked light tanks to FIGHT THEIR WAY OUT when surprise is lost as the disastrous "BlackHawk Down! Raid in Somalia showed.

The Dawn of the Guided Munition: it began in WW2 by the Germans, so what is our excuse?



If the USAF had success dropping bridges with guided bombs dating back to WW2 and Korea,


How many F-105 Thunderchief pilots had to die trying?


Since the Germans began to sink Allied ships with guided anti-ship missiles (ASMs) and guided bombs starting in 1943---why has the U.S. Navy at the conclusion of WW2 continually refuse to armor their ships and absurdly retire their heavily armored cruisers and battleships? 32 ships were sunk in WW2 by guided munitions...these are NOT new and "revolutionary" weapons...they are only new to dumbasses who don't study their profession and want the U.S. taxpayers to fund their party-going-at-every-port lifestyle.


The UAV/UCAV: Old Hat from WW2: Don't Let RMA Snake Oil Salesmen Fool You

So there you have it....UAVs actually UCAVs were used in COMBAT in WW2 starting with the TDR and later in Korea to precision strike the mouth of a tunnel.

So all this avant garde new age "eewww we are so much on the cutting edge" RMA crap that those folks who think they are some kind of torch bearers for mankind's inevitable rise into becoming gods (Nimrod mentality) like to pontificate on is OLD HAT. They are neither as smart or as "revolutionary" as they want us to believe. They are just taking ideas someone smarter than them came up with first and actually used in COMBAT successfully first. The UAV craze's spin that its "NEW" only occurs in a vacuum of IGNORANCE of our own institutional history...if you don't know the past...know what worked and didn't work etc. its easy to not just make the same mistakes again, but its also possible to LIE to the ignorant and manipulate them.

My question again goes to that stubborn Paul Doumer bridge in North Vietnam...why were we trying to drop its spans by unguided iron bombs dropped by pilots placing them at mortal risk when we should have had at the very least old Korean-war surplus jets that could have been packed with explosives and flown into them?

QUESTION #3: is it REALLY that hard to fly airplanes into buildings (September 11, 2001) if we have been doing R/C airplane since WW2, 6 decades ago?

QUESTION #4: we have had car bombs since the turn of the 19th century and land mines ever since we had gunpoder in the 1500s to enable SDP of explosives next to their targets. YET, WHY ARE THE U.S. MILITARY GROUND FORCES RUN BY KE "SHOOTERS" IGNORANT OF EXPLOSIVES AND WHAT IT TAKES TO DEFEAT THEM? WHY ARE HOT RODDERS FROM DETROIT THE ONES DRIVING GROUND VEHICLE DESIGN AND NOT COMBAT ENGINEERS WHO CREATED THE TRACKED, ARMORED TANK IN THE FIRST PLACE IN WW1? (answer is narcissism and greed = incompetence)

If the light infantry narcissist spent less time admiring himself in the mirror and wasting half the day on sports PT he might have been aware of reality going on all around him these last 80+ years and been prepared for the Combat Engineering war in Iraq executed by land mines and car bombs. However, America's Army and marines are ALWAYS going to be incompetent as long as COMBAT ENGINEERING and HIGH EXPLOSIVES are ignored and feel-good kinetic energy "shooters" narcissists are in charge.

Here's the defining quote of the Iraq debacle made after car bombs incinerated 60 Iraqi civilians who Americans are supposed to be protecting: "it is not indicative of the overall security situation"

During Vietnam we had a lying military officer say "we had to destroy the village in order to save it". Today we have: quote for Iraq:

"Although attacks such as today's event are tragic, it is not indicative of the overall security situation in Baqouba,"

--Maj. Mike Garcia, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Diyala, said in a statement.

To hell it is not indicative of the security situation!

This is got to be the biggest, bald-faced lie ever spoken by a U.S. military officer.

60 people DEAD is NOT indicative of a bad security situation?

Says who?

According to Garcia, then NO AMOUNT OF INSECURITY could ever burst his lie bubble that "all is well", his lie is "bomb-proof". Too bad the people of Iraq were not so protected. Someone should send a "message to Garcia" that his lie has been exposed and he is on notice for immoral, conduct unbecoming.

This is exactly what happens when you try to fight high explosive bombs with kinetic energy, bullet gunslingers driving around aimlessly on "presence patrols"---the car and road bombs get through and blow people up. The infantry branch gunslingers botching Iraq are incompetent--this is a combat engineering war--the way you smother bombs is to not let them get laid in the first place. To do this you need to WALL off cities and sectarian areas and have your gunslingers man check-points with bomb sniffing dogs that do not let any explosives pass. You do not allow cars to be parked close to pedestrian shopping areas. Those who enter or exit the pedestrian areas on foot are screened for bombs, too.


Car bombs kill nearly 60 in Iraq

By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer 35 minutes ago

BAGHDAD - Car bombs ripped through crowded areas in Baghdad and former insurgent strongholds to the north and west of the capital on Tuesday, killing nearly 60 people and breaking a recent lull in violence in the predominantly Sunni areas.

The attacks were a deadly reminder of the threat posed by suspected Sunni insurgents even as clashes between Shiite militia fighters and U.S.-Iraqi forces continued elsewhere.

The first blast Tuesday occurred in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, when a car parked in front of a restaurant exploded just before noon across the street from the central courthouse and other government offices.

Many of the victims were people visiting the government offices, petition writers helping people with documents in stalls outside or the occupants of cars that were caught in the explosion as they passed through the area, witnesses said. Several cars and minibuses were set ablaze, while more than 10 shops and the restaurant were heavily damaged.

One survivor described a huge fire that sent black smoke billowing into the sky and left charred bodies inside their cars.

"I was on my way to the government office when a big explosion occurred nearby," said the witness, who would only identify himself by his nickname Abu Ali. "As I approached the site, I saw cars on fire, burned bodies and damaged shops with shattered glass everywhere."

At least 40 people were killed and 70 wounded in the blast, according to hospital officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

AP Television News footage showed many of the bodies covered in crisp white sheets in the main hospital's courtyard while the emergency room inside was overwhelmed with the wounded.

The U.S. military in northern Iraq gave a slightly lower toll, saying 35 Iraqi citizens were killed, including a policeman, and 66 wounded in the attack. It also said three buses were destroyed and 10 shops were damaged.

It was the deadliest bombing in Iraq since a pair of female suicide bombers struck two pet markets, killing 99 people in a coordinated attack in Baghdad on Feb. 1.

Another parked car bomb exploded near a kebab restaurant at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in an industrial area in Ramadi, killing at least 13 people, including three policemen, and wounding 20 other people, police Capt. Abu Saif al-Anbari said. Hospital officials said two children were among the dead. Ahmed al-Dulaimi, a 27-year-old mechanic, was at the restaurant when the blast occurred but escaped injury because he was sitting at a back table. He said his cousin, who owned the restaurant, had been killed.

"Pieces of flesh flew into the air and the roof fell over us. I saw the horrible sight of bodies without heads or without legs or hands," he said.

Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, is the capital of Anbar province and has largely been sealed off by checkpoints.

Like Baqouba, the area has seen a sharp decline in violence in recent months as tribal leaders have joined forces with the Americans against al-Qaida in Iraq.

The U.S. military said overall attacks in Diyala province have dropped more than 76 percent since June 2007.

"Although attacks such as today's event are tragic, it is not indicative of the overall security situation in Baqouba," Maj. Mike Garcia, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Diyala, said in a statement.

A parked car bomb also targeted a police patrol in central Baghdad, killing four civilians who were passing by and wounding 15 other people, police said.

The relative calm in predominantly Sunni areas has coincided with clashes between Shiite militia fighters and U.S.-Iraqi forces in Baghdad and the oil-rich southern city of Basra.

But while the Bush administration has begun citing what it calls Iranian-backed Shiite factions as the greatest threat to Iraq's stability, American commanders have consistently warned that al-Qaida-led insurgents continue to pose a serious danger.

Two car bombs and a suicide attack also killed 18 people in northwestern Iraq on Monday. In other violence Tuesday, U.S. Soldiers backed by an airstrike killed six militants during clashes in the Sudayrah area near Baghdad's main Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City, the military said. Iraqi police in the area claimed that two boys were among those killed in the airstrike, but the military said no civilian casualties were reported.

Lt. Col. Steve Stover said separately that American troops killed four militants who fired rocket-propelled grenades at a tank elsewhere in the area.

Clashes also broke out later Tuesday in Sadr City, leaving four militiamen killed and 15 others wounded, Iraqi police and hospital officials said.


Associated Press writers Hamid Ahmed and Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.


Tomgram: Mike Davis on the History of the Car Bomb

In a column on March 23 (A Vision, Bruised and Dented), David Brooks of the New York Times' wrote about "the rise of what Richard Lowry of the National Review calls the "'To Hell With Them' Hawks." In part, Brooks characterized these hawks as being conservatives who "look at car bombs and cartoon riots and wonder whether Islam is really a religion of peace." One of the advantages of history is that you have to check such thoughts at the door. If Islam can't be considered a "religion of peace," thanks to what Mike Davis calls "the quotidian workhorse of urban terrorism," then at least its jihadists join a roiling crowd of less-than-peaceful car-bombers that has included Jews, Christians, Hindus, anarchists, French colonials, Mafiosos, members of the Irish Republican Army, and CIA operatives among others.

Now, consider joining Tomdispatch in one of the more original and less expectable voyages into the recent history of our world. The car bomb seems such a weapon of the moment that who even knew it had an 80 year-long, tortured history. But Mike Davis, whose most recent projects include the only significant book on the Avian flu, The Monster at Our Door, and Planet of Slums, a startling analysis of the way significant parts of our planet have been rapidly urbanizing and de-industrializing all at once, almost invariably produces the unexpected. This week, Tomdispatch offers his two-part history of the car bomb, a series that puts one of the more terrifying phenomena of our moment into a new perspective and shines a dazzling light into any number of dark corners of our recent past. It will, at some future point, be expanded into a small book and so Davis would like to hear from anyone with information on other car bomb campaigns of the last half century.


The Poor Man's Air Force
A History of the Car Bomb (Part 1)

By Mike Davis

Buda's Wagon (1920)

"You have shown no pity to us! We will do likewise. We will dynamite you!

-- Anarchist warning (1919)

On a warm September day in 1920, a few months after the arrest of his comrades Sacco and Vanzetti, a vengeful Italian anarchist named Mario Buda parked his horse-drawn wagon near the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, directly across from J. P. Morgan Company. He nonchalantly climbed down and disappeared, unnoticed, into the lunchtime crowd. A few blocks away, a startled postal worker found strange leaflets warning: "Free the Political Prisoners or it will be Sure Death for All of You!" They were signed: "American Anarchist Fighters." The bells of nearby Trinity Church began to toll at noon. When they stopped, the wagon -- packed with dynamite and iron slugs -- exploded in a fireball of shrapnel.

"The horse and wagon were blown to bits," writes Paul Avrich, the celebrated historian of American anarchism who uncovered the true story. "Glass showered down from office windows, and awnings twelve stories above the street burst into flames. People fled in terror as a great cloud of dust enveloped the area. In Morgan's offices, Thomas Joyce of the securities department fell dead on his desk amid a rubble of plaster and walls. Outside scores of bodies littered the streets."

Buda was undoubtedly disappointed when he learned that J.P. Morgan himself was not among the 40 dead and more than 200 wounded -- the great robber baron was away in Scotland at his hunting lodge. Nonetheless, a poor immigrant with some stolen dynamite, a pile of scrap metal, and an old horse had managed to bring unprecedented terror to the inner sanctum of American capitalism.

His Wall Street bomb was the culmination of a half-century of anarchist fantasies about avenging angels made of dynamite; but it was also an invention, like Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, far ahead of the imagination of its time. Only after the barbarism of strategic bombing had become commonplace, and when air forces routinely pursued insurgents into the labyrinths of poor cities, would the truly radical potential of Buda's "infernal machine" be fully realized.

Buda's wagon was, in essence, the prototype car bomb: the first use of an inconspicuous vehicle, anonymous in almost any urban setting, to transport large quantities of high explosive into precise range of a high-value target. It was not replicated, as far as I have been able to determine, until January 12, 1947 when the Stern Gang drove a truckload of explosives into a British police station in Haifa, Palestine, killing 4 and injuring 140. The Stern Gang (a pro-fascist splinter group led by Avraham Stern that broke away from the right-wing Zionist paramilitary Irgun) would soon use truck and car bombs to kill Palestinians as well: a creative atrocity immediately reciprocated by British deserters fighting on the side of Palestinian nationalists.

Vehicle bombs thereafter were used sporadically -- producing notable massacres in Saigon (1952), Algiers (1962), and Palermo (1963) -- but the gates of hell were only truly opened in 1972, when the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) accidentally, so the legend goes, improvised the first ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) car bomb. These new-generation bombs, requiring only ordinary industrial ingredients and synthetic fertilizer, were cheap to fabricate and astonishingly powerful: they elevated urban terrorism from the artisanal to the industrial level, and made possible sustained blitzes against entire city centers as well as the complete destruction of ferro-concrete skyscrapers and residential blocks.

The car bomb, in other words, suddenly became a semi-strategic weapon that, under certain circumstances, was comparable to airpower in its ability to knock out critical urban nodes and headquarters as well as terrorize the populations of entire cities. Indeed, the suicide truck bombs that devastated the U.S. embassy and marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 prevailed -- at least in a geopolitical sense -- over the combined firepower of the fighter-bombers and battleships of the U.S. Sixth Fleet and forced the Reagan administration to retreat from Lebanon.

Hezbollah's ruthless and brilliant use of car bombs in Lebanon in the 1980s to counter the advanced military technology of the United States, France, and Israel soon emboldened a dozen other groups to bring their insurgencies and jihads home to the metropolis. Some of the new-generation car bombers were graduates of terrorism schools set up by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence (the ISI), with Saudi financing, in the mid-1980s to train mujahedin to terrorize the Russians then occupying Kabul. Between 1992 and 1998, 16 major vehicle bomb attacks in 13 different cities killed 1,050 people and wounded nearly 12,000. More importantly from a geopolitical standpoint, the IRA and Gama'a al-Islamiyya inflicted billions of dollars of damage on the two leading control-centers of the world economy -- the City of London (1992, 1993, and 1996) and lower Manhattan (1993) -- and forced a reorganization of the global reinsurance industry.

In the new millennium, 85 years after that first massacre on Wall Street, car bombs have become almost as generically global as iPods and HIV-AIDS, cratering the streets of cities from Bogota to Bali. Suicide truck bombs, once the distinctive signature of Hezbollah, have been franchised to Sri Lanka, Chechnya/Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Kuwait, and Indonesia. On any graph of urban terrorism, the curve representing car bombs is rising steeply, almost exponentially. U.S.-occupied Iraq, of course, is a relentless inferno with more than 9,000 casualties -- mainly civilian -- attributed to vehicle bombs in the two-year period between July 2003 and June 2005. Since then, the frequency of car-bomb attacks has dramatically increased: 140 per month in the fall of 2005, 13 in Baghdad on New Year's Day 2006 alone. If roadside bombs or IEDs are the most effective device against American armored vehicles, car bombs are the weapon of choice for slaughtering Shiite civilians in front of mosques and markets and instigating an apocalyptic sectarian war.

Under siege from weapons indistinguishable from ordinary traffic, the apparatuses of administration and finance are retreating inside "rings of steel" and "green zones," but the larger challenge of the car bomb seems intractable. Stolen nukes, Sarin gas, and anthrax may be the "sum of our fears," but the car bomb is the quotidian workhorse of urban terrorism. Before considering its genealogy, however, it may be helpful to summarize those characteristics that make Buda's wagon such a formidable and undoubtedly permanent source of urban insecurity.

First, vehicle bombs are stealth weapons of surprising power and destructive efficiency. Trucks, vans, or even SUVs can easily transport the equivalent of several conventional 1,000-pound bombs to the doorstep of a prime target. Moreover, their destructive power is still evolving, thanks to the constant tinkering of ingenious bomb-makers. We have yet to face the full horror of semi-trailer-sized explosions with a lethal blast range of 200 yards or of dirty bombs sheathed in enough nuclear waste to render mid-Manhattan radioactive for generations.

Second, they are extraordinarily cheap: 40 or 50 people can be massacred with a stolen car and maybe $400 of fertilizer and bootlegged electronics. Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, bragged that his most expensive outlay was in long-distance phone calls. The explosive itself (one half ton of urea) cost $3,615 plus the $59 per day rental for a ten-foot-long Ryder van. In contrast, the cruise missiles that have become the classic American riposte to overseas terrorist attacks cost $1.1 million each.

Third, car bombings are operationally simple to organize. Although some still refuse to believe that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols didn't have secret assistance from a government or dark entity, two men in the proverbial phone booth -- a security-guard and a farmer -- successfully planned and executed the horrendous Oklahoma City bombing with instructional books and information acquired from the gun-show circuit.


Fourth, like even the 'smartest' of aerial bombs, car bombs are inherently indiscriminate: "Collateral damage" is virtually inevitable. If the logic of an attack is to slaughter innocents and sow panic in the widest circle, to operate a "strategy of tension," or just demoralize a society, car bombs are ideal. But they are equally effective at destroying the moral credibility of a cause and alienating its mass base of support, as both the IRA and the ETA in Spain have independently discovered. The car bomb is an inherently fascist weapon.

Fifth, car bombs are highly anonymous and leave minimal forensic evidence. Buda quietly went home to Italy, leaving William Burns, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Bureau of Investigation (later, to be renamed the FBI) to make fools of themselves as they chased one false lead after another for a decade. Most of Buda's descendants have also escaped identification and arrest. Anonymity, in addition, greatly recommends car bombs to those who like to disguise their handiwork, including the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, the Syrian GSD, the Iranian Pasdaran, and the Pakistani ISI -- all of whom have caused unspeakable carnage with such devices.

Preliminary Detonations (1948-63)

"Reds' Time Bombs Rip Saigon Center"

-- New York Times' headline (January 10, 1952)

The members of the Stern Gang were ardent students of violence, self-declared Jewish admirers of Mussolini who steeped themselves in the terrorist traditions of the pre-1917 Russian Socialist-Revolutionary Party, the Macedonian IMRO, and the Italian Blackshirts. As the most extreme wing of the Zionist movement in Palestine -- "fascists" to the Haganah and "terrorists" to the British -- they were morally and tactically unfettered by considerations of diplomacy or world opinion. They had a fierce and well-deserved reputation for the originality of their operations and the unexpectedness of their attacks. On January 12, 1947, as part of their campaign to prevent any compromise between mainstream Zionism and the British Labor government, they exploded a powerful truck bomb in the central police station in Haifa, resulting in 144 casualties. Three months later, they repeated the tactic in Tel Aviv, blowing up the Sarona police barracks (5 dead) with a stolen postal truck filled with dynamite.

In December 1947, following the UN vote to partition Palestine, full-scale fighting broke out between Jewish and Arab communities from Haifa to Gaza. The Stern Gang, which rejected anything less than the restoration of a biblical Israel, now gave the truck bomb its debut as a weapon of mass terror. On January 4, 1948, two men in Arab dress drove a truck ostensibly loaded with oranges into the center of Jaffa and parked it next to the New Seray Building, which housed the Palestinian municipal government as well as a soup-kitchen for poor children. They cooly lingered for coffee at a nearby café before leaving a few minutes ahead of the detonation.

"A thunderous explosion," writes Adam LeBor in his history of Jaffa, "then shook the city. Broken glass and shattered masonry blew out across Clock Tower Square. The New Seray's centre and side walls collapsed in a pile of rubble and twisted beams. Only the neo-classical façade survived. After a moment of silence, the screams began, 26 were killed, hundreds injured. Most were civilians, including many children eating at the charity kitchen." The bomb missed the local Palestinian leadership who had moved to another building, but the atrocity was highly successful in terrifying residents and setting the stage for their eventual flight.

It also provoked the Palestinians to cruel repayment in kind. The Arab High Committee had its own secret weapon -- blond-haired British deserters, fighting on the side of the Palestinians. Nine days after the Jaffa bombing, some of these deserters, led by Eddie Brown, a former police corporal whose brother had been murdered by the Irgun, commandeered a postal delivery truck which they packed with explosives and detonated in the center of Haifa's Jewish quarter, injuring 50 people. Two weeks later, Brown, driving a stolen car and followed by a five-ton truck driven by a Palestinian in a police uniform, successfully passed through British and Haganah checkpoints and entered Jerusalem's New City. The driver parked in front of the Palestine Post, lit the fuse, and then escaped with Brown in his car. The newspaper headquarters was devastated with 1 dead and 20 wounded.

According to a chronicler of the episode, Abdel Kader el-Husseini, the military leader of the Arab Higher Committee, was so impressed by the success of these operations -- inadvertently inspired by the Stern Gang -- that he authorized an ambitious sequel employing six British deserters. "This time three trucks were used, escorted by a stolen British armored car with a young blond man in police uniform standing in the turret." Again, the convoy easily passed through checkpoints and drove to the Atlantic Hotel on Ben Yehuda Street. A curious night watchman was murdered when he confronted the gang, who then drove off in the armored car after setting charges in the three trucks. The explosion was huge and the toll accordingly grim: 46 dead and 130 wounded.

The window of opportunity for such attacks -- the possibility of passing from one zone to another -- was rapidly closing as Palestinians and Jews braced for all-out warfare, but a final attack prefigured the car bomb's brilliant future as a tool of assassination. On March 11, the official limousine of the American consul-general, flying the stars and stripes and driven by the usual chauffeur, was admitted to the courtyard of the heavily-guarded Jewish Agency compound. The driver, a Christian Palestinian named Abu Yussef, hoped to kill Zionist leader David Ben Gurion, but the limousine was moved just before it exploded; nonetheless, 13 officials of the Jewish Foundation Fund died and 40 were injured.

This brief but furious exchange of car bombs between Arabs and Jews would enter into the collective memory of their conflict, but would not be resumed on a large scale until Israel and its Phalangist allies began to terrorize West Beirut with bombings in 1981: a provocation that would awake a Shiite sleeping dragon. Meanwhile, the real sequel was played out in Saigon: a series of car and motorcycle bomb atrocities in 1952-53 that Graham Greene incorporated into the plot of his novel, The Quiet American, and which he portrayed as secretly orchestrated by his CIA operative Alden Pyle, who is conspiring to substitute a pro-American party for both the Viet-Minh (upon whom the actual bombings would be blamed) and the French (who are unable to guarantee public safety).

The real-life Quiet American was the counterinsurgency expert Colonel Edward Lansdale (fresh from victories against peasant Communists in the Philippines), and the real leader of the 'Third Force' was his protégé, General Trinh Minh The of the Cao Dai religious sect. There is no doubt, writes The's biographer, that the general "instigated many terrorist outrages in Saigon, using clockwork plastic charges loaded into vehicles, or hidden inside bicycle frames with charges. Notably, the Li An Minh [The's army] blew up cars in front of the Opera House in Saigon in 1952. These 'time-bombs' were reportedly made of 50-kg ordnance, used by the French air force, unexploded and collected by the Li An Minh."

Lansdale was dispatched to Saigon by Allen Dulles of the CIA some months after the Opera atrocity (hideously immortalized in a Life photographer's image of the upright corpse of a rickshaw driver with both legs blown off), which was officially blamed on Ho Chi Minh. Although Lansdale was well aware of General The's authorship of these sophisticated attacks (the explosives were hidden in false compartments next to car gas tanks), he nonetheless championed the Cao Dai warlord as a patriot in the mould of Washington and Jefferson. After either French agents or Vietminh cadre assassinated The, Landsdale eulogized him to a journalist as "a good man. He was moderate, he was a pretty good general, he was on our side, and he cost twenty-five thousand dollars."

Whether by emulation or reinvention, car bombs showed up next in another war-torn French colony -- Algiers during the last days of the pied noirs or French colonial settlers. Some of the embittered French officers in Saigon in 1952-53 would also become cadres of the Organisation de l'Armé Secrete (OAS), led by General Raoul Salan. In April 1961, after the failure of its uprising against French President Charles de Gaulle, who was prepared to negotiate a settlement with the Algerian rebels, the OAS turned to terrorism -- a veritable festival de plastique -- with all the formidable experience of its veteran paratroopers and legionnaires. Its declared enemies included De Gaulle himself, French security forces, communists, peace activists (including philosopher and activist Jean-Paul Sartre), and especially Algerian civilians. The most deadly of their car bombs killed 62 Moslem stevedores lining up for work at the docks in Algiers in May 1962, but succeeded only in bolstering the Algerian resolve to drive all the pied-noirs into the sea.

The next destination for the car bomb was Palermo, Sicily. Angelo La Barbera, the Mafia capo of Palermo-Center, undoubtedly paid careful attention to the Algerian bombings and may even have borrowed some OAS expertise when he launched his devastating attack on his Mafia rival, "Little Bird" Greco, in February 1963. Greco's bastion was the town of Ciaculli outside Palermo where he was protected by an army of henchmen. La Barbera surmounted this obstacle with the aid of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. "This dainty four-door family saloon," writes John Dickie in his history of the Cosa Nostra, "was one of the symbols of Italy's economic miracle -- 'svelte, practical, comfortable, safe and convenient,' as the adverts proclaimed." The first explosive-packed Giulietta destroyed Greco's house; the second, a few weeks later, killed one of his key allies. Greco's gunmen retaliated, wounding La Barbera in Milan in May; in response, La Barbera's ambitious lieutenants Pietro Torreta and Tommaso Buscetta (later to become the most famous of all Mafia pentiti) unleashed more deadly Giuliettas.

On June 30, 1963, "the umpteenth Giulietta stuffed with TNT" was left in one of the tangerine groves that surround Ciaculli. A tank of butane with a fuse was clearly visible in the back seat. A Giulietta had already exploded that morning in a nearby town, killing two people, so the carabinieri were cautious and summoned army engineers for assistance. "Two hours later two bomb disposal experts arrived, cut the fuse, and pronounced the vehicle safe to approach. But when Lt. Mario Malausa made to inspect the contents of the boot, he detonated the huge quantity of TNT it contained. He and six other men were blown to pieces by an explosion that scorched and stripped the tangerine trees for hundreds of metres around." (The site is today marked by one of the several monuments to bomb victims in the Palermo region.)

Before this "First Mafia War" ended in 1964, the Sicilian population had learned to tremble at the very sight of a Giulietta and car bombings had become a permanent part of the Mafia repertoire. They were employed again during an even bloodier second Mafia war or Matanza in 1981-83, then turned against the Italian public in the early 1990s after the conviction of Cosa Nostra leaders in a series of sensational "maxi-trials." The most notorious of these blind-rage car bombings -- presumably organized by 'Tractor' Provenzano and his notorious Corleonese gang -- was the explosion in May 1993 that damaged the world-famous Uffizi Gallery in the heart of Florence and killed 5 pedestrians, injuring 40 others.

"The Black Stuff"

"We could feel the rattle where we stood. Then we knew we were onto something, and it took off from there."

-- IRA veteran talking about the first ANFO car bomb

The first-generation car bombs -- Jaffa-Jerusalem, Saigon, Algiers, and Palermo -- were deadly enough (with a maximum yield usually equal to several hundred pounds of TNT), but required access to stolen industrial or military explosives. Journeymen bomb-makers, however, were aware of a homemade alternative - notoriously dangerous to concoct, but offering almost unlimited vistas of destruction at a low cost. Ammonium nitrate is a universally available synthetic fertilizer and industrial ingredient with extraordinary explosive properties, as witnessed by such accidental cataclysms as an explosion at a chemical plant in Oppau, Germany in 1921 -- the shock waves were felt 150 miles away and only a vast crater remained where the plant had been -- and a Texas City disaster in 1947 (600 dead and 90% of the town structurally damaged). Ammonium nitrate is sold in half-ton quantities affordable by even the most cash-strapped terrorist, but the process of mixing it with fuel oil to create an ANFO explosive is more than a little tricky as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) found out in late 1971.

"The car bomb was [re]discovered entirely by accident," explains journalist Ed Maloney in his The Secret History of the IRA, "but its deployment by the Belfast IRA was not. The chain of events began in late December 1971 when the IRA's quartermaster general, Jack McCabe, was fatally injured in an explosion caused when an experimental, fertilizer-based homemade mix known as the 'black stuff' exploded as he was blending it with a shovel in his garage on the northern outskirts of Dublin. [Provisionals'] GHQ warned that the mix was too dangerous to handle, but Belfast had already received a consignment, and someone had the idea of disposing of it by dumping it in a car with a fuse and a timer and leaving it somewhere in downtown Belfast." The resulting explosion made a big impression upon the Belfast leadership.

The "black stuff" -- which the IRA soon learned how to handle safely -- freed the underground army from supply-side constraints: the car bomb enhanced destructive capacity yet reduced the likelihood of Volunteers being arrested or accidentally blown up. The ANFO-car bomb combination, in other words, was an unexpected military revolution, but one fraught with the potential for political and moral disaster. "The sheer size of the devices," emphasizes Moloney, "greatly increased the risk of civilian deaths in careless or bungled operations."

The IRA Army Council led by Sean MacStiofain, however, found the new weapon's awesome capabilities too seductive to worry about ways in which its grisly consequences might backfire on them. Indeed, car bombs reinforced the illusion, shared by most of the top leadership in 1972, that the IRA was one final military offensive away from victory over the English government. Accordingly, in March 1972, two car bombs were sent into Belfast city center followed by garbled phone warnings that led police to inadvertently evacuate people in the direction of one of the explosions: Five civilians were killed along with two members of the security forces. Despite the public outcry as well as the immediate traffic closure of the Royal Avenue shopping precinct, the Belfast Brigade's enthusiasm for the new weapon remained undiminished and the leadership plotted a huge attack designed to bring normal commercial life in Northern Ireland to an abrupt halt. MacStiofain boasted of an offensive of "the utmost ferocity and ruthessness" that would wreck the "colonial infrastructure."

On Friday, July 21st, IRA Volunteers left 20 car bombs or concealed charges on the periphery of the now-gated city center, with detonations timed to follow one another at approximately five-minute intervals. The first car bomb exploded in front of the Ulster Bank in north Belfast and blew both legs off a Catholic passerby; successive explosions damaged two railroad stations, the Ulster bus depot on Oxford Street, various railway junctions, and a mixed Catholic-Protestant residential area on Cavehill Road. "At the height of the bombing, the center of Belfast resembled a city under artillery fire; clouds of suffocating smoke enveloped buildings as one explosion followed another, almost drowning out the hysterical screams of panicked shoppers." A series of telephoned IRA warnings just created more chaos, as civilians fled from one explosion only to be driven back by another. Seven civilians and two soldiers were killed and more than 130 people were seriously wounded.

Although not an economic knockout punch, "Bloody Friday" was the beginning of a "no business as usual" bombing campaign that quickly inflicted significant damage on the Northern Ireland economy, particularly its ability to attract private and foreign investment. The terror of that day also compelled authorities to tighten their anti-car-bomb "ring of steel" around the Belfast city center, making it the prototype for other fortified enclaves and future "green zones." In the tradition of their ancestors, the Fenians, who had originated dynamite terrorism in the 1870s, Irish Republicans had again added new pages to the textbook of urban guerrilla warfare. Foreign aficionados, particularly in the Middle East, undoubtedly paid close attention to the twin innovations of the ANFO car bomb and its employment in a protracted bombing campaign against an entire urban-regional economy.

What was less well understood outside of Ireland, however, was the enormity of the wound that the IRA's car bombs inflicted on the Republican movement itself. Bloody Friday destroyed much of the IRA's heroic-underdog popular image, produced deep revulsion amongst ordinary Catholics, and gave the British government an unexpected reprieve from the worldwide condemnation it had earned for the Blood Sunday massacre in Derry and internment without trial. Moreover, it gave the Army the perfect pretext to launch massive Operation Motorman: 13,000 troops led by Centurion tanks entered the "no-go" areas of Derry and Belfast and reclaimed control of the streets from the Republican movement. The same day, a bloody, bungled car bomb attack on the village of Claudy in County Londonderry killed 8 people. (Protestant Loyalist paramilitary groups -- who never bothered with warnings and deliberately targeted civilians on the other side -- would claim Bloody Friday and Claudy as sanctions for their triple car bomb attack on Dublin during afternoon rush hour on May 17, 1974 which left 33 dead, the highest one-day toll in the course of the "Troubles.")

The Belfast debacle led to a major turnover in IRA leadership, but failed to dispel their almost cargo-cult-like belief in the capacity of car bombs to turn the tide of battle. Forced onto the defensive by Motorman and the backlash to Bloody Friday, they decided to strike at the very heart of British power instead. The Belfast Brigade planned to send ten car bombs to London via the Dublin-Liverpool ferry using fresh volunteers with clean records, including two young sisters, Marion and Dolours Price. Snags arose and only four cars arrived in London; one of these was detonated in front of the Old Bailey, another in the center of Whitehall, close to the Prime Minister's house at Number 10 Downing Street. One hundred and eighty Londoners were injured and one was killed. Although the 8 IRA bombers were quickly caught, they were acclaimed in the West Belfast ghettoes and the operation became a template for future Provisional bombing campaigns in London, culminating in the huge explosions that shattered the City of London and unnerved the world insurance industry in 1992 and 1993.

Hell's Kitchen (the 1980s)

"We are soldiers of God and we crave death. We are ready to turn Lebanon into another Vietnam."

-- Hezbollah communiqué

Never in history has a single city been the battlefield for so many contesting ideologies, sectarian allegiances, local vendettas, or foreign conspiracies and interventions as Beirut in the early 1980s. Belfast's triangular conflicts -- three armed camps (Republican, Loyalist, and British) and their splinter groups -- seemed straightforward compared to the fractal, Russian-doll-like complexity of Lebanon's civil wars (Shiite versus Palestinian, for example) within civil wars (Maronite versus Moslem and Druze) within regional conflicts (Israel versus Syria) and surrogate wars (Iran versus the United States) within, ultimately, the Cold War. In the fall of 1971, for example, there were 58 different armed groups in West Beirut alone. With so many people trying to kill each other for so many different reasons, Beirut became to the technology of urban violence what a tropical rainforest is to the evolution of plants.

Car bombs began to regularly terrorize Moslem West Beirut in the fall of 1981, apparently as part of an Israeli strategy to evict the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from Lebanon. The Israeli secret service, the Mossad, had previously employed car bombs in Beirut to assassinate Palestinian leaders (novelist Ghassan Kanfani in July 1972, for example), so no one was especially surprised when evidence emerged that Israel was sponsoring the carnage. According to Middle Eastern schoalr Rashid Khalidi, "A sequence of public confessions by captured drivers made clear these [car bombings] were being utilized by the Israelis and their Phalangist allies to increase the pressure on the PLO to leave."

Journalist Robert Fisk was in Beirut when an "enormous [car] bomb blew a 45-foot-crater in the road and brought down an entire block of apartments. The building collapsed like a concertina, crushing more than 50 of its occupants to death, most of them Shia refugees from southern Lebanon." Several of the car bombers were captured and confessed that the bombs had been rigged by the Shin Bet, the Israeli equivalent of the FBI or the British Special Branch. But if such atrocities were designed to drive a wedge of terror between the PLO and Lebanese Moslems, they had the inadvertent result (as did the Israeli air force's later cluster-bombing of civilian neighborhoods) of turning the Shias from informal Israeli allies into shrewd and resolute enemies.

The new face of Shiite militancy was Hezbollah, formed in mid-1982 out of an amalgamation of Islamic Amal with other pro-Khomeini groupuscules. Trained and advised by the Iranian Pasdaran in the Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah was both an indigenous resistance movement with deep roots in the Shiite slums of southern Beirut and, at the same time, the long arm of Iran's theocratic revolution. Although some experts espouse alternative theories, Islamic Amal/Hezbollah is usually seen as the author, with Iranian and Syrian assistance, of the devastating attacks on American and French forces in Beirut during 1983. Hezbollah's diabolic innovation was to marry the IRA's ANFO car bombs to the kamikaze -- using suicide drivers to crash truckloads of explosives into the lobbies of embassies and barracks in Beirut, and later into Israeli checkpoints and patrols in southern Lebanon.

The United States and France became targets of Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian patrons after the Multinational Force in Beirut, which supposedly had landed to allow for the safe evacuation of the PLO from that city, evolved into the informal and then open ally of the Maronite government in its civil war against the Moslem-Druze majority. The first retaliation against President Reagan's policy occurred on April 18, 1983, when a pickup truck carrying 2,000 pounds of ANFO explosives suddenly swerved across traffic into the driveway of the oceanfront U.S. embassy in Beirut. The driver gunned the truck past a startled guard and crashed through the lobby door. "Even by Beirut standards," writes former CIA agent Robert Baer, "it was an enormous blast, shattering windows. The USS Guadalcanal, anchored five miles off the coast, shuddered from the tremors. At ground zero, the center of the seven-story embassy lifted up hundreds of feet into the air, remained suspended for what seemed an eternity, and then collapsed in a cloud of dust, people, splintered furniture, and paper."

Whether as a result of superb intelligence or sheer luck, the bombing coincided with a visit to the embassy of Robert Ames, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East. It killed him ("his hand was found floating a mile offshore, the wedding ring still on his finger") and all six members of the Beirut CIA station. "Never before had the CIA lost so many officers in a single attack. It was a tragedy from which the agency would never recover." It also left the Americans blind in Beirut, forcing them to scrounge for intelligence scraps from the French embassy or the British listening station offshore on Cyprus. (A year later, Hezbollah completed their massacre of the CIA in Beirut when they kidnapped and executed the replacement station chief, William Buckley.) As a result, the Agency never foresaw the coming of the mother-of-all-vehicle-bomb attacks.

Over the protests of Colonel Geraghty, the commander of the U.S. marines onshore in Beirut, Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane, ordered the Sixth Fleet in September to open fire on Druze militia who were storming Lebanese Army Forces positions in the hills above Beirut -- bringing the United States into the conflict brazenly on the side of the reactionary Amin Gemayel government. A month later, a five-ton Mercedes dump truck hurled past sandbagged marine sentries and smashed through a guardhouse into the ground floor of the "Beirut Hilton," the U.S. military barracks in a former PLO headquarters next to the international airport. The truck's payload was an incredible 12,000 pounds of high explosives. "It is said to have been the largest non-nuclear blast ever [deliberately] detonated on the face of the earth." "The force of the explosion," continues Eric Hammel in his history of the marine landing force, "initially lifted the entire four-story structure, shearing the bases of the concrete support columns, each measuring fifteen feet in circumference and reinforced by numerous one and three quarter inch steel rods. The airborne building then fell in upon itself. A massive shock wave and ball of flaming gas was hurled in all directions." The marine (and Navy) death toll of 241 was the Corps' highest single-day loss since Iwo Jima in 1945.

Meanwhile, another Hezbollah kamikaze had crashed his explosive-laden van into the French barracks in West Beirut, toppling the eight-story structure, killing 58 Soldiers. If the airport bomb repaid the Americans for saving Gemayal, this second explosion was probably a response to the French decision to supply Saddam Hussein with Super-Etendard jets and Exocet missiles to attack Iran. The hazy distinction between local Shiite grievances and the interests of Tehran was blurred further when two members of Hezbollah joined with 18 Iraqi Shias to truck-bomb the U.S. embassy in Kuwait in mid-December. The French embassy, the control tower at the airport, the main oil refinery and an expatriate residential compound were also targeted in what was clearly a stern warning to Iran's enemies.

Following another truck bombing against the French in Beirut as well as deadly attacks on marine outposts, the Multinational Force began to withdraw from Lebanon in February 1984. It was Reagan's most stunning geopolitical defeat. In the impolite phrase of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, "Essentially we turned tail and ran and left Lebanon." American power in Lebanon, added Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, was neutralized by "just 12,000 pounds of dynamite and a stolen truck."

[This article -- a preliminary sketch for a book-length study -- will appear next year in Indefensible Space: The Architecture of the National Insecurity State (Routledge 2007), edited by Michael Sorkin.]

Mike Davis is the author most recently of The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu (The New Press) and Planet of Slums (Verso). He lives in San Diego.

[Note for readers: Part 2 of Mike Davis's history of the car bomb, "Car Bombs with Wings," will be posted this Thursday.]


Car Bombs with Wings
A History of the Car Bomb (Part 2)

by Mike Davis

The CIA's Car Bomb University (the 1980s)

"The CIA officers that Yousef worked with closely impressed upon him one rule: never use the terms sabotage or assassination when speaking with visiting congressmen."

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars

Gunboat diplomacy had been defeated by car bombs in Lebanon, but the Reagan administration and, above all, CIA Director William Casey were left thirsting for revenge against Hezbollah. "Finally in 1985," according to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward in Veil, his book on Casey's career, "he worked out with the Saudis a plan to use a car bomb to kill [Hezbollah leader] Sheikh Fadlallah who they determined was one of the people behind, not only the Marine barracks, but was involved in the taking of American hostages in Beirut... It was Casey on his own, saying, 'I'm going to solve the big problem by essentially getting tougher or as tough as the terrorists in using their weapon - the car bomb.'"

The CIA's own operatives, however, proved incapable of carrying out the bombing, so Casey subcontracted the operation to Lebanese agents led by a former British SAS officer and financed by Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar. In March 1984, a large car bomb was detonated about 50 yards from Sheikh Fadlallah's house in Bir El-Abed, a crowded Shi'ite neighborhood in southern Beirut. The sheikh wasn't harmed, but 80 innocent neighbors and passersby were killed and 200 wounded. Fadlallah immediately had a huge "MADE IN USA" banner hung across the shattered street, while Hezbollah returned tit for tat in September when a suicide truck driver managed to break through the supposedly impregnable perimeter defenses of the new U.S. embassy in eastern (Christian) Beirut, killing 23 employees and visitors.

Despite the Fadlallah fiasco, Casey remained an enthusiast for using urban terrorism to advance American goals, especially against the Soviets and their allies in Afghanistan. A year after the Bir El-Abed massacre, Casey won President Reagan's approval for NSDD-166, a secret directive that, according to Steve Coll in Ghost Wars, inaugurated a "new era of direct infusions of advanced U.S. military technology into Afghanistan, intensified training of Islamist guerrillas in explosives and sabotage techniques, and targeted attacks on Soviet military officers."

U.S. Special Forces experts would now provide high-tech explosives and teach state-of-the-art sabotage techniques, including the fabrication of ANFO (ammonium nitrate-fuel oil) car bombs, to Pakistani intelligence service (or ISI) officers under the command of Brigadier Mohammed Yousaf. These officers, in turn, would tutor thousands of Afghan and foreign mujahedin, including the future cadre of al-Qaeda, in scores of training camps financed by the Saudis. "Under ISI direction," Coll writes, "the mujahedin received training and malleable explosives to mount car-bomb and even camel-bomb attacks in Soviet-occupied cities, usually designed to kill Soviet soldiers and commanders. Casey endorsed these despite the qualms of some CIA career officers."

Mujahedin car bombers, working with teams of snipers and assassins, not only terrorized uniformed Soviet forces in a series of devastating attacks in Afghanistan but also massacred leftwing intelligentsia in Kabul, the country's capital. "Yousaf and the Afghan car-bombing squads he trained," writes Coll, "regarded Kabul University professors as fair game," as well as movie theaters and cultural events. Although some members of the National Security Council reportedly denounced the bombings and assassinations as "outright terrorism," Casey was delighted with the results. Meanwhile, "by the late 1980s, the ISI had effectively eliminated all the secular, leftist, and royalist political parties that had first formed when Afghan refugees fled communist rule." As a result, most of the billions of dollars that the Saudis and Washington pumped into Afghanistan ended up in the hands of radical Islamist groups sponsored by the ISI. They were also the chief recipients of huge quantities of CIA-supplied plastic explosives as well as thousands of advanced E-cell delay detonators.

It was the greatest technology transfer of terrorist technique in history. There was no need for angry Islamists to take car-bomb extension courses from Hezbollah when they could matriculate in a CIA-supported urban-sabotage graduate program in Pakistan's frontier provinces. "Ten years later," Coll observes, "the vast training infrastructure that Yousaf and his colleagues built with the enormous budgets endorsed by NSDD-166 - the specialized camps, the sabotage training manuals, the electronic bomb detonators, and so on - would be referred to routinely in America as 'terrorist infrastructure.'" Moreover the alumni of the ISI training camps like Ramzi Yousef, who plotted the first 1993 World Trade Center attack, or his uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who allegedly designed the second, would soon be applying their expertise on every continent.

Cities under Siege (the 1990s)

"The hour of dynamite, terror without limit, has arrived."

- Peruvian Journalist Gustavo Gorritti, 1992

Twenty-first century hindsight makes it clear that the defeat of the U.S. intervention in Lebanon in 1983-84, followed by the CIA's dirty war in Afghanistan, had wider and more potent geopolitical repercussions than the loss of Saigon in 1975. The Vietnam War was, of course, an epic struggle whose imprint upon domestic American politics remains profound, but it belonged to the era of the Cold War's bipolar superpower rivalry. Hezbollah's war in Beirut and south Lebanon, on the other hand, prefigured (and even inspired) the "asymmetric" conflicts that characterize the millennium. Moreover, unlike peoples' war on the scale sustained by the NLF and the North Vietnamese for more than a generation, car-bombing and suicide terrorism are easily franchised and gruesomely applicable in a variety of scenarios. Although rural guerrillas survive in rugged redoubts like Kashmir, the Khyber Pass, and the Andes, the center of gravity of global insurgency has moved from the countryside back to the cities and their slum peripheries. In this post-Cold-War urban context, the Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks has become the gold standard of terrorism; the 9/11 attacks, it can be argued, were only an inevitable scaling-up of the suicide truck bomb to airliners.

Washington, however, was loath to recognize the new military leverage that powerful vehicle bombs offered its enemies or even to acknowledge their surprising lethality. After the 1983 Beirut bombings, the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico began an intensive investigation into the physics of truck bombs. Researchers were shocked by what they discovered. In addition to the deadly air blast, truck bombs also produced unexpectedly huge ground waves.

"The lateral accelerations propagated through the ground from a truck bomb far exceed those produced during the peak magnitude of an earthquake." Indeed, the scientists of Sandia came to the conclusion that even an offsite detonation near a nuclear power plant might "cause enough damage to lead to a deadly release of radiation or even a meltdown." Yet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1986 refused to authorize the emplacement of vehicle barriers to protect nuclear-power installations and made no move to alter an obsolete security plan designed to thwart a few terrorists infiltrating on foot.

Indeed, Washington seemed unwilling to learn any of the obvious lessons of either its Beirut defeat or its secret successes in Afghanistan. The Reagan and Bush administrations appeared to regard the Hezbollah bombings as flukes, not as a powerful new threat that would replicate rapidly in the "blowback" of imperial misadventure and anti-Soviet escapades. Although it was inevitable that other insurgent groups would soon try to emulate Hezbollah, American planners - although partially responsible - largely failed to foresee the extraordinary "globalization" of car bombing in the 1990s or the rise of sophisticated new strategies of urban destabilization that went with it. Yet by the mid-1990s, more cities were under siege from bomb attacks than at any time since the end of World War Two, and urban guerrillas were using car and truck bombs to score direct hits on some of the world's most powerful financial institutions. Each success, moreover, emboldened groups to plan yet more attacks and recruited more groups to launch their own "poor man's air force."

Beginning in April 1992, for example, the occult Maoists of Sendero Luminoso came down from Peru's altiplano to spread terror throughout the cities of Lima and Callao with increasingly more powerful coche-bombas. "Large supplies of explosives," the magazine Caretas pointed out, are "freely available in a mining nation," and the senderistas were generous in their gifts of dynamite: bombing television stations and various foreign embassies as well as a dozen police stations and military camps. Their campaign eerily recapitulated the car bomb's phylogeny as it progressed from modest detonations to a more powerful attack on the American embassy, then to Bloody-Friday-type public massacres using 16 vehicles at a time. The climax (and Sendero's chief contribution to the genre) was an attempt to blow up an entire neighborhood of "class enemies": a huge ANFO explosion in the elite Miraflores district on the evening of July 16 that killed 22, wounded 120, and destroyed or damaged 183 homes, 400 businesses and 63 parked cars. The local press described Miraflores as looking "as if an aerial bombardment had flattened the area."

If one of the virtues of an air force is the ability to reach halfway around the world to surprise enemies in their beds, the car bomb truly grew wings during 1993 as Middle Eastern groups struck at targets in the Western Hemisphere for the first time. The World Trade Center attack on February 26 was organized by master al-Qaeda bomb-maker Ramzi Yousef working with a Kuwaiti engineer named Nidal Ayyad and immigrant members of the Egyptian group, Gama'a al-Islamiyya, headed by Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman (whose U.S. visa had reputedly been arranged by the CIA). Their extraordinary ambition was to kill tens of thousands of New Yorkers with a powerful lateral blast that would crack the foundations of one WTC tower and topple it on its twin. Yousef's weapon was a Ryder van packed with an ingenious upgrade of the classic IRA and Hezbollah ANFO explosive.

"The bomb itself," writes Peter Lange in his history of the bombing, "consisted of four cardboard boxes filled with a slurry of urea nitrate and fuel oil, with waste paper as a binder. The boxes were surrounded by four-foot tanks of compressed hydrogen. They were connected by four 20-foot-long slow-burning fuses of smokeless powder wrapped in fabric. Yousef balanced on his lap four vials of nitroglycerine." The conspirators had no difficulty parking the van next to the load-bearing south wall of the North Tower, but the massive explosive proved too small - excavating a four-story deep crater in the basement, killing 6 and injuring 1,000 people, but failing to bring the tower down. "Our calculations were not very accurate this time," wrote Ayyad in a letter. "However we promise you that next it would will [sic] be very precise and the Trade Center will be one of our targets."

Two weeks after the WTC attack, a car bomb almost as powerful exploded in the underground parking garage of the Bombay Stock Exchange, severely damaging the 28-story skyscraper and killing 50 office workers. Twelve other car or motorcycle bombs soon detonated at other prestige targets, killing an additional 207 people and injuring 1,400. The bombings were revenge for sectarian riots a few months earlier in which Indian Hindus had killed hundreds of Indian Moslems. The attacks were reputedly organized from Dubai by exiled Bombay underworld king Dawood Ibrahim at the behest of Pakistani intelligence. According to one account, Dawood sent three boats from Dubai to Karachi where they were loaded with military explosives. Indian customs officials were then bribed to look the other way while the "black soup" was smuggled into Bombay.

Corrupt officials were also rumored to have facilitated the suicide car bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 17, 1993 which killed 30 and injured 242. The next year, a second "martyr," later identified as a 29-year-old Hezbollah militant from southern Lebanon, leveled the seven-story Argentine-Israel Mutual Association, slaughtering 85 and wounding more than 300. Both bombers carefully followed the Beirut template; as did the Islamist militant who drove his car into the central police headquarters in Algiers in January 1995, killing 42 and injuring over 280.

But the supreme acolytes of Hezbollah were the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, the only non-Moslem group that has practiced suicide car bombings on a large scale. Indeed, their leader Prabhaakaran "made a strategic decision to adopt the method of suicide attack after observing its lethal effectiveness in the 1983 suicide bombings of the US and French barracks in Beirut." Between their first such operation in 1987 and 2000, they were responsible for twice as many suicide attacks of all kinds as Hezbollah and Hamas combined. Although they have integrated car bombs into regular military tactics (for example, using kamikazes in trucks to open attacks on Sri Lankan army camps), their obsession and "most prized theater of operation" in their struggle for Tamil independence has been the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, which they first car-bombed in 1987 in a grisly attack on the main bus terminal, burning scores of passengers to death inside crowded buses.

In January 1996, a Black Tiger - as the suicide elite are called - drove a truck containing 440 pounds of military high explosives into the front of the Central Bank Building, resulting in nearly 1,400 casualties. Twenty months later in October 1997 in a more complex operation, the Tigers attacked the twin towers of the Colombo World Trade Center. They managed to maneuver through barricades and set off a car bomb in front of the Center, then battled the police with automatics and grenades. The following March, a suicide mini-bus with shrapnel-filled bombs affixed to its sideboards was detonated outside the main train station in the midst of a huge traffic jam. The 38 dead included a dozen children in a school bus.

The Tamil Tigers are a mass nationalist movement with "liberated territory," a full-scale army and even a tiny navy; moreover, 20,000 Tiger cadres received secret paramilitary training in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu from 1983 to 1987, courtesy of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and India's CIA - the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). But such sponsorship literally blew up in the face of the Indian Congress Party leadership when Indira's son and successor Rajiv was killed by a female Tiger suicide bomber in 1993. Indeed, the all-too-frequent pattern of surrogate terrorism, whether sponsored by the CIA, RAW, or the KGB, has been "return to sender" - most notoriously in the cases of those former CIA "assets," blind Sheik Rahman and Osama bin Laden.

The Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995 was a different and startling species of blowback, organized by two angry U.S. veterans of the Gulf War rather than by Iraq or any Islamist group. Although conspiracy theorists have made much of a strange coincidence that put Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef near each other in Cebu City in the Philippines in November 1994, the design of the attack seems to have been inspired by Timothy McVeigh's obsession with that devil's cookbook, The Turner Diaries. Written in 1978, after Bloody Friday but before Beirut, neo-Nazi William Pierce's novel describes with pornographic relish how white supremacists destroy the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. with an ANFO truck bomb, then crash a plane carrying a hijacked nuke into the Pentagon.

McVeigh carefully followed Pierce's simple recipe in the novel (several tons of ammonium nitrate in a parked truck) rather than Yousef's more complicated WTC formula, although he did substitute nitro racing fuel and diesel oil for ordinary heating oil. Nonetheless, the explosion that slaughtered 168 people in the Alfred Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995 was three times more powerful than any of the truck-bomb detonations that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and other federal agencies had been studying at their test range in New Mexico. Experts were amazed at the radius of destruction: "Equivalent to 4,100 pounds of dynamite, the blast damaged 312 buildings, cracked glass as far as two miles away and inflicted 80 percent of its injuries on people outside the building up to a half-mile away." Distant seismographs recorded it as a 6.0 earthquake on the Richter scale.

But McVeigh's good-ole-boy bomb, with its diabolical demonstration of Heartland DIY ingenuity, was scarcely the last word in destructive power; indeed, it was probably inevitable that the dark Olympics of urban carnage would be won by a home team from the Middle East. Although the casualty list (20 dead, 372 wounded) wasn't as long as Oklahoma City's, the huge truck bomb that, in June 1996, alleged Hezbollah militants left outside Dhahran's Khobar Towers - a high-rise dormitory used by U.S. Air Force personnel in Saudi Arabia - broke all records in explosive yield, being the equivalent perhaps of twenty 1,000-pound bombs. Moreover, the death toll might have been as large as the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1993 save for alert Air Force sentries who began an evacuation shortly before the explosion. Still, the blast (military-grade plastic explosive) left an incredible crater 85-feet wide and 35-feet deep.

Two years later, on August 7, 1998, al Qaeda claimed the championship in mass murder when it crashed suicide truck bombs into the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, in a replay of the simultaneous 1993 attacks on the Marines and the French in Beirut. Located near two of the busiest streets in the city without adequate setback or protective glacis, the Nairobi embassy was especially vulnerable, as Ambassador Prudence Bushnell had fruitlessly warned the State Department. In the event, ordinary Kenyans - burnt alive in their vehicles, lacerated by flying glass, or buried in smoldering debris - were the principal victims of the huge explosion, which killed several hundred and wounded more than 5,000. Another dozen people died and almost 100 were injured in Dar-es-Salaam.

Sublime indifference to the collateral carnage caused by its devices, including to innocent Moslems, remains a hallmark of operations organized by the al-Qaeda network. Like his forerunners Hermann Goering and Curtis LeMay, Osama bin Laden seems to exult in the sheer statistics of bomb damage - the competitive race to ever greater explosive yields and killing ranges. One of the most lucrative of his recent franchises (in addition to air travel, skyscrapers, and public transport) has been car-bomb attacks on Western tourists in primarily Moslem countries, although the October 2002 attack on a Bali nightclub (202 dead) and the July 2005 bombing of hotels in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh (88 dead) almost certainly killed as many local workers as erstwhile "crusaders."

Form Follows Fear (the 1990s)

"The car bomb is the nuclear weapon of guerrilla warfare."

- Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer

A "billion-pound explosion"? One meaning, of course, is the TNT yield of three or four Hiroshima-size atomic weapons (which is to say, only a smidgen of the explosive power of a single H-bomb). Alternately, one billion (British) pounds ($1.45 billion) is what the IRA cost the City of London in April 1993 when a blue dump-truck containing a ton of ANFO exploded on Bishopsgate Road across from the NatWest Tower in the heart of the world's second major financial center. Although one bystander was killed and more than 30 injured by the immense explosion, which also demolished a medieval church and wrecked the Liverpool Street station, the human toll was incidental to the economic damage that was the true goal of the attack. Whereas the other truck bomb campaigns of the 1990s - Lima, Bombay, Colombo, and so forth - had followed Hezbollah's playbook almost to the letter, the Bishopsgate bomb, which Moloney describes as "the most successful military tactic since the start of the Troubles," was part of a novel IRA campaign that waged war on financial centers in order to extract British concessions during the difficult peace negotiations that lasted through most of the 1990s.

Bishopsgate, in fact, was the second and most costly of three blockbuster explosions carried out by the elite (and more or less autonomous) South Armagh IRA under the leadership of the legendary "Slab" Murphy. Almost exactly a year earlier, they had set off a truck bomb at the Baltic Exchange in St. Mary Axe that rained a million pounds of glass and debris on surrounding streets, killing 3 and wounding almost 100 people. The damage, although less than Bishopsgate, was still astonishing: about 800 million pounds or more than the approximately 600 million pounds in total damage inflicted over 22 years of bombing in Northern Ireland. Then, in 1996, with peace talks stalled and the IRA Army Council in revolt against the latest cease-fire, the South Armagh Brigade smuggled into England a third huge car bomb that they set off in the underground garage of one of the postmodern office buildings near Canary Wharf Tower in the gentrified London Docklands, killing two and causing nearly $150 million dollars in damage. Total damage from the three explosions was at least $3 billion.

As Jon Coaffee points out in her book on the impact of the bombings, if the IRA like the Tamil Tigers or al-Qaeda had simply wanted to sow terror or bring life in London to a halt, they would have set off the explosions at rush-hour on a business day - instead, they "were detonated at a time when the City was virtually deserted" - and/or attacked the heart of the transport infrastructure, as did the Islamist suicide bombers who blew up London buses and subways in July 2005. Instead, Slab Murphy and his comrades concentrated on what they perceived to be a financial weak link: the faltering British and European insurance industry. To the horror of their enemies, they were spectacularly successful. "The huge payouts by insurance companies," commented the BBC shortly after Bishopsgate, "contributed to a crisis in the industry, including the near-collapse of the world's leading [re]insurance market, Lloyds of London." German and Japanese investors threatened to boycott the City unless physical security was improved and the government agreed to subsidize insurance costs.

Despite a long history of London bombings by the Irish going back to the Fenians and Queen Victoria, neither Downing Street, nor the City of London Police had foreseen this scale of accurately targeted physical and financial damage. (Indeed, Slab Murphy himself might have been surprised; like the original ANFO bombs, these super-bombs were probably a wee bit of serendipity for the IRA.) The City's response was a more sophisticated version of the "ring of steel" (concrete barriers, high iron fences, and impregnable gates) that had been built around Belfast's city center after Bloody Friday in 1972. Following Bishopsgate, the financial press clamored for similar protection: "The City should be turned into a medieval-style walled enclave to prevent terrorist attacks."

What was actually implemented in the City and later in the Docklands was a technologically more advanced network of traffic restrictions and cordons, CCTV cameras, including "24-hour Automated Number Plate Recording (ANPR) cameras, linked to police databases," and intensified public and private policing. "In the space of a decade," writes Coaffee, "the City of London was transformed into the most surveilled space in the UK and perhaps the world with over 1500 surveillance cameras operating, many of which are linked to the ANPR system."

Since September 11, 2001, this anti-terrorist surveillance system has been extended throughout London's core in the benign guise of Mayor Ken Livingstone's celebrated "congestion pricing" scheme to liberate the city from gridlock. According to one of Britain's major Sunday papers:

"The Observer has discovered that MI5, Special Branch and the Metropolitan Police began secretly developing the system in the wake of the 11 September attacks. In effect, the controversial charging scheme will create one of the most daunting defence systems protecting a major world city when it goes live a week tomorrow. It is understood that the system also utilizes facial recognition software which automatically identifies suspects or known criminals who enter the eight-square-mile zone. Their precise movements will be tracked by camera from the point of entry... However, civil liberty campaigners yesterday claimed that millions had been misled over the dual function of the scheme, promoted primarily as a means of reducing congestion in central London."

The addition in 2003 of this new panopticon traffic scan to London's already extensive system of video surveillance ensures that the average citizen is "caught on CCTV cameras 300 times a day." It may make it easier for the police to apprehend non-suicidal terrorists, but it does little to protect the city from well-planned and competently disguised vehicle bomb attacks. Blair's "Third Way" has been a fast lane for the adoption of Orwellian surveillance and the usurpation of civil liberties, but until some miracle technology emerges (and none is in sight) that allows authorities from a distance to "sniff" a molecule or two of explosive in a stream of rush-hour traffic, the car bombers will continue to commute to work.

The 'King' of Iraq (the 2000s)

"Insurgents exploded 13 car bombs across Iraq on Sunday, including eight in Baghdad within a three-hour span."

- Associated Press news report, January 1, 2006

Car bombs - some 1,293 between 2004 and 2005, according to researchers at the Brookings Institution - have devastated Iraq like no other land in history. The most infamous, driven or left by sectarian jihadists, have targeted Iraqi Shi'ites in front of their homes, mosques, police stations, and markets: 125 dead in Hilla (February 28, 2005); 98 in Mussayib (July 16); 114 in Baghdad (September 14); 102 in Blad (September 29); 50 in Abu Sayda (November 19); and so on.

Some of the devices have been gigantic, like the stolen fuel-truck bomb that devastated Mussayib, but what is most extraordinary has been their sheer frequency - in one 48-hour-period in July 2005 at least 15 suicide car bombs exploded in or around Baghdad. The sinister figure supposedly behind the worst of these massacres is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian arch-terrorist who reportedly criticized Osama bin Laden for insufficient zeal in attacking domestic enemies like the "infidel Shias." Al-Zarqawi, it is claimed, is pursuing an essentially eschatological rather than political goal: a cleansing of enemies without end until the Earth is ruled by a single, righteous caliphate.

Toward this end, he - or those invoking his name - seems to have access to an almost limitless supply of bomb vehicles (some of them apparently stolen in California and Texas, then shipped to the Middle East) as well as Saudi and other volunteers eager to martyr themselves in flame and molten metal for the sake of taking a few Shi'ite school kids, market venders, or foreign "crusaders" with them. Indeed the supply of suicidal madrassa graduates seems to far exceed what the logic of suicide bombing (as perfected by Hezbollah and the Tamil Tigers) actually demands: Many of the explosions in Iraq could just as easily be detonated by remote control. But the car bomb - at least in Al-Zarqawi's relentless vision - is evidently a stairway to heaven as well as the chosen weapon of genocide.

But Zarqawi did not originate car bomb terrorism along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates; that dark honor belongs to the CIA and its favorite son, Iyad Allawi. As the New York Times revealed in June 2004:

"Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization intent on deposing Saddam Hussein that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990s's to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the CIA, several former intelligence officials say. Dr. Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, used car bombs and other explosives devices smuggled into Baghdad from northern Iraq... One former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was based in the region, Robert Baer, recalled that a bombing during that period 'blew up a school bus; schoolchildren were killed.'"

According to one of the Times' informants, the bombing campaign, dead school kids and all, "was a test more than anything else, to demonstrate capability." It allowed the CIA to portray the then-exiled Allawi and his suspect group of ex-Baathists as a serious opposition to Saddam Hussein and an alternative to the coterie (so favored by Washington neoconservatives) around Ahmed Chalabi. "No one had any problem with sabotage in Baghdad back then," another CIA veteran reflected. "I don't think anyone could have known how things would turn out today."

Today, of course, car bombs rule Iraq. In a June 2005 article entitled, "Why the car bomb is king in Iraq," James Dunnigan warned that it was supplanting the roadside bomb (which "are more frequently discovered, or defeated with electronic devices") as the "most effective weapon" of Sunni insurgents as well as of Zarqawi, and thus "the terrorists are building as many as they can." The recent "explosive growth" in car ownership in Iraq, he added, had made it "easier for the car bombs to just get lost in traffic."

In this kingdom of the car bomb, the occupiers have withdrawn almost completely into their own forbidden city, the "Green Zone," and their well-fortified and protected military bases. This is not the high-tech City of London with sensors taking the place of snipers, but a totally medievalized enclave surrounded by concrete walls and defended by M1 Abrams tanks and helicopter gunships as well as an exotic corps of corporate mercenaries (including Gurkhas, ex-Rhodesian commandos, former British SAS, and amnestied Colombian paramilitaries). Once the Xanadu of the Baathist ruling class, the 10-square-kilometer Green Zone, as described by journalist Scott Johnson, is now a surreal theme park of the American way of life:

"Women in shorts and T-shirts jog down broad avenues and the Pizza Inn does a brisk business from the parking lot of the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy. Near the Green Zone Bazaar, Iraqi kids hawk pornographic DVDs to Soldiers. Sheik Fuad Rashid, the U.S.-appointed imam of the local mosque, dresses like a nun, dyes his hair platinum blond and claims that Mary Mother of Jesus appeared to him in a vision (hence the getup). On any given night, residents can listen to karaoke, play badminton or frequent one of several rowdy bars, including an invitation-only speakeasy run by the CIA."

Outside the Green Zone, of course, is the "Red Zone" where ordinary Iraqis can be randomly and unexpectedly blown to bits by car bombers or strafed by American helicopters. Not surprisingly, wealthy Iraqis and members of the new government are clamoring for admission to the security of the Green Zone, but U.S. officials told Newsweek last year that "plans to move the Americans out are 'fantasy.'" Billions have been invested in the Green Zone and a dozen other American enclaves officially known for a period as "enduring camps," and even prominent Iraqis have been left to forage for their own security outside the blast walls of these exclusive bubble Americas. A population that has endured Saddam's secret police, U.N. sanctions, and American cruise missiles, now steels itself to survive the car bombers who prowl poor Shi'ite neighborhoods looking for grisly martyrdom. For the most selfish reasons, let us hope that Baghdad is not a metaphor for our collective future.

[This article - a preliminary sketch for a book-length study - will appear next year in Indefensible Space: The Architecture of the National Insecurity State (Routledge 2007), edited by Michael Sorkin.]

Mike Davis is the author most recently of The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu (The New Press) and Planet of Slums (Verso). He lives in San Diego.

Copyright 2006 Mike Davis

Troop Clusterfucks in Iraq: What Bill Roggio's Raghead-Hating Journal Documents What Foot-Sloggers and Truck-Hopping Americans Face

World War III: Nuclear Weapons nix nation-state hot wars but give birth to proxy and sub-national hot wars with that old standby, HE, 1946-1973

Click on picture to see full-sized version of letter from U.S. Army Air Force Commanding General Spaatz on the Atomic Bomb

The failure of HE strategic bombing is what lead to the creation of the nuclear bomb, millions upon million of times more powerful and strong enough to wipe off ANYTHING on the surface of the earth caught in its blast effects.

Here is the shocking, frightening truth about why we fiddled around in the Pacific during WW2.


The real MORTAL threat to America IS (notice we did not say "was") GERMANY and fascism BECAUSE THEY DID HAVE THE ATOMIC BOMB.

The shocking truth is that Germany DID create and use atomic bombs and WE OVER-RAN THEM WITH MANEUVER NOT ONE SECOND TOO SOON. Not one second. The margin between them nuking New York city with long-range bombers was only a matter of DAYS. A JU-390 had already flown to New York city and back to Germany. So much for air defense. When Germany set off its first nuke in a test, the German officers against Hitler set off a bomb trying to kill him in desperation, which slowed him down. We are talking critical days here.

German JU-390 long-range 6-engined heavy bomber and a blast map of New York showing the expected devastation

We also forever change our opinion on strategic bombing in WW2 over Germany. The strategic bombing wasn't about making the German people give up to win the war for the glory of air power egotists, IT WAS ABOUT STALLING AND INTERFERING WITH THE GERMAN "WONDER" WEAPONS PROGRAMS when EVERY SECOND COUNTED. What saved America and the world was ground MANEUVER that CAN stop think tanks and weapons labs from creating Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) by depriving them of the tranquility, time and resources to THINK, EXPERIMENT and PERFECT new weapons.

Its all covered in this important on-line book by Joseph Farrell, "Reich of the Black Sun" below:


So basically the "Midway Myth" of aircraft carrier worship is grotesque. The Pacific theater was a side show. When you study the actual weapons the Germans had and nearly had you will realize FDR's "Germany First" strategic policy was not just justified IT WAS NOT EVEN ENOUGH. Furthermore, Japan has not been the only people who have been nuked, and not just in WW2.

In 1958 we, the Russians and British nuked Nazi Germans hiding out in their secret under-ice and under-ground bases in Antarctica.

WORLD WAR 2 NEVER ENDED but has continued on in secret.

After the obvious, overt "WW2" ended for the mundane masses, work began right away in world armies to counter nuclear Super High Explosives (SHE) by dispersing maneuver forces with greater mobility via aircraft, cross-country mobility over all terrain types, closed as well as the easy open terrain encountered in Europe in WW2 and eventually with full armor protection with Gavin's M113 tracked APC, copied by the Russians with the BMP/BMD and burrowing deep underground. A new age of defensive nuclear stalemate was hoped for in 1945, so the civilian folks could go back to making babies, going to school and having fun. This was shattered by the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950.

We had over-estimated the firepower scissors again, this time thinking SHE would deter anyone from even attacking and had neglected the rock and paper aspects as enemy T34/85 medium tanks (paper/rock/scissors all in one) over-ran our truck and foot troops whose wimpy 2.36" bazooka HE rockets bounced off. MacArthur then turned the "paper" on the North Korean out-flanking them at Inchon cutting them off from their supplies, then while stopped at the Chinese border, the red swarms entered the war. Ridgway was ordered to stop them and he used WW1 style rock trench lines and artillery scissors firepower to decimate the Chinese waves UP AND MOVING AS WE WERE DOWN AND FIRING. With us holding the high ground, stalemate followed and an uneasy truce exists to this day.

The result of the failure of SHE to deter proxies of the communist Soviet Union and other sub-national groups to use LE/HE to fight "conventional wars" is the sad rest of the story of the 20st century. Wisely, America chose to lay siege to the Soviet Union and contain it expanding to more satellite nation-states by covert actions and military overt small wars in Vietnam, Grenada, Afghanistan until like the walled city but without internal spiritual food, Soviet communism collapsed in 1990. During this time, HE weaponry improved with warheads being guided so a DH and even a specific direct hit (SDH) could be obtained against a target to get greater effects, but in other ways U.S. unguided HE effects that should have increased atrophied as RPGs were handed out like candy so American G.I.s were always fighting foes M16 vs AK47 with RPG blasts going off in their face.

Desert Storm catches an Army in open terrain and creates a "precision" HE firepower mentality called the RMA, 1973-1995

Pretty painting by Lou Drendel of U.S. Army AH-64A Apache helicopter over TAN Iraq in the daylight in the wrong DARK GREEN camouflage

The Russian idea of Surveillance Strike System (SSC) being so overlapping that it would devour anyone maneuvering against it had its day in court during the Yom Kippur, in 1973. The Egyptians breeched an Israeli sand wall with water hoses then tank maneuvered into defensive positions in the Sinai with a surface-to-air missile (SAM) umbrella and hunter/killer anti-tank teams with model airplane joystick Sagger anti-tank guided missiles and rocket propelled grenades. The Israeli air force came in to bomb and were shot down in huge numbers. Tanks without infantry were knocked out. Things looked really bad. Then Ariel Sharon showed up and saved the day by combining his arms so artillery snuffed the SAMs as infantry advanced to take out the anti-tank teams. He found a gap in the Egyptian armies, pierced it, crossed the Suez and encircled them! It took threats from Soviet sponsors to call off the IDF from annihilating the Egyptians completely.

The idea of hiding with Camouflage, Cover, Concealment, Deception and Deceit (C3D2) like the Serbs did to evade NATO bombing in 1995 but with a well-layed out SSC has been revisited with Hezbollah (Hezie-B) setting up observation posts in mountainous south Lebanon to call in mortar fire and hunter/killer teams this time with SACLOS (semi-automatic command line of sight) ATGMs to take out IDF tanks at vulnerable spots. The Serbs were implementing well-drilled plans for non-linear war in small groups hiding in the mountains with lots of HE weapons to evade air strikes and tied down and maneuvering invaders developed by the Titoist regime over 3 decades. This is what they did to tie down 10 German divisions in WW2. Hezie-B's SSC defense-in-depth is less fluid and less mobile stemming from a much smaller land mass to work with than the Balkans.

After Israeli air strike bombardment didn't phase Hezie-B in their bunkers under civilian schools, mosques, hospitals and home, a hastily assembled ground maneuver was ordered in. However, the IDF refused to play their game and avoided roads and land mines using cross-country tank maneuver and a heliborne 3D maneuver to reach the Litani river and encircle Hezie-B. At this point the U.S. instigated a cease-fire for an international force to come in and disarm Hezie-B. The rest of the story is unfolding as we speak. Again maneuver "paper" defeats static rock.

While the Yom Kippur war gave birth to heavier, defensive American tanks, it made the U.S. Air Force even more paranoid about integrated air defenses and all low-altitude observation/attack planes that help Army ground maneuver were retired. Then the dumbass marines followed scrapping their OV-10s and the Army was forced to retire their OV-1 Mohawks by the corrupt MICC-TT Congress in 1996. Spotting nodes of the SSC would have to be done by UAVs and unless pressured by ground maneuver they can easily hide. USAF for the 1991 Iraq war ordered everybody except the Army to stay above 10, 000 feet as they bombed for 40 days. The ground maneuver was sent in, but lacking a bold 3D maneuver to block the Republican guard, it escaped to crush a Shia rebellion a few days later. We ran the Iraqis off the porch of Kuwait but we didn't get the job done.

The air power scissors crowd now started to claim they could SMASH ANYTHING WITH GUIDED HE with a certainty like SHE nuclear weapons but without the massive (just a few hundred) civilian casualties. What these "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA) firepower scissors types did not factor in with their embrace of bad sociology of Alvin/Heidi Toffler was that the same computers that guide a HE warhead to a precison strike also enables the entire world populace to have a more precise grasp of everything going on around them. So we are not really in a "3rd Wave" or "information age" where mentally guided scissors firepower REPLACES and negates rock armor and paper maneuvering but a 4th Generation of Warfare" (4GW) as Van Crevald argues where the CIVILIAN POPULACE THEMSELVES, THEIR MINDS---ARE THE CENTER OBJECT IN WAR TO CHANGE NOT DEFEATING THEIR ENEMY ARMY IN A NAPOLEONIC 19th CENTURY DUEL. With precision situational awareness, though the precision guided HE warhead may only kill 10 bystander civilians as it kills 10 enemy fighters, those 10 innocents will occupy 10 minutes of mass media, TV/Radio and internet time. So the formula is for every 1 innocent civilian you kill negates every 100 bad guys you kill in 4th GW. Precision awareness has now lead to our foes realizing to negate our precision firepower they need to disperse, hide (C3D2), offer decoys, burrow (rock) and attack with ground attacks on undefended infrastructure (paper) beginning with the Serbs in 1995. A caveat from a retired USAF officers decries 4GW thinking as a low-tech version of the RMA mentalism and is not without merit when you read some of the bad Boydian stuff. He writes:

"4GW is a self-serving bit of false terminology created by the very RMA folks you proceed to bash. Irregular Insurgent/terrorists have ALWAYS adapted/stolen the technology/equipment of the conventional powers they were fighting, combined it with readily available commodities, and used them in combination with deliberate rejection of "civilized" warfare to inflict losses on conventional, legally constrained armies waging limited war by choice or due to politico-economic weakness. Civilian hearts-and-minds were always a center of gravity IF you were waging total war, intending to seize and keep territory and put the population to work for you. The means used to control differ now, but propaganda & perception management were being used back in Egypto-Babylonian antiquity!"

If we stick to Van Crevald's 4GW definition that the populace and not their armies are the key and not the bad Boydian's 4GW definition that its sub-national conflicts, we should be accurate.

The New Stalemate in Cities: Vauban makes his return to absorb "precision" but emasculated LESSENED HE effects, 1995-Present

The following pictures show the KE/limited HE effect rounds fired by U.S. ground forces and some cases from air/sea craft minus grenades, rockets and mortar/artillery shells. These are what the infantry "gunslingers" shoot and you can see the earth and urban structures easily absorb them and protect our enemies, requiring the foot narcissists to get an unimpeded direct line-of-sight so their ego gratifying bullets can fly into their foes. The problem with this approach is that its stupid because it exposes our foot troops to death/wounding by literally every weapon the enemy has since he knows we cannot hurt him if he's behind cover and we must expose ourselves to get kill shots on him. Depleted Uranium (DU) is in large KE shells to be very dense to punch through enemy vehicle armor and has a fire effect when it smacks into its targets. However, it creates cancer and birth defect causing dust inside the target so infantry following in to mop-up are exposed to this dangerous hazardous material (see info at bottom of this web page). Years of focusing on killing Soviet tanks at Fulda Gap has resulted in our projectilers having LESS HE killing effect when used against buildings where non-linear foes fight from these days. This is again more reason why HE weaponry must INCREASE in our ground maneuver formations not decrease just because its "guided". Its when we spray inneffective KE bullets in all directions out of frustration that we kill innocent civilians. Light infantry must have M113 Gavin light armored tracks so they can have the necessary big HE effect weapons or else it will continue to suffer heavy casualties because it has to get a clear LOS to get kill shots with its weak KE weapons. The video below from Iraq will show that even heavy infantry with better but still inadequate HE effect power has trouble with enemies hiding behind solid buildings.

Here are pictures of the standard U.S. military small arms and light autocannon ammunition. Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized version to read the captions underneath each cartridge.

Notice the diameter is misleading; 25mm for the impotent OICW 40mm grenade launcher replacement is lumped in with the full-size 25mm shells shot by the AIFV/Bradley which are extremely powerful offering KE and HE effects. This is a travesty and leads to confusion. Since the OICW is smaller and the new comer, it should be referred to as a "24mm" round of ammunition to mentally differentiate it from the genuine 25mm shells and prevent the wrong ammo type from being delivered. No one of the front lines has calipers to check diameters.

We have done this before; to not get 105mm tank or artillery ammo confused with recoilless rifle ammo, we call it "106mm" when its really 105mm.

The same thing applies to our favorite 30mm shells; the chubby 30mm with mostly HE effect that is fired by the AH-64 should be termed a 29mm cannon shell or the much larger KE/HE effect 30mm shells shot by the A-10/EFV should be termed 31mm, take your pic.

One last complaint; we should call .50 caliber 12.7mm since everywhere else we refer to cartridges in mm (metric) not old english.


5.56mm (Carbine, Assault Rifles, Light Machine Guns)

7.62mm (Main Battle Rifles, Sniper Rifles, Medium Machine Guns)

What will KE bullets do if you are in the water?


What will KE bullets do to a thin-skinned automobile? Turkey Shoot in Iraq Kills 100-600, 000 Civilians needlessly

http://gruntgearllc .com/site/ images/stories/ articles/ bullet_vs_ car.pdf

What is remarkable is the CONCLUSIONS of this report that you need to be "aware" that your patrol car or any other car will not protect you from even wimpy pistol bullets. The conclusion that SHOULD be drawn is that police officers and Soldiers need SHIELDS and patrol cars NEED ARMORING. Soldiers should be in and by tracked APCs.

Yes, patrol cars wear out fast. Yes, adding armor panels is a pain-in-the- ass. Yes, you will have to work hard to keep changing armor panels when patrol cars need to be replaced. That's why we are here on planet earth. We have THINGS TO DO if we want to be successful. Foreign policy question: WHY IN THE HELL ARE WE GIVING THE IRAQI POLICE AND MILITARY UNARMORED PATROL CARS AND PICK-UP TRUCKS SINCE THEY DON'T DO SQUAT AGAINST BULLETS? We must want them to de-populate themselves.


Typical half-assed garrison marine on unarmored BS Humvee truck, has no gunshield or even a tray to hold ammo, what kind of 'training' is he doing?12.7mm (.50 caliber; Heavy Machine Guns, Heavy Sniper "anti-materiel" rifles)


25mm (Small: OICW, Large: M113 Gavin AIFV, Bradley, Ship-mounts)

30mm (Small: AH-6 Little Bird, AH-64 Apache, AV-8B Harrier II, Large: A-10s, EFVs)

The full-length 30mm shell is particularly devastating...but to fire it the cannon is large and heavy...

...the shorter 30mm shell is able to be fired through a small and light autocannon for application on light air/ground/sea platforms...even ground mounted on a heavy tripod!

105-120mm (M8 Buford/Thunderbolt to M1 Abrams Heavy Tanks)


A M1 Abrams heavy "male" big gun tank is about 50 meters away from a 3-story building in Iraq. Its 7.62mm medium and 12.7 heavy machine guns have helped pin the enemies down inside the building, but have not killed them. In the video, the tank will "bump up" and fire its 120mm main tank gun round into the building.

Its "wingman" is a M2 or M3 Bradley "female" machine gun tank about 200 meters away from the enemy building. Its 7.62mm medium machine gun and 25mm autocannon have helped pin the enemy but not killed them. Its TOW ATGM launcher is down but is beyond the 65 meter minimum arming distance if they want to shoot a $4, 000 missile with a small HE warhead into the building to try to kill the enemies inside.

The dismounted infantry (not seen--good) have encircled and boxed in the enemies into the building by their presence of small arms fire if they should expose themselves to try to leave the "rock" aspect structure. They are the maneuver "paper" that has surrounded the building but lacking powerful HE weapons like RPGs cannot kill/capture the enemy unless it exposes itself to get into the building and stun with grenades or rockets, then out-shoot the enemy in a see-who-gets-LOS-first duel. Smokescreens or backing an armored track into the building as a battering ram [Siege Engine] to gain surprise entry and to shield them would help reduce their exposure and gain surprise. Once inside their room-clearing drill could end with kill shots, a rifle-bayonet attack and perhaps a capture. The commander on the scene has instead decided to dial-up his firepower until he gets killing effects.



The Defense Contractor Source says:

"Fresh from Iraq, the scenario as follows -- the Bradley and dismounted troops came under small arms and RPG fire from the building; M-1 called up for support and fires a 120mm round into the building, but fails to suppress the fire. Meanwhile Bradley calls in a GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) fire support mission. This is our missile -- the old M-26 rocket upgraded with a Honeywell ring laser gyro IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit)/GPS, and new unitary warhead -- fired from a HIMARS - wheeled rocket launcher over 60 KM away. Bradley knows its position from an on-board GPS - uses laser range finder to measure distance to target, then send its position, distance, and compass heading to HIMARS for a one round "fire for effect" mission. Watch the right side of the building and you will see three guys get blown out, then watch the left side and you will see a guy come down after getting blown a couple of hundred feet into the air. No more bad guys!"


1. What is up with the concrete barrier slabs?

Do they want to seal off and prevent ALL wheeled civilian car/truck traffic to prevent car/truck bombs (good idea)? Then don't run-over them with your tracks...MOVE them out of the way. There should be lifting rings and the top of each slab to facilitate a forklift or a bulldozer with forks added to move the barriers when we want to move though the area then PUT THEM BACK when we are done

2. Notice there's a gap in between the concrete slabs to the right that has a metal door with a clear window, is this a part of the barrier or are we seeing something parked against the barrier?

3. Note the disappointing HE effect of the 120mm tank round against the 3-story probably steel and concrete building. Was this a APFSDS round (a metal dart) or a concrete-busting MPAT round? We need to know to assess what round was so weak. Notice Iraq's urban terrain is full of these KE bullet and HE effect absorbing stone buildings.

4. Our source in typical American triumphalism gloats on the firepower of the GMLRS missile striking the 3 story building, but the building is still standing with only the top roof collapsed. A competent defense would be not just on the roof but with weapons at the ground floor which would not have been taken out by the GMLRS missile. Wouldn't an armored, tracked M109A6 Paladin in direct-fire mode firing "dumb" but affordable 155mm rounds be just as if not more effective ie; able to bring the entire building down at reduced costs?

5. How much does the GMLRS missile cost to achieve these meager effects that keep "Red Leg" artillerymen a safe distance away?

The graphic on John Pike's GlobalSecurity.org shows cost is $30K per GMLRS missile


The "iron" tube artillery 155mm artillery HE (20-30 lbs TNT) shell costs $ 1K each.


The guided Excalibur tube artillery 155mm shell costs $80K each.

The USAF small diameter bomb costs $110K each

How long can America afford to occupy Iraq at $1 BILLION/week as we play with expensive guided munitions? If we cannot stay because we go bankrupt, we lose just as if we were "defeated" in a battlefield duel.

6. How much HE fill is in the GMLRS warhead? Was this a 200 pounds of HE "unitary" warhead or 400+ grenades going off?

John Pike's GlobalSecurity.org writes:

"The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) consists of two variants of rockets fired from the M270A1 or High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers. The GMLRS Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) variant carries 404 bomblets, while the GMLRS Unitary rocket will have a single, 200-pound class, high-explosive, Unitary warhead. Both variants use an inertial measurement unit guidance system that is aided by the Global Positioning System."

7. A MLRS 6-pack on the road-bound and flimsy, firing unstable FMTV rubber-tired truck is a fatal enemy ambush waiting to happen. HIMARS should be mounted on the XM1108 Gavin based, light armored track that is off-road mobile and resilient against enemy attacks. Do not confuse XM1108 with the much larger M270 tracked carrier which carries 2 x 6-round MLRS packs used in heavy units.

8. Since the contractor says the Bradley has a laser rangefinder why not a LASER DESIGNATOR so a laser spot can be placed on the building and a guided 120mm mortar round or as large-as-necessary USAF laser-guided bomb can flatten the building if enemy resistance is not just on the rooftop and/or middle floor?

War futurist Phil West notes:

"You have to ask yourself what use is an armoured platoon with Tanks and IFVs if it can't handle a couple of infantrymen at a high window without calling for specialist vehicles, artillery support or an airstrike.

The Israelis are argueably the nation most experianced in modern armoured warfare, including in urban enviroments. How have they handled such problems in the past?"

One of the problems here is the Abrams can't elevate enough to fire on the targets in an upper story. Ralph [Zumbro] has suggested a characteristically inventive and practical way the tank could have done this and I'll be adding that to the webpage of tricks and dodges at some point soon.

On the topic of ammo. The MPAT is essentially a saboted hollowcharge with a proximitiy fuse. It is probably going to punch a hole in the wall rather than bring the house down. U.S. tankers in Korea have a "Obstacle reducing round" -a bunker buster that is a MPAT round with the fancy fuse replaced with a steel cap. Great for killing a roomful behind a thick wall but against a more normal building I suspect it is another holemaker rather than wallbreaker.

Note that Rheinmental (Germany) produce a HE-Frag round for the SB 120mm tank gun. Namco (Sweden) produce a HE-T round for same. German round has about 2.5kg of HE, a 80m casualtry radius and a 5,000m range from a tank. Swedish round is a modified 120mm mortar round so some of you will know how much damage these will do. Fired at a building these are likely to cause major redecoration.

Why not buy some and have tanks in Iraq carry these instead of APFSDS?

We see (or rather hear) the Bradley firing too. This at least has better elevation but the 25mm round is not that effecive against masonry, as is explained in the MOUT FMs.

The next generation of IFVs will probably mount 35mm weapons, most likely the 35/50mm weapons such as the Rh503, Busmaster III and LIW EMAK. These should do better and possibly can punch up through the floor. Some of the ammo types already in service or under developement have programable fusing so it will be possible to fire into windows and airburst in the room beyond.

The answers to Phil's questions follow below under points #9 and #11. We should upgun heavy unit Bradleys to 30-40mm and put a 1-man turret with this weapon on M113 Gavins for light infantry.

9. The IDF takes a M109 SPH and fires it directly into the building. The U.S. Army's cannon Red Legs were AWOL for this fight. A retired U.S. Army Artillery officer writes:

"Can't tell what type of round was used; looks like an MPAT from the blast, but it sure didn't hit perpendicular to the wall. I think a penetrator would have made interior dust as it hit the next walls.

A 155mm Paladin would have chewed the building up in less than 2 minutes, cheaply. Extra armor for city fighting, have a Brad for a wingman,

If the real worry over the past few years is penetration of a concrete building, it wouldn't have been too hard to build a 155mm HE round for buildings. Be bigger than a standard HE, probably use the same carrier as the DPICM, have an armored nose and a base detonating fuze, and tanks could drive thru the openings. 70# of HE means a BIG bang.

However, a GAVIN with a Mk19, a T&E mechanism and a firing table could have placed grenades anywhere, taken out the idiots and left the building intact. Any armored vehicle with the Mk19/T&E could do that."

We totally concur that the tube artillery Red Legs should get off their asses and drive their M109A6 Paladins with extra armor to render DF support for armor/infantry. Why are these guys not willing to bolt on an anti-RPG bird cage onto their Paladins and participate in this fight?

10. MK19 automatic 40mm grenade launchers anyone?

The MK19 has been ditched by "light" units in Iraq because its not a point & shoot direct fire (DF) weapon for counter-ambush after you are stupid and drive by/into a command detonated land mine. The "triggermen" of the land mine might be fleeing the scene and some area HE grenade effect from MK19 from at least one GAVIN in the convoy would be important to have, but that's not how group think works in the U.S. military. In the U.S. military being DIFFERENT is not desirable; different capabilities mean the main one, in this case Ma Deuce isn't the cookie-cutter-for-everything and they can't accept this. These weaklings want cookie-cutters.

This is insane because if fighting in a deliberate attack where you KNOW you got rebels in buildings the MK19 projecting HE shells in a controlled arc would be fantastic to have.

However, HEAVY UNITS DISCOUNT THE MK19 totally. Its a "light" thing. We know how these guys wrongthink.

Again with "there-can-only-be-one" weapon system getting the glory, that glory has to be in the M1 Abrams heavy tank and the M2 Bradley, neither of which can have the MK19 fitted on top without a major clusterfuck/struggle. The M113 Gavin CAN easily fit the MK19....the problem is finding a MK19 in the heavy infantry, armor or combat engineer battalion arms room (MTOE) and a "believer" who wants to use it in combat.

We think this great suggestion on the MK19 needs to be done by COMBAT ENGINEERS IN M113 GAVINS but NOT at the track commander's station....let the cookie cutters have their DF Ma Deuce. Put the MK19 AT THE GAVIN'S CARGO HATCH ON THE RIGHT SIDE (left if you want, but it block's driver's view to his rear). Now what we need to do is develop a MK19 mount for the Gavin cargo hatch area with a TAGS GUNSHIELD.

11. The IDF also have 120mm and larger mortars. The lesson they drew from Lebanon in 1982 was no mortars smaller than 120mm since these are the smallest that can smash through middle eastern roofs.

Every U.S. Army mechanized infantry battalion has M113 Gavin-based M1064A3s with 120mm mortars...WHERE were these guys when this fight took place? If the mortars were unguided you pull up the Gavin and do a direct-lay and insure you are not inline with the troops.

Above pic shows M1064A3 Gavin 120mm mortars in action in Iraq praising the new mortar fire control computer.


One GMLRS delivers 200 pounds of HE in one hit for $30K from up to 60 km far away.

Seven x unguided but direct-fire 155mm shells deliver 140-210 pounds of HE in 7 hits that can be directed to slightly different parts of a target for $ 7K if the M109A6 Paladin and crew are on-the-scene up to 2 km away.

Or several battalion-level laser-guided 120mm mortar rounds from M113 Gavin (M1064A3) light armored tracks could deliver 200 pounds of HE in several hits to slightly different aim points of the target for $30K from 7km away. All we need to do is change that wimpy laser rangefinder to one that can DESIGNATE, too.

Or the unit should have Combat Engineers in M113A3+ Super Gavins hose down the building with MK19 40mm automatic HE grenade fire for less than $1K total....

Welcome to the 21st century, non-linear battlefield! (NLB) and our emasculated high-tech militaries that are being overwhelmed by it; the populace of the world knows dying in a nation-state war is not all that its cracked up to be thanks to "precision awareness", and armies do not have draftees by the thousands to flood areas and push the foe to their front (paper) and bombard them with thousands of HE scissor cuts 'til their nation-state capital is reached and they call it "quits". With only bribed volunteers, even if maneuver armies are sent in by risk-averse politicians afraid losses will result in them being not re-elected, they must bypass enemy rearguards to strike centers of gravity to hopefully collapse resistance as seen in Panama and Baghdad in 2003. If we use excessive, indiscriminate firepower and kill civilians, they will turn from being our friends into die-hard enemies. While the Tofflers will tell you we are all anti-physical pussies like in the black comedy, "Demolition man" who only need to mouse-click firepower, the world has urbanized using all those industrial-age machines they say do not exist anymore. If you send in foot infantry without tanks to counter HE effects you get the "Black Hawk Down!" debacle in Somalia in 1993. Army and marine light forces DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE DOMINANCE OF HIGH EXPLOSIVES ON THE NON-LINEAR BATTLEFIELD in the rock, paper, scissors of war weapons and counter-weapons. Army heavy force DO recognize HE effects in addition to bullets so they move in tracked armored vehicles but they go to the other extreme and discount the smothering and holding effects of fanned-out infantry on foot to hold terrain that can enable HE shooters to move in for a LOS kill. The light narcissists want BULLETS and their gun skills to be the center of attention when at best they share dominance, so not only do they resist light tracked armored personnel carriers even to just replace the wheeled trucks they use and give them cross-country mobility in closed terrain they desperately need, but refuse to improve their HE weaponry power in the close fight by having their own RPG equivalents so we are not fighting the enemy at a disadvantage. The gun slingers don't want HE weaponry en masse (RPGs etc.) so the line infantry romantics are essentially by chosen ignorance set themselves up for failure.

Consider Iraq. For such an allegedly "backward" country its full of hard stone and concrete buildings that absorb our increasingly weaker KE/HE effects. Take a flight in a plane and look down; all that global warming CO2 emissions are coming from more and more and more buildings being built, and these buildings are not all Japanese shacks that can simply be fire-torched. These are steel and concrete and stone upper story buildings that conserve space and are NOT easily flattened by HEs, even a lot of them. In essence, civilians are accidentally creating Vauban fortresses by their hard building urbanizations. For the military this means more Tarawas, Monte Cassinos and South Lebanons---STALEMATE. Unless we really invigorate OFFENSIVE MANEUVER MEANS the future of the 21st Century is going to be pendulum swung towards the malcontent sub-national group hiding in civilian urban terrain underground, negating our unwisely emasculated lessened "precision" HE firepower means.

The sad fact is the U.S. Army and marines are populated by narcissistic idiots who spend their days playing 19th century linear war re-enactment garrison and snobby class and rank divisive games and have no clue what's been going on in the pattern of war, hence this web page/paper. They long for a simple time where all they need to do is march with a KE rifle and not combine arms; if that is if the enemy lets them get to where they are, they are having a great time blowing our truck narcissists up easily on predictable roads/trails. If the WW2 re-enactment infantry can get to actual enemies by hitching a ride in armored tracks taking an unpredictable route but their KE bullet garden-hosing doesn't work as they are discovering in Iraq, they think being able to dial in "precision" firepower to do the job for them. Using this expensive firepower as a crutch, some still think this will enable them to creep up onto the enemy in comfortable wheeled trucks or penis-asserting foot marches [despite thousands of deaths/maimings by road side bombs!] and stop short (FCS program's "maneuver out of contact") and have the field artillery or USAF (what's the differance?)--or if you are a marine egomaniac, "marine tacair"---do all the fighting for them by blasting the foe to bits with sexy, guided but lesser amounts of HE. The IDF has just tried this in South Lebanon and it has failed utterly, yet the DoD wonk civilian RMA crowd holding hands with the 19th century line infantry narcissists are marching together to claim to do it better because "we are Americans". There are 27 million Iraqis and just 145, 000 Americans, most of whom never leave the FOB. If every time we encounter a handful of Iraqi rebels we must expend $1 million of ordnance to kill them, can we borrow enough money to kill all 27 million Iraqis or will we go broke first? SACLOS ATGMs with tandem warheads can attack American tank turret/hull junctions just as easily as Israeli Merkava tanks. Iraqi rebels without SDH capable ATGMs with command detonated land mines are bleeding Americans dry who refuse to adapt and get off the roads as Ridgway ordered us to do in Korea. If we fight Iranians with SDH capable ATGMs, who fight smart with C3D2 and burrowing, we are likely to have a bigger disaster than what the IDF just had, but without the hope of rapid adaptation that a humble, egalitarian army has.

Cities can also hurt defenders if they want to project out and hit attackers due to civilian refugees, fires, rubble and chaos. The Fall of South Vietnam in 1975 is an excellent example of a civilian panic getting in the way of defensive military options. Unless you want to wait until the enemy comes to you and your rubble and tunnels, an offensive defense plan may not work in the face of cities smashed by enemy HE attacks.

What can HE do today, and how do we defeat its effects and use them to maximum effect for ourselves?

Now that you know that we have a 19th century U.S. military that is 2 centuries behind in warfare, you will see that drastic actions are necessary in America is to survive to the 22nd Century and not be wiped by SHEs and/or internal societal corruption collapse. Let's describe in detail what HE can and cannot do today.

The HE Paradox in Land Warfare

* OFFENSE: If you are up & moving, you are not connected to the earth to absorb HE effects, but you are harder to direct hit (DH), you can possibly surround your foe unless he spoils your maneuver

* DEFENSE: If you are down & firing you ARE connected to the earth to absorb HE effects but you are easy to direct hit, if you stay where you are you could be surrounded

Near Miss = the HE effect ONLY from 10 feet away

Direct Hit = the Kinetic Energy + HE effect 1 to 9 feet away

Near Misses (NMs)

VIDEO: 30mm autocannon shells from AH-64 vs. Iraqi rebels on foot

Let's talk about Near Misses (NM) first. On D-Day, Utah beach covered in an accidental grassfire smokescreen blocking enemy observation had a ratio of only 300 x 25 pound artillery shells land per square kilometer (1, 000 meter by 1, 000 meter square) and the earth absorbed this and casualties were light. On Omaha beach, the saturation was 3, 000 x 25 pound German artillery shells per grid square and U.S. casualties were heavy and nearly disastrous. At Stalingrad, the ratio was 5, 000 shells per square km. Yet WW2 was a draftee feed war and these casualties did not stop us as they surely would today. Our military has to do far better than this.

If you are a Soldier standing at 6 feet and a 20mm cannon shell lands 10 feet from you, with 1/4 pound of HE you will survive. If a 1 pound hand grenade with 1/2 pound of HE explodes 10 feet from you, you will die even if wearing helmet and body armor. If you "hit the deck" and face away from the grenade and lower your height to 2 feet and are wearing helmet/body armor chances are you will live. This is about it, the maximum amounts of HE a troop in the open can take from a NM of 10 feet/3 meters.

Bad Dispersion: WW2 Inexperienced Soldiers

Have Soldiers survived NMs from bigger warheads of HE in war? Sure, A LOT FARTHER AWAY. You have to look at the kill radius then of the RPG, then light, medium, heavy mortars, then artillery shells with a maximum of 50 pounds of HE to see distances are 15 meters (50 feet to 300 meters). Line infantry likes to disperse and fan out when it moves and certainly we see too much bunching up in photos from Iraq and Afghanistan. A 5 meter dispersion will prevent one grenade from getting more than 1 man who if he hits the deck might just get injured.

Barely Adequate Dispersion: Today's Volunteer Soldiers

However, a force of say 100+ men, a rifle company on foot Saving Private Ryan-style that gets observed by an enemy SSC spread out by 5 meters per man only has 500 meters or half a grid square of dispersion; if an enemy artillery shell lands dead center of the company, it will be completely wiped out. This is why this bullshit of having feel-good garrison formations in a combat zone at a FOB must be stopped immediately and we should NEVER train our troops to do them starting from Day 1 in basic training. The 19th Century is fucking over, get over it.

Enemy Stupid, American Stupid is what stupid does...

American officers with a sense of honor and fair play refused to blast this Taliban clusterfuck at a funeral ceremony for one of their nihilists

Do we think immoral nihilists are going to not drop HE weapons on Americans if they are clusterfucked into the open? Our enemies are immoral, but are they stupid when it comes to killing us, too?


5 U.S. Soldiers killed in Baghdad bombing

Associated Press Writer
Mon Mar 10, 6:41 PM ET

BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber killed five U.S. Soldiers as they chatted with shop owners while on a foot patrol in central Baghdad on Monday, the deadliest attack on American forces in the heavily fortified capital in more than eight months.

The bombing, just four days after nearly simultaneous blasts killed scores of people in a vibrant Shiite commercial district, again showed the insurgents' ability to strike inside a capital secured by hundreds of security checkpoints, U.S.-funded neighborhood watch groups and hundreds of miles of blast walls that surround buildings and cordon off districts.

The military insists that recent attacks do not point to a growing trend in violence, and continues to tout the security gains achieved over the past year.

At any rate, the push over the past six months to place U.S. bases inside neighborhoods and get soldiers out of their armored vehicles increases the Americans' vulnerability to attacks. While the face-to-face contact from foot patrols builds goodwill, it also gives suicide bombers, who often slip past security vehicle checkpoints by walking, better access to striking Soldiers.

On Monday, the Soldiers were walking in a shopping district of the predominantly Sunni Mansour neighborhood when a man in his 30s detonated his explosives about 30 feet away, said a police officer who witnessed the attack. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk to the media.

Four of the Soldiers died at the scene, and the fifth died later from wounds, the military said. Three other American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were also wounded in the attack, which military spokesman Maj. Mark Cheadle said was "was reported to us as a suicide bomber." Iraqi police said two civilians were also killed.

It was the deadliest attack against the U.S. military since Jan. 28, when five Soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb in the northern city of Mosul.

The last time five Soldiers were killed in a single attack in the capital was June 28, 2007, when insurgents launched a coordinated attack on a combat patrol, detonating a roadside bomb, then firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Mansour, the scene of Monday's attack, was a hotbed for al-Qaida in Iraq as recently as a year ago, until many Sunni militants switched sides to join U.S. forces against the terror group. According to military figures, attacks in Baghdad are down 75 percent from June 2007 until late February thanks in part to Sunnis turning against al-Qaida, the Americans increasing troop levels and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's ordering his militia to observe a cease-fire. Last month, Brig. Gen. Mike Milano, a top U.S. military official tasked with restoring security to Baghdad, said nearly 80 percent of the capital's districts were considered free of organized extremist activity.

Monday's suicide bombing in Baghdad was one of several deadly al-Qaida-signature attacks across the country.

Earlier in the day, a female suicide bomber killed a U.S.-backed Sunni leader who had formed a group to fight against al-Qaida insurgents in central Iraq.

The man's guards ushered the bomber into his home without searching her.

The woman had come to visit Sheik Thaeir Ghadhban al-Karkhi in a village in restive Diyala province the day before, begging for his help to find her kidnapped husband, said al-Karkhi's brother, Duraid Mahmoud.

Female relatives searched her on the first visit, but when she returned the following day, they let her in without checking for weapons, said Mahmoud.

Once inside al-Karkhi's home, she blew herself up, killing the sheik and three others - including his 5-year-old niece and his 24-year-old cousin, said Mahmoud and provincial police.

"She came back this morning and nobody checked her. She had an appointment with the sheik and the guards told her to go and knock on his door," said Mahmoud, who witnessed the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But al-Qaida in Iraq has been targeting fellow Sunni Arabs who have taken up arms against the militants and joined the so-called Awakening Councils like the one al-Karkhi led.

In the northern Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, a rare suicide car bombing killed at least two people and wounded more than a dozen, hospital officials said.

Provincial Gov. Dana Ahmed Majid said the car bomb exploded near concrete blast barriers surrounding the Sulaimaniyah Palace hotel, which is frequented by foreign contractors and U.S. military officials.

In southern Iraq, police found the bullet-riddled body of Basra's only neurologist a day after he was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen.

Dr. Khalid Nasir al-Miyahi had received a phone call Sunday night from someone asking him to return to his clinic for an urgent medical issue, according to a colleague who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. When his family did not hear from him hours later, they notified police, the colleague said.

According to figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry released earlier this year, 618 medical employees, including 132 doctors, as well as medics and other health care workers, have been killed nationwide since 2003. Professionals from many fields have been targeted in Iraq's violence, perhaps part of attacks on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of other medical personnel are believed to have fled to Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdistan region and neighboring countries.

"The government is doing nothing to protect doctors and other qualified figures who are exposed to danger," said Jassim Joumaa of the Basra doctors' union.


Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad and Yahya Barzanji in Sulaimaniyah contributed to this report.

Another group of vulnerable targets are tents, trucks and aircraft. Here's what happens when HE NMs land near wheeled trucks that we mistakenly think are "safe" because they are in the center of a FOB.

Their exposed fuel tanks are easily ignited and their rubber tires burn fiercely til nothing is left but a mangled, unsalvageable hulk. Wheeled trucks without a solid body when blown up in combat are mangled and generally written off and need 1-for-1 replacement.

If you slap a solid body albeit a thin one on top of wheels (Stryker) you lose millions on repairs from overstressed suspensions, drivetrains and constantly replacing air-filled rubber tires at $1, 000/each.

The rationale for keeping trucks is that they can go fast (60 mph) over long distances (100 miles or more) hauling supplies along LINEAR roads (man-made strips of open terrain) and steel tracks with rubber pads can only go 45 mph for under 100 miles.

Problem is that battlefield is NON-LINEAR and there are no safe, "rear" areas for wheeled trucks to operate in, so they are getting creamed by constant ambushes along main supply routes (pics attached) in Iraq.

Tracked tanks have very thick hulls and sturdy roadwheels laying their own weight-spreading track to travel forward and if they are light like the M113 Gavin they can avoid many ambushes in the first place even in closed terrain. Medium-weight Bradleys and heavyweight Abrams can also avoid roads/trails and subsequent ambushes over open terrain. Because tracks are 28% more space/weight efficient than wheeled trucks, they can chose to fight for roads/trails as was done to get to Baghdad. Once we have taken roads/trails we need to keep them by having troops permanently stationed on them (picketing) if we are to prevent enemies from laying in land mines. We refuse to picket the MSR because its considered beneath "combat troops" to do; MPs are supposed to guard roads in our snobby outlook.

Since tracked tanks are so durable most of the time when are ambushed they are NOT destroyed but KNOCKED OUT. So after a war is done they are rebuilt back at the depot known as "reset". A $5 million dollar M1 heavy tank can be rest for around $250K or the cost of an entire new purchase wheeled truck.

If M113 Gavins were modified into resupply carriers and given band tracks they could indeed go the distances at high speeds of wheeled trucks so really there is NO REASON (excuse) for continuing to operate vulnerable wheeled trucks on the NLB. If we are not going to picket the MSRs, then we need to get the hell off MSRs and go cross-country in tracks.

Wheeled trucks = flimsy, not durable goods $250 K new purchase every time blown up

Tracked tanks = sturdy, durable goods, $250 K if purchased new (M113) but when blown up only needs to be rebuilt (reset)

The M113 Gavins with 1.5 inch thick hulls are nearly indestructible to wearing out, they actually don't, you replace the running items and they keep on going. Stryker trucks with thin hulls of steel that rust are already wearing out, so the Army chose to minimize the damage by keeping the first 309 trucks in Iraq but over 28 have been totally destroyed and been asked to be replaced by Congress.

If the Army and marines were not being given massive amounts of money (about $1 BILLION) a year, they would quickly run out of wheeled trucks due to strain and combat in Iraq/Afghanistan.

However being dumbasses both the Army/marines are not using the loss of these trucks as an opportunity to REPLACE THEM WITH SOMETHING DURABLE AND BETTER (ARMORED TRACKS) SO THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN, they are replacing weakness with only a slightly improved weak item (a truck with some armor slapped on). The point here is the Army should get rid of wheeled trucks forever and have ALL its Soldiers in a thick hulled tracked M113 Gavin tank that if hit at the worst gets "knocked out" ie; is disabled but can be recovered and repaired.

Aviators in all the U.S. military are living on borrowed time deceived that just because we are up against weak enemies that they can continue to operate flimsy skinned aircraft full of fuel and HE ordnance without even revetments (earth-filled barrels, CONCERTAINERS etc.) to stop a red hot fragment from a NM HE attack from igniting and exploding their multi-million dollar birds:


For a "sneak preview" of what future guided HE attacks will do to our lazy flyboys we only need to look at the near debacle on Guadalcanal in 1942, where we lacked naval and air superiority and vulnerable aircraft in the open were easily exploded by the Japanese. America was mass mobilized for war to mass produce aircraft in the thousands back then, today if we lose aircraft they will not be replaced in time to make up for war time incompetence.



On the other side of the globe, German air bases for planes with heavy rubber tire ground pressures requiring pavement to roll on were easy to spot and hit from the air.

Even revetting is not enough to protect aircraft from such obvious fixed air bases and we propose ALL aircraft become ground mobile and when not, be FULLY UNDERGROUND INSIDE SHIPPING CONTAINERS to evade HE destruction.

Ballistic Missiles: Moving So Fast, You Can't Stop Them, if Ground-Mobile, You Can't Hit Them Before Launch

General Gavin warned about surface-to-surface ballistic missiles (SSMs) in his book, "War and Peace in the Space Age" (WAPITSA) in 1958.


Gavin learned about SSMs in WW2 in England as German V-2s began to fall and they flew at several times the speed of sound, rendering gun anti-aircraft defenses useless. The Allies were successful at destroying fixed V-1 (slower winged bomb robots) and V-2 sites but never destroyed a single MOBILE V-2 launcher, foreshadowing our later failures to get Iraqi ScudTransporter erector/launchers (TELs) in Gulf War 1.

General Gavin also warned in both Airborne Warfare and WAPITSA that Army forces muster DISPERSE drastically and be mobile in Kiwi pods that could also hide and burrow just like the V-2 TELs. We're sure Gavin would have supported the Mobile Off-Shore Base (MOB) that can move at sea at 7 mph and house an Army mechanized brigade capable of being flown in by USAF C-130/C-17 transport aircraft from the MOB's long runways while avoiding land FOB presence that can inflame local civilians to rebel against us.

However, the U.S. Army and marines are still ICRI narcissists denying the realities of high explosives dominating today's non-linear battlefields whose unarmored troops depend on flimsy tents and trucks living inside static bases easily targeted by the enemy. SSMs are a poor man's way to deliver HE without having to have a skilled Air Force of pilots that can penetrate air defenses with airplanes but they are not cheap. To make their impacts count, they need powerful warheads beyond HE so the tendancy is to seek simple enriched uranium nuclear warheads for them. Using a nuke on U.S. troops will bring about sure nuclear retaliation on the nation-state's cities but a sub-national group with cash could pull-off such an attack. Iran, a nation-state is threatening U.S. troops in FOBs in Iraq with SSM attack.

The fly in the ointment in this story is whether a Syrian nuclear weapon can be miniaturized sufficiently to fit onto a Scud-C (modernized Nazi V-2) which has only a payload capacity of around 1,000 to 2,000 lbs and a diameter of only 4 feet. Plutonium implosion bombs are round bulbous things that are hard to fit onto cylindrical missiles (I've seen estimates that such a 3rd World nuclear bomb would weigh at least 3,000 lbs unless a highly sophisticated weapon or design was stolen from the U.S. or Russia). They are that way because they must use precisely timed shaped-charge explosives arrayed in a sphere to compress the plutonium core to criticality -- you can't escape that sphere shape unless you use uranium in a gun-type cylindrical design which doesn't require timed shaped-charges. Hence that is the reason why Iran's uranium program is so much more dangerous than North Korea's plutonium reactor program. You'll also note that the cylindrical gun-design is perfect for a cylindrical missile.

The implosion design is technologically tricky and requires great sophistication -- as seen in North Korea's nuclear dud test, which probably failed just for this reason.

The best answer here is for the U.S. Army to fully containerize in "BATTLEBOXes" and disperse as Gavin told us to do in the 1950s and not even present the enemy lucrative targets for HE-tipped SSMs.

www.cnsnews. com/ViewForeignB ureaus.asp? Page=/ForeignBur eaus/archive/ 200709/INT200709 17d.html

Iran Threatens Missile Strike on Israel, U.S. Targets if Syria Attacked

By Julie Stahl

CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
September 17, 2007

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Iran will unleash a barrage of hundreds of missiles against Israel and U.S. targets in Iraq if Iran or Syria are attacked, an Iranian Web site threatened on Monday, in comments linked to an alleged Israeli air strike on a secret Syrian nuclear facility.

The threat comes after weekend reports in American and British media gave details of the alleged Israeli air strike on Sept. 6, in which Israeli fighter planes reportedly bombed a depot holding nuclear materials inside Syria that reportedly had been supplied by North Korea.

The Iranian threat also comes a day after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that the international community should "prepare for the worst ... which is war" against Iran.

In response to Kouchner's comments, Iran's official news agency IRNA said in an editorial on Monday that "the new occupants of the Elysee [presidential palace] want to copy the White House" and accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of taking on "an American skin."

In another apparent reaction to the Syrian incident, the Persian-language Web site AsrIran reported Iran has 600 Shihab-3 missiles that it will launch at Israel the first day that Iran or Syria are attacked, Israel's state-run radio -- the "Voice of Israel" -- said on Monday.

With a possible range of up to 1,260 miles, the Shihab-3 could reach all of Israel, including its nuclear reactor in southern Israel, the site said.

The Web site also said that Iran would launch 10 to 15 missiles at U.S. targets inside Iraq if either Iran or Syria is attacked.

Dr. Ephraim Kam, deputy director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said the alleged Israeli air strike in Syria had sent a "clear message" to Iran that Israel or the U.S. would be willing to take military action against Iran's nuclear program.

According to Orly Ram, head of Voice of Israel's Persian language service, which is broadcast into Iran, that message was received in Tehran.

"Iran is in panic," Ram told Cybercast News Service, over the alleged Israeli attack against the Syrian target and over comments made by Kouchner and others in the Western media recently. That is why Tehran is sending out this message now, she said.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the U.S., Britain, China, France and Russia -- and Germany are scheduled to meet this week in Washington to discuss the possibility of stepping up sanctions against Iran, a move resisted until now by Russia and China.

The U.S. has been leading the largely Western campaign against the Iranian nuclear program, which it believes is being used as a cover-up for the development of an atomic bomb. Iran denies the charges.

Washington has said that it has not ruled out using a military option against Iran to halt its nuclear pursuits.

Iran is accused of supplying weapons to Hizballah via Syria in contravention of the United Nations resolution that ended the war. The U.S. has accused both Iran and Syria of aiding the insurgency fighting against American and allied troops in Iraq.

Uncharacteristic silence

Relations between Iran and Syria have been strengthening over the past few years. Though the U.S. has attempted to woo Syria out of the Iranian camp, Iran and Syria have become increasingly viewed as rogue states since the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah war.

Israeli Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin indicated that Israeli deterrence -- severely damaged as a result of Israel's perceived loss in the war against Hizballah in Lebanon last summer -- had been restored.

In his only comment on Syria, Yadlin told Israeli lawmakers on Sunday that Israeli deterrence was "having an impact on the whole region, including on Iran and Syria," the Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

The Israeli government has maintained an uncharacteristic silence over the alleged attack in Syria.

Syria has also kept quiet. Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa said that the "military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses."

The state-run Syrian newspaper al-Thawra dismissed the allegations of Syrian-North Korean nuclear cooperation as a "flagrant lie" and suggested that they might be a "prelude to a new aggression against Syria."

The British Sunday Times reported on Sunday that plans for the attack on the Syrian target began last spring, when the head of Israeli secret service -- Mossad Meir Dagan -- presented Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with evidence that Syria was trying to obtain nuclear capabilities from North Korea.

Dagan believed that the nuclear device could be fitted onto North Korean-manufactured Scud-C missiles.

The paper quoted an Israeli source as saying that it was "supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel."

Kam said that Syria was in a bind because it did not want to have to admit it had nuclear ambitions. Israel was keeping quiet about the strike because it didn't want Syria to react militarily, he said.

There are many unanswered questions about the reported Israeli strike inside Syria, said Kam -- questions like what kind of site Israel hit, how long it would have taken Syria to build a bomb, did it have technology, materials or a complete plant from North Korea, he said.

But had Syria succeeded in making a nuclear bomb, it would have "changed the entire balance of power between Israel and Syria" and the "rules of the game" in the entire Middle East.

The Israeli-Syrian border has been relatively quiet for 30 years primarily because Israel had a response to anything Syria might have done to heat up the border, Kam told Cybercast News Service.

But if Syria had the "safety net" of a nuclear weapon, Israel would have lost its deterrence vis-e-vis Syria and Iran, and Syria might have been tempted to take military action on the Golan Heights, said Kam.

Some 20,000 Israeli citizens live in primarily rural communities on the strategic plateau that overlooks the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main freshwater source.

Assuming that the story about the Israeli bombing is correct, most of the Middle East players -- Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, as well as the Americans, Europeans and British -- are likely happy with the Israeli action, said Kam.

If Syria had obtained nuclear capabilities, the radical Syrian-Iranian axis would have been strengthened on the basis of two local actors with nuclear capability, he said.

What can a dismounted foot force do to survive from HE attacks?

First, at the minimum, it should have its own organic M113 Gavin light armored tracks to ride inside or follow in their path. Those on point should have gunshields and $300 mine overboots. The makers of mine-protective faceshields, gunshields, pants, boots and overboots need to offer them through military catalogs like Brigade Quartermasters and on every Army/marine clothing sales (AAFES) so Soldiers can buy them to help get the job done and save their own lives. When dismounted Soldiers walk, at the very least the point man should be wearing overboots in case he steps on a land mine. Mounted Soldiers should have a team designated to clear obstacles; this team may be combat engineers but often the unit has to fend for itself without expert help. Whoever does obstacle clearance should be wearing overboots when they leave their vehicle(s) during an Immediate Action (IA) drill in response to combat situations.


HE Blast Effects: 20, 000+ FPS = 7x the velocity of a rifle bullet!



Currently, we have Soldiers wearing hard helmets, body, groin, shoulder armor and somewhat ballistic protective clear eyewear. The face, neck and under body are still vulnerable when not inside an armored vehicle. Instead of doing sports PT in t-shirt/shorts/running shoes, we should train on moving and staying hydrated while wearing the maximum armor coverage possible while factoring in the Soldier's Load and Mobility Goals. We may find out that only a point man can tolerate a full armor coverage for an hour or two at a time. We may need to employ carts, bikes and pack animals in addition to light armored tracks as the "mother ship". WE WILL NEVER KNOW UNTIL WE TRY IT AND FIND OUT. WE WILL NEVER FIND OUT IF WE CONTINUE TO NOT TAKE WAR SERIOUSLY AND CONTINUE TO FU*K OFF WITH FROM HERE-TO-ETERNITY GARRISON SPORTS PT BULLSH*T EACH DAY.




TACARM has really lead the way in integrating ballistic protection throughout the body through the uniform and by knee and elbow pads:







Wellco Blast Boots/OverBoots


BFR Blast Protective Boots

Web Site:www.bfrboots.com/english/html/bfr_boots.html

YouTube Videos:



If however, that infantry force is to stay in that area or can dig a few inches of dirt can be life-saving. If a shallow scrape fighting position enables a Soldier to get 3 feet below ground level that NM he can survive could be a 1 pound small mortar. 5 feet and under and a 25 pound artillery shell could NM and crater nearby and collapse his fighting position but he'll survive. Basically, a standard Depuy fighting position enables troops to survive 155mm artillery near misses. If you add a dirt overhead cover this will keep out air bursts. We need this capability but much faster than 8 hours of back breaking hand e-tool "Willie & Joe" action. Don't get me wrong, we need digging a fighting position to be our PT not BS sports running in shorts and t-shirt. This isn't a fucking cross country team. We need a pick attachment added to the e-tool to break rocks. We should hold competitions and get very, very good at rapid fighting hole construction. We are going to need it if we have to ward off swarms of Red Chinese. However, every company-sized unit needs several backhoes on their Gavins to RAPIDLY as in under 1 hour entrench the entire unit.

On the move, the M113 Gavin will defend against a 155mm NM and a 250 pound bomb NM. However with SOA earth-filled walls this increases to 1, 000 pounds. In FOB set-up, above ground the BATTLEBOX surrounded by SOA blast walls will stop all near misses up to a 25, 000 pound ammonium nitrate truck bomb.

The point of all of this is to fathom the point where a given approach stops working; up & moving, down in prone, shallow scrape, fighting position, with overhead cover, Abrams/Bradley/Gavin as-is, with extra walls, dug in, BATTLEBOXes above ground, below ground.

Direct Hits (DHs)

Here is the aftermath of a 2, 000 pound JDAM guided bomb to the soft earth of an Afghanistan valley floor.

Here is where the cult of the RMA rears its ugly head with fatalism. As described before, for something to be mobile on the earth, it has to be detached from the earth and it will be inherently easier to smash-if you can near miss or hit it---than a things protected by the earth. A direct hit adds the kinetic energy of the warhead moving to strike the Soldier from 0 to 9 feet away in our definition in addition to the HE fill inside exploding. RMA advocates are lazy and callous bean counter types so they pompously declare that a direct hit will take out even a 70-ton M1 heavy tank so we should stop even trying to be armored and just put ALL our hopes on hitting them first with our scissors and using paper maneuver to avoid their hits. It's a war as pinball game fantasy that has already failed with disastrous consequences in Iraq/Lebanon.

First saying we do not need the "rock" aspect of armoring ignores NEAR MISSES. If you are completely unarmored the enemy only has to get close and he's already hurt you and after immobilizing you can improve his aim and wipe you out with the direct hits of fire for effect. If you want to avoid the DH you got to keep moving, to keep moving you can't let the near misses hurt you and immobilize you. The RMA types would have the entire force spread out on foot and while not offering a large platform to cross hair a guided warhead on, damns the whole force to damage after damage until destroyed by everything thrown in its general direction. The only hope is closed terrain vegetation or buildings to hide and absorb HE effects but the IDF tried the marine narcissist John Poole "way of the tiger" BS going house-to-house and Hezie-B launched SACLOS ATGMs into SDH points and killed 50% of the Israelis that way. Poole forgets that emulating the VC/NVA is not the optimal way; once the NVA got captured M113 Gavin light tracked APCs and light/medium tanks from the Russians they were able to over-run South Vietnam organized to fight American-style foot narcissists flown by helicopters from short-range artillery FOB "fire bases"--a formula clearly out-gunned and out-maneuvered by tanks and longer ranged tube artillery.

VIDEO PROOF: the following is the fruit of being in a narcissistic egomaniac organization that refuses to employ sane tracked armored fighting vehicles (not bloated wheeled trucks or EFVs) and has to seek shelter in houses for cover from high explosive attacks.

Subject: marines in Iraq, hiding in a house for cover under HE attack, crying for their lives


A man on foot with hard body armor can only survive bullets less than 7.62mm without HE fill (KE only) if they strike his body armor. Anywhere else, he's at best wounded at worst, dead or soon to be dead if his blood plumbing isn't closed off with an on-scene surgical repair team in a M113 Gavin track outfitted as a mini-emergency room. A 20mm autocannon shell hits him in the chest with 1/4 pound of HE, the plate is exploded and his chest broken open =he's dead. There's no point elaborating beyond this, everything from 20mm and up that direct hits the human body kills it.

If the Soldier can get below ground level and not be hit by direct fire; he survives; 1 foot below ground achieves this with a scrape. Now he needs to return fire or else he could be flanked and surrounded; having a small gunshield on the end of his weapon so he can fire and if hit not be killed while peering up from the depression is critical. If he digs deeper, 3, 4, 5, 6 feet under hes better able to stay below ground level to avoid direct fire DHs, but a DH coming down onto his open hole will kill him. Overhead cover is critical but not currently possible; the Army needs to develop an overhead cover kit; I suggest using SKEDCO plastic and aluminum poles. These kits will need to be blast tested. The most we can hope for with an earth filled overhead cover using sandbags and sprayed with perhaps Rhino Snot soil sealant would be a 60mm mortar direct hit protection level. If the enemy starts dropping 155mm shells and the position can't be vacated, then hardening the M113 Gavin with mechanical back hoes exploiting its armored shell is the best option. Well camouflaged, a force in dug-in Gavins would be impervious to direct hits of small 250 pound bombs and near misses from everything bigger. Long term occupation of a position that cannot be vacated should be done with real bunkers using BATTLEBOXes. 10 feet and more underground, such a force if camouflaged and dispersed would be nearly impossible to destroy from direct firepower scissors but needs to keep from being encircled (Correigidor) and have its supplies of at least ammunition and food continue to flow in from air/land/sea. Ammo can be captured from the enemy and used against him, and power from sun/wind can distil water from wells and the air itself as no army before in history has been able to do. Forts/FOBs making up a defense-in-depth can stop an enemy invasion and become the hinge points for offensive maneuvers that can determine the battle and war.

Specific Direct Hits (SDHs)

Against Moving Land Targets....

VIDEO: a Predator UAV's soda straw optics finally enables a controller to see some roadside bomb-layers in Iraq. About 3, 000 dead and 22, 000 wounded men, too late. A Hellfire ATGM with its 18 pound HEAT warhead possibly removed strikes them in their center.


VIDEO: Driving into High Explosives: road-bound Humvee truck convoy blown up in Iraq


However, with a 50% crash rate, UAVs are not able to provide 24/7/365 coverage of our MSRs and even if they could, they can't see with human eyesight fidelity well enough to get comprehensive coverage. In the video above, we see the anatomy of Iraqi rebels blowing up stupid Americans who refuse to picket our MSRs and/or use XM1108 (M113 Gavin-based) tracked resupply carriers that can avoid predictable roads in the first place or at least withstand land mines and other attacks with adequate armoring.

Notice the rebel videocameraman is about 200-300 meters away which is smart because its at the end of our effective small arms fire range for 5.56mm KE bullets shot by weapons the "Jessica Lynches" support underclass have; a XM1108 Gavin resupply track can and should have at least a 7.62mm medium machine gun or larger behind a gunshield to return fire at the rebel landmine detonator out beyong 1, 000 meters.

Also notice how small the apparent size of the 5-foot tall Humvee truck is compared to the HEMMT truck in front of it; notice on the battlefield HEIGHT is the biggest visual give-away. The Stryker and Bradley are way too high and act as enemy fire "magnets". We can put a smaller turret on the Bradley, but there's no salvation for the bloated Stryker deathtrap since its a thin metal box resting on top of its wheeled suspension and drive train. At this range, the rebel on foot would appear as a very small target requiring convoy gunners to have infared "thermal" sights to contrast out his presence.

Again, this is yet more reason why we should PICKET our MSRs with troops 24/7/365 and manned observation/attack aircraft overhead so their distance from possible ambushers is closer and more direct so they cannot even get into a position to lay land mines or ambush our supply convoys.

Light Infantry Narcissists Fail Combat Engineering and COIN 101

Here's a tragic story of the light infantry narcissists playing catch-up and failing miserably.

We are going to need to defeat the land mine when doing a nation-state war (NSW), too.

How are we going to do this when COMBAT ENGINEERS cannot rise to become Army Chief of Staff and have been reduced into near exctinction by Stupidmaker's modularity scam?

Picketing the MSRs 24/7/365....reducing presence to only bare minimum of air and cross-country mobile forces in a rural enclave and it requiring the minimum of MSRs.....we need this for NSWs, too.


"There was a two-year learning curve . . . and a lot of people died in those two years"

By Rick Atkinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 1, 2007; A01

As Gen. John P. Abizaid began his second year at U.S. Central Command in July 2004, the simple solutions he had hoped would defeat "improvised explosive devices" [EDITOR: land mines] in Iraq seemed further away than ever. More than 100 American Soldiers had been killed by bombs in the first half of the year, and IED attacks were spiraling toward an average of 15 per day.

Eager for creative ideas, Abizaid told Centcom subordinates in August that he would accept what became known as "the 51 percent solution" [EDITOR: anything so long as they could remain light narcissists in trucks and not have to change and adapt] : If a new counter-IED gadget or technique had a better than even chance of success, it would be welcome in the theater. "Listen, if you have something that's greater than 50 percent, then get it forward," he also told Brig. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, director of the Pentagon's Joint IED Task Force. "I've got the greatest testing ground in the world in Iraq."

That testing ground was soon put to use in IED Blitz, an elaborate experiment concocted in late summer by the Pentagon's joint staff.

Spotting bombs had proved fiendishly difficult. Some Soldiers fastened rally lights on their Humvees for better visibility at dusk, or mounted leaf blowers on truck bumpers to clear the debris often used to camouflage IEDs. Aerostats -- small blimps with closed-circuit cameras tethered 300 to 1,000 feet up -- watched the landscape for insurgent activity. But Soldiers staring at television monitors often found their concentration waning after just 30 minutes.

IED Blitz would focus as many forms of surveillance as possible in a "persistent stare" at a bomb-infested 20-kilometer stretch of Route Tampa, just south of Balad on the road to Baghdad. The blitz would enlist satellites, U-2 spy planes, 14 Mako unmanned aerial vehicles, a pair of larger I-Gnat drones, and the Horned Owl, a Beechcraft turboprop airplane equipped with ground-penetrating radar used to assess whether road shoulders had been disturbed by digging.

Attacks had grown increasingly extravagant, with "daisy-chained" munitions that included as many as 22 artillery shells wired together to explode simultaneously in a 300-yard "kill zone." Intelligence analysts assumed that such ambush sites took hours or even days to prepare. On the basis of past attack patterns, they predicted that 60 IEDs would be planted in 75 days on this short segment of Route Tampa.

Hundreds of thousands of photographs would be snapped as part of a technique called "coherent change detection." Two images of the same scene taken at different times would be compared, pixel-by-pixel, to spot changes in the landscape -- such as the anomalies caused by an insurgent planting a bomb. Ground convoys could be warned, and, if the reconnaissance was nimble, hunter-killer teams could flush emplacers or triggermen.

The operation, estimated to cost at least $3 million, would be directed from Defense Department offices leased in Fairfax County. "The only unacceptable outcome is to spend all this time and money and not have a definitive outcome because we didn't dedicate enough assets," a senior Pentagon official warned in one planning session. "Don't do it half-assed."

Blitz began on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2004. So brilliant were the digital color images that analysts could read the brand names on plastic water bottles littering the roadside. They could distinguish an apple from a pomegranate at a fruit stand.

What they could not see was a bomb or a bomber. Technical problems soon emerged. A U-2 making two passes above the road seven hours apart had to fly routes within 5 degrees of each other for those pixels to align; the success rate was "way less than 30 percent," according to an Air Force officer. The I-Gnat routes needed to overlap within about 1 percent of each other, a comparably difficult task. Even blowing trash, a feature of every Iraqi landscape, sometimes made coherent change detection incoherent.

Sandstorms and high winds also plagued Blitz. Insurgents apparently monitored drone takeoffs from Balad airfield to calculate when they could safely move about; when two days of foul weather grounded the aircraft, six IED attacks occurred on Route Tampa. Numerous images showed Iraqis in pickup trucks staring into the sky and making obscene gestures at the drones, which were as noisy as lawn mowers.

When automated photo analysis did not work properly, analysts in Fairfax County were forced to manually review the pictures. "It was an eyeball event," the Air Force officer later recalled. "You have 5,000 images taken in the morning and 5,000 at night. The day shift would take 5,000, the night shift 5,000." The Blitz roadway was divided into five-kilometer segments with teams assigned to scrutinize each one. "If a paper cup was on that route and wasn't there yesterday," the officer added, "you knew it."

Blitz organizers had intended for the operation to last four weeks, but Centcom pressed for better results. A month passed, then two. Keeping a round-the-clock persistent stare grew more difficult, particularly as demands intensified to shift resources elsewhere in Iraq. "Slowly but surely," an Army colonel said, "it unraveled."

Eight of the 14 Makos crashed. Horned Owl also was a disappointment, as Abizaid's deputy, Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance L. Smith, found when he flew a mission in Iraq. The radar was bedeviled by false positives, including oil barrels and car hulks. The Iraqis, Smith observed, were "wonderful buriers." The aircraft would be sent home for further tweaking.

The most disheartening day came on Thursday, Nov. 4. By chance, virtually all surveillance assets -- satellites, U-2s, drones -- happened to be focused simultaneously on one small swatch of Route Tampa. Traffic appeared normal. Two hours later, another sequence of images revealed a scorched crater where a bag of artillery shells triggered by a detonation wire had just killed one American soldier in a truck and severed the leg of another. Dozens of photos showed the burning vehicle veer across the median, and rescue vehicles convene at the site. No images revealed the IED being placed, or the triggerman. Analysts soon surmised that bomber cells around Balad in late summer had shifted "to a just-in-time device-placement method," as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst put it. Instead of requiring hours or days to survey an ambush site and bury a device, "hasty emplacement" took two hours or less. Blitz ended on Nov. 15. In 10 weeks, 44 IEDs had detonated or were discovered by ground clearance teams. Asked how many had been detected by aerial surveillance, the Air Force officer said, "To be honest with you, I can't say any of them.

"We had only a 20-kilometer stretch," the officer added. "There are thousands of kilometers in Iraq." By the end of 2004, about 5,600 IED attacks had occurred across the country, according to Centcom.

If "the results were less than expected" in Blitz, as the DIA analyst concluded, intelligence experts also learned a great deal: The surveillance sensors might not find bombs, but they could conceivably be used to hunt bombers by watching where vehicles spotted near an ambush site were subsequently driven, a technique later called backtracking. "It's a vehicle-borne insurgency," the Air Force officer said.

That realization would take many months to bear fruit. The immediate lesson of Blitz was summarized by an Army lieutenant colonel. "You can do the unblinking eye," he said, "but you can't do it everywhere, and you can't do it very long."

Blitz underscored that in the theater and at home, U.S. efforts remained fixated on "the fight at the roadside": finding or neutralizing planted bombs, and attacking those who buried them. But killing an emplacer rarely disrupted a bomber cell for more than several days, and few insurgents captured by U.S. forces proved to be ringleaders, financiers or IED builders.

A classified U.S. government proposal called the Cerberus Project specifically targeted bombmakers as "disproportionately valuable to the terrorist operation chain" because of their technical skills. By collecting forensic signatures of individual bombers, such as fingerprints, handcrafted circuits and soldering marks, analysts could identify patterns and better understand the IED networks spreading through Iraq.

Britain and Israel had similarly targeted bombmakers in Northern Ireland and Lebanon, respectively, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared "the enemy bombmaker as the operational center of gravity" for U.S. warfighters, according to a senior officer involved in the operation. Yet such painstaking efforts would not pay off for months or years. A Cerberus Project briefing paper in August 2004 warned that "the window of opportunity to prevent the terrorist and insurgent bombmaking knowledge base from being transferred, or evolving . . . is closing."

Lt. Gen. Smith also advocated a "left of boom" strategy that would attack those IED networks long before a device detonated. He was appalled that many field commanders seemed to accept bomb casualties as an inevitable cost of fighting the insurgency. "We have got to go after the system," Smith urged. "We have got to find out where they're made."

But "the system" was amorphous, shadowy. Battling the IED itself, particularly through heavier armor, electronic jammers and better patrol tactics was tangible and urgent, even if it remained "right of boom, or right at boom," as a senior Army officer put it.

"It's so easy to just defend against the device, because that's what's cleaning your clock," a top Defense Department scientist said later. "We needed to move to the left of boom, but we didn't know how to do it." One briefing chart included a picture of a light bulb with the caption, "Does anybody have a bright idea?"

Abizaid had asked the Pentagon for "a Manhattan Project-like" effort to fight IEDs, which he called "my number one threat in Iraq." Like Smith, he worried that too many soldiers looked at roadside bombs as they did snipers or other vexing battlefield threats, without realizing that rising bomb casualties eroded American support for the war. Paradoxically, IEDs were "a strategic issue," Abizaid observed, "but not necessarily a tactical issue."

Whether the nation could conjure an IED solution, as the Manhattan Project had delivered the atomic bomb in 1945, also remained uncertain, given how little of the country seemed mobilized for war. "We asked for the Manhattan Project," Abizaid would later joke, "and we got the Peoria project."

Through the winter of 2004-05, bombs grew more lethal and bombers more ingenious. Explosives often were "boosted" with propane or gasoline canisters. Triggers now included pressure plates, walkie-talkies and long-range cordless phones with a range of three to five miles -- common in Iraq, where no Federal Communications Commission restricted their usage. In December 2004, insurgents in Baghdad lured police into a house, then detonated an estimated 1,700 pounds of explosives, killing at least 28 people, according to a U.S. Army War College study. Such death traps soon were known, inelegantly, as "house-borne" IEDs. When marines fought to reclaim Fallujah in November 2004, explosives experts examining a Euphrates River bridge discovered artillery shells hidden behind the metal base plates of light stanchions, with a triggering wire leading to a palm grove. Other rigged shells were found in drainpipes, flowerpots and phony, hollow curb stones made from plaster molds. A marine regimental commander later recalled wondering, "What are we getting into?"

Car bombs, which had averaged one per week in Iraq in January 2004, kept doubling and redoubling. From September to December, 247 "vehicle-borne" IEDs targeted coalition forces, who learned to watch for the sagging automobile suspensions that might indicate a trunk packed with artillery shells. Mayhem often brought political consequences: After an explosion in Iraq killed eight Ukrainian soldiers in early January 2005, Kiev announced it would withdraw its 1,600 troops from the war by midyear.

A counter-IED field manual compiled by the Army and marines warned of devices placed in "fake bodies or scarecrows in coalition uniforms." Known to bomb squads as "come-ons," such lures soon used real bodies, including IEDs tucked into the chest cavities of dead Iraqis, whose corpses also were booby-trapped with anti-tampering triggers, according to a Navy explosive ordnance disposal officer.

Insurgent bombmaking prowess derived largely from three former Baathist organizations, which had slipped underground after the 2003 invasion, according to a senior Defense Department official: the Special Republican Guard, the Special Security Organization and the so-called M-21 directorate of the Mukhabarat intelligence service. In the fall of 2004, Centcom drafted a list of 38 suspected insurgency leaders, most of whom were living in Syria, a former top Pentagon official said.

As the Cerberus Project had warned, the bombmaking "knowledge base" soon expanded, with pockets of expertise throughout Iraq. "The number of networks has been placed at 169, but that may be just 169 that we know about," the DOD official said last spring. "Some of them are Sunni rejectionists, some are Sunni Baathists, some are al-Qaeda, some are Shiite. It's a crazy quilt." A recent intelligence study described fluid, decentralized cells, typically with five to 10 members, including a financier, a bombmaker, an emplacer, a triggerman and often a video cameraman. Some freelance bombmakers "have posted their contract for hire services through the Internet with video footage of past acts serving as promotion and bona fides," the study noted. If attacks showed complex ingenuity, devices tended to be simple, usually suggesting technical skills equivalent to those of a ham radio operator or a vocational school graduate, according to a DOD scientist. Simplicity made it easier to employ unlettered emplacers, who by late 2004 were generally recognized as being mercenaries rather than ideologues.

Perhaps reflecting the triumph of supply over demand, emplacer fees continued to decline, typically ranging from the equivalent of $300 to as little as $25. Killing a coalition Soldier might earn a $700 bonus. In Afghanistan, a recent coalition price list showed that the families of suicide bombers usually were paid $500 to $2,000, with bounties as high as $10,000 for assassinating a NATO Soldier.

Joe Votel, the Joint IED Task Force director, had come to regret Abizaid's Manhattan Project allusion. The metaphor implied a facile, scientific solution to IEDs, a technological silver bullet. "That was easy," Votel quipped about the atomic bomb built in the New Mexico desert. "You were in a sanctuary, you developed a bomb, you dropped a couple of them and it was done."

Fighting IEDs had proved far more frustrating than Votel had anticipated when he took the job in October 2003. His staff consisted largely of contractors or military officers lent to the task force for a few months. Expertise was hard to come by; "leveraging academia," as he called it, required a greater knowledge of the scientific community than the task force possessed. Simply exploiting the British know-how accrued in decades of battling roadside bombs in Northern Ireland was annoyingly difficult because of Pentagon "SECRET/NOFORN" rules that barred even close foreign allies from access to secret information.

Battling an IED network was akin to dismembering a cocaine cartel before drugs flooded the market. It required exceptional intelligence, agility and great patience. But with hundreds of bombs detonating every month, the pressure was intense to send as many jammers and other "deliverables" as possible to the field. "You felt an obligation to the warfighter," a young officer said. Congress encouraged the task force to become "extremely risk tolerant," as one scientist put it, and to finance duplicative efforts such as multiple jammers. According to a senior Senate staff aide, Votel was told repeatedly: "We're going to have lots of failures. That's okay. We want you to push the envelope. Take risks."

Risks were taken. To safeguard vulnerable gunners in Humvee turrets, the task force spent $9.4 million to buy 728 armored suits called the Cupola Protective Ensemble. Shipped to Kuwait for field testing, the outfit proved to be hot and constricting. Engineers scavenged cooling units used in Kiowa helicopters, installed them in the suits and plugged the contraption into the Humvees, which "fried the vehicle alternators," according to an Army colonel, who added, "We hadn't thought this through."

About 300 government programs were scrutinized for "low-hanging fruit" -- mature technologies that could be easily plucked and sent to the war zone: sniper rifles, little Raven drones, aerostats and laser "dazzlers" that temporarily blinded the driver of an oncoming vehicle, including a potential suicide car bomber, and caused him to veer off course. "There was a mad rush to get equipment over as we searched for the magic gizmo," a retired admiral recalled.

The task force identified 17 "capability gaps" -- such as counter-IED training methods and surveillance techniques -- and solicited suggestions from industry, which responded with 851 proposals. Congress also tried to help. When Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, touted a Kevlar infantry poncho of dubious practicality, a mischievous staff officer fabricated a photograph of the congressman wearing the outfit, which he labeled "SpongeBob HunterPants" after the Nickelodeon cartoon character. Votel was horrified. "Destroy that," he ordered. "If this gets out, we're dead meat." Centcom's requirement for "uparmored" Humvee kits jumped to 14,000, according to a committee document, and, in January 2005, Abizaid agreed that no unarmored vehicles should operate outside secure bases in Iraq. But an uparmored Humvee weighed a ton more than its soft-skinned predecessor, with a consequent strain on engines, suspensions, transmissions and tires.

As always in war, frictions accumulated. The simple grew difficult. In late summer 2004, the task force had undertaken what seemed a relatively easy task: buy more explosive-sniffing dogs for the theater. Help was solicited from the British and Israelis, both of whom had extensive experience with "off-leash" dogs that gave a handler about 200 yards of standoff distance from possible bombs.

Protracted discussions ensued at the Pentagon over breeds, training methods and cost. (A trained search dog typically cost $4,000 to buy and $35,000 to deploy.) The marines admired an Israeli method that used collar-mounted radio receivers to control their dogs, but the animals' linguistic limitations proved problematic: Most understood only Hebrew. "We spent an unbelievable amount of time on this," a former DOD official said.

A Defense Intelligence Agency analyst noted in February 2005 that "off days will occur" with dogs, and that the "find rate" for buried explosives may be only 75 percent. Canine specialists disputed the figure but agreed that a working dog grew easily distracted after 30 minutes, not unlike a Soldier watching an aerostat monitor. Ultimately, the task force agreed to finance 48 dog teams in 2005 and another 48 in 2006.

Sometimes the most popular deliverables were decidedly low-tech. A pocket-size pamphlet called the "Visual Language Translator for IED Detection" was shipped overseas by the tens of thousands. Cartoon sketches showed various concealment options, which sympathetic Iraqis could point to in identifying bomb sites: a guardrail, a dumpster, a dead sheep. Cartoon greenbacks implied a handsome reward for anyone who turned in a bombmaker.

And a phonetic pronunciation key gave every Soldier the ability to ask, in Arabic, the question that might save his life: Weh-nil kun-boo-leh? Where is the bomb?

Eighty percent or more of the roadside bombs planted in some areas of Iraq used RC -- radio-controlled -- triggers. Warlock Green jammers, which Army engineers had designed from a counter-artillery system, continued to arrive from Thousand Oaks, Calif., where they were largely hand-built by EDO Corp. and cost about $100,000 each.

Because most RC bombs were simple low-power devices, using key fobs or wireless doorbells, more jammers specifically designed to handle that threat also began arriving in the summer of 2004, including EDO's Warlock Red and a jammer popular with Special Forces troops called the Mobile Multi Band Jammer. Col. Bruce Jette, who earned a PhD in solid state physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and commanded the Army's Rapid Equipping Force, persuaded a firm in Las Cruces, N.M., to build 13 prototype Self-Screening Vehicle Jammers in six weeks for $350,000. Hundreds more would be built and shipped to Iraq. A similar jammer called the IED Counter Electronic Device (ICE) found favor with the Marines, along with a later modification dubbed MICE. (A disdainful competitor insisted it should be called LICE.) Jammers proliferated, in number and in variety.

Votel and his task force had long planned to underwrite a single powerful jammer that would cover as much of the RC spectrum as possible and simplify military logistics. On Dec. 1, 2004, the Army notified industry that it intended to phase out Warlock production in anticipation of buying a common jammer, which would be called Duke. Within days, EDO signaled that it would begin laying off workers, a development so alarming to Duncan Hunter that he blocked an Army request to reprogram $2 billion.

In a stormy, profane confrontation, Votel and Robert Simmons, staff director of the Armed Services Committee, argued over jammer policy, according to two participants in the session. "We have a strategy here," Votel pleaded. "Let us get started on this."

But initial tests on a Duke prototype seemed inconclusive to Simmons. "This is unproven," he told Votel. "We've already seen testing problems. We've got something that's proven to work within a limited spectrum, and you're going to stop that?"

Votel called Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army vice chief of staff. Hunter and his staff were adamant about shipping more Warlocks into the theater quickly, he reported. Cody called Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who agreed to keep the Warlock line open. Hunter lifted his hold on the Army reprogramming request, and on Jan. 13, 2005, the Army placed a $56 million order with EDO for 1,440 more Warlocks, evenly divided between Greens and Reds.

Votel liked Simmons, and he admired Hunter's passionate interest in combat procurement. But he felt deep frustration about his inability to convey the complexity of the electromagnetic challenge in Iraq. "I fully admit that I'm a C student on this," he often said, and joked that "I should have paid more attention in electrical engineering class" at West Point. But when another committee staffer insisted, "You know, this isn't rocket science," Votel snapped, "Actually, this is rocket science. This is a hard freaking problem." Lives and billions of dollars were at stake.

The hard problem grew harder by the week. An XVIII Airborne Corps analysis showed that U.S. troops in Iraq were struggling to manage 82,000 radio frequencies, including jammers and communication channels. They also tried to juggle more than 300 databases, such as IED spreadsheets, many of which were not interoperable.

The proliferation of low-power jammers such as Warlock Red and ICE had the salutary effect of nearly eliminating low-power, radio-controlled IEDs. From a substantial majority of RC devices in June 2004, low-power would decline to about 6 percent by the summer of 2005, at a time when the Pentagon reported 4,200 portable electronic jammers in Iraq.

But, as always, insurgents adapted quickly. High-power RC devices proliferated, against which many U.S. jammers were inadequate. By increasing the power of the radio transmitters and switching to a higher frequency -- a simple spectrum analyzer could show a bombmaker the range in which the jammers operated -- the insurgents soon countered the countermeasure, again.

It was painfully obvious that many in the Army had forgotten that the electromagnetic spectrum could be a battle space. Except for artillery direction-finding and signals intelligence such as eavesdropping, Army electronic warfare expertise and equipment had atrophied as the Soviet threat dissolved after the Cold War. "This was fine for the environment of 1990, and it was fine for the environment of 2002," said Rear Adm. Arch Macy, commander of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Washington. "Then we got to 2003, and the beggars changed the rules of the game."

By early 2005, an Army scientist said, "when it came to dealing with the electromagnetic spectrum, the Army didn't have the competency." The marines were hardly better. A former marine commander said that when jammers arrived in his regiment, "all we knew was that a box would show up that made the vehicles hotter."

If only two jammers were available for a four-Humvee convoy, should they go on the first and last vehicles? The first two? The two in the middle? How far apart should the vehicles travel? How fast?

"These things were not known," the retired admiral said. No system existed to train the force. "The tasks were pretty basic," a Navy captain added. "How do you make sure the jammer power is on? Check for proper air flow through the system? How do you know it's working? . . . Tactical employment was largely run by rumors about what worked and what didn't."

As more jammers arrived through the winter, Soldiers complained that the boxes sometimes blocked radio transmissions, other jammers and Blue Force Tracker, a satellite-based system that showed commanders the precise location of their troops. "There was no coordination," Macy said. Jammers "interfered with each other, they interfered with other gear, VHF radios, Blue Force Tracker. . . . This was happening more than acceptable. And acceptable is almost zero." For patrol leaders, "it was either jam or talk," said an electrical engineer who worked as a defense contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some soldiers distrusted the jammers and left them in their shipping containers. "That's a terrible position to put troops in," the retired admiral said. "And it's technically stupid."

Some veterans would later look back with regret. "The enemy can change in hours, or days. We have to be able to do it at least in weeks," said a retired lieutenant colonel who worked for the task force.

More than 250 American Soldiers would be killed by another type of IED that was spreading across the battlefield and against which even the best jammers proved useless.

The first confirmed EFP -- explosively formed penetrator -- had appeared in Basra on May 15, 2004, and Votel had briefed Vice President Cheney in late June on the phenomenon, using a model to demonstrate how it worked. The weapon, which fired a heavy copper disc with devastating impact, typically used a passive infrared trigger that detonated the bomb when a sensor detected radiation from a warm passing object, such as a Humvee. Because no radio waves were involved, jammers had no effect.

A Defense Intelligence Agency weapons team had noted in the late 1990s that EFPs with infrared triggers were used by Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces against the Israelis in southern Lebanon at least as early as 1997. The few EFPs that were in Iraq during the early summer of 2004 invariably appeared in Shiite-controlled areas near the Iranian border, such as Basra and southeast Baghdad. That suggested "international linkages" to Iran, Votel told Cheney. A colonel at the Israeli Embassy had repeatedly warned the task force about infrared-triggered EFPs. "He and other Israelis were pounding on the desk, saying, 'Listen, we've already been through this historically. This is what's going to happen next,' " a task force officer later recalled.

"We should never have been surprised by that," an Army colonel with long experience in Iraq and Afghanistan added. "But until it became a reality, people really paid no attention."

A senior Centcom officer concurred. "We honestly did not believe that these guys were capable of doing this kind of stuff. . . . We underestimated them." But as EFP numbers began to inch up, intelligence reports indicated that CD-ROMs on how to construct an EFP were circulating among insurgent cells; one bombmaker reputedly held a doctorate in electrical engineering from Baghdad University. After a particularly sober briefing, Smith responded simply, "Holy cow."

By early 2005, what one officer had described as "an ominous thing on the horizon" was moving to the foreground in Iraq. Most EFPs were built with several pounds of pure copper, either milled or punched with a 20-ton hydraulic press into a concave disc with a 140-degree angle, two to 11 inches in diameter. Triggered by the infrared sensor, a blasting cap in turn set off explosives packed behind the copper disc -- known as a liner -- inside a steel or plastic pipe. The detonation wave, moving at 8,000 meters per second, struck the liner, which inverted into a tadpole-shaped slug.

An EFP eight inches in diameter threw a seven-pound copper slug at Mach 6, or 2,000 meters per second. (A .50-caliber bullet, among the most devastating projectiles on the battlefield, weighs less than two ounces and has a muzzle velocity of 900 meters per second.) Unlike an armor-killing shaped charge, the EFP warhead did not turn into a plasma jet, but remained semi-molten. Copper was preferred because it is ductile and malleable, and does not shatter like steel. Typically fired at ranges from five to 10 meters, the slug could punch through several inches of armor, spraying metal shards across the crew compartment.

Beginning in early June 2004, insurgents often placed EFPs together for a shotgun effect. Many EFPs were hidden in foam blocks, carefully shaped to look like roadside rocks or curbstones; often the only telltale sign was a half-dollar-sized hole bored through the foam for the passive infrared lens, which became known among U.S. troops as the "Eye of Allah."

Debate intensified within the U.S. government over Iran's role in distributing EFPs. Abizaid was skeptical until British troops reportedly captured a cache of copper discs along Iraq's southeastern border. Other evidence accumulated. For example, according to a former DIA analyst, the C-4 plastic explosive found in some EFPs chemically matched that sold by Tehran's Defense Industries Organization and identified by specific lot numbers. Intelligence also indicated the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was training and giving explosives to certain Iraqi Shiite groups, a senior DOD official said.

Still, Abizaid advocated a measured response. Iran after all could have supplied anti-ship or anti-tank missiles that would be far deadlier to U.S. forces. EFPs were a tiny percentage of all IEDs -- more than an annoyance but less than a casus belli. "You know they're doing it, but you don't know that you want to go to war over it," he said. "The vast majority of problems in Iraq are generated in Iraq by the body politic."

Votel nonetheless felt pressure to find a remedy. Month by month, EFPs were better camouflaged and more effective. In February 2005, he sent a lieutenant colonel to Tel Aviv. The Israeli solution to IEDs often included using armored bulldozers to scrape away the top 18 inches of earth where bombs might be hidden, according to an Israeli engineer colonel. That tactic had limited utility in Iraqi cities, but Israel also had made technological strides. Votel's emissary examined six promising counter-IED systems. Under an agreement with the defense ministry, for about $1 million Israeli engineers would bring four of them to Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona for further testing. System names would be changed to conceal the Israeli connection, so that a microwave gadget called VOW became Dragon Spike I, and MACE -- Microwave Against Concealed Electronics -- became Dragon Spike II. The testing was scheduled for June 2005.

By the end of May, IED attacks in Iraq exceeded 1,000 a month. President Bush declared Memorial Day "a day of prayer for permanent peace." Without mentioning Iraq or Afghanistan, he asked Americans to observe a "national moment of remembrance."

The vice president was more upbeat. Appearing as a Memorial Day guest on "Larry King Live," Cheney predicted, "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.

The RMA pundits will ignore our troops' physical lack of off-road mobility and armoring that gets them killed by NEAR MISSES and instead change the subject claiming that enemies with sophisticated guided weapons with the ability to specifically hit a spot on targets, NO ARMORING WILL WORK. We call this the "Jap Zero Mentality".

Superb painting by Lou Drendel

The RMA mentality that there's no point to having any armor because if you are direct hitted by HE you are "dead" has already been played out in WW2 with the Jap ZERO. The Zero had no armor or self-sealing fuel tanks to be absolutely light in weight for maximum maneuver (paper) to get line-of-sight to gun down its targets (scissors) and in the beginning of the war, outsped, out-climbed and out-turned all our fighters. Our current generation of fighters are all Jap Zeros without armor (rock) except the A-10. In response to views re the character and limitations of post-WWII aircraft, legendary air warfare expert, Chuck Myers writes:

"Post-WWII combat aircraft were designed for nuclear war. 'Fighters' were mostly designed as mass nuclear bomber raid Interceptors (F-102/F-106/F-101/F-4/F-104/F-14); others F-105, F-111, A-4, Tornado and Harrier for low altitude delivery of nuclear weapons and the Navy A-3J for high altitude supersonic delivery of nuc weapons. My F-106 even had a visual air-to-air nuclear missile, the Genie (imagine that mission; a head on intercept, launching a nuclear warhead visually through a telescope at a mass of incoming Russian bombers).

For nuclear war missions, nobody cares about gun fire vulnerability or cockpit visibility or maneuverability or affordability (or even survivability; for what?). That's how we ended up with so many Tactical Aircraft that were completely inappropriate for our unexpected war against North Vietnam. It is why they were so vulnerable and we had such high losses from AAA and missile fragment damage. And it contributed to how our industry lost the art of designing the kind of affordable aircraft we really need now."

Ralph Zumbro writes:

"The drawings/plans for a lot of WWII aircraft still exist. The AD-1 and the P-51, for instance also might be remanufactured. Are Gas Turbine aircraft light enough to operate from PSP, what is preventing their manufacture as CAS aircraft??? The only problem I see would be preventing the gadget happy engineers from doubling their weight with electronics."

Chuck adds:

"A number of WWII derivatives could be recreated and would be very useful for air support of ground forces. The P-51 is not my favorite because of the liquid cooled engine (vulnerability to small arms/however, could substitute a turboprop). A much better choice would be the Grumman F-7F (look it up). Also, there have been some 'new' designs specifically for MAS. The barrier includes:

- The military requirements process (includes JCIDS) which is unlikely to agree that what we all discuss/describe is needed. And, in addition, because of Goldwater/Nichols: a CoCom MUST formally declare a "capabilities gap", create an IPL, etc., etc. in order for JCS/JROC to even pay attention.

- The silence of 'grunt' active leadership (beyond the voices of a few retired flag officers who are easily countered by their colleagues still in the service or some who have comfortable jobs with companies reaping the benefits of the current unaffordable legacy programs.

- Congressional leaders who would not support any project that might threaten the flow of gold to their constituency.

There are no operational, financial or technical factors which preclude providing our troops the kind of air support they need (MAS)."

In WW2, we had officials who felt some loyalty to our men to not to send them into battle in deathtraps like the Japanese did. As they struggled to get better protected platforms, they ADAPTED and changed tactics in the meantime. They did not believe their own "spin" and sat on their asses like today's Rumsfeld DoD does.

Another Superb painting by Lou Drendel

Our pilots were instructed by smart warfighter like General Chennault in China or realized themselves to not get into a turning dogfight with the Zeros and to climb and dive against them (F-4F Wildcats and P-40 Warhawks) and to open fire while passing through. ANY hits striking the Jap Zero's fuel tank or engine turned them into flaming streaks and any hits on the pilot injured or killed him so the plane crashed out of control. In other words, the Zero had a "glass jaw" so it wasn't just direct hits but ANY near misses or fragments hitting it killed it. If the Jap Zero pilots got on the tail of our fighters or fired back head-on we had armor and self-sealing fuel tanks to survive and dive away to make another attack. We then developed a generation of planes retaining armoring that were more powerful and maneuverable than the Zeros as the rigid Japs didn't adapt when their BS was exposed (sound familiar?) and replace the Zeros (Humvees/Stryker trucks) en masse with better armored platforms (M113 Gavins).

Actual Color Gun Camera Still Photos from the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier of a Japanese Zero being easily flamed by .50 caliber heavy machine gun tracer bullet strikes...


Bush/Cheney/Rummy and those misleading DoD have the RMA Japanese Zero mentality in spades; their idea of "cutting costs" (exalted bean counter false efficiency) and weight in ground warfare is to be ON FOOT and in WHEELED TRUCKS thinking like the Japanese that they will somehow "avoid the hit" when really at less than 4 mph on foot and restricted to roads/trails (man-made strips of open terrain) THEY WILL BE EASILY SEEN AND NEAR MISSED AS WELL AS HIT. The near misses will kill them, in fact every HE effect will kill them that gets near.

We are headed for the same defeat the Japanese experienced in WW2 in a tragic cased of role reversal via re-enactment.

Jap Zero = U.S. Army/marine Humvee/Stryker and other type Wheeled Trucks today!

Note the U.S. Army today is repeating stupid dark green camouflage on their helicopters that made Japanese Army aircraft so easy to shoot down in WW2; except at least the Zeros were gray underneath; our helicopters are green all over! Americans must have a death wish---we can't be that dumb

The "low-tech" threat that doesn't require guidance since we are stupid and direct ourselves into them but could be defeated with tracked mobility and armor is ignored in favor of the worst-case guided munition "boogieman" to emasculate the force completely into foot sloggers and fatal trucking. Why waste thousands of dollars on a precision munition when a cheaper one will do because Don Rumsfeld has made the Americans vulnerable to it? SDHs are only something a laser-guided or SACLOS ATGM gunner can do with his cross-hairs to hit a known weak spot a target has (like M1 turbine engine grill area) or if its programmed to explode into the top thin roof of most tanks automatically. If there's a tandem warhead, the first explosion rips away any sacrificial layering leaving the bare metal to the main warhead. The answer here is to not facilitate SDHs by rapid movement, smokescreens, stealth and combined-arms effects suppressing ATGM gunners. Have infantry or cavalry sneak on ahead and clear out ATGM gunners. At the turret tank itself, we need to cover the turret completely with earth filled clam shells making it look like a defacto German assault gun. If the tank absolutely, positively needs to traverse the turret, the clamshells open and it can traverse but at risk of a SDH strike at the turret/hull junction. If the tank crew can steer the tank at the hull and fire the gun in infantry support against a C3D2 burrowed force, it keeps the coverings on; if a tandem or top attack ATGM should hit, the outer clamshell wall explodes the first warhead and the earth detonates the second.

U.S. Army ARMOR magazine published my article on the need for a future tank in 1998 which warned about SACLOS ATGMs targeting Israeli tanks with SDHs. However this was just before Army CSAs Generals Shinseki and Schoomaker started censoring the magazine by weak, compliant editors to insure they go along with the corrupt Stryker wheeled truck and other RMA madnesses in effect. Here is the superb artwork Jody Harmon did of a turretless tank with a sliding sacrificial shield to defeat RPGs and ATGMs.

Building anything with armor (rock) attributes violates the tenets of RMA that if you can be seen you can be direct hit by high explosives, so since we're lazy and greedy we will just run around naked and let ALL high explosive near misses kill us (air bursting AAA, SAMs) and of course any small-arms fire kinetic energy bullet hits too. Don't fly under 10, 000 feet....we'll send UAVs in low even though their soda straw view is nothing like a human's eyes and can't sport enemies hiding by C3D2 and the UAV's 50% crash rate against the earth will only be made worse when the enemy shoots them down. DoD's lop-sided misunderstanding of war can be tied directly to their misunderstanding of explosives (this web page):


The Army's FCS medium tank while thankfully on tracks and not wheels after the RMA hubrists had to accept physical reality that wheeled vehicles cannot go cross-country with any armor weight, only has armoring to withstand easy threats; bullets, small cannon shells and ATGMs/RPGs that are man-carried or on light vehicles. This would be ok if FCS were to primarily operate in closed terrain, but its a MEDIUM track that's too heavy to operate in closed terrain without getting constantly stuck. The FCS cannot take a main gun 90-140mm hit from a medium-heavy tank in open terrain because its TOO LIGHT. Physical armor on the FCS is not a driving force in the RMA madness its based on, "Networking" is. While not a "Jap Zero", the FCS is like a P-39 Aircobra, its got a little bit of armoring and a little bit of mobility and a little bit of firepower while showboating new but dubious technology like its car-doors and mid-mounted engine.

Back to the issue of Maneuver Air Support...the missing ingredient is our lack of MANNED observation/attack aircraft to find the enemy and immediately attack him in both nation-state war as swarms of "killer bees" and during sub-national conflicts with dogged investigative 24/7/365 air surveillance. We all know MANPADS and SAMS under 10K can be countered so an armored, low-altitude, high agility O/A aircraft can provide MAS. This runs counter to the lies of RMA that machines can and should replace men in war. When we have a half-baked reform like Goldwater-Nichols its naive to think men in uniform are going to buck the RMA party line and write a requirements document that will hurt his promotions and post-retirement job opportunities with the defense firms building RMA mentalistic junk. For there to be progress we need Winston Churchills and Barnes Wallises, civilians with a gift for sound (employs rock, paper and scissors aspects) military creativity (GIDO) to overcome the narrow-mindedness of on-duty military men (FIDO) if we are to overcome our more-open minded foes.

What about at Sea?


The Navies of the world were the first to create armored warfighting platforms to withstand HE attacks. This continued until WW2 when a mythology of futility was created in response to the airplane delivered-HE attack. After Pearl Harbor not a single heavily armored battleship was sunk if it was moving and had aircraft cover to repel air attacks. Hundreds of lesser (under 10, 000 tons) and non-armored ships were hit and sunk even if there was effective air cover because there will always be some "leakers" that get through; be they aircraft, submarines, sea mines, patrol boats or daring surface ship destroyers. This mythology of futility in the face of HE attacks which are now guided has created an entire fleet of under 10, 000 ton U.S. Navy ships at risk of a sea battle disaster of epic proportions:

Falklands Lessons Not Learned

A "balanced" design was a ship that could withstand hits from the same sized armament it carried.


/ \
Maneuver------------ Firepower

We understood this before WW2, got stymied by the Washington Peace Treaty Ship Weight Limits, and took all of WW2 to get it right.

Then WW2 ended.

What the hell happened?

As time went on, the guided missile offering a DIRECT HIT (DH) of high explosives should have demanded BETTER SHIP ARMORING and even having ships submerge to avoid the hit in the first place. Instead, we were lazy and fatalistic our designs became fatally IMBALANCED. Today, NONE of our destroyers, cruisers or aircraft carriers can survive a direct hit from their own type armaments....the same mistake of the battlecruiser...remember the HMS Hood?


\ /

The whole house of cards is set to collapse the minute the protection rug is pulled out from us! We have replaced a sound pyramid with a spinning "top".

Consider the plight of the USS Samuel B. Roberts during the 1988 Iran-Iraq Guard-the-Oil-Tankers War, from former marine Frank Hoffman's October 2006 Armed Forces Journal book review of "No Higher Honor" a patriotically correct book by Bradley Peniston:

"...the Roberts found itself in the middle of an Iranian minefield and it backed over an ancient but potent instrument of naval warfare, an M-08/39 naval mine packed with more than 250 pounds of explosives. Just before 5 p.m. on April 14, 1988, the Roberts hull bumped into a 3-foot black metal sphere. "A lead foil horn crumpled against a half-inch hull plate. Chemicals mixed, generating an electrical charge," Peniston writes. "An eighth of a ton of TNT violently transformed into heat and vapor and soot. The shockwave hit the ship at frame 276--two-thirds of the way down the 445-foot hull, and just four feet to port of centerline. The blast lifted the entire ship at the point of impact, and the stern rose a few feet more than the bow. The stress was more than the keel could endure." A fireball burst up from the damaged engine room as scalding gases melted its equipment and vented up through the ship's exhaust stack. Its back broken and its crew stunned, the Roberts was dead in the water. Water was flooding into the ship's engine compartments, and a raging fire was consuming the stricken vessel's fuel tanks. As Peniston captures it; "In a heartbeat, a single low-tech weapon had roughly halved the structural strength of a U.S. Navy warship".

Notice the distortion to make the blast look bigger and make excuses for our weak, thin-skinned Navy---Peniston ridiculously calls the 250 pounds of HE "an eighth of a ton"...boy that's like saying 1 ounce is really "32, 000th of a ton". He's trying to get the word "ton" in there to make it look like the Roberts was hit by a lot of explosives to excuse away its disablement when really its the WEAKNESS of U.S. Navy ships that resulted in its loss. The Navy brass expensively repaired the Roberts quickly to save face. They'll tell you they have a new class of "High Tech" flimsy destroyers that has replaced many of the Oliver Hazard Perry class and non-solved the vulnerability-to-HE attack problem. We have the USS Cole debacle hit again by HE this time while she sat unguarded at port a rubber boat waltzed up to her side and exploded (SDP).

Despite the Germans sinking Allied ships beginning in 1943 with guided bombs and missiles, the U.S. Navy has refused to over the years ARMOR their ships and have actually adopted the "Jap Zero" RMA mentality in their flimsy surface ships.


The heavily armored Iowa class battleship CAN survive enemy HE DH attacks; its a key weapon we need to smash into a spoil and enemy invasion fleet even if its guarded by a shield of missiles, aircraft and submarines. Without heavily armored battleships capable of withstanding guided HE attacks, the navy whose floating SSC is the weakest will be forced to flee the battle Jutland style or be sunk. The Navies of the world were the first to armor themselves and the first to unarmor themselves in preparation to die and be defeated at sea.

Legendary DoD Air Chief Chuck Myers writes:

"If you think four BB's are expensive, how about a fleet of multi-billion dollar ships which can not defend against 'sea skimmers' and cannot survive a good strafing much less a guided missile.

Keep in mind, I was a part of the Navy group that had to perform the 'vulnerability analysis' to CM and other ordnance when we had to answer the Congess in 1979 re: proposed reactivation. The only ordnance which might really damage an Iowa is a 16" armor piercing round which we own, exclusively. Here is a fact: no U.S. battleship at sea, engaging in combat operations has ever been sunk; even when the USS North Carolina took a couple of massive Jap torpedos, which created a hole 40' x 18' in the forward/starboard hull, increased speed and continued to fight; later retired to a Pacific island base and accepted a weld job, returning to combat ops within six weeks. That's a WARship."

What about precision-guided SDH strikes against fixed targets?

Many RMA pundits and even maneuverists will wrongly concede that most PGM SDH strikes against fixed targets that cannot move (ships at anchor etc.) are effective. Aircraft above ground concrete shelters are notoriously visible on a static air base and while they can protect against a DH, Iraqi aircraft shelters were easily busted by SDH strikes into their roof centers. This is why as we said earlier, aircraft need to be UNDERGROUND using connected shipping containers so they can be camouflaged and not provide a targetting aim point.

However, if the thing being struck is adequately burrowed and hardened it can survive even a SDH. First, if the target is under ground, camouflaged and not detected there will be no coordinates to target to get a DH much less a SDH. Bombers may think they are hitting targets and they might be sacrificial decoys to deceive them. The German U-Boat pens in France during WW2 that were NEVER destroyed warn us urgently to not depend on HE air strikes.

After years of relentless bombings, how could the bunker bases survive - and even be strengthened - without significant damage?

One man had an answer that was echoed by many. First Lieutenant (later Captain) Edward J. Hennessy, stationed at Thurleigh in East Anglia, flew 25 missions as the command pilot of the B-17F, "Little Audrey." A Chicagoan and 1940 Notre Dame graduate, and only 23, Hennessy was on his third mission over St. Nazaire when flak took out an engine. "We had damage from FW's and ME's every mission. Our fighters didn't have the range, so in those early days we always flew without fighter escort," he said. "Everything was tried against the sub pens without results. One time we loaded 2,000 pound Navy 16-inch battleship shells fitted with tail fins, hoping to hit the 'garage doors.' They bounced off just like the others. It convinced us that nothing was going to take out the pens, and we were right - nothing did."

With the most complete roof system of the five bases, the St. Nazaire pens received the least damage. If they saw anything at all from 25,000 feet, Allied flight crews discerned only a roof superstructure, the topmost of seven roof levels above the pens.

To detonate bombs and direct the blast to an open six-and-a-half foot-high explosion chamber below, German engineers designed the fangrost or "bomb trap" superstructure - inverted, concrete, U-shaped beams set on parallel slabs. An enclosed concrete layer under the explosion chamber (the third section) continued down to another solid section, then to a triangular interior void formed by tilting concrete U-beams against each other. Serving as a second bomb trap, the void also redistributed enormous weight loads to exterior walls. The combination of fangrosten, an explosion chamber, and the void, redirected bomb impacts and contained penetrating explosions. Below the triangle-shaped void, additional concrete reinforcement encased a steel-trussed framework spanning each pen's eight-foot- thick dividing walls. A final corrugated steel layer - the only section viewed from the pens - served as the covering above the U-boats. In all, seven anomalous dense overlays up to 25-feet thick protected the U-boats.

After hundreds of raids only dimpled the pens, a new Allied weapon - the "Tallboy" entered the scene. Sporting offset fins for bullet-like twisting, the 12,000-pound ballistic bomb was so heavy it could be dropped only from relatively low levels, thus negating much of its penetrating ability. In bases with incomplete fangrost defenses, some hits actually penetrated to the pen berths. But after hundreds of attempts, not one Tallboy pierced roofs with the complete seven-layer fangrost system. At war's end the five bases remained fully functional, but the five once-peaceful seaports and their surroundings were destroyed completely.

Grand Slam


After the German surrender, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey counted 3,000 artillery pieces along the entire Atlantic Wall. Sited on land, flak ships and flak towers, 300 heavy-caliber guns defended Lorient. Numerous Luftwaffe bases and 40,000 Wehrmacht troops encircled the bunkers. Surrounding the pens, bristling from firing ports, casemates, flak-towers and armored turrets, scores of 20mm, 75mm, 88mm, 105mm, and 128mm guns awaited the Allied enemy. No combat zone was protected more fiercely. But Festung Lorient withered on the vine, as the U.S. 66th Infantry, and 4th Armored Divisions wisely skirted Lorient on the march to Germany.

John Godwin's web site details how British "Dam Busters" genius Barnes Wallis was alert and developed bunker-busting bombs in WW2 but these were not enough to defeat the German sub pens:


Note that the way the "rock" of the U-Boat pens was defeated was not by "scissors" of HE bombs but by "paper" of maneuver that flanked and cut-off them from supplies and men to stay operational. Again, when air strikes fail, the answer is ground MANEUVER.


New Chinese Communist Satellite-Guided Aircraft Bomb


We MUST get our troops out of tents and trucks forever and into hardened BATTLEBOXes with German sub-pen style pre-det roofs, the enemy's guided HE threat is GROWING and we are making excuses to live in a WW2 re-enactment la-la land. We need to be like the Chinese in the Korean War (be as camouflaged and crafty with combined arms war means like tracked AFVs) but without BECOMING THEM (John Poole's handicapped foot slogging narcissist mentality).


Our aircraft MUST DISPERSE and BURROW underground, too. Henderson field on Guadalcanal should have taught us to be able to burrow even expeditionary airfields.

Smart American Combat Engineers get it: during WW2 they respected high explosive attack enough to properly camouflage...

During World War II the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needed to hide the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant to protect it from a Japanese air attack. They covered it with camouflage netting to make it look like a rural subdivision from the air.


However, today's lazy American light infantry narcissists don't get it and Combat Engineers are not listened to and we get clusterfucks like Bagram AFB in Afghanistan clear as day as a target even on Google maps satellite as General Gavin warned us years ago in 1958!

The irony is that the very things Bagram AFB personnel need to burrow underground are stacked in a corner being ignored! Thousands of ISO shipping containers that can be made into camouflaged and fortified "BATTLEBOXes".

While the lazy narcissist troops suffer in pathetic tents that cannot camouflage or protect them!

What else can we do? If we don't blow-the-whistle here on incompetent military practices? The narcissist U.S. military doesn't act on anyone's internal constructive criticism to fix problems quietly, they just lie and declare THERE IS NO PROBLEM! SHOOT THE HONEST, LOYAL, MESSENGER REPORTING THE PROBLEM!

Precision Bombing of Nothing: an American Tradition


Americans want to replay WW2 on the cheap and do the firepower part from sexy aircraft and not do the necessary ground maneuver to take a Berlin or a Tokyo. Since nuclear SHEs are off the table to break the will of a nation-state foe, small amounts of HEs from small fighter-bombers from extremely costly, vulnerable aircraft supercarriers or piss-off-the-locals land bases going too fast to see what they are hitting means they can only hit what is obvious. Smart foes will not offer obvious targets seen from the air. Foes that are not nation-states with American-style industries will not HAVE ANY OBVIOUS air targets. Only if many heavy bombers are used to mass HE effects can nation-states be forced to bend their wills but only if we are willing to carpet-bomb and kill many civilians in the process and be just as evil as the government leaders we are opposing if those citizens are victims and not guilty accomplices of placing the governmental leaders in power.

The power of planet earth to absorb our inefficient fighter-bomber airstrikes is greater than our ability to throw money down the drain or create narcissistic egomaniacs to fly such pricey aircraft. America will continue to be defeated by foes refusing to play our partial WW2 re-enactment game with small amounts of HE until we finally realize that firepower cannot win wars short of SHE annihilation of all the people we THINK are against us, and to develop a MANEUVER based warfighting force structure that can DIFFERENTIATE between good guy and bad guy from the ground without getting itself hurt by it being in armored tracked combat vehicles with EFFICIENT firepower proving leverage to HELP. This would mean projecting massive amounts of precision HE BALLISTICALLY via guns from ships and artillery pieces whenever possible so as to prevent a human pilot from having to fly over or near a target to try to hit it. We must preserve THE WILL OF OUR OWN PEOPLE and not fritter it away delivering HE against mud huts. Men in aircraft flying low and slow must help ground forces find the enemy to not only hit him with HE/KE attacks but to control the ground itself so he cannot use it to wage war. Robbing the enemy of the ability to wage war by not allowing him the ground needed can force him to conclude that he should stop trying. When an enemy can no longer fight you, he is defeated. When an enemy has been made to changed in his mind to stop trying to fight you, you have hope that he can someday be your friend.


At sea, as if the CHICOMs didn't have enough HE ASMs, mines, torpedoes already you now can add HE guided glide bombs. The USN needs to wake up from its large aircraft carrier poison Kool-Aid, disperse and grain more aircraft to spoil HE attacks, harden its ships with heavy armoring and go under the sea for protection.

ALL U.S. military forces need to start using C3D2 and stop whining about just the enemy using it to foil easy video game-like victories for us.

Clearly, the U.S. military has yet to fully exploit the 20th century armored battleship, submarine, airplane, tank, and shipping container as described above to exploit the protective potentials and self-sufficiency possibilities of hardened steel and/or the sea and earth to defeat HE dominated 21st century warfare. At sea, our Navy floats in flimsy horizontal buildings easily exploded by SDH HE strikes full of petty bureaucrats playing sea-based garrison games when they should be either on heavily armored surface ships or beneath the water in submarines. On land, the Air Force is comfortable on fixed air bases in flimsy shacks with air conditioning while their fuel-laden planes are parked in rows Hickam Field Pearl Harbor-style ready to explode from the first hot shrapnel near miss, U.S. Army and marines are still walking around on foot, riding in wheeled trucks and living in tents. A light unit has no tracked tanks, walks or rides in vulnerable wheeled trucks. It cannot go cross-country except slowly on foot and cannot swim across lakes and rivers. It's a WW1 style clusterfuck asking to be toasted by EVERY type of weapon known to man. Once a man is wounded, 2 men are taken out tending to him and the unit is pinned down and at risk of being wiped out Rangers at Cisterna, 1943 style. Heavy units have a support underclass of Jessica Lynches who after their fuel, ammo and food gets toasted in vulnerable wheeled trucks will themselves grind to a halt and beg rescue from the air, which may not come if enemy air defenses are effective if inside a SSC trap. The light narcissists in cohoots with the RMA disciples will reply that since a SDH is "doomsday" and cannot be survived (their own prejudice-serving, lack of imagination) that there is no point in being armored or vehicle mobile AT ALL; by being "light" they can avoid the SDH entirely because they are just walking humans not worth the cost of a $1 million munition. What these fools do not understand is that avoiding the SDH is NOT the only thing they have to worry about, THEY SWIM IN A SEA OF BULLET AND HIGH EXPLOSIVE WEAPONS EFFECTS and any of these striking them (DH) or even just landing nearby (NM) will KILL AND WOUND THEM. The enemy doesn't need to be able to specifically point target the man on foot or in a wheeled truck---all he has to do is know the general area where the "lightitis" fools are and can unload a bunch of HE effects in that area to kill/wound/destroy them because:


How Do We Make Explosives Work For Us instead of Against Us? Fighting the Gunslinger Culture

The U.S. Army and marines are run by infantry officers who shoot KE bullets and DO NOT USE HE.

We'll say it again.

The U.S. Army and marines are run by infantry officers who shoot KE bullets and DO NOT USE HE.

Before you even try to suggest they do use HE, think again.

The disposible rocket shooting HE is a fantasy; its a round of ammunition so there's no placeholder in small unit tactics for Soldiers to train on it. That's why massed enemy RPG launchers have been kicking our asses all these years. M203 40mm grenade launchers have no training round, so they are ignored as an extra 3 pounds of weight under fireteam leader and grenadier M16/M4 rifle/carbines. Hand grenades could be trained on without exploding, but the M67 practice grenade is a 1 pound steel ball that would hurt Soldiers if it hits them--why this can't be covered in foam rubber in a high visibility orange color to aid in retrieval is yet another common sense thing not being down because INFANTRY ARE GUNSLINGERS NOT INTERESTED IN HE TAKING AWAY THEIR EGO GRATIFICATION BY KILLING THE ENEMY FOR THEM. The bottom line is:


Unlike a rifle or machine gun which unloaded is not dangerous but makes an excellent phallic symbol to be seen with, HE is a white slab of play-dough that sits in your rucksack and doesn't do a damn thing to get you into bed with chicks. You can throw it into a fire to cook your rations as Vietnam vets did but you better not add pressure to this heat by stomping on it or else you'll become a red blood mist. Handling the raw C4 with youre fingers is poisonous to add insult to injury, remember to wash your hands afterwards with soap and water. It doesn't do a damn thing to your ego until you blow it up and no chicks are going to be around to see you do it, anyway. C4 is FUCKING DANGEROUS. Its serious stuff, all GO and no "show".

A mere ounce of C4 in the right place can bring down an airliner. Its so dangerous it SHOULD NOT EVEN BE STORED INSIDE THE GROUND VEHICLE WITH YOU, as the IDF found out a few years ago since this is just setting you up for a fatal SDH if its sympathetically detonated during an enemy attack. All it needs is heat and shock to detonate. C4 should be stored in a TRAILER covered in kevlar towed by you in your armored track and taken out as needed. For busting tunnels and caves we should use a trailer of LOW explosives (ammonium nitrate + diesel fuel) and pump it in by hoses, and send a UGV in to emplace a small C4 HE charge to set it all off. If LE/HE are detonated in the trailer they would explode AWAY from you in your armored track like a near miss. You can't play with LE/HE; the infantry doesn't handle it on a daily basis. Its not fun. Guns are fun. The result is HE ignorance reigns (or should we say "reins in"?) in our tactics.

So, HE is ignored by the light infantry narcissist with a gun in his hands. When he does use HE he can go overboard and kill innocent civilians as this IDF video shows. The IDF Soldiers here know the need to be in armored vehicles like the M113 "Zelda" shown in the video to protect THEM from KE and HE attacks as they scoot around the non-linear battlefield but were weak in their understanding of HE against civilian doors and a needless tragedy resulted.


1.The question here is was explosive door entry required? Did they try knocking on door for permissive entry? Mechanical breach by a tracked armored vehicle at least would not have killed the mom.

2. Where were the sniffer dogs? Why ransack a house blindly when a detector dog could go straight to the items if present?

3. Tragedies like this only make more rebels and is yet more proof that we need a dedicated Non-Linear Battlefield Stability Corps (NLB-SC) who are older, more mature adults who have a grasp of what HE can do and not do. Its also further proof that EVERYONE in the Army needs hands-on training on what HE can and cannot do, as well as every other aspect of modern warfare.

The battlefield is dominated by WHAT WORKS BEST not what LOOKS best and HE like tracked tanks are in the minority when it comes to tools when looks-obsessed Army/marines "gunslingers" are in charge. When HE reality smacks them in the face as it is in constant HE ambushes of men in flimsy wheeled trucks on man-made strips of open terrain in Iraq/Afghanistan, they reply with another vanity; "what heroes they are to die for their country" etc. etc. dolce decorum est. This non-sense should stop and the American Army needs to face the fact that HE and tracked tanks dominate ground warfare and get on with teaching ALL their Soldiers about them and how to use them in combined-arms maneuver warfare.

First, we need to get the practitioners of High Explosives--COMBAT ENGINEERS--into the top leadership of the Army/marines and the maneuver elements down to the COMPANY level. To get the latter done, we need to standardize all light infantry MTOEs into the Airborne MTOE so the 10th Mountain and 25th "Tropic Lightnings" light infantry have Delta Weapons companies that have M113 Gavin light armored fighting vehicles to give them closed terrain, air/amphibious mobility in the face of enemy HE effects as well as bullets. Details:


An Engineer Platoon or at least a Sapper Squad should be permanently assigned to the Delta Weapons Companies so they have an appreciation of HE effects and can do mobility/counter-mobility tasks to support the maneuver of the "Engineer Cavalry" unit they actually are which could have HHC, A, B and C companies mounted inside M113 Gavins and Mini-Gavins (fits inside CH-47s heavy lift helicopters). We should rename the Engineers attached to the Delta Weapons companies an "Engineer Cavalry" or ECAV platoon or squad which would fit in nicely with the letter "E".

To get Combat Engineer officers into command slots when the Army/marines are run by gunslinger narcissists shooting KE bullets will be next to impossible with the modularity brigades repeating the mistake of the Pentomic structure from the 1960s. What we propose instead is that at battalion level a "S-3E" slot be created; a permanent combat engineering officer and NCO who will insure HE effects be factored into battalion mission planning. The Sava River debacle where Soldiers were encamped on the flood plane in tents would be avoided by having smart combat engineers to what-if the physical soundness of our battle positions in the defense.

In the offense, to bust enemy SSCs, we need stronger maneuver that goes in 3 dimensions (parachute airdrop and airland) by light forces in high-technology M113 Gavin light tracks from aircraft and improved heavy forces (M1 Abrams, M2 Bradleys with earth-shields over their turret/hull junction point) in 2 dimensions overland supported by a fighting resupply column itself in M113 Gavin derived pallet lifting armored tracks.

What Guderian called for in 1944, we must do. The ENTIRE U.S. Army must be mobile in armored tracks to prevail on HE dominated battlefields. America has the industrial capacity to do this; the Germans didn't or the would have. Major General F.W. von Mellenthin writes in agreement with B.H. Liddell-Hart:

"The Germans lost the chance of victory because they had based their mobility on wheels instead of tracks. On these mud-roads the wheeled transport was bogged when the tracks could move . Panzer forces with tracked transport might have overrun Russia's vital centers long before the autumn, despite the bad roads"

Panzer Battles, Page 187

A force that come come as enveloping maneuver "paper" in all directions by air, by sea, across country to trump the "rock" and "scissors" of enemy SSCs. The key is to fully and skillfully mechanize with EVERYONE in simple, affordable but as capable-as-possible M113 Gavin tracks with earth-filled SOA blast walls attached on the outside after aircraft insertion. All forces are stealthy with infared camouflage and have dozer blades to entrench themselves instantly to evade DHs and certainly SDHs. Smokescreens are valued and practiced. When on-the-move, we are like Genghis Khan/Sherman---we are not dependant upon our fighting resupply columns; we can capture enemy weapons and ammo and use them against them with "Vulture" weapons squads and vehicle brackets. We can siphon fuel from any source and keep our tracks moving, the M1/M2 has their fuel tanks REMOVED FROM INSIDE THEIR HULLS so this accelerant no longer compromises their armor protection for our troops. We have ability to gobble up airdropped pallets of supplies, too without breakbulk. A retired USAF officer writes:

"Your scheme to eliminate logistics concerns by returning to foraging and scavenging only works if your forces use the same fuels, ammos, and equipment as the enemy, or especially designed to be one-way compatible (like some Soviet weapons were), so you can scavenge their stuff and they can't scavenge yours. Otherwise, if you are advancing, great, but if THEY are advancing they (theoretically) SCAVENGE YOURS!"

We should have a "M16A5" assault rifle with inter-changeable magazine wells, bolts and barrels that can shoot enemy ammo and preserve use of our superior reflex and night firing optics. Our model needs to be the Roman Army who carried everything they needed to survive indefinitely on expeditionary campaigns; a scissors/rock/paper combined-arms force all-in-one. Our Forward Operating Bases are composed of ISO shipping container BATTLEBOXes that are hardened instantly when made into a circle by connecting earth-filled SOA blast walls. Their roofs should have "Mini-Fangrost" HE pre-detonation layering on top. They can be further hardened to near invincibility by being dug under the ground. Our FOBs themselves carry many months of vital ammunition and food supplies and derive power from the sun and wind to cool themselves, power sensors and communications but can distil drinking water from the air itself. Today, we can build a mobile fortress capability that only needs ammo, food and fuel, if not moving not much of the latter especially if fuel economy is increased by 2x via Hybrid Electric Drive.

Everything goes by BATTLEBOX to include folding wing observation/attack "grasshoppers" to conserve fuel until we really need them in the air or when the weather doesn't allow them to be in the air etc. to insure there is an airborne 3 dimensional force co-located and working with ground maneuver forces at all times.

What Right Looks Like: the U.S. Army of the future Hardened against SHE/KE/HE Effects

Even after a nuclear blast, troops can if they take cover continue to fight; this test from 1952 shows foot infantry following a M24 Chaffee light tank; this realization led to fully-enclosed armored personnel carriers like the M113 Gavin that could shield from fall-out radiation to maneuver through nuclear devastated areas lacking roads/trails...devastation now possible with guided munitions on a smaller scale--so why wouldn't we need infantry in tracks? The lust for air-filled rubber tired trucks is a fatal emasculation we must avoid.

2D/3D forces can move themselves by their tracks from Allied Nation Operating Bases (ANOBs) into battle and live in FOBs exactly as they would back home at Homeland Operating Bases (HOBs). There would no longer be a "garrison" of static buildings and lawns to care for and do 19th century parades and ceremonies, we are EXACTLY what we need to be in war, 24/7/365. Every recruit an officer cadet learns the BATTLEBOX-GAVIN as part of what "right looks like" from Day 1 of their MANEUVER COMBATANT training where the history of warfare as described in this paper is explained to them, not just rifle-in-hand gunslinging. Weapons handling is continuous from Day 1, and recruits/officer cadets must use IMT every time they go to and from chow while OPFOR with videocameras and SIMUNITION shoots at them so their fire & movement skills are developed to a HIGH LEVEL via force-on-force feedback like a high school football team does (shame on us that we are not already doing this) so EVERYONE IN THE ARMY CAN FIGHT, not just plop on their belly, return fire and whine for rescue.

Aircraft not directly helping maneuver units need to be massed to carpet bomb with unguided HE munitions and use FAEs to penetrate likely enemy tunnels and bunkers after surrounded by maneuver paper. This means B-52s and B-1s that can strike from high altitude not giving the enemy warning as a diving attack from fighter-bombers do. Like Barnes Wallis, we need to develop the largest HE bombs possible that can fit into B-52s/B-1s that can penetrate deep enough to explode Iranian, North Korean and others trying to evade destruction by deep burrowing. We must realize that these massive strikes will not necessarily rid the enemy and have trailers with tanks of LE ammonium nitrate/diesel fuel to pump in underground to detonate and collapse burrowed foes. Flame throwers with fuel in a trailer tower by the tank would be safe enough to assist. Its WW2 in the Pacific or WW1 Stormtroops all over again, but war is cyclical and the constants do remain the same.

So what consequence does HE have other than for military effectiveness, if any?

The sad news is that there has been a political use of fire and LE/HE to change the minds of ignorant people, which may indeed be the Ultimate High Explosive (UHE). As said earlier, some of you may not want to admit it, but Nero set Rome on fire to get key land he wanted to build his palace on. Guy Fawkes tried to blow up parliament with LE explosives gunpower. Hitler set the Reichstag fire to make Communists, Jews into the convenient societal scapegoats as he took dictatorial powers. FDR allowed the Japanese to strike our sitting fleet at Pearl Harbor with HE. LBJ entertained the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to get the U.S. to actively fight the Vietnam war. The sad fact is that government insiders instigate events to drag people to war selling them on an UHE lie.

Let's consider HE use in civilian society to collapse buildings in a controlled manner as seen on the Discovery Channel. As said before, when military HE weapons are used on buildings, the results are disappointing. Against steel bridges, military HE bombs disappoint too; the Remagen bridge in 1945 was hit repeatedly yet stood as the American Army raced across the rhine river into Germany to stop the war by maneuver. The Paul Doumer bridge in North Vietnam didn't go down as dozens of USAF and Navy jet fighter-bomber pilots lost their lives dropping unguided bombs. Only when laser guided bombs hit specific points on the bridge did it finally go down. Fire doesn't do much either to steel and concrete buildings and bridges. However, a SDP (not kinetic) of HE by commandos or saboteurs can cut steel beams and fracture concrete and this is the preferred way to take down large buildings and bridges. A pyrotechnic cutter charge like Thermite used in the military can burn right through steel and if skillfully set off collapse a large skyscraper. Thermite doesn't stop burning so its not used legally in building demolitions when controlled HE charges going off at set times and places can implode buildings. Yet the general public's ignorance that thermite has no legal civil use should have alerted them that its presence in World Trade Center steel beams still burning during scrap recovery means THESE BUILDINGS WERE NOT TAKEN DOWN BY AIRCRAFT FUEL FIRES BUT DELIBERATE HE AND THERMITE DEMOLITION BY SABOTEURS/TERRORISTS. When coupled with the undisputed facts that white anglo-saxon non-Islamics before the 9/11 attacks placed put options on stocks to make millions of dollars off this human tragedy proves they had foreknowledge and were CONSPIRATORS IN THE EVENT. Aww, the dreaded "C" word that threatens the "R" word-RESPONSIBILITY TO GET OFF YOUR ASS AND FIGHT ENEMIES INTERNAL TO THE USA.

Facing the FACTS that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job (ie why were parts from a surplus A-3D SkyWarrior that looks like a mini-767 to the uninformed with podded engines hanging under its wings strewn at the Pentagon on 9/11?) would mean YOU would have to get off your asses and FIGHT REAL EVIL, and criminals like Bush/Cheney have no hesitation to go assassinate folks like Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife. It takes real moral and physical courage to fight real evil, the physical courage to kill lest you be killed in war is not so remarkable when so may alleged "courageous" veterans fail to stand up to war mongers here at home.

Hermann Goering, Hitler's deputy and Luftwaffe Chief said:

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Today America is sick of the disease of Patriotic Correctness, not much different than from the Clinton era "PCness" groupthink in addition to a worship of HE RMA stand-off warfare. It looks like the only time RMA has worked is when it was used to ram airplanes into buildings to lay the blame on Islamic terrorists to fool ourselves.

What if the real bad guys are burrowed and hardened so HE air strikes, even "precision" ones cannot get them?

The failure to destroy German U-Boat bases by HE air strikes in WW2 provide a somber warning and a reminder that GROUND MANEUVER is they key when the enemy erects a rock to hard for us to crack. The shameful fact that the U.S. Air Force gave up on HE deep penetrating bomb research & development in the easy excuse that we would use "nuclear earth penetrating bombs" has set us up for failure today when we need to get deep targets like nuclear facilities without going nuclear ourselves and being hypocrites.

Wiping out the Red Chinese Air Force on the Ground Not Likely: PLA-AF and PLA-N Air Base Infrastructure

This pair of twin-engined J-8Is most likely belong to the 16th Air Regiment, 6th Fighter Division, based at Yinchuan in the Lanzhou MR. Yinchuan is one of several "superhardened" PLA-AF bases (PLA).

The PLA-AF fighter base at Feidong in the Nanjing MR is a good example of the design of a 'superhardened' fighter base. The primary runway, available for take-offs and landings, has a wide full-length parallel taxiway to enable recoveries in the event of damage. An auxiliary take-off only alert runway is directly connected to the underground hangar entrance, allowing the fighter to roll out of the tunnel, line up, open the throttles and take off quickly. The PLA invested considerable thought into planning its network of "superhardened" fighter bases, usually placing the runways behind a hill or mountain, relative to the threat axis. Another good example of such a base is at Yinchuan...in the Beijing MR. While modern smart weapons have somewhat diminished the effectiveness of such base designs, they still present genuine challenges in targeting and achieving robust weapons effects (U.S. DoD).

The web page below details the superhardened CHICOM bases now in use that make it highly unlikely the USAF or Navy or marine egomaniacs in fighter jets are going to be able to air strike them, 6-Day War-style on the ground and have an easy time defending a Taiwan from their airborne-amphibious maneuver invasion. But of course, the U.S. Air Force, Navy, marines will strike alllll of these air bases and wipe-out their many planes on the ground, risking nuclear war to protect the handful of supercarriers we have sailed to defend Taiwan in a crisis. (Yeah, right).


Read up on the PLA Air Order of Battle:


We love all the J-10 EurofighterTyphoon-a-sans that "don't exist" that have been fielded that can turn circles around our handfulls of bloated F-18 StuporHornets from our handfulls of stuporcarriers....

We see a lot of aircraft shooting a hell of a lot of ASMs at our vulnerables surface ships = lots of leakers = lots of hits = lots of dead and dying Americans in the water = naval fuking disaster 101 = Bye, Bye Taiwan! = Bye! Bye! U.S. "Super Power" Status.

Shutting Down WMD Factories Not So Easy

The enemies of today are smarter than the Iraqis were in having their nuclear facilities located in just one obvious target location as the daring Israeli Air Force raid on Osirak in 1982 proved.

Known Iranian Air Bases are depicted above

Germany was beat by GROUND MANEUVER that papered over their U-Boat pen rocks. Scissors can only do so much and we better be ready to get the job done with paper maneuver. Sadly, with RMA pundits and USAF strategic bombing disciples running DoD, we are NOT READY to air deploy and 3D maneuver against the new U-Boat pens of our day--Iran's buried and hardened nuclear facilities. Aviation Week reports:

The "MOAB" earth-penetrating bomb doesn't go far enough, Bush War-Mongers want to use Tactical Nukes

The fact that many of the Iranian targets are underground presents another problem. Analysts at the U.S. CIA have noted since shortly after the 1991 Iraq war, that the sale of earth-boring equipment skyrocketed in the Middle East as countries started putting key facilities underground to protect against U.S. air strikes. U.S. weapons like the GBU-28 can penetrate perhaps 30 ft. of hardened materials or 100 ft. of earth. But Iranian facilities are reportedly buried 100-200 ft. below the surface with alternating layers of earth and cement to absorb the impact of penetrating bombs. There are satellite pictures of the Natanz nuclear facility in north central Iran that show two large centrifuge buildings being buried under several yards of reinforced concrete and at least 75 ft. of earth.

The Israeli missile specialist agrees that "dozens of meters" of alternating layers of sand and cement create a sandwich that is impossible for conventional weapons to penetrate.

"You have to go after the entrances and develop new penetrators," a retired Israeli air force (IAF) general says. "But even then, conventional weapons can't penetrate to 200 ft., and the U.S. won't use nuclear weapons."

Even without uncertainties about the targets, a former Israeli diplomat who was involved in planning the 1981 raid on an Iraqi nuclear reactor warned that officials should never promise unrealistic results from a military action. "You can only postpone Iran's nuclear development," he says. "The goal [must be] to slow it down with no expectation of eliminating it completely."

Israeli officials say there is no resemblance to what they or the U.S. might face in trying to decelerate Iran's current nuclear program compared to 25 years ago.

But there is danger in waiting too long, says the retired general. "Now there is only research and development [in Iran] and no operational capability," he says. "R&D can be delayed. Once they do have a [weapon], you no longer have the delay option. What can be done now, can't be done a few years from now. [The bomb] is still coming. One day, the Iranians will have their first nuclear experiment."

The general, a veteran IAF pilot, worries that the U.S. may not be up to delaying the program, despite its several years of continuous combat operations. "I'm not sure if the U.S. is in the position politically to [attack Iran] after three years in Iraq."

The situation against North Korea is even worse....the same earth that can smother a SHE nuclear blast can also PREVENT a nuclear blast from destroying things deep inside...they may not even be reachable with ANY firepower "scissors" attacks. See this DID article re: the RNEP (which Congress blocked following Democrat Party opposition, after concluding that even this may not solve the core problem).


See also this Winds of Change.NET article on the subject of NK, policy, and the critical lever:



Iran's Invulnerable Bunkers?

A few weeks back, the Air Force detonated out its most powerful bunker-buster yet. But a new Iranian super-strong concrete might make it almost useless before it reaches service.

I owe this story to DANGER ROOM reader Jay Sappington, a civil engineer in Fort Worth. He graduated with his masters from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), where he had participated in a student competition organized by the American Concrete Institute. The challenge was to make a 2"x2" concrete cube with the highest possible compressive strength. Among the competitors at this internationally diverse school was a team from the University of Tehran. Jay takes up the story.

"I designed a 2"x2" concrete cube with a compressive strength of 16,000 psi [pounds per square inch] at 28-days, a relatively high strength as standard concrete is on the order of 3,000 psi, typically. Now, The University of Tehran made several cubes between 50,000 to 60,000 psi, and possible stronger! I thought the aggregate to be made from quartz, and I also remember some steel fibers in the mix. These cubes exploded at failure, finally damaging the compression machine on the third or fourth cube (that machine was substantial, made for much larger samples). So, keep in mind this is unreinforced concrete (save the steel fibers) at an early age. Concrete becomes stronger, sometimes by orders of magnitude, over time."

Jay Googled the sponsoring professor of the Iranian students, and found that he has an extensive resume in the fields of ultra high strength concrete and nuclear reactors. So it's far from impossible that the Iranian nuclear industry has access to some pretty advanced technology in this area - and given the repeated threats to bomb nuclear installations, we can expect them to be well protected.

To give you some idea of just how tough we are talking, rock of over 10,000 psi is considered hard. The strongest granite is about 30,000 psi. How well would the MOP deal with ultra-tough concrete?

According to Globalsecurity.org, the Air Force's new, 30,000-pound, bunker-busting Massive Ordnance Penetrator "is expected to penetrate as much as 60 meters [200 feet] through 5,000 psi reinforced concrete. It will burrow 8 meters into the ground through 10,000 psi reinforced concrete."

That's quite a reduction between 5,000 and 10,000 psi. Something several times stronger could degrade performance a lot more. I asked Rex Swenson, Public Affairs Liaison of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Munition Directorate, about this. He answered:

Unfortunately, we can not discuss the actual capabilities of the MOP due to security concerns. Suffice to say that the numbers on the Global Security website were not provided by DTRA [Defense Threat Reduction Agency] or the AFRL/MN.

The bottom line is that any highly reinforced target might withstand one strike from a MOP, but even a bunker roof made of 60,000 psi concrete can be chipped away at until it finally fails to protect what's underneath.

Personally, I'd guess that advanced concrete could severely limit the effectiveness of the blunt instrument/brute force approach embodied by MOP. You really don't want to be dropping bombs at intervals against the same spot, especially when an aircraft can only carry one.

The answer has to lie in smarter weapons with more advanced payloads. The Air Force is looking at more sophisticated ways to defeat a bunker complex - earthquake bombs and robot cockroaches being among the more extreme. Beating your head against an ultra-hard concrete wall may not be the answer.

Posted by David Hambling 11:25:00 AM in Ammo and Munitions, Mullah Menace, Nukes Reddit It | Digg This | Add to del.icio.us


Nuclear War against Iran
by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, January 3, 2006

The launching of an outright war using nuclear warheads against Iran is now in the final planning stages.

Coalition partners, which include the U.S., Israel and Turkey are in "an advanced stage of readiness".

Various military exercises have been conducted, starting in early 2005. In turn, the Iranian Armed Forces have also conducted large scale military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf in December in anticipation of a U.S.-sponsored attack.

Since early 2005, there has been intense shuttle diplomacy between Washington, Tel Aviv, Ankara and NATO headquarters in Brussels.

In recent developments, CIA Director Porter Goss on a mission to Ankara, requested Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "to provide political and logistic support for air strikes against Iranian nuclear and military targets." Goss reportedly asked " for special cooperation from Turkish intelligence to help prepare and monitor the operation." (DDP, 30 December 2005).

In turn, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has given the green light to the Israeli Armed Forces to launch the attacks by the end of March:

All top Israeli officials have pronounced the end of March, 2006, as the deadline for launching a military assault on Iran.... The end of March date also coincides with the IAEA report to the UN on Iran's nuclear energy program. Israeli policymakers believe that their threats may influence the report, or at least force the kind of ambiguities, which can be exploited by its overseas supporters to promote Security Council sanctions or justify Israeli military action. (James Petras, Israel's War Deadline: Iran in the Crosshairs, Global Research, December 2005)

The U.S.-sponsored military plan has been endorsed by NATO, although it is unclear, at this stage, as to the nature of NATO's involvement in the planned aerial attacks.

"Shock and Awe"

The various components of the military operation are firmly under U.S. Command, coordinated by the Pentagon and U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM) at the Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska.

The actions announced by Israel would be carried out in close coordination with the Pentagon. The command structure of the operation is centralized and ultimately Washington will decide when to launch the military operation. U.S. military sources have confirmed that an aerial attack on Iran would involve a large scale deployment comparable to the U.S. "shock and awe" bombing raids on Iraq in March 2003:

American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq. Using the full force of operational B-2 stealth bombers, staging from Diego Garcia or flying direct from the United States, possibly supplemented by F-117 stealth fighters staging from al Udeid in Qatar or some other location in theater, the two-dozen suspect nuclear sites would be targeted.

Military planners could tailor their target list to reflect the preferences of the Administration by having limited air strikes that would target only the most crucial facilities ... or the United States could opt for a far more comprehensive set of strikes against a comprehensive range of WMD related targets, as well as conventional and unconventional forces that might be used to counterattack against U.S. forces in Iraq

(See Globalsecurity.org at www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iran-strikes.htm)

In November, U.S. Strategic Command conducted a major exercise of a "global strike plan" entitled "Global Lightening". The latter involved a simulated attack using both conventional and nuclear weapons against a "fictitious enemy". Following the "Global Lightening" exercise, U.S. Strategic Command declared an advanced state of readiness (See our analysis below)

While Asian press reports stated that the "fictitious enemy" in the Global Lightening exercise was North Korea, the timing of the exercises, suggests that they were conducted in anticipation of a planned attack on Iran.

Consensus for Nuclear War

No dissenting political voices have emerged from within the European Union. There are ongoing consultations between Washington, Paris and Berlin. Contrary to the invasion of Iraq, which was opposed at the diplomatic level by France and Germany, Washington has been building "a consensus" both within the Atlantic Alliance and the UN Security Council. This consensus pertains to the conduct of a nuclear war, which could potentially affect a large part of the Middle East Central Asian region.

Moreover, a number of frontline Arab states are now tacit partners in the U.S./ Israeli military project. A year ago in November 2004, Israel's top military brass met at NATO headquarters in Brussels with their counterparts from six members of the Mediterranean basin nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. A NATO-Israel protocol was signed. Following these meetings, joint military exercises were held off the coast of Syria involving the U.S., Israel and Turkey. and in February 2005, Israel participated in military exercises and "anti-terror maneuvers" together with several Arab countries.

The media in chorus has unequivocally pointed to Iran as a "threat to World Peace".

The anti-war movement has swallowed the media lies. The fact that the U.S. and Israel are planning a Middle East nuclear holocaust is not part of the anti-war/ anti-globalization agenda.

The "surgical strikes" are presented to world public opinion as a means to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

We are told that this is not a war but a military peace-keeping operation, in the form of aerial attacks directed against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Mini-nukes: "Safe for Civilians"

The press reports, while revealing certain features of the military agenda, largely serve to distort the broader nature of the military operation, which contemplates the preemptive use of tactical nuclear weapons.

The war agenda is based on the Bush administration's doctrine of "preemptive" nuclear war under the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review.

Media disinformation has been used extensively to conceal the devastating consequences of military action involving nuclear warheads against Iran. The fact that these surgical strikes would be carried out using both conventional and nuclear weapons is not an object of debate.

According to a 2003 Senate decision, the new generation of tactical nuclear weapons or "low yield" "mini-nukes", with an explosive capacity of up to 6 times a Hiroshima bomb, are now considered "safe for civilians" because the explosion is underground.

Through a propaganda campaign which has enlisted the support of "authoritative" nuclear scientists, the mini-nukes are being presented as an instrument of peace rather than war. The low-yield nukes have now been cleared for "battlefield use", they are slated to be used in the next stage of America's "war on Terrorism" alongside conventional weapons:

Administration officials argue that low-yield nuclear weapons are needed as a credible deterrent against rogue states.[Iran, North Korea] Their logic is that existing nuclear weapons are too destructive to be used except in a full-scale nuclear war. Potential enemies realize this, thus they do not consider the threat of nuclear retaliation to be credible. However, low-yield nuclear weapons are less destructive, thus might conceivably be used. That would make them more effective as a deterrent. (Opponents Surprised By Elimination of Nuke Research Funds Defense News November 29, 2004)

In an utterly twisted logic, nuclear weapons are presented as a means to building peace and preventing "collateral damage". The Pentagon has intimated, in this regard, that the 'mini-nukes' (with a yield of less than 5000 tons) are harmless to civilians because the explosions 'take place under ground'. Each of these 'mini-nukes', nonetheless, constitutes - in terms of explosion and potential radioactive fallout - a significant fraction of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Estimates of yield for Nagasaki and Hiroshima indicate that they were respectively of 21000 and 15000 tons (www.warbirdforum.com/hiroshim.htm)

In other words, the low-yielding mini-nukes have an explosive capacity of one third of a Hiroshima bomb.


The earth-penetrating capability of the [nuclear] B61-11 is fairly limited, however. Tests show it penetrates only 20 feet or so into dry earth when dropped from an altitude of 40,000 feet. Even so, by burying itself into the ground before detonation, a much higher proportion of the explosion energy is transferred to ground shock compared to a surface bursts. Any attempt to use it in an urban environment, however, would result in massive civilian casualties. Even at the low end of its 0.3-300 kiloton yield range, the nuclear blast will simply blow out a huge crater of radioactive material, creating a lethal gamma-radiation field over a large area.


Gbu 28 Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28)

The new definition of a nuclear warhead has blurred the distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons:

'It's a package (of nuclear and conventional weapons). The implication of this obviously is that nuclear weapons are being brought down from a special category of being a last resort, or sort of the ultimate weapon, to being just another tool in the toolbox," said Kristensen. (Japan Economic News Wire, op cit)

We are a dangerous crossroads: military planners believe their own propaganda. The military manuals state that this new generation of nuclear weapons are "safe" for use in the battlefield. They are no longer a weapon of last resort. There are no impediments or political obstacles to their use. In this context, Senator Edward Kennedy has accused the Bush Administration for having developed "a generation of more useable nuclear weapons."

The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of World Peace. "Making the World safer" is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust. But nuclear holocausts are not front page news! In the words of Mordechai Vanunu, The Israeli government is preparing to use nuclear weapons in its next war with the Islamic world. Here where I live, people often talk of the Holocaust. But each and every nuclear bomb is a Holocaust in itself. It can kill, devastate cities, destroy entire peoples. (See interview with Mordechai Vanunu, December 2005).

Space and Earth Attack Command Unit

A preemptive nuclear attack using tactical nuclear weapons would be coordinated out of U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska, in liaison with U.S. and coalition command units in the Persian Gulf, the Diego Garcia military base, Israel and Turkey.

Under its new mandate, USSTRATCOM has a responsibility for "overseeing a global strike plan" consisting of both conventional and nuclear weapons. In military jargon, it is slated to play the role of "a global integrator charged with the missions of Space Operations; Information Operations; Integrated Missile Defense; Global Command & Control; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Global Strike; and Strategic Deterrence.... "

In January 2005, at the outset of the military build-up directed against Iran, USSTRATCOM was identified as "the lead Combatant Command for integration and synchronization of DoD-wide efforts in combating weapons of mass destruction."

To implement this mandate, a brand new command unit entitled Joint Functional Component Command Space and Global Strike, or JFCCSGS was created. JFCCSGS has the mandate to oversee the launching of a nuclear attack in accordance with the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review, approved by the US Congress in 2002. The NPR underscores the pre-emptive use of nuclear warheads not only against "rogue states" but also against China and Russia.

Since November, JFCCSGS is said to be in "an advance state of readiness" following the conduct of relevant military exercises. The announcement was made in early December by U.S. Strategic Command to the effect that the command unit had achieved "an operational capability for rapidly striking targets around the globe using nuclear or conventional weapons." The exercises conducted in November used "a fictional country believed to represent North Korea" (see David Ruppe, 2 December 2005):

"The new unit [JFCCSGS] has 'met requirements necessary to declare an initial operational capability' as of Nov. 18. A week before this announcement, the unit finished a command-post exercise, dubbed Global Lightening, which was linked with another exercise, called Vigilant Shield, conducted by the North American Aerospace Defend Command, or NORAD, in charge of missile defense for North America.

"After assuming several new missions in 2002, U.S. Strategic Command was reorganized to create better cooperation and cross-functional awareness," said Navy Capt. James Graybeal, a chief spokesperson for STRATCOM. 'By May of this year, the JFCCSGS has published a concept of operations and began to develop its day-to-day operational requirements and integrated planning process.' 'The command's performance during Global Lightning demonstrated its preparedness to execute its mission of proving integrated space and global strike capabilities to deter and dissuade aggressors and when directed, defeat adversaries through decisive joint global effects in support of STRATCOM,' he added without elaborating about "new missions" of the new command unit that has around 250 personnel.

Nuclear specialists and governmental sources pointed out that one of its main missions would be to implement the 2001 nuclear strategy that includes an option of preemptive nuclear attacks on 'rogue states' with WMDs. (Japanese Economic Newswire, 30 December 2005)


JFCCSGS is in an advanced state of readiness to trigger nuclear attacks directed against Iran or North Korea.

The operational implementation of the Global Strike is called CONCEPT PLAN (CONPLAN) 8022. The latter is described as "an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers,' (Ibid).

CONPLAN 8022 is "the overall umbrella plan for sort of the pre-planned strategic scenarios involving nuclear weapons."

"It's specifically focused on these new types of threats -- Iran, North Korea -- proliferators and potentially terrorists too,' he said. 'There's nothing that says that they can't use CONPLAN 8022 in limited scenarios against Russian and Chinese targets.'(According to Hans Kristensen, of the Nuclear Information Project, quoted in Japanese economic News Wire, op cit)

The mission of JFCCSGS is to implement CONPLAN 8022, in other words to trigger a nuclear war with Iran. The Commander in Chief, namely George W. Bush would instruct the Secretary of Defense, who would then instruct the Joint Chiefs of staff to activate CONPLAN 8022.

CONPLAN is distinct from other military operations. it does not contemplate the deployment of ground troops.

CONPLAN 8022 is different from other war plans in that it posits a small-scale operation and no "boots on the ground." The typical war plan encompasses an amalgam of forces -- air, ground, sea -- and takes into account the logistics and political dimensions needed to sustain those forces in protracted operations.... The global strike plan is offensive, triggered by the perception of an imminent threat and carried out by presidential order.) (William Arkin, Washington Post, May 2005)

The Role of Israel

Since late 2004, Israel has been stockpiling U.S. made conventional and nuclear weapons systems in anticipation of an attack on Iran. This stockpiling which is financed by U.S. military aid was largely completed in June 2005. Israel has taken delivery from the U.S. of several thousand "smart air launched weapons" including some 500 'bunker-buster bombs, which can also be used to deliver tactical nuclear bombs.

The B61-11 is the "nuclear version" of the "conventional" BLU-113, can be delivered in much same way as the conventional bunker buster bomb. (See Michel Chossudovsky, www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO112C.html , see also www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=jf03norris ) .

Moreover, reported in late 2003, Israeli Dolphin-class submarines equipped with U.S. Harpoon missiles armed with nuclear warheads are now aimed at Iran. (See Gordon Thomas, www.globalresearch.ca/articles/THO311A.html

Late April 2005. Sale of deadly military hardware to Israel. GBU-28 Buster Bunker Bombs:

Coinciding with Putin's visit to Israel, the U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency (Department of Defense) announced the sale of an additional 100 bunker-buster bombs produced by Lockheed Martin to Israel. This decision was viewed by the U.S. media as "a warning to Iran about its nuclear ambitions." The sale pertains to the larger and more sophisticated "Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) BLU-113 Penetrator" (including the WGU-36A/B guidance control unit and support equipment). The GBU-28 is described as "a special weapon for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground. The fact of the matter is that the GBU-28 is among the World's most deadly "conventional" weapons used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, capable of causing thousands of civilian deaths through massive explosions.

The Israeli Air Force are slated to use the GBU-28s on their F-15 aircraft.

(See text of DSCA news release at www.dsca.osd.mil/PressReleases/36-b/2005/Israel_05-10_corrected.pdf

Extension of the War

Tehran has confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in the form of ballistic missile strikes directed against Israel (CNN, 8 Feb 2005). These attacks, could also target U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Persian Gulf, which would immediately lead us into a scenario of military escalation and all out war.

At present there are three distinct war theaters: Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. The air strikes against Iran could contribute to unleashing a war in the broader Middle East Central Asian region.

Moreover, the planned attack on Iran should also be understood in relation to the timely withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, which has opened up a new space, for the deployment of Israeli forces. The participation of Turkey in the U.S.-Israeli military operation is also a factor, following last year's agreement reached between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

More recently, Tehran has beefed up its air defenses through the acquisition of Russian 29 Tor M-1 anti-missile systems. In October, with Moscow`s collaboration, "a Russian rocket lifted an Iranian spy satellite, the Sinah-1, into orbit." (see Chris Floyd)

The Sinah-1 is just the first of several Iranian satellites set for Russian launches in the coming months.

Thus the Iranians will soon have a satellite network in place to give them early warning of an Israeli attack, although it will still be a pale echo of the far more powerful Israeli and American space spies that can track the slightest movement of a Tehran mullah's beard. What's more, late last month Russia signed a $1 billion contract to sell Iran an advanced defense system that can destroy guided missiles and laser-guided bombs, the Sunday Times reports. This too will be ready in the next few months. (op.cit.)

Ground War

While a ground war is not envisaged under CONPLAN, the aerial bombings could lead through the process of escalation into a ground war.

Iranian troops could cross the Iran-Iraq border and confront coalition forces inside Iraq. Israeli troops and/or Special Forces could enter into Lebanon and Syria.

In recent developments, Israel plans to conduct military exercises as well as deploy Special Forces in the mountainous areas of Turkey bordering Iran and Syria with the collaboration of the Ankara government:

Ankara and Tel Aviv have come to an agreement on allowing the Israeli army to carry out military exercises in the mountainous areas [in Turkey] that border Iran.

[According to] ... a UAE newspaper ..., according to the agreement reached by the Joint Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, Dan Halutz, and Turkish officials, Israel is to carry out various military manoeuvres in the areas that border Iran and Syria. [Punctuation as published here and throughout.] [Dan Halutz] had gone to Turkey a few days earlier.

Citing certain sources without naming them, the UAE daily goes on to stress: The Israeli side made the request to carry out the manoeuvres because of the difficulty of passage in the mountain terrains close to Iran's borders in winter.

The two Hakari [phonetic; not traced] and Bulo [phonetic; not traced] units are to take part in the manoeuvres that have not been scheduled yet. The units are the most important of Israel's special military units and are charged with fighting terrorism and carrying out guerrilla warfare.

Earlier Turkey had agreed to Israeli pilots being trained in the area bordering Iran. The news [of the agreement] is released at a time when Turkish officials are trying to evade the accusation of cooperating with America in espionage operations against its neighbouring countries Syria and Iran. Since last week the Arab press has been publishing various reports about Ankara's readiness or, at least, agreement in principle to carry out negotiations about its soil and air space being used for action against Iran.

(E'temad website, Tehran, in Persian 28 Dec 05, BBC Monitoring Services Translation)

Concluding remarks

The implications are overwhelming.

The so-called international community has accepted the eventuality of a nuclear holocaust.

Those who decide have swallowed their own war propaganda.

A political consensus has developed in Western Europe and North America regarding the aerial attacks using tactical nuclear weapons, without considering their devastating implications.

This profit-driven military adventure ultimately threatens the future of humanity.

What is needed in the months ahead is a major thrust, nationally and internationally which breaks the conspiracy of silence, which acknowledges the dangers, which brings this war project to the forefront of political debate and media attentiion, at all levels, which confronts and requires political and military leaders to take a firm stance against the U.S. sponsored nuclear war. Ultimately what is required are extensive international sanctions directed against the United States of America and Israel.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best seller The Globalization of Poverty published in eleven languages. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, at www.globalresearch.ca . He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His most recent book is entitled: America's "War on Terrorism", Global Research, 2005.

We should get Congressional support for a sound plan to get rid of Iranian/North Korean nukes not BS RMA airstrikes-alone mentalities. Maneuver into North Korea would require a large invasion, a small operation on the ground might work in Iran. We should parachute drop an Air-Mech-Strike Force in M113 Gavins with liquid explosives that can be applied to effect a specific direct placement of LE that would insure Iranian nuke facilities deep underground are destroyed after the first attempt at air strike destruction. The AMS Force could also rescue any USAF pilots shot down during Phase I. Phase III could be directed air strikes controlled by the AMS forces to finish off or hit what was missed. Phase IV would be extraction of the AMS Force by STOL airlanding C-130s or overland travel to a friendly country.

The problem is American SOF are insufferable egomaniacs who refuse to use tracked armor so they can be in enemy territory and FIGHT; they want to be in sexy wheeled dune buggies so they don't look like the "mech pussies" in tracks in the heavy units of the Army. So because of their narcissism and fashion statements, they can't fight on the ground in the face of Iranian security forces but must run and ask for air strikes to rescue them ie: they can't be expected to finish destroying the nuclear facilities if the Iranians are defending them with their "mech pussies" in tanks and IFVs/APCs. The most SOF in dune buggies can do is shine laser beams on targets for range, GPS coordinates and terminal guidance. Its the lazy American RMA way all the way.

Who has Nukes?

RED = has them for sure
PINK = probably has them
YELLOW = working on getting them

Who in the U.S. is disloyal enough or external enemies to have nukes?

What could happen if we do not get rid of these illegals and nukes?

VIDEO: a small nuclear device in an artillery shell lands nearby; a sub-national terrorist group or nation-state military attack might look just like this in SHE effects, are we ready with our lazy aircraft and troops-in-open, living-in-tents, driving around in trucks mentalities? Do our cities have underground civil defense shelters ready for a "backpack" nuke going off planted by saboteurs through our porous borders Bush refuses to fully close with tangible fencing and adequate troops? This isn't the George Clooney/Nicole Kidman, The Peacemaker movie where we have highly competent and moral people fighting for us, its REALITY, and that reality is we have immoral and incompetents at the helm full of their own CYA BS to try to excuse away their failures.



Foreign Policy Research Institute
Over 50 Years of Ideas in Service to Our Nation

The Newsletter of FPRI's
Marvin Wachman Fund for International Education


by Martin van Creveld

Vol. 12, No. 25
November 2007

Martin van Creveld is Professor, Institute of Arts and Letters, Hebrew University and author of Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (Cambridge, 2004). This essay is based on his address at FPRI's History Institute for Teachers, "Teaching Military History: Why and How," held at the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL and co-sponsored by the Cantigny First Division Foundation. Core support for the History Institute is provided by The Annenberg Foundation; support for this weekend conference was provided by W. W. Keen Butcher, Robert L. Freedman, Bruce H. Hooper, and John M. Templeton, Jr. For the conference report, videotapes, and other papers, see: www.fpri.org/education/teachingmilitaryhistory/.



by Martin van Creveld

War and technology have always been linked very closely. Indeed, without technology, there would probably have been no war. After all, without technology, if only in the form of sticks and stones, man's ability to kill his own kind is extremely limited. He can hit--a purpose for which his arms are much better suited than those of any other animal--and bite, but he can hardly kill; he can choke, but doing so takes time, and few people are so strong that they could not be overpowered by a few others. Under such circumstances early human warfare might perhaps have resembled the kind of strife we witness among chimpanzees. There would no doubt have been fights over living space, access to resources such as food water, females, and precedence. Some fights might even have been motivated by the sheer fun of taking on an enemy and overcoming him. However, almost certainly there would have been no real war.

From the first day that technology was introduced to war, it has helped shape the latter. Flint-made daggers and spears, and leather or wickerwork shields, did quite as much to shape the tactics adopted by ancient societies as horses did during the middle ages and as tanks, aircraft, and various combat ships do today. They determined, for example, whether formations would be close or open, deep or shallow, rigid or lose. Other technologies determined how far different units comprising a single force could get away from each other without losing touch; thus playing a critical role in strategy. Technology also helped determine which kind of formations were most suitable for fighting which enemies in what kind of terrain, under what kind of circumstances, and so on.

The same is true of horses, chariots, mechanical artillery, and gunpowder. Of course we have far more, and better, technology than our ancestors did. But technology is becoming more expensive all the time, both absolutely and in comparison with manpower; this, indeed, is one reason why the number of the most powerful weapon systems in particular has been going down from 1945 on. However, technology is not playing any greater role in shaping war than it has done at any time in the past. To say so is a form of hubris that is not without importance to the American way of making war in particular.

Whereas weapons have always helped determine tactics, tactics in turn helped determine organization, operations, strategy, logistics, and command and control systems. All these were driven by the technology in use and, in turn, drove it along. Thus the relationship between the two--war and technology, doctrine and the hardware required for putting it into effect--is two-sided. For example, did the development of mechanical transport before 1914 permit the huge artillery pieces of World War I, or did the need to break through fortifications lead to the development of those pieces as well as the mechanical transport without which they would have been useless?

And yet the quest for technological superiority is eternal. From the first moment that Homo sapiens went to war, attempts were made to obtain victory by designing weapons that would be better than those of the enemy. Flint blades were replaced by copper ones. They in turn were replaced by bronze ones, which were replaced by iron ones, which were replaced by ones that were made of steel. Simple bows were replaced by long and composite ones, until finally firearms took over and did away with the bow altogether. Firearms in turn underwent a long, and near continuous, process of development that took them from the primitive devices of 1400 all the way to today's assault rifles, machine guns, and artillery. Armor, fortifications, and means of transportation all underwent similar development. Although here and there the collapse of a society led to a return to a simpler technology, the retreat was always temporary.

Finally, while the goal was always to win victory by means of technological superiority, some new and irresistible device, that goal was rarely attained. First, war is an imitative activity par excellence. To win, it is necessary to understand the enemy; to understand the enemy means learning from him and, to some extent, becoming like him. If only because any weapon used in war will inevitably fall into the hands of the enemy and be copied, technological superiority, even if achieved, rarely lasted for very long.

Second, war, conducted as it is against an enemy who is as intelligent, as resourceful, and as free to bring his will and resources to bear as oneself, is among, if not the, most complex of all human activities. The number of factors that help determine the outcome is huge. In particular it is necessary to mention morale, cohesion, and sheer fighting power; all three of which, being intangible, are very difficult to evaluate. Since technology is but one of the factors that shape war, technological superiority alone has seldom led to a decision. And the longer the war, the more true this is.


From the earliest times to 1945, technology drove war without changing its essence. Since the objective was always to achieve victory by smashing the enemy, it is scant wonder that war always tended to become more powerful. In terms of size, technology was one of the factors that permitted armed forces to grow from a few dozens tribal warriors into millions of modern soldiers. The distances over which operations could be conducted and the speed with which individuals, units, and machines moved about (which, however, is not the same as the speed with which offensives advanced) both increased dramatically. Starting with clubs and culminating in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, so did the range at which power was brought to bear against the enemy.

A very important effect of developing technology was to enable war to spread into environments that used to be inaccessible to it. From the land to rivers, lakes and coastal waters; from coastal waters into the sea; from the surface of the sea into the latter's depths; as well as into the air and, most recently, into outer space. Generally speaking, no sooner does technology open any environment to human activity than that environment becomes the theater of warlike operations, either actual or planned. At times, so rapid was the increase that five years made all the difference. For example, the armies of 1918 would have sliced through those of 1914 like a knife through butter. The armies of 1945 would have done the same to those of 1939, and those of 1950 to those of 1945.

For all that, technology did not change the nature of war. War remained what it had been since the time when the first band of cavemen, carrying sticks and stones, went out to attack its neighbor. Namely, a violent, two-sided activity governed by action and reaction, challenge and response; in the sense that it was used to advance or defend the interests of the group or organization that waged it, it also remained an instrument of politics. All this was as true in 2000 BCE, and presumably 50,000 BCE, as it was in 1945.

Next, a vast revolution took place, causing not only the methods by which war is waged but its very essence to change. Unlike most revolutions, this one can be dated not only to the day, but also to the hour. Over Hiroshima, August 6, 1945 was a beautiful summer day. At 9:15 am, out of a clear blue sky, there appeared a single bomber, the largest that had been built up to that time. The bomb doors opened, and a single bulky device dropped out. As the aircraft banked steeply away, the device fell, gathering speed. A few minutes later it exploded. A thousand suns shone, an estimated 75,000 people lay dead, and the nature of war had changed, presumably forever.

Until then, every new weapon that appeared on the scene had been met by a technological or tactical development that, to a large extent, neutralized it--or why else did technological progress continue? Now, for the first time, a weapon had been built against which there was no effective defense. As more and more nuclear weapons were built, and as more countries acquired them, the outcome, to speak with the greatest of all nuclear strategists, Thomas Schelling, was that the link between victory and survival was cut.

A few people, notably Bernard Brodie, then a young teacher at Columbia University, understood the nature of the change almost at once. Previously, though a victor might suffer losses as grievous as those suffered by King Pyrrhus in his proverbial triumph over the Romans in 279 BCE, he was at any rate assured that his forces and his country would survive. In a world where both sides had nuclear weapons, this no longer applied. Thus the very nature of war as an instrument in the hands of politics was put into question. Its nature as a two-sided activity consisting of action, counteraction, and counter-counteraction also underwent a decisive change. A nuclear war would surely see a first strike and possibly a second strike as well. However, given the magnitude of the destruction that would be inflicted, very few analysts ever tried to look into the possibility of a third strike. To the extent that they did so, they characterized it as "broken back warfare," a term that speaks for itself.

Over six decades have passed since Hiroshima. During those decades, in every single region where nuclear weapons were introduced, large-scale war between the countries that possessed them has disappeared. Countless doctrines were written, and weapons and delivery vehicles deployed, to fight a nuclear war if it came; in the end, however, the balance of terror always prevailed. To the extent that war still took place, it only did so between, or against, third- and fourth-rate powers that did not have nuclear weapons. Probably for the first time in history, developing technology had caused not just the way war was waged and fought but its nature, as well as its usefulness as an instrument of policy, to change. Nothing that came before, not even the horse or the wheel or gunpowder, and nothing that came after, not even missiles and satellites and computers, has had anything like a similar impact; compared with nuclear weapons, too, all other so-called weapons of mass destruction are as pigmies to giants. Nor, sixty-two years later, and in spite of the development of various of anti-ballistic missile defenses by various countries around the world, does it appear likely that the impact in question will be undone in the foreseeable future.


Two developments probably explain the American love story with technology, and military technology in particular.

First there was the shortage of labor, especially skilled labor, in a vast, almost empty, continent. One solution, adopted mainly in the southern part of the country, was to import slaves; the other, increasingly adopted in its northern part from the last decades of the eighteenth century on, was technology. By the middle of the nineteenth century, American technology, including also the use of standardized production and interchangeable parts, begun to flood the world and "Yankee ingenuity" was becoming proverbial.

Certainly until 1939 or even 1945, American technology, including military technology, tended to be as good as that of others but no better. The weapons it produced, such as combat aircraft and tanks and artillery and ships and submarines, were characterized not so much by top of the line performance as by the methods by which they were produced, the scale on which they were produced, and the price at which they were produced. As General Dwight D. Eisenhower put it, it was "Detroit" that won World War II for America; as one German officer allegedly put it, in an encounter between an American and German units, the Germans ran out of shells before the Americans ran out of tanks. One outcome was that, at the end of that war, theaters of war the world over were littered with surplus American equipment. Rather than transport it all home, which would have been exceedingly expensive, the Americans either sold it to their allies on the cheap or else simply left it to rust.

By that time, the U.S. had convinced itself that, in any future war, it would fight outnumbered. The idea was confirmed during the early years of the Cold War and in Korea, when Chinese "human wave" attacks could only be stopped by superior U.S. firepower; however, as NATO got organized it lost much of its force even in Europe. As to war in other parts of the world, the opposite was the case. Counting its allies, in Vietnam, in Gulf War I, in Serbia, and in Gulf War II, the U.S. actually enjoyed numerical superiority. Still, the notion that the U.S. was inferior in manpower-or, if it was not inferior in manpower, could not afford as many casualties as its opponents-persisted; to compensate, the U.S. would rely on the superior technology at its disposal. The idea was voiced by several secretaries of defense, including Robert McNamara, James Schlesinger, and Harold Brown. Its strongest advocate was probably Donald Rumsfeld during the heady days of the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs. He even set up an Office of Transformation to look after it; though just what it did was never quite clear.

Relying on superior technology, however, had its disadvantages. The more advanced the technology, the more complex it was and the greater the difficulties involved in its development. These difficulties, in turn, translated themselves into time and money. In theory, costs could be kept down by spreading development costs over large number of weapons and weapon systems. In practice, very often such was the cost of development that Congress, horrified, cut down the number of weapons in order to avoid even larger budget shortfalls than those that actually occurred. As a result, the order of battle tended to shrink and shrink. Most problematic of all, when it came to fighting (as opposed to deterring) nuclear-armed opponents, such as the Soviet Union and China, the new weapons were essentially useless.

As to non-nuclear countries, in theory, the highly sophisticated weapons now being produced and deployed gave the U.S. an overwhelming advantage over them. In practice, the populations of quite a number of such countries were still able to challenge the U.S. They did so by engaging in what has been variously called guerrilla, or Low Intensity Conflict, or non-trinitarian warfare, or terrorism, or asymmetric warfare, or insurgency, or whatever. All these forms of conflict have in common that they rely on stealth and unfold in immensely complex environments. Either natural ones, made up of mountains, jungles, or swamps; or artificial ones, made up of human beings, their dwellings, their means of production, their transport arteries, and their communications. Already World War II, in the form of the German counter-partisan operations in Yugoslavia and elsewhere, had shown that, in such complex environments, the most modern, most sophisticated technology does not work nearly as well as in simpler ones. It was a lesson that the U.S., to its very great cost, has simply refused to learn.

Looking back, the outcome of the approach that put technology at the heart of military affairs and exaggerated what it could do is only too clear. Since 1945, the U.S. has engaged in four major wars. Out of these, one, Korea, ended in a draw. One, the First Gulf War, ended in victory. One, Vietnam, ended in defeat; the fourth, the Second Gulf War, is very likely to end in the same way. Clearly technology has not provided a formula for victory in war against nuclear states, either. To the contrary, all it has done is to render such wars unthinkable. It has also failed to provide such a formula in war against terrorists, guerrillas, or whatever they are called. At best it has enabled the U.S. to vanquish one or two opponents, such as Serbia, which were so small, weak, and remote as to raise the question why they had to be fought at all. That is not a very good outcome for something on which oceans of money have been spent.


To sum up, technology has always driven war, and been driven by it; however, contrary to the common wisdom, there is no sign that its role in shaping war has either increased or diminished. While the quest for technological superiority, the silver bullet as it is sometimes known, is as old as war itself, technology is but one of the factors that shape war and determines its outcome. As a result, victories due solely to technological superiority have been rare; and such superiority, even if it was achieved, usually did not last for very long. On the whole, the effect of technology has tended to increase, or help increase, the size of war, the power and speed with which it is waged, and the range at which it is waged. It has also expanded the environments in which it was waged. For millennia, however, it was incapable of changing either the nature of war or the purpose that it served.

With the advent of nuclear technology, things changed. Provided enough bombs are available, war in its old sense, consisting of action, counteraction, an counter- counteraction, has probably become impossible; if not for all time to come, at any rate as far into the future as we can look at present. Provided both belligerents are nuclear armed, the purpose it serves has also become extremely problematic. The second of these factors explains why, since 1945, wars waged between powerful countries have become exceedingly rare. Technological superiority could only be used, if it could be used at all, against non-nuclear, weak opponents.

The U.S., however, has consistently refused to learn this lesson. Whereas initially the American love affair with technology led to large numbers of fairly good weapons, after 1945 things changed. Holding on to the idea that it would fight outnumbered long after that idea ceased to be true, the U.S. has persisted in sinking fortunes into new weapons and weapons systems. The results, as the list of victories and defeats shows, have been mixed at best.

Guess who gave Pakistan Nukes for Surface-to-Surface Missiles & Aircraft Bombs?


The man who knew too much

Pakistani Shaheen I and II SSMs; note the transporter erector launcher (TEL) making it very difficult to locate and target these ballistic missiles

He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a U.S. cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court. Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark report

Saturday October 13, 2007
The Guardian

Rich Barlow idles outside his silver trailer on a remote campsite in Montana - itinerant and unemployed, with only his hunting dogs and a borrowed computer for company. He dips into a pouch of American Spirit tobacco to roll another cigarette. It is hard to imagine that he was once a covert operative at the CIA, the recognised, much lauded expert in the trade in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

He prepared briefs for Dick Cheney, when Cheney was at the Pentagon, for the upper echelons of the CIA and even for the Oval Office. But when he uncovered a political scandal - a conspiracy to enable a rogue nation to get the nuclear bomb - he found himself a marked man.

In the late '80s, in the course of tracking down smugglers of WMD components, Barlow uncovered reams of material that related to Pakistan. It was known the Islamic Republic had been covertly striving to acquire nuclear weapons since India's explosion of a device in 1974 and the prospect terrified the west - especially given the instability of a nation that had had three military coups in less than 30 years. Straddling deep ethnic, religious and political fault-lines, it was also a country regularly rocked by inter-communal violence. "Pakistan was the kind of place where technology could slip out of control," Barlow says.

He soon discovered, however, that senior officials in government were taking quite the opposite view: they were breaking U.S. and international non-proliferation protocols to shelter Pakistan's ambitions and even sell it banned WMD technology. In the closing years of the cold war, Pakistan was considered to have great strategic importance. It provided Washington with a springboard into neighbouring Afghanistan - a route for passing U.S. weapons and cash to the mujahideen, who were battling to oust the Soviet army that had invaded in 1979. Barlow says, "We had to buddy-up to regimes we didn't see eye-to-eye with, but I could not believe we would actually give Pakistan the bomb.

How could any U.S. administration set such short-term gains against the long-term safety of the world?" Next he discovered that the Pentagon was preparing to sell Pakistan jet fighters that could be used to drop a nuclear bomb.

Barlow was relentless in exposing what he saw as U.S. complicity, and in the end he was sacked and smeared as disloyal, mad, a drunk and a philanderer. If he had been listened to, many believe Pakistan might never have got its nuclear bomb; south Asia might not have been pitched into three near-nuclear conflagrations; and the nuclear weapons programmes of Iran, Libya and North Korea - which British and American intelligence now acknowledge were all secretly enabled by Pakistan - would never have got off the ground. "None of this need have happened," Robert Gallucci, special adviser on WMD to both Clinton and George W. Bush, told us. "The vanquishing of Barlow and the erasing of his case kicked off a chain of events that led to all the nuclear-tinged stand-offs we face today. Pakistan is the number one threat to the world, and if it all goes off - a nuclear bomb in a U.S. or European city- I'm sure we will find ourselves looking in Pakistan's direction."

U.S. aid to Pakistan tapered off when the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan. Dejected and impoverished, in 1987 Pakistan's ruling military responded by selling its nuclear hardware and know-how for cash, something that would have been obvious to all if the intelligence had been properly analysed. "But the George HW Bush administration was not looking at Pakistan," Barlow says. "It had new crises to deal with in the Persian Gulf where Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait."

As the first Gulf war came to an end with no regime change in Iraq, a group of neoconservatives led by Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Donald Rumsfeld were already lobbying to finish what that campaign had started and dislodge Saddam. Even as the CIA amassed evidence showing that Pakistan, a state that sponsored Islamist terrorism and made its money by selling proscribed WMD technology, was the number one threat, they earmarked Iraq as the chief target.

When these neocons came to power in 2001, under President George W Bush, Pakistan was indemnified again, this time in return for signing up to the "war on terror". Condoleezza Rice backed the line, as did Rumsfeld, too. Pakistan, although suspected by all of them to be at the epicentre of global instability, was hailed as a friend. All energies were devoted to building up the case against Iraq.

It is only now, amid the recriminations about the war in Iraq and reassessments of where the real danger lies, that Barlow - the despised bringer of bad news about Pakistan - is finally to get a hearing. More than 20 years after this saga began, his case, filed on Capitol Hill, is coming to court later this month. His lawyers are seeking millions of dollars in compensation for Barlow as well as the reinstatement of his $80,000 a year government pension. Evidence will highlight what happened when ideologues took control of intelligence in three separate US administrations - those of Reagan, and of the two Bushes - and how a CIA analyst who would not give up his pursuit for the truth became a fall guy.

Born in Upper Manhattan, New York, the son of an army surgeon, Barlow went to an Ivy League feeder school before attending Western Washington University on America's northwest tip. Even then he was an idealist and an internationalist, obsessively following world events. He majored in political science, and his thesis was on counter-proliferation intelligence; he was concerned that the burgeoning black markets in nuclear weapons technology threatened peace in the west. "I got my material from newspapers and books," he recalls. "I went to congressional hearings in Washington and discovered that there was tonnes of intelligence about countries procuring nuclear materials." After graduation in 1981, shortly after Reagan became president - avowedly committed to the non proliferation of nuclear weapons - Barlow won an internship at the State Department's Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), which had been established by John F Kennedy in the '60s.

At first Barlow thought he was helping safeguard the world. "I just loved it," he says. His focus from the start was Pakistan, at the time suspected of clandestinely seeking nuclear weapons in a programme initiated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir. "Everywhere I looked I kept coming up against intelligence about Pakistan's WMD programme," Barlow says. "I thought I was telling them what they needed to hear, but the White House seemed oblivious." Immersed in the minutiae of his investigations, he didn't appreciate the bigger picture: that Pakistan had, within days of Reagan's inauguration in 1981, gone from being an outcast nation that had outraged the west by hanging Bhutto to a major U.S. ally in the proxy war in Afghanistan.

Within months Barlow was out of a job. A small band of Republican hawks, including Paul Wolfowitz, had convinced the president that America needed a new strategy against potential nuclear threats, [EDITOR:Like what? GIVING NUKES TO ISLAMICS? WTFO?] since long-term policies such as détente and containment were not working. Reagan was urged to remilitarise, launch his Star Wars programme and neutralise ACDA. When the agency's staff was cut by one third, Barlow found himself out of Washington and stacking shelves in a food store in Connecticut, where he married his girlfriend, Cindy. He was not on hand in 1984 when intelligence reached the ACDA and the CIA that Pakistan had joined the nuclear club (the declared nuclear powers were Britain, France, the US, China and Russia) after China detonated a device on Pakistan's behalf.

Soon after, Barlow was re-employed to work as an analyst, specialising in Pakistan, at the Office of Scientific and Weapons Research (OSWR). The CIA was pursuing the Pakistan programme vigorously even though Reagan was turning a blind eye - indeed, Reagan's secretary of state, George Schultz, claimed in 1985: "We have full faith in [Pakistan's] assurance that they will not make the bomb."

Back on a government salary, Barlow, aged 31, moved to Virginia with his wife Cindy, also a CIA agent. From day one, he was given access to the most highly classified material. He learned about the workings of the vast grey global market in dual-use components - the tools and equipment that could be put to use in a nuclear weapons programme but that could also be ascribed to other domestic purposes, making the trade in them hard to spot or regulate. "There was tonnes of it and most of it was ending up in Islamabad," he says. "Pakistan had a vast network of procurers, operating all over the world." A secret nuclear facility near Islamabad, known as the Khan Research Laboratories, was being fitted out with components imported from Europe and America "under the wire". But the CIA obtained photographs. Floor plans. Bomb designs. Sensors picked up evidence of high levels of enriched uranium in the air and in the dust clinging to the lorries plying the road to the laboratories. Barlow was in his element.

However, burrowing through cables and files, he began to realise that the State Department had intelligence it was not sharing - in particular the identities of key Pakistani procurement agents, who were active in the U.S. Without this information, the U.S. Commerce Department (which approved export licences) and U.S. Customs (which enforced them) were hamstrung.

Barlow came to the conclusion that a small group of senior officials was physically aiding the Pakistan programme. "They were issuing scores of approvals for the Pakistan embassy in Washington to export hi-tech equipment that was critical for their nuclear bomb programme and that the U.S. Commerce Department had refused to license," he says. Dismayed, he approached his boss at the CIA, Richard Kerr, the deputy director for intelligence, who summoned senior State Department officials to a meeting at CIA headquarters in Langley. Barlow recalls: "Kerr tried to do it as nicely as he could. He said he understood the State Department had to keep Pakistan on side - the State Department guaranteed it would stop working against us."

Then a Pakistani nuclear smuggler walked into a trap sprung by the CIA - and the Reagan administration's commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons was put to the test.

U.S. foreign aid legislation stipulated that if Pakistan was shown to be procuring weapons of mass destruction or was in possession of a nuclear bomb, all assistance would be halted. This, in turn, would have threatened the U.S.-funded war in Afghanistan. So there were conflicting interests at work when Barlow got a call from the Department of Energy. "I was told that a Pakistani businessman had contacted Carpenter Steel, a company in Pennsylvania, asking to buy a specific type of metal normally used only in constructing centrifuges to enrich uranium. His name was Arshad Pervez and his handler, Inam ul-Haq, a retired brigadier from the Pakistan army, had been known to us for many years as a key Pakistan government operative." Barlow and U.S. customs set up a sting. "Pervez arrived to a do a deal at a hotel we had rigged out and was arrested," Barlow says. "But ul-Haq, our main target, never showed."

Trawling through piles of cables, he found evidence that two high-ranking U.S. officials extremely close to the White House had tipped off Islamabad about the CIA operation. Furious, Barlow called his superiors. "The CIA went mad. These were criminal offences," Barlow says. The State Department's lawyers considered their position. They argued that an inquiry would necessitate the spilling of state secrets. The investigation was abandoned just as Reagan made his annual statement to Congress, testifying that "Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device."

But the Pervez case would not go away. Congressman Stephen Solarz, a Democrat from New Jersey, demanded a closed congressional hearing to vet the intelligence concerning Pakistan's bomb programme. Barlow was detailed to "backbench" at the meeting, if necessary offering advice to the White House representative, General David Einsel (who had been chosen by Reagan to head his Star Wars programme). An armed guard stood outside the room where the hearing was held.

Barlow recalls that Solarz got straight to the point: "Were Pervez and ul-Haq agents of the Pakistan government?" Without flinching, Einsel barked back: "It is not cut and dried." It was a criminal offence to lie to Congress, as other hearings happening on the same day down the corridor were spelling out to Colonel Oliver North, the alleged mastermind behind Iran-Contra. Barlow froze. "These congressmen had no idea what was really going on in Pakistan and what had been coming across my desk about its WMD programme," he says. "They did not know that Pakistan already had a bomb and was shopping for more with U.S. help. All of it had been hushed up."

Then Solarz called on Barlow to speak. "I told the truth. I said it was clear Pervez was an agent for Pakistan's nuclear programme. Everyone started shouting. General Einsel screamed, 'Barlow doesn't know what he's talking about.' Solarz asked if there had been any other cases involving the Pakistan government and Einsel said, 'No'." Barlow recalls thinking, "'Oh no, here we go again.' They asked me and I said, 'Yes, there have been scores of other cases.'"

The meeting broke up. Barlow was bundled into a CIA car that sped for Langley. It was a bad time to be the U.S.'s foremost expert on Pakistan's nuclear programme when the administration was desperate to prove it didn't exist. Shortly after, Barlow left the CIA, claiming that Einsel had made his job impossible.

Later that year, Reagan would tell the U.S. Congress: "There is no diminution in the president's commitment to restraining the spread of nuclear weapons in the Indian subcontinent or elsewhere."

Once again, Barlow was able to bounce back. In January 1989, he was recruited by the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD) at the Pentagon to become its first intelligence analyst in WMD. For a man uncomfortable with political pragmatism, it was a strange move: he was now in a department that was steeped in realpolitik, balancing the commercial needs of the U.S. military industry against America's international obligations. Within weeks, he had again built a stack of evidence about Pakistan's WMD programme, including intelligence that the Pakistan army was experimenting with a delivery system for its nuclear bomb, using U.S.-provided technology. "Our side was at it again," Barlow says.

PAF F-16s

Still optimistic, still perhaps naive and still committed to the ideal of thwarting the Pakistan programme, Barlow convinced himself that his experience in the CIA was untypical, the work of a handful of political figures who would now not be able to reach him. When he was commissioned to write an intelligence assessment for Dick Cheney, defence secretary, giving a snapshot of the Pakistan WMD programme, he thought he was making headway. Barlow's report was stark. He concluded that the U.S. had sold 40 F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in the mid-80s - it had been a precondition of the sale that none of the jets could be adapted to drop a nuclear bomb. He was convinced that all of them had been configured to do just that. He concluded that Pakistan was still shopping for its WMD programme and the chances were extremely high that it would also begin selling this technology to other nations. Unbeknown to Barlow, the Pentagon had just approved the sale of another 60 F-16s to Pakistan in a deal worth $1.4bn, supposedly with the same provison as before.

"Officials at the OSD kept pressurising me to change my conclusions," Barlow says. He refused and soon after noticed files going missing. A secretary tipped him off that a senior official had been intercepting his papers. In July 1989, Barlow was hauled before one of the Pentagon's top military salesmen, who accused him of sabotaging the new F-16 deal. Eight days later, when Congress asked if the jet could be adapted by Pakistan to drop a nuclear bomb, the Defence Department said, "None of the F-16s Pakistan already owns or is about to purchase is configured for nuclear delivery." Barlow was horrified.

On August 4 1989, he was fired. "They told me they had received credible information that I was a security risk." Barlow demanded to know how and why. "They said they could not tell me as the information was classified." All they would say was that "senior Defence Department officials", whose identities were also classified, had supplied "plenty of evidence". The rumour going around the office was that Barlow was a Soviet spy. Barlow went home to Cindy. "We were in marriage counselling following my fall-out at the CIA. We were getting our relationship back on track. And now I had to explain that I was being fired from the Pentagon."

Barlow still would not give up. His almost pathological tenacity was one of the characteristics that made him a great analyst. With no salary and few savings, he found a lawyer who agreed to represent him pro-bono. At this point, more documents surfaced linking several familiar names to Barlow's sacking and its aftermath; these included Cheney's chief of staff, Libby, and two officials working for Wolfowitz. Through his lawyer, Barlow discovered that he was being described as a tax evader, an alcoholic and an adulterer, who had been fired from all previous government jobs. It was alleged that his marriage counselling was a cover for a course of psychiatric care, and he was put under pressure to permit investigators to interview his marriage guidance adviser. "I had to explain to Cindy that her private fears were to be trawled by the OSD. She moved out. My life, professionally and personally, was destroyed. Cindy filed for divorce."

Barlow's lawyers stuck by him, winning a combined inquiry by the three inspector generals acting for the Defence Department, the CIA and the State Department (inspector generals are the equivalent of ombudsmen in Britain). By September 1993, the lead inspector, Sherman Funk, concluded that the accusation of treachery was "an error not supported by a scintilla of evidence. The truth about Barlow's termination is, simply put, that it was unfair and unwarranted." The whole affair, Funk said, was "Kafka-like" - Barlow was sacrificed for "refusing to accede to policies which he knew to be wrong".

It seemed Barlow had been vindicated. However, when the report was published it had been completely rewritten by someone at the Pentagon. Funk was appalled. When Barlow's lawyers called the Pentagon, they were told it was the department that had been exonerated. Now it was official: Pakistan was nuclear-free, and did not have the capability of dropping a bomb from an American-supplied F-16 jet and the reputation of the only man who claimed otherwise was destroyed. Later, Barlow's lawyers would find his brief to Cheney had been rewritten, too, clearing Pakistan and concluding that continued U.S. aid would insure that the country would desist from its WMD programme.

The Pentagon officials who were responsible for Barlow's downfall would all be out of government by 1993, when Bill Clinton came into the White House. In opposition they began pursuing an aggressive political agenda, canvassing for war in Iraq rather than restraining nuclear-armed Pakistan. Their number now included Congressman Donald Rumsfeld, a former Republican defence secretary, and several others who would go on to take key positions under George Bush, including Richard Armitage, Richard Perle and John Bolton.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz headed the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which concluded in July 1998 that the chief threat - far greater than the CIA and other intelligence agencies had so far reported - was posed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea: the future Axis of Evil powers. Pakistan was not on the list, even though just two months earlier it had put an end to the dissembling by detonating five nuclear blasts in the deserts of Balochistan.

It was also difficult not to conclude that Islamist terrorism was escalating and that its epicentre was Pakistan. The camps that had once been used to train the U.S.-backed mujahideen had, since the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, morphed into training facilities for fighters pitted against the west. Many were filled by jihadis and were funded with cash from the Pakistan military.

It was made clear to the new president, Bill Clinton, that U.S. policy on Pakistan had failed. The U.S. had provided Islamabad with a nuclear bomb and had no leverage to stop the country's leaders from using it. When he was contacted by lawyers for Barlow, Clinton was shocked both by the treatment Barlow had received, and the implications for U.S. policy on Pakistan. He signed off $1m in compensation. But Barlow never received it as the deal had to be ratified by Congress and, falling foul of procedural hurdles, it was kicked into the Court of Federal Claims to be reviewed as Clinton left office.

When the George Bush came to power, his administration quashed the case. CIA director George Tenet and Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, asserted "state secrets privilege" over Barlow's entire legal claim. With no evidence to offer, the claim collapsed. Destroyed and penniless, the former CIA golden boy spent his last savings on a second-hand silver Avion trailer, packed up his life and drove off to Bear Canyon campground in Bozeman, Montana, where he still lives today.

Even with Barlow out of the picture, there were still analysts in Washington - and in the Bush administration - who were wary of Pakistan. They warned that al-Qaida had a natural affinity with Pakistan, geographically and religiously, and that its affiliates were seeking nuclear weapons. Some elements of the Pakistan military were sympathetic and in place to help. But those arguing that Pakistan posed the highest risk were isolated. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were in the ascendant, and they returned to the old agenda, lobbying for a war in Iraq and, in a repeat of 1981 and the Reagan years, signed up Pakistan as the key ally in the war against terror.

Contrary advice was not welcome. And Bush's team set about dismantling the government agency that was giving the most trouble - the State Department's Nonproliferation Bureau. Norm Wulf, who recently retired as deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, told us: "They met in secret, deciding who to employ, displacing career civil servants with more than 30 years on the job in favour of young, like-thinking people, rightwingers who would toe the administration line." And the administration line was to do away with any evidence that pointed to Pakistan as a threat to global stability, refocusing all attention on Iraq.

The same tactics used to disgrace Barlow and discredit his evidence were used again in 2003, this time against Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador whom the Bush administration had sent to Africa with a mission to substantiate the story that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material to manufacture WMD. When Wilson refused to comply, he found himself the subject of a smear campaign, while his wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA agent. Libby would subsequently be jailed for leaking Plame's identity (although released on a presidential pardon). Plame and Wilson's careers and marriage would survive. Barlow and his wife, Cindy's, would not - and no one would be held to account.

Until now.

When the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress in 2006, Barlow's indefatigable lawyers sensed an opportunity, lodging a compensation claim on Capitol Hill that is to be heard later this month. This time, with supporters of the Iraq war in retreat and with Pakistan, too, having lost many friends in Washington, Barlow hopes he will receive what he is due. "But this final hearing cannot indict any of those who hounded me, or misshaped the intelligence product," he says. "And it is too late to contain the flow of doomsday technology that Pakistan unleashed on the world."

· Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark are the authors of Deception: Pakistan, The United States And Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, published later this month by Atlantic Books, £25.

· The following clarification was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Friday October 19 2007. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was not jailed for leaking the identity of a CIA agent, as we said in this article. He was convicted of perjury and obstructing an investigation into the leak. President Bush did not pardon him, but commuted the sentence to a fine and probation.

New Life for Merkava Line? Tough Tanks Have Israel Rethinking Plans to End Production


From: http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2057227&C=thisweek

Just weeks before Israel launched its war against Lebanon-based Hizbollah, Israel's Land Forces commander warned that it was time to prepare for a new kind of warfare that relied less on heavy armor and more on smaller, highly specialized infantry supported by massive airpower and standoff attacks.

Today, he's likely singing a different tune, observers say.

According to participants in prewar meetings of the Israel Manufacturers' Association and the Armored Corps Foundation, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Gantz, chief of the Land Forces, said Israel's top brass believed future wars would require fewer main battle tanks. Participants said they were told to prepare for an eventual phase-out of the Merkava tank production line. "We're in the cross hairs, and this time it's very serious," Brig. Gen. Nir Amir, manager of Israel's Tank Program Office, said July 13.

But that was just one day after a Hizbollah crossborder raid touched off the Lebanon War II, as it is called here. After 33 days of combat in which Hizbollah used Iranian, Russian, Syrian and U.S. anti-tank missiles and armor-piercing projectiles against Israeli forces, Gantz and others in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are reassessing the tank's role.

Most believe the Merkava acquitted itself admirably in the recent fighting, not only in its primary ground combat role, but in support missions such as escorting infantry, delivering supplies and even extracting battlefield casualties.

"Before the war, they spoke about a new concept in the IDF where there would be no more large wars, whatever that means, and that the Air Force would deal with the bulk of future threats," said Haim Erez, a retired IDF major general who serves as chairman of Israel's Armored Corps Foundation.

"But I expect now, if they analyze this war correctly, they'll understand clearly why things happened the way they did. ... And one of the lessons is that the tank and heavy armor will remain the central element of the ground force structure, with a continued role of primary importance in the future battlefield," said Erez, a brigade commander in the 1973 Yom Kippur war whose troops were the first to cross the Suez Canal in pursuit of the Egyptian Army.

As for the Merkava, "before the war, we all understood it was not a question of if, but when the IDF would order a halt to new production. We were told they were still crunching the numbers, and that the issue was whether to produce another 200 or 300 tanks before closing out the line," said one industry executive who attended the Gantz meeting with Israeli manufacturers.

"Each war proves anew to those who may have had their doubts the primacy of the main battle tank," said Yehuda Admon, a retired IDF brigadier general and former manager of the Merkava tank program. "Between wars, the tank is always a target for cuts. But in wartime, everyone remembers why we need it, in its most advanced, upgraded versions and in militarily significant numbers."

Reassessing Priorities

Gantz denied he had denigrated the tank or the need for near-term production.

"We never spoke of a sudden halt to production, but of the desired balance for our future force," he said in an Aug. 22 interview.

"But yes," he conceded, "it is now clear from the lessons of this war that many cards in the deck will have to be reshuffled. The proportions and the mathematical equations we were using prior to the war will be revised, as will the prewar priority we attached to heavy armor."

Gantz said the war in Lebanon highlighted the need for heavily defended troop transports and fighting vehicles, such as the Namer, or Tiger, concept. Developed by Israel's Tank Program Office nearly 10 years ago yet never funded for production, the Namer would use the Merkava chassis to carry 11 soldiers behind thick armor. Defense sources estimate the Namer would cost about $2 million apiece for a notional production run of 200, pricey for an infantry carrier.

"And I expect the lessons from the war will make it easier to convince others of this need," he said.

Of the nearly 400 IDF tanks deployed during the conflict, fewer than five were destroyed by underbelly charges, while dozens were damaged by anti-tank munitions, officials said. But only 22 tanks were actually penetrated by Kornet-E and Methis-M and other missiles, and in half of those instances, no IDF troops were killed. In the other half, fatalities were minimized by armor and other means of survivability designed specifically for the Merkava tank.

Erez blamed many of the hits on lack of training and poor tactics.

"The way this war was executed did a disservice to the tanks; they weren't employed correctly," he said. "When you send in a small force of tanks into a village where there's no front and no rear - and where terrorist cells are still operating - you're going to take hits. Tanks need to be incorporated as part of a full combined arms force package."

Erez noted that in the Yom Kippur war, a single division sustained the same number of penetrations on a single day.

"Back then, our Pattons suffered enormous enemy penetrations. So in this war, we need to keep things in proportion, and recognize the inherent survivability and the full complement of weaponry that makes the Merkava by far the world's most effective, most defended tank."

David Engel, a retired IDF brigadier general and a former director of the Merkava program, agreed. "People focus on the number of hits and the number of casualties. But the professionals, at least, should be focused on all the lives that have been saved due to the Merkava's designed-in survivability, despite the faulty employment concept."

Shlomo Passy, chairman of the Heavy Armor Forum of the Israel Manufacturers' Association, said in many cases during the war, the Merkava proved the only platform capable of entering high-threat areas and extracting the wounded. "We understand many people owe their lives to the tanks that were sent in under a wall of fire to rescue the injured," said Passy, a brigadier general in the IDF Ordnance Corps reserves.

"I believe many of the younger officers who were indoctrinated in the new concept of standoff warfare suddenly discovered the importance of the tanks from this war. ... The tank and heavy mechanized vehicles must remain the central element of the ground battle, and what must be shouted from the rooftops is the need to invest in upgrades and continue production of new platforms that preserve our strategic advantage and our industrial base," Passy said.

New Lease on Life?

According to defense sources here, the IDF General Staff, prior to the war, had hoped to save more than $200 million per year, beginning in 2011, by halting Merkava production after all outstanding contractual obligations were fulfilled. By that time, the IDF would have acquired at least another two brigades - some 220 tanks - of the latest Mk4s while upgrading older models with many of the advanced systems being integrated in the newer models.

But because it takes about 30 months for a Merkava to roll off the line, defense and industry sources say a 2011 production cutoff would mean that new contracts for long-lead items would grind to a halt as early as next year. Since the war, it is possible - even likely - that the Merkava line will be extended, Nir said in an Aug. 22 follow-up interview. "There has been no official decision yet, but I expect that before the end of the year, we'll have a clearer picture regarding the program's future. And I expect that future will be a lot brighter than it seemed to be just a month before the war," he said.

Nir said the Merkava program office was not surprised by results from the field, including the instances where Hizbollah anti-tank weapons managed to penetrate the platform. "Like all tanks, the Hizbollah knew that attacking the sides and the back would maximize their capabilities. But clearly, despite our sorrow at the loss of each and every life, we believe the Merkava demonstrated its ability to save lives."

Defense officials said a budgetary reprieve by the IDF General Staff would allow the Tank Program Office to accelerate additional upgrades aimed at enhancing the combat effectiveness and survivability of the Merkava. "We always knew that the anti-tank threat would not stand still, and that over the years, we'd have to go to the next level of protection," one defense official said in reference to a family of active armor protection systems that has been developed by Israel's Ministry of Defense. "In all fairness, the Merkava didn't demonstrate even half of its capabilities in this war." Aside from its war-fighting contributions, the Merkava is credited by the Manufacturers' Association here with attracting some $200 million to $250 million in annual exports. More than 200 firms and factories employing some 10,000 workers participate in Merkava production, rendering the program "not only a clear strategic asset, but the industrial backbone driving a critical sector of Israel's defense industrial base," Passy said. *

E-mail: bopallrome@defensenews.com.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Missiles of August
The Lebanon War and the democratization of missile technology

By Mark Williams

The events of September 2001 disproved the assumption that only a state could make war on another state. Now Hezbollah's confrontation with Israel has provided further education about how the world is changing. Hezbollah's campaign is a clear sign of how the democratization of missile technology -- cruise missile technology, in particular -- is reshaping global realities.

Assumptions about the Israeli Defense Force's military superiority have enjoyed axiomatic status, especially among laypeople. In fact, the IDF were -- and perhaps still are -- a good Citizen-Soldier militia, with a small number of units of excellent professional Soldiers, and a highly capable general staff. According to a famous, and probably apocryphal story, when asked the secret of Israel's military successes, an Israeli commander succinctly summarized the IDF's method: "Always fight Arab armies."

However, as Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah, has explained: "We are not a regular army and we do not use the way of a regular army." Hezbollah has displayed a combination of a guerrilla force's decentralized flexibility and a national military's sophistication, fielding weapons like the C-802 Noor radar-guided anti-ship missile (an Iranian-made knockoff of the Chinese "Silkworm" C-802) that struck an Israeli warship on July 14. In sum, Hezbullah's arsenal includes the following missiles:

· 122mm Katyushas: range 13 miles, warhead 6 kg
· 122mm improved Katyushas: range 19 miles, warhead, 6 kg
· 220mm Syrian rockets: range 43 miles, warhead 40 kg
· 240mm rockets: range 6 miles, warhead 18kg
· 240mm Iranian Fajr 3: range 26 miles, warhead 50 kg
· 333mm Iranian Fajr 5: range 46 miles, warhead 90 kg
· 302mm Iranian Khaibar-1: range 100 miles, warhead 100 kg
· 610mm Iranian ZelZal-2: range 130 miles, warhead 400 kg

Significantly, according to claims by both Hezbollah and Israel, Hezbollah has held in reserve all of its 200-odd Zelzal-2 missiles, which have a range of up to 200 kilometers -- capable of reaching Tel Aviv. The Zelzal missiles are road-mobile, solid-propellant systems, about which little is known. They are most likely unguided or use a rudimentary inertial system; when properly launched, such rockets would be accurate to within several kilometers of their target, enough to hit a city like Tel Aviv.

Given all that, it's a reasonable supposition that Sheikh Nasrullah and Hezbollah were ordered by their Iranian backers to keep in reserve the Zelzals, as well as a significant number of the Iranian Fajr-5 missiles (of which the Khaibar-1 is believed by many analysts to be a modified variant).

Hezbollah's Katyushas are the furthest thing from the latest designs. Predating venerable weapon systems such as the AK-47 assault rifle and B-52 bomber, these generic short-range rockets were given their name by the Soviet troops who first fired them at German forces during World War II.

For all the Katyusha's vintage provenance, however, it has defeated futuristic attempts at missile defense like the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL), a U.S.-Israeli attempt to create a high-energy chemical laser that could detonate the missiles in midflight. In fact, it's indicative of the difficulties of short-range missile defense that the THEL prototype was approximately the size of six city buses; according to Subrata Ghoshroy, a military analyst at MIT who studied the project in 1996, not only would the system have been "a sitting duck" on a battlefield, but also any fractures of its fuel tanks would have released potentially deadly gas over its crew and bystanders. Although in 2000 the THEL was able to shoot down two Katyushas simultaneously during tests when no cloud cover impeded it, Katyusha rockets were designed to be fired from truck-mounted launchers in barrages of up to 50. Given the THEL's general impracticality, the U.S. Army ceased funding it in late 2004.

What are the possibilities for missile defense against the longer-range, Iranian-built rockets, such as the Fajr-3 and Fajr-5, with which Hezbollah hit Israel's third-largest city, Haifa, and as far south as Hadera in central Israel?

Since the 1950s, when Time magazine printed artists' depictions of the majestic umbrella-shaped shields that would be created by the Pentagon's anti-missile missiles as they intercepted Soviet ICBMs over American cities, the U.S. military has kept promising that whatever ABM (anti-ballistic missile) system was then under development, was just a step or two from being perfected. Simultaneously, it has allowed fudged tests in order to get favorable results, and ignored the fact that, even if the technology worked perfectly when deployed, such systems would be vulnerable to countermeasures that would be cheap and easy for attackers to employ.

In 2006, the best hope for tactical missile defense remains the latest iterations of the Patriot interceptor. First deployed in the first Gulf War, the U.S. military initially claimed that this surface-to-air missile had shot down more than 40 of Saddam Hussein's Scuds. In 1992, however, the Government Operations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives concluded (.pdf file) that the Army had no proof that any Patriot had shot down any Scuds. The latest Patriot versions seem to be more effective, with at least eight independently confirmed tactical missile hits in the 2003 Iraq War.

Israel, with the United States, has spent billions on a two-tier ABM system that combines Patriots with Arrow rockets, a homegrown Israeli system. Nevertheless, although Patriot batteries have been set up around Haifa, Israel launched none in the recent conflict with Hezbollah. That's because Patriots cost $1 to $3 million, the Arrow interceptors are similarly expensive, and the supply of both, whether or not they hit incoming Hezbollah rockets, would soon run out -- as with the THEL system, both economics and physics favor the attacker's rockets.

On the ground, Hezbollah has been able to move its rocket launchers rapidly. Indeed, Hezbollah's battlefield agility and flexibility is one of the most striking features of the recent conflict. Objections that Hezbollah has accomplished a "victory" only in that its obdurate resistance has vast propaganda value within the Arab world miss the point that a militia of some 3,000 fighters impeded the advance of what was supposedly one of the world's best armies beyond a few kilometers inside Lebanon. In the process, more than 20 Israeli Merkava tanks -- again, reputedly the world's best -- were damaged by anti-tank weapons, including the Russian-made RPG-29, which have a tandem warhead so that the first explosion blows away a tank's protective shield and the second penetrates it.

Overall, Hezbollah's decentralized, flexible network of small units exhibited the essential aspects of a warfighting style that some military thinkers have predicted would predominate in 21st-century warfare, and which has been described as netwar or fourth-generation warfare. It's a style of warfare that armies of nation-states, with their massive levels of force, are ill-equipped to fight.

One proponent of this school of thought, John Arquilla, a professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, has argued: "What happens if you take your large hammer to a ball of quicksilver? That's what these networks are." He continues: "We are trying to wage war as if it still mattered that our forces are comprised of 'the few and the large' -- a few large heavy divisions, a few large aircraft carrier battle groups -- when in fact war is migrating into the hands of the many and the small -- little distributed units. We live in an era when technology has expanded the destructive power of a small group and the individual beyond our imaginations."

These lessons of combat -- now exemplified by Hezbollah's resistance to the IDF -- are not being lost elsewhere in the Arab world. According to a UPI story, "Anti-tank Rockets Menace Israelis," appearing on August 14, the day of the cease-fire, a reporter from the Israeli paper Ha'aretz recently interviewed a member of Fatah's al-Aksa brigades in Bethlehem, who said: "The brothers...are no longer interested in games with Kalashnikov rifles; they want anti-tank rockets....When this technology arrives, how difficult would it be for one of the fighters to sit on the Palestinian side of the wall at Abu Dis and fire a rocket at the King David Hotel? With less effort than a suicide bombing or shooting one can fire a missile and get the same results."

But not only this level of missile technology is being democratized. As the instance of the Iranian-made, radar-guided, anti-ship missile that hit the Israeli corvette illustrates, more sophisticated missile technology is also spreading. Pakistan, China, North Korea, and Iran, among others, now possess cruise missiles. The United States and its allies are now urging a U.N. resolution that will call for international sanctions against Iran.

To enforce such sanctions would require control of Iran's offshore waters and particularly of the Straits of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil moves and where Iran can potentially destroy all shipping. It's not inconceivable to many analysts that Iran, with the missile technology it now possesses, could 'take down' that foremost example of U.S. military power, the aircraft carrier battle group. In a world of proliferating cruise-missile technology, one Pentagon consultant told me: "We have a navy full of ships that will burn to the waterline when hit."

(Next week, in the second part of this article, we will analyze the implications of this democratization of cruise-missile technology.)


The Missiles of August--Part II
The democratization of cruise missile technology.

By Mark Williams

This is the second part of a story that ran on August 16.

For many experts in weapons proliferation, cruise missiles are the most disturbing threat today.

Hezbollah's recent use of an Iranian variant of the Chinese "Silkworm" C-802 radar-guided anti-ship missile against an Israeli warship illustrates the larger trend. In the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, the first Gulf War demonstrated America's unparalleled global power, which flowed, in part, from possession of a new class of weapons with near-surgical accuracy at great distances. Fifteen years later, another shift in the balance of global military power is occurring as missile technology--particularly, the cruise missile technology that was a hallmark feature of U.S. military supremacy--is being democratized.

Cruise missiles can be as sophisticated as the American AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile and its W80 nuclear warhead--which can strike targets 3,000 kilometers away, using guidance systems that hug satellite-mapped terrain--or as simple as small, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) built from commercially-available kits. The German World War II-era V-1 "buzz bomb" even meets the definition of a cruise missile: an unmanned self-propelled guided aircraft that uses aerodynamic lift to deliver a payload to a target. Still, as Owen Cote, associate director of MIT's Security Studies Program, explains: "Antiship cruise missiles only need a relatively simple inertial navigation system and a radar return from their target, which is within the area the missile is launched at." Consequently, antiship cruise missile systems, being simpler and often shorter range, are generally the first kind of cruise missile acquired by states or organizations, such as Hezbollah.

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary nonproliferation agreement involving 34 countries and supposedly limiting export of unmanned systems that can deliver weapons of mass destruction, defines a antiship cruise missile as having a range of less than 300 kilometers. A cruise missile is a Category II item--meaning, essentially, that it may be exported by any company that manufactures it. (Category I severely limits exports of ballistic missile systems, space-launch vehicles, and land-attack cruise missile systems.) Given that antiship cruise missiles can be converted to land-attack systems, the MTCR is a particularly leaky sieve. But American actions have also inadvertently helped spread the technology. In 1998, when the Clinton administration launched 75 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Osama bin Laden's bases in response to al Qaeda's bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, six of the missiles misfired and landed across the border in Pakistan. It has long been suspected that these unexploded missiles were studied by Pakistani and Chinese scientists. Ted Postol, a professor of science, technology, and international security at MIT, confirms this: "A Pakistani colleague of mine told me that a significant number of those missiles that we launched at Afghanistan actually landed in Pakistan and those guys reverse-engineered them."

The propulsion system of the Babur missile that Pakistan tested in 2005 definitely resembles that of the BGM-109 Tomahawk. After an initial launch by a solid-fuel booster, a cruise turbo fan engine cuts in, giving the Babur a speed of 880 kilometers per hour and a range of 500 kilometers. That Chinese assistance was a factor in developing the Babur's GPS- and INS-based guidance system is supported by its resemblance to the Chinese YJ-62 antiship cruise missile and the family resemblance of both missiles to the Tomahawk.

The Babur was, in a sense, Pakistan's predictable response to the test-firing in 2001 of the PJ-10 BrahMos cruise missile by its subcontinental rival, India. Jointly developed by Russia's Mashinostreyenia and India's Brahmos Corporation, the BrahMos's ramjet cruise engine is based on the Russian supersonic antiship Yakhont missile and capable of speeds of 2.5 to 2.8 Mach (three times faster than the Tomahawk). India and Russia ensured that the BrahMos didn't violate the MTCR, however, by keeping its range within the 300-kilometer limit specified for antiship cruise missiles.

How many cruise missile types exist in the world today and how many countries have them? Given that reverse-engineering and modification have produced different variants of the major types, some accounts reckon that as many as 130 types exist, with 75 countries possessing them. Not only has the MTCR's permissive handling of antiship cruise missiles aided this proliferation, but some MTCR nations have turned a blind eye when their own companies have exported cruise missiles in defiance of its rules. For instance, Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov claims that Ukraine, a MTCR signatory, sold the nuclear-capable X-55 cruise missile to Iran and China in 2001 and 2002. John Pike, director of private military information group Global Security.org, charges that many European companies have regularly contravened the MTCR: "They're open for business and they want to make money." As for the most worrisome non-MTCR nations--Iran, North Korea and Pakistan--Pike maintains that their close collaboration on missile technology amounts to "one development program in three different places."

Cruise missile proliferation may soon become bigger news. Last week, Iran--Hezbollah's primary missile supplier--blocked U.N. inspectors from viewing the Natanz complex housing Iranian uranium-enrichment efforts and delivered its nonresponse to the incentives offered by the U.S. and Europe in return for Iran halting its nuclear program., Therefore, America and its U.N. Security Council allies threaten that they'll attempt to pass a U.N. resolution on August 31 that would impose economic sanctions on Iran.

That effort may be of little avail. Firstly, Russia and China, both veto-wielding Security Council members, vigorously oppose sanctions. Secondly, even if America and its European allies finesse Russian and Chinese opposition, it's not clear that the U.S. can sanction Iran more effectively than it has for the last quarter-century.

So while the Bush administration has proceeded with diplomacy, officials repeat that the military option "remains on the table" if that's what it takes to deny the Tehran regime the nuclear bomb. Indeed, many in Washington believe that U.S. Air Force is ready with advanced plans to bomb Iranian nuclear sites.

John Pike maintains that not only is the administration preparing for a pre-emptive attack on Iran, but even without such a move the destabilizing forces already unloosed in the Middle East may escalate into a situation in which Iran will try to obstruct the passage of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz--where the Persian Gulf narrows to only 34 miles and through which 90 percent of Persian Gulf oil exports pass. If, according to Pike, Iraq breaks up into three partitioned regions--Kurdistan in the north, an oil-less "Sunnistan" in the middle, and a Shia-dominated region in the south--Saudi Arabia, already the Sunni insurgency's biggest supporter, will see its fellow Sunnis deprived of the oil wealth that has historically been theirs and will possibly increase its aid to the Sunni insurgency. Iran will respond with increased support for Iraqi Shias. Thence, the struggle could intensify into a conflict resembling the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq "Tanker War", when both countries attacked oil tankers and merchant ships--including those of neutral nations--to deprive their opponent of trade. As in the 1980s, U.S. naval forces would be drawn into such a conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

This time, though, the Iranians possess at least 300 Exocet antiship missile systems and an undisclosed number of Russian Moskit supersonic antiship systems--and possibly also the improved Moskit version, the Yakhont.

Recent naval history provides a foretaste of what the relatively primitive Exocet missiles could do. In the Falklands War in 1982 between the U.K. and Argentina, Argentinean jets armed with French-made Exocets hit the H.M.S. Sheffield, whose superstructure was constructed of lightweight aluminum. The aluminum melted and the frigate burned to the waterline and sank. Similarly, in 1987, during the Iran-Iraq War, an Iraqi jet launched two Exocet missiles into the U.S.S. Stark, another frigate, and its lightweight aluminum superstructure also caught fire.

It is Iran's Moskits, though, that are the real concern for American ships. These ramjet-equipped missiles, flying two and a half to three times the speed of sound and as low as five feet above the water, were specifically designed by the Russians to overcome the Aegis defense systems and SM-2 and SM-3 defense missiles protecting American aircraft-carrier groups. The maximum theoretical response time to a Moskit launch is 25 to 30 seconds, leaving little time for jamming and countermeasures--let alone bringing to bear missiles and quick-firing artillery. Unlike past decades, when U.S. warships were constructed with aluminum superstructures (which were 35 to 45 percent lighter than steel and assisted a vessel's speed and maneuverability), current American warships, like the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that are primary components in a U.S. carrier group, generally have steel superstructures. Nevertheless, al Qaeda's attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 provides some insight into what a Moskit can do. The Cole, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer with steel armor, was docked in Aden harbor when a small craft exploded against its port side, putting a 40-by-40-foot (12-by-12 meter) gash in the Cole's flank. That explosion was the result of as much as 600 pounds of explosive. The Cole's vulnerability suggests that any of Iran's Russian-made Moskit missiles, and their 750-pound warheads, are potential ship-killers.

The Falklands War has been much pondered by military analysts. John Arquilla, professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, says: "The Exocet missile definitely proved the vulnerability of the slow-moving big ship." The key to the U.K.'s Falklands victory, Arquilla continues, was that the British calculated how to put their two aircraft carriers beyond the range of Argentinean air attacks while still enabling British aircraft to hit Argentinean forces. That lesson has applications for the challenge that the U.S. Navy may soon face in the Persian Gulf. Yes, the Gulf's north shore belongs to Iran and is potentially a platform for their cruise missiles. True, any ship within the Gulf, including ships docked at the U.S. Fifth Fleet's base in Bahrain, could theoretically be targeted from across the Gulf or from speedboats and helicopters that the Iranians have purportedly adapted as mobile platforms for their missiles. In practice, however, America has and will maintain complete air dominance.

That means that if America stands off its naval assets over the horizon, the Iranians have three options: they can aim their missiles at targets in visible range, employ radar-guided missiles to acquire over-the-horizon targets, or else use sea-based platforms to launch missiles. In all those cases, they will immediately become vulnerable to U.S. retaliation from the air. The Iranians would likely only get one chance at launching their cruise missiles before their platforms were destroyed.

Yet what if the Iranians could launch swarms of hundreds of missiles simultaneously? All bets might be off. In such a scenario, the Iranians could conceivably devastate an American naval force. Do the Iranians possess enough missiles to do that? The truth is that we don't know, as the congressional report released on Thursday, August 24, concluded. In terms the threat level, independent analyst John Pike puts it this way: "Iran is a riddle wrapped in an enigma."

In the longer term, the trend seems clear. Iran developed its first indigenous 32-bit microprocessor last month. Like mounted cavalry faced by the machine gun in 1914 or the battleship confronted by aerial attack in 1941, the U.S. aircraft carrier battle group seems likely to become increasingly a giant, slow-moving target when an enemy can fire swarms of self-guiding cruise missiles from hundreds of miles away. "Sixty-odd years ago, the German admiral Durnitz had in his office a picture of the ocean with a few gulls and a sunlit sea," John Arquilla says. "Durnitz would point to this picture when his U-boat skippers visited him and say, 'That is the future of naval warfare--there will be no great vessels, only submarines and aircraft.' In 21st-century sea warfare, expect the rise of sea power without a navy."

Regarding the democratization of cruise missile technology generally, Arquilla continues: "When cruise missiles are as widespread as AK-47s, we will truly have the war of all against all." As for the strategic prospects in such an era, Arquilla says, "I always send people back to Jean Bloch's The Future of War (1898). Bloch was a banker and he looked at society, security, and strategy all together. Before World War I, he understood that technological advances were creating systems of enormous destructive capacity, but the societal systems that were emerging would be capable both of taking great damage and of continuing. Because everybody had these capabilities, you would end up with a long attritional war, which both sides would lose. I think we're in a similar situation to the one Bloch described, where the barriers to entry have dropped sufficiently so that, as long as anyone has the will to fight, they'll be able to continue fighting. I think that's the strategic picture that's most pertinent to our time."


U.S., Israel Ponder How to Slow Iranian Nuclear Weapons Development

By David A. Fulghum and Douglas Barrie
09/10/2006 04:47:58 PM


The fighting in southern Lebanon revealed Iran's willingness to supply sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah, and one of its ships was intercepted trying to do just that for Hamas in the Palestinian territories. A continuing series of tests has demonstrated Iran's growing arsenal of ballistic, tactical and sea-based weapons, and Western intelligence officials anticipate its fielding of locally built versions of fighter-launched, long-range, air-to-surface missiles. But the real fear is Iran's development of nuclear weapons. Once built, they would be easy to hide and export. Analysts contend the centrifuges and heavy water production will be in operation soon to follow a dual-track development scheme. Those that feel most threatened--the U.S. and Israel--say they will have to move soon to put the brakes on fabrication and testing. They now think the date to act would be by the end of 2007. Tehran has spurned a call for full suspension of uranium enrichment, which could mean international economic sanctions following passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution. Those sanctions are likely to toughen if Iran continues to reject controls. Both the U.S. and Israel are planning other ways, after economic sanctions, to slow down Tehran's push for nuclear weapons.

"Once they have a weapon, it can be stored anywhere and it becomes impossible to find. That's why the program has to be delayed soon."

These comments by a senior U.S. Air Force official resonate in many Western capitals, as well as in Israel. The dissonance comes in trying to determine just how to "delay" Iran's nuclear weapons program. "All of us are [alarmed] about Iran and their desire to have a nuclear capability," says Sen. John Warner (R.-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Certainly, the Israelis should be front and center on that issue because they have concerns, too--deep concerns."

Israel, the state directly threatened by Iran's nuclear ambitions, faces stark choices of exercising military restraint and relying on Western diplomacy, gambling on U.S. military action, or of acting unilaterally, with all the inherent risk.

"Diplomacy is still the best option," says Dan Meridor, a Likud Party member of the Israeli parliament. Meridor has recently been closely involved in a classified review of Israel's strategic defense policy."Iran's development [of nuclear weapons] can be delayed for a considerable time, if the world is in unison. We now need a [U.N. Security Council] resolution and we need Russia not to use its veto. I believe we can reach an agreement where Russia goes along. Iran would hear a clear voice."

Should diplomatic efforts fail, Meridor says, "It will be another world with an arms race, because Iran's neighbors don't want to be dominated." The fighting in Lebanon, with its revelations of the extent of Iranian arms proliferation, has already altered the perceptions in the region. Israel has named its air force chief, Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, commander of its new Iran front and director of any war plans that might materialize.

Of course, the region already has a nuclear weapons state--though it remains undeclared. Israel covertly gained a nuclear capability in the mid-1960s, as a strategic deterrent.

Iran maintains its nuclear program is for civil purposes only--a claim met with considerable skepticism. "It appears weapons-oriented. Otherwise, why bury so much of it underground?" points out Lee Willett, head of the military capabilities program at the London-based Royal United Services Institute.

The U.N. also remains dubious about Iran's publicly stated objectives. The latest Security Council resolution--which Iran's government has publicly spurned--ordered Iran to halt uranium enrichment or face sanctions.

Assuming Iran's intent to make nuclear weapons, the fundamental question becomes exactly how close the country is to the manufacture of bomb-grade material, the ability to manufacture a nuclear device and turn it into a deliverable weapon. The answers will set the timeline for diplomatic and military options. Iran certainly has a number of ballistic--and potentially air-breathing--missile programs in development which represent credible delivery systems.

The U.S. now appears more cautious in estimating how soon Iran could be in a position to produce sufficient nuclear weapons-grade material. In the mid-1990s, it was suggested Tehran could be in that position in five years. The 2005 National Intelligence Assessment reportedly suggested Iran would achieve the capability by "early-to-mid-next decade."

If the U.S. and Israel become convinced that Tehran is determined to pursue a nuclear weapons program, then military action--at some point--at least to slow the program significantly becomes a possibility. Israel has successfully pursued this path before, with the 1981 air strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak.

Late last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responding to a question about military options for dealing with Iran, said that it would be unfortunate if other countries thought "that we're not capable of defending our country, of doing anything that we might need to do."

Israel's military has two primary concerns regarding Iranian nuclear capability: the threat posed to the civilian population by a nuclear attack and the risk of disabling effects of a high-altitude air-burst and the resulting electro-magnetic pulse (EMP). Tel Aviv and Washington also fear the regional impact of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Iran remains one of the few states in the region that does not recognize Israel's right to exist. In tandem with trying to reshape Israeli forces to deal with non-state actors, such as Hezbollah, defense planners are also rethinking the organization, makeup and strategic reach of the nation's military forces as a reaction to the perceived Iranian threat.

The insidious effects of nuclear detonations at a high altitude threaten Israel. The EMP can produce a huge spike of electricity, threatening to cripple network-dependent air defenses, intelligence-gathering capability and operational military forces.

The Iranians purposefully have not followed Iraq's 1981 model of concentrating their nuclear development in a single area. They have distributed their nuclear development over numerous sites, including Bushehr, where a nuclear power plant is being built. Natanz is the site of a pilot fuel enrichment plant, and where a full-scale facility is under construction. Arak is the site of a research reactor and a heavy water production plant inaugurated in August.

While the multiplicity of sites makes drawing up a comprehensive target list more challenging, U.S. and Israel officials also suggest there are positive aspects to this. Not every nuclear-related site need be struck to hobble any nascent nuclear weapons program. The goal would be to select a few choke points.

"There are lots of links in the chain you can attack," says a former senior Israeli diplomat. "So how you define the mission is important. There may be 40 facilities [the total may be considerably higher], but you select only four. You don't have to attack all of them. For example, some targets are vulnerable to movement, like centrifuges. They need stability, so if you create enough [vibration or Earth tremors], their alignment can be distorted."

As the system expands or changes over time, additional small-scale attacks could further delay the effort, whenever it approaches a critical stage of development. While Israeli officials do not believe an Iranian nuclear weapons program can be stopped, they are convinced it could be slowed by years with the idea that time, negotiations, sanctions and perhaps changes in government could alter the desire to arm.

"Iran is potentially a short-term problem, if you look at the demographic issues," Willett suggests. The country's young people may be less inclined to follow hard-line Islamist ideology and may be less hostile to the West in general, so simply delaying any nuclear weapons program could have the desired effect.

A senior U.S. Air Force officer describes the problem of finding those choke points as an involved process that includes distinguishing commercial nuclear facilities from those with military applications. "There are a lot of sites and you have to segregate them." Nonetheless, "it's not that difficult," he says.

The USAF official contends Israel could be forced to launch attacks by the end of 2007--"the sooner the better." With the aid of U.S. intelligence (and information garnered from Russian sources and Iran's neighbors), he contends that evidence of plutonium, centrifuge use, cooling and power generation/transmission will provide the proper targeting signatures for "a couple of handfuls of attacks--less than a dozen" to shut down Iranian nuclear progress for years. "Where does the electrical power go in and out, and how do those people communicate with the outside world?"

U.S. officials have estimated there are as many as 70 Iranian nuclear sites, of which a minimum of 15 would have to be attacked. Moreover, underground construction and camouflage efforts in Iran, done in conjunction with North Korea, were to have been completed this summer. U.S. analysts further estimated fewer than two dozen strike sorties could inflict significant damage on three major Iranian facilities, but there would be little impact on Iran's technology base or team of scientists.

The fact that many of the Iranian targets are underground presents another problem. Analysts at the U.S. CIA have noted since shortly after the 1991 Iraq war, that the sale of earth-boring equipment skyrocketed in the Middle East as countries started putting key facilities underground to protect against U.S. air strikes. U.S. weapons like the GBU-28 can penetrate perhaps 30 ft. of hardened materials or 100 ft. of earth. But Iranian facilities are reportedly buried 100-200 ft. below the surface with alternating layers of earth and cement to absorb the impact of penetrating bombs. There are satellite pictures of the Natanz nuclear facility in north central Iran that show two large centrifuge buildings being buried under several yards of reinforced concrete and at least 75 ft. of earth.

The Israeli missile specialist agrees that "dozens of meters" of alternating layers of sand and cement create a sandwich that is impossible for conventional weapons to penetrate.

"You have to go after the entrances and develop new penetrators," a retired Israeli air force (IAF) general says. "But even then, conventional weapons can't penetrate to 200 ft., and the U.S. won't use nuclear weapons."

Even without uncertainties about the targets, a former Israeli diplomat who was involved in planning the 1981 raid on an Iraqi nuclear reactor warned that officials should never promise unrealistic results from a military action. "You can only postpone Iran's nuclear development," he says. "The goal [must be] to slow it down with no expectation of eliminating it completely."

Israeli officials say there is no resemblance to what they or the U.S. might face in trying to decelerate Iran's current nuclear program compared to 25 years ago.

But there is danger in waiting too long, says the retired general. "Now there is only research and development [in Iran] and no operational capability," he says. "R&D can be delayed. Once they do have a [weapon], you no longer have the delay option. What can be done now, can't be done a few years from now. [The bomb] is still coming. One day, the Iranians will have their first nuclear experiment."

The general, a veteran IAF pilot, worries that the U.S. may not be up to delaying the program, despite its several years of continuous combat operations. "I'm not sure if the U.S. is in the position politically to [attack Iran] after three years in Iraq."

"How do you win?" asks the retired general. "You can't, in the traditional sense. Winning now is to continue the fight against terrorism while maintaining a normal civilian life. Victory is pushing operational [nuclear weapons] capability off for another 3-4-5 years. There's no magic. The [short-term, delaying] solution is a day of intensive strikes." The red line for both Israel and the U.S. is Iran having a weapon that can be tested.

"No one will join an [allied] coalition if Iran has a nuclear weapon," the former Israeli diplomat says. "Most nations are hostage to terrorist attacks. With a bomb in hand, Iran can then support more challenging terrorist attacks by Hezbollah or Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Any response by the West will become more risky.

"We are approaching quite fast the point where we have to postpone [Iran's nuclear development]," he says. "So the U.S. has to have the backing of the majority of [the international community]. Completing those steps now is important. Even though Egypt and Saudi Arabia will publicly condemn any attack, they are praying that the U.S. will do it."

There are some basics derived from the attack on Iraq's nuclear facility in 1981 that appear to remain applicable, most of those interviewed agree. The attacker, be it the U.S. or Israel, can't afford to be condemned internationally for spreading contamination. They also must avoid collateral and environmental damage and loss of life. The attackers must be able to say they had tried all the political and diplomatic options.




By: Iliya Pesic

Almost all M1A1 Abrams Tanks fire 120mm depleted uranium rounds. Image source: P1

Soldiers of the Future? Might be necessary if we The "Silver Bullet" (30 mm DU round) are to continue DU use. Image Source: P2 Image Source: P3

Class: ENGR 019 - Technological Ethics
Professor: Dr. Neil R. Quinn Jr.

Santa Clara University





· Airplane Ballasts and Tank Armor

· What is DU Ammunition?


· Case 1: Iraq (The Gulf War)

· Case 2: The Balkans (Bosnia and The Kosovo Conflict)


· Pro's and Con's of DU ammunition

· Professional Issues

· Legal Issues

· Ethical Philosophical Issues/Perspectives

· Stakeholders


· Possible Action #1: Permit the use of DU ammunition

· Possible Action #2: Ban the use of DU ammunition

· Possible Action #3: Limit the use of DU ammo or halt DU ammo usage pending further investigation/research.


* Ethical analysis format taken from "Ethical Decision-making Workshop - Group Capture Sheet" by Dr. Neil Quinn.


"All the Soldiers there were wearing NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical warfare) protective clothing. We said: 'What's going on here?' And their answer was: 'Didn't you know? This ammunition is a bit dodgy.'"

- Tim Pubrick, Gulf War veteran, British Royal Army tank commander.6

Depleted uranium (DU) ammunition is a very recent advancement in military weapons use. Due to its effectiveness against piercing armor, DU ammunition has recently become a popular item among NATO armies and will most likely become a mainstream form of conventional ammunition among many other armies of the world. However, massive amounts of circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that the use of DU ammunition has known to cause dramatic side effects, such as health problems, stillborn babies, toxic and poisonous land, water supplies, and residential territories. Hence an important question arises, is it ethical to use DU ammunition on the battlefield?


Before we can analyze the ethical use of DU ammunition, it is important to first establish the technology behind DU and DU weapons. Uranium is one of the heaviest elements found in nature and is emits alpha, beta, and gamma particles. It is 1.7 times denser than lead.12 The half-life of U238 (DU is 99% U238) is 4.5 billion years!13 Uranium byproducts(such as Thorium (Th232)) have even longer half-lives, making uranium an element that gets more radioactive during its own decay process.5 Natural uranium is 99.274% U238, 0.720% U235, and 0.0055% U234.14a Uranium is enriched when its contents of U235 reaches 3.2-3.6% (since U235 is fissible). Weapon-grade uranium is +90% U235.14a What is depleted uranium? We start out with natural uranium and extract enriched uranium for nuclear fuel and weaponry. The leftover from the extraction process is something very similar to natural uranium, known as "depleted uranium". The only difference is that DU has 0.202% of U235 and 0.0008% of U234.14a How much DU do we currently have? As of June 1998, we have around 57,800 huge steel cylinders of DU or 496,000 metric tons. 14b Storage of DU is very complicated and problematic since corrosion of DU storage cylinders often occurs over relatively short periods of time.15

Tells you all you need to know about uranium enrichment and processing. Notice DU is leftover from the enrichment process. Image source: P4

Depleted uranium is stored as Uranium Flouride (UF6) in giant cylinders. Located in Portsmouth. Image Source: P4

Another photo on the storage of depleted uranium. Storage of DU is often very difficult. Image Source: P4

Another photo on the storage of depleted uranium. Image Source: P4


The applications of DU are quite extensive. DU is very low cost and is readily available. DU can be used as a commercial aircraft counterweight. A Boeing 747 needs 1,500 kg of DU.12,14c Due to volume restrictions, DU is an ideal dense counterweight that takes up very little space. However, due to widespread fears of DU, Tungsten can also be used in a wide range of commercial aircraft counterweights.14c An interesting note: in past plane crashes (e.g. 1992 Israeli El Al cargo jet crash in Amsterdam), local authorities usually end up scraping around 40 cm of topsoil from the crash site and nearby soils, most likely to rid of toxins produced from DU.13,14f

As well, DU can be used in tank armor. Around 1500 tanks were loaded with DU armor in 1993 and 2000 more were ordered by the US military for the future.14c How do we implement DU armor on tanks? Most tanks contain two thick shields of conventional steel armor. There exists a moderately thick gap between the two shields. DU is inserted into the armor plates and the two shields are then welded together to make one tough three-layer armor plate.

Finally, DU is extensively used in military grade ammunition. Ammunition has always existed in various different forms. DU is simply a new type of ammunition. Regular low-caliber bullets are made of compacted hardened lead.3 Armor piercing rounds (usually of higher caliber) are made out of steel. Incendiary and high explosive rounds (for even higher caliber rounds) are made with chemical explosive compounds.3 DU is merely a recent but simple advancement made in high caliber ammunition. What is depleted uranium ammunition? Basically DU + conventional ammunition = DU ammunition. DU weapons can be installed in conventional ammunition in a variety of ways. However the common methods are the following: you can either coat the ammo in DU or you can make conventional ammo with a DU core. 9,10 DU and tungsten ammunition research was being conducted as early as the 1970s as a means of generating conventional effective armor piercing rounds. 14d Tungsten is generally very expensive, has a higher melting point, and doesn't cut armor as well as DU. Depleted uranium is cheap, abundant, and even provided free to arms manufacturers. DU rounds can be classified in many different types of ammunition. DU is employed in tank rounds (usually as a kinetic dart/projectile, high-explosive device, or smart bombs)1, heavy machine guns (as used by US Bradley Fighting Vehicles), gatling guns (as used by US Apache helicopters, A-10 Warthogs, Harrier jets, and other anti-personnel aircraft), artillery (e.g. Howitzers and mortar shells), and probably in ultra-high caliber sniper rifles. The most common DU round is a high kinetic energy projectile. The projectile can pierce all forms of heavy armor. Contact temperature between the projectile and the armor is 1132 degrees C.1 DU also easily burns, just like magnesium, upon penetration, adding to the effectiveness of the ammo as an armor piercing device.14c When the projectile cuts through the armor, the DU penetrator and parts of the tank get so hot that it literally vaporizes. Anywhere from 18-70% of the DU usually oxidizes (depending on type of impact).14c For example, direct impact yields 99% oxidization. A Uranium oxide (which consists of insoluble UO2 and soluble UO3) aerosol forms, where 50-96% of the particles are less than 10 microns and hence can be inhaled easily.2

Here is a quite extensive photograph showing a wide range of DU ammo, from 25 mm heavy machine gun rounds to 120 mm tank shells. Image Source: P5

This photograph most shows the different types of 120 mm DU tank shells. The two on the far left are high-explosive rounds. The pointed shells are kinetic energy projectile rounds. Image Source: P6

Another important characteristic of DU ammo is that it dramatically increases the lethal range of conventional weaponry. For lower caliber weapons (such as heavy machine guns fired from the BAV or aircraft), DU rounds can be lethal from up to 8km.10 On larger caliber heavy weapons (such as tanks), DU rounds can easily destroy an enemy tank from 3-5km.1 However, a cautious note, circumstantial evidence suggests that DU exhibits harmful radiological, chemical, and biological effects (which will be discussed later on in this paper). But for now, keep in mind that DU is extremely toxic and still contains much of the radiation that natural uranium has. For example, US Army field manuals indicate that those who handle DU contaminated vehicles or DU injured individuals must wear gas masks and protective radiological suits.14f There are at least 15-17 countries that currently possess DU ammunition (e.g. US, Britain, France, Israel, Egypt, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, etc.)14c,13 Large military manufacturers, such as the US, China or Russia, could easily become a major DU ammunition distributors to other major militaries in the near future.

Classification of the two most common 120 mm DU tank rounds, a kinetic-energy projectile and a high-explosive projectile. Image Source: P6


In order to analyze the effects of DU ammunition, recent conflicts involving DU ammo need to be considered. The two most recent cases involve Iraq during the Gulf War in the early 1990s, and Kosovo/Bosnia during the Balkan conflicts of the mid and late 1990s. A harmful reaction by Allied veterans to chemical, biological, and radiological effects from the Gulf War culminated into what is known as Gulf War Syndrome (part of the cause is potentially due to DU weaponry). A very recent similar series of events occurred with post-DU use in the Balkans, which lead to "Balkan War Syndrome".


The Gulf War is an older case but was the first time that the U.S. military employed DU weaponry on a large military scale against an enemy. DU ammunition has been accredited during and after the Gulf War as one of the main reasons why the Allied military had such a swift victory over Iraqi military forces.1,9 DU allowed our tanks to penetrate enemy armor easily and at far greater distances. Allied tanks could directly engage enemy tanks while in the enemy's line-of-sight with little worry from retaliatory fire. This means that Allied tanks could hit their Iraqi tanks while Iraqi tanks couldn't hit Allied tanks. Also due to DU armor, not a single U.S. tank was penetrated from enemy fire. U.S. tanks took many close direct hits from Iraqi Soviet-made T-72 tanks (as close as 400m!), but enemy rounds were simply not able to penetrate the DU armor! 14f DU ammunition was such a successful and popular weapon that U.S. tank crews have dubbed DU ammo as the "Silver Bullet."[9] (Partially because DU rounds have a silver-like luster due to the aluminum coating.) An important thing to consider was how much DU was actually dumped onto Iraqi territory. Around 9,640 tanks shells and 850,000 aircraft 30mm rounds were used. This translates to nearly 650,000 pounds of actual DU deposited on Iraqi soil! That's a lot of nuclear waste!

M1A1 Abrams Tanks were armed with 120 mm DU tank shells. Image source: P1

Many M1A1 Abrams were also upgraded with strong DU armor plating. Image source: P1

Due to the extensive use of DU weaponry in the Gulf War, one has to consider the chemical, biological, environmental, and radiological effects that resulted. Analysis of DU can be achieved from investigating incidents of friendly fire. Over 200 vehicles that were hit by friendly fire were analyzed by the U.S. military. Over 29 vehicles were found with abnormally high radioactive levels. 12 vehicles (including 6 Bradleys) were buried in Saudi Arabia due to substantial radioactive levels. Numerous Soldiers were also rumored to have been affected by DU. British SAS and US Special Forces, cleanup crews, and a wide variety of other military personnel who were constantly in the presence of DU contaminated sites were analyzed and in many cases shown to have contained abnormally high levels of uranium and radiation poisoning. Many veterans (not just those suffering from friendly fire) continue to have persistent medical problems. During the Gulf War, over 85% of military Soldiers have wandered through at least some DU contaminated sites (e.g. destroyed Iraqi vehicles, bunkers, etc.) Veteran groups estimate that +400,000 Gulf personnel have inhaled some amount of DU dust. By 1996, As a result of NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare), nearly +187,000 veterans have sought serious medical help and 18,200 were hospitalized. However in 1993, the Department of Veterans Affairs has done medical testing on Soldiers who still have retained DU shrapnel within their bodies.16 Interestingly, their claims indicate no direct threat from DU.

M2 and M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFVs) are armed with 25mm DU ammunition. Image source: P7

The 25 mm cannon shown here fires DU ammunition. Image Source: P7

There are also serious long-term effects of DU that still exist today in Iraq. In regions heavily hit by DU, studies have shown that numerous civilians have extensive problems with their immune systems, malignant cancers (such as ludicrously high leukemia rates), heart problems, and bizarre abnormal birth defects (such as children born without eyes, ears, tongue, etc.).2 In some regions, Leukemia has become one of the main forms of cancer-related death. There has been a 4x increase in cancer among children (+130,000 in 1997).14i Contaminated agriculture and water supplies help spread the DU dust which continues to hurt people in different regions where DU ammo was not used. However, one should note that even before the Gulf War, much of Iraqi soil was already highly contaminated from previous conflicts (e.g. chemical and biological warfare against Iran, Iraqi Kurds).

Just two of NUMEROUS cases of totally bizarre stillborn infants in Iraq due to DU contamination. Stillborn infants here are born with some of the most confusing abnormalities. The image on the left is of an infant born with one eye in center of the head. The image on the left is of an infant born normal but without any eyes at all. Image source: P8

"When we climbed into vehicles after they'd been hit, no matter what time or day or night it was, you couldn't see three feet in front of you. You breathed in that dust."

- Dr. Doug Rokke, Gulf War veteran, U.S. Army clean-up crew. [6]


A more recent case of DU ammunition use was during the conflicts in Kosovo and Bosnia. An interesting thing to note is that no major chemical or biological weaponry was used or numerous NBC sites bombed during both conflicts. Even though Yugoslavia has done extensive research into chemical weaponry, no significant amount was used in both conflicts. Hence, the only potentially hazardous device used was DU ammunition. At first, NATO claimed that DU ammunition was not being used at all. No mention was made until a small group of NATO Soldiers started dying from blood/renal/rectal related cancers in a very short period of time and the term "Balkan War Syndrome" came into full force. New Tomahawk cruise missiles armed with a 3kg DU warhead core were first used in Bosnia and later in Kosovo. Over 31,000 A-10 30mm rounds were fired and over 1,500 cruise missiles (armed with DU) were used. Some regions in Bosnia and especially Kosovo (a region that NATO HEAVILY bombed for 3 months) are so contaminated with DU that the soil there is permanently destroyed. NATO soldiers are constantly told not to eat local foods or drink from local water supplies (since ingestion of DU dust is very common by eating foods or drinking water contaminated with DU dust). [17] Soldiers were also told to stay away from military sites hit by DU and not to pick up any possible DU fragments. [17] This concludes the basic facts of DU ammunition and the specific conflicts in which DU ammo was used.

A-10 Thunderbolt II Aircraft is a tank-busting/anti-personnel attack jet fully loaded with numerous 30mm DU rounds. Image source: P9

Photo showing personnel loading the A-10 with numerous 30mm DU rounds. Image source: P10

Closeup of the Gatling gun that spews out armor-piercing 30mm DU rounds. Image source: P10

Cruise missile used in the Kosovo Conflict contained 3 kg of DU in their warhead. Image source: P11.

Around 1500 cruise missiles were used during the Kosovo Conflict. Image source: P11



When first analyzing the ethical dilemmas of DU ammo, a statement of the most relevant facts, such as the pros and cons, are necessary. For example, there are crucial benefits of DU ammo. It is a highly effective armor-piercing device. The purpose of ammunition is to take out enemy targets efficiently by inflicting as much damage as you can to the enemy. DU is very effective and is a very lethal and efficient killing device. It doesn't just damage an enemy tank, it pulverizes it and easily annihilates the crew as well! There are alternative forms of advanced ammo but DU fares the best of them all! Alternative forms of ammunition are around 20% less effective than DU and generally more expensive (such as using Tungsten kinetic penetrators). 1,10 Alternative tank rounds do not always penetrate armor as effectively as DU. Most non-DU rounds tend to "mushroom" (which is how the round looks after contact with enemy armor) as they hit their targets. However, as DU contacts enemy armor, it get extremely hot and "self-sharpens" as it enters the armor, just like a hot knife through butter.10,11 The bottom line is that DU is simply too good for any military not to use in the battlefield! Another crucial benefit of DU is that it increases the effectiveness of military weapons at even greater distances, oftentimes putting your enemy at a huge disadvantage. Another benefit DU proved during the Gulf War was using DU as tank armor. 645 out of 2058 U.S. tanks used in the Gulf were fitted with DU armor. Iraqi tank rounds directly struck U.S. tanks but there was no puncture of the DU armor! Hence DU used as ammunition and armor are important ways of protecting our soldiers in combat. Unfortunately, another significant characteristic of DU was also discovered during the Gulf War, that DU ammo can easily puncture DU armor (as was found out by U.S. tanks hit by friendly fire)! A final benefit of DU ammunition is that by using DU rounds in huge military campaigns, one can get rid of tons of nuclear waste. A lot of waste dumped all over Kosovo and Iraq. This is basically dumping nuclear waste through the use of deadly weapons. [11]

DU kinetic energy penetrator up close. The narrow contact area allows for huge transfer of energy on a small surface. Image source: P6

What are the consequences of DU ammunition? Even though there are very few government reports that suggest that DU contains harmful side effects, there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence that clearly points out that DU and DU ammo causes extensive radiological, environmental, chemical, and biological effects. DU ammo can easily be shown to cause severe environmental damage. For example, numerous anti-tank rounds were fired in Ethan Allen Firing Range (a U.S. based testing site for DU weapons). The soil surrounding the site was so contaminated wih radiation and toxin from DU that 4 inches of topsoil, over a few mile radius, was scooped up and later stored away as nuclear waste. 14e DU dust results from the use of DU ammo (which forms as it pierces the armor) and can easily spread far away from the target. There was one tested case in the Gulf War where DU dust spread up to 42 km from an enemy target site pulverized with DU rounds!14e Just recently, the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) stated that they still found traces of DU dust in the air two years after the end of the bombing of Kosovo.18 Remember that DU has a half life of 4.5 billion years. That means that local environments contaminated with poisonous DU dust will remain that way for a very long time and will continue to spread.

"There has been, and continues to be, a concern regarding the impact of DU on the environment. If no one makes the case for the effectiveness of DU on the battlefields, DU rounds may become politically unacceptable and be deleted from the arsenal."

- Colonel Ziehman of Los Alamos National Laboratory. 11

Soldiers of the future? If we continue to use DU ammo, may so (protection from DU dust). Image source: P12 and P2

DU ammo can also cause extreme biological effects to those exposed to it. DU dust commonly is inhaled and digested through simple inhalation of air and consumption of food. Insoluble and Soluble uranium oxide enters the body and eventually enters the bloodstream.2 Soluble uranium is expelled through urination, but insoluble uranium (around 50% of DU) stays in the body and travels from the bloodstream and settles in bone and organ tissue.2 Veterans and civilians exposed to DU have experienced extensive irreversible damage to kidney and partial kidney failure. Cancers related to one's blood, bone, and immune system become common.14h There are also various other biological effects claimed from DU, such as chronic fatigue, respiratory problems, heart problems, digestive organ damage (e.g. liver failure and severe rectal bleeding), etc.2

Finally DU ammo can be shown to have radiological effects. On the outside DU is quite harmless. It is a low-level alpha particle emitter. Fortunately, alpha particles can easily be stopped by a piece of paper! Hence, a soldier can be in contact with a DU-armored tank for years and not see any effects at all! However, DU dust that enters the body can be quite harmful, depending on the amount of exposure. When DU enters the body, alpha particles directly bombard one's cell tissue. On average 1 in 70,000 human cells that are bombarded from alpha particles emitted from DU turn into cancer cells.14h Hence depending on length of exposure and concentration any person exposed to large amounts of DU would most likely suffer long-term cancer-related effects. Also, remember that DU is very similar to natural uranium (around 99% similar), which is dug up as an ore using conventional mining techniques. It is well known that uranium miners suffer significantly higher levels of cancer related illnesses, respiratory, and digestives related problems from natural uranium dust and radiation.5 Hence it would make much sense that DU exhibit similar characteristics and side effects.

"If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with DU in the body are both chemical and radiological. Personnel inside or near vehicles struck by DU penetrators could receive significant internal exposures."

- Statement by US Army Environmental Policy Institute (statement made after Gulf but not before Kosovo). 11

"The ingestion of small amounts of radioactive dust ...will cause a building up of radioactive material in the body, which eventually may have serious consequences...Lung cancer, bone necrosis, and rapid anaemia are possible diseases due to the deposition of radioactive substances in the cell tissue or bone structure of the body..." - Warning by the Canadian Department of Mines on uranium ore. 5


Military technology has always brought up large professional issues. The research, military application, use, and capitalization on DU ammo and weaponry contain similar professional issues as the military use of smart bombs, cruise missiles, or any form of military technology. Military defense is a big industry throughout the world and DU is just a part of it. However, on a professional level, such military weapons can produce dramatic political and international ramifications, such as seen by expanding nuclear weapons. Another professional issue deals with the relationship between the military command and their Soldiers. Commanders are obligated to ensure the safety of their Soldiers under all conditions. But when your own Soldiers start to die off from their own ammunition, then serious questions are raised about the professionalism of one's army.

AH-64 Apache helicopters fire a huge load of DU from their 30 mm cannon. Image source: P13

Close up of the gatling gun on the AH-64 Apache helicopter. Fires 30 mm DU rounds. Image source: P13.


The legal and policy issues of DU can be analyzed with respect to other special weapons, such as those that pertain to land mines, cluster bombs, napalm, white phosphorous, agent orange, anthrax, etc. It is difficult to determine whether or not DU possesses any international legal infringement. However, if proper research were to dictate that DU was unsafe and causes numerous long-term side effects, then it would be quite simple to proclaim that DU is illegal in combat. The UN already considers DU to be illegal and many lawyers are currently pushing for international legislation banning all forms of DU weaponry. A UN resolution was written in 1996 stating that "all States to be guided in their national policies by the need to curb production and spread of weapons of mass destruction or with indiscriminate effect, in particular nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, fuel-air bombs, napalm, cluster bombs, biological weaponry, and weaponry containing depleted uranium." 14j In addition, the UNCHR (UN Commission on Human Rights) recently passed a resolution categorizing DU ammo alongside nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as "weapon of indiscriminate effect." 13. Hence it could be argued that if DU weapons are indiscriminate and cause unnecessary suffering, then that itself would be a violation of the US military field manual on The Law of Land Warfare: "It is especially forbidden to employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering. (HR, art. 23, par. (e).) ...Usage has, however, established the illegality of the use of lances with barbed heads, irregular-shaped bullets, and projectiles filled with glass, the use of any substance on bullets that would tend unnecessarily to inflame a wound inflicted by them, and the scoring of the surface or the filing off of the ends of the hard cases of bullets." 4 It would seem that one could make a strong point against the illegality of DU ammunition!

Helicopter taken out by 120mm tank shell. Image source: P1


Ethical issues arise primarily when comparing the harmful effects of DU versus their military combat benefits. There are many different perspectives that could be used to analyze this situation. From the Utilitarian perspective (the ethical action is the one that produces the greatest benefit overall to those directly affected), using DU is unethical for it presents too many horrible long-term side effects that would in turn cause excessive amounts of suffering to large groups of people (mostly innocent civilians). The environment is ruined for many future generations! Future generations will suffer for political actions they were not responsible for. Chemical, biological, and radiological effects will continue to plague many innocent people and many lives will be lost to poisonous DU contamination. The only elated victors here are the military commanders, politicians, and ammo manufacturers.

From the Kantian perspective (a philosophic perspective similar to the Golden Rule, "do unto others as they would do onto you"), the use of DU ammunition is somewhat difficult to analyze. The Kantian perspective is difficult to apply to military situations. From one perspective, you wouldn't want the enemy to use powerful DU-armed weapons against your army, but that is sort of awkward. On the battlefield, Soldiers most likely are aware that they will often be facing an enemy who is researching means of improving military weapons and vice versa. Hence there is some sort of indirect consideration and understanding that both sides are constantly enhancing their own weapons. Hence the use of DU is currently a military advancement that only a few countries have benefited from, but when you are on the battlefield in the near future, you still are aware that the enemy could also possess DU ammo and can use it against you. There is some sort of mutual acceptance on the rules of warfare in terms of technological advancement between both sides. Hence on a slight level and strictly concerning military combat, the Kantian perspective could somewhat promote the ethical use of DU weapons.

Concerning the Rights perspective (an action is ethical if it obeys fundamental rights that relate to human dignity and autonomy), the use of DU is unethical for it violates the personal rights of all civilians and Soldiers who are directly affected from DU (especially your own Soldiers). Nuclear, biological, and chemical effects violate and will continue to violate numerous civilians' rights to live a normal life. Future generations will continue to be punished for conflicts they had no part in. The personal rights of soldiers are also affected. As mentioned before, there is also violation of military-Soldier contract/obligation concerning the knowledge of DU contamination. In addition, if DU is harmful in combat, then there is an obligation to warn your own Soldiers of the negative side effects and hence make the necessary precautions to protect them.

The Fairness/Justice perspective (treating people differently based on crucial moral differences) would question whether or not DU ammunition is fair on the battlefield and whether or not it is fair to the innocent civilians who suffer the consequences of DU contamination? It is not fair towards the Soldiers when they get sick form their own bullets. It is not fair towards civilians and society as well. However it could be debated as being fair on the battlefield. War is tough and technology is a way of getting a slight upper hand during combat. This reaffirms the previous concept of the mutual rules of engagement on the battlefield versus military technological research and advancement.

From the Common Good perspective (an ethical action is one that promotes the most common good for the society overall), it is unethical to use DU. It is simply too destructive and poses too many side effects towards the community for many generations. DU will not only affect the community of our military opponents but might also eventually affect our communities as well. DU takes warfare to the extreme since armies who use it consider only the short-term tactical benefits with no regard for the aftermath.

From the Virtue perspective (an ethical action is one that promotes the most individual and social moral virtues), DU ammunition is unethical for we will demean ourselves as a civilized society. DU weaponry is clearly not necessary to conduct warfare on a sophisticated level. DU ammo is not a necessity. As mentioned, it is amazing how far our military will go to win the war despite horrific future side effects.

A final perspective is a perspective on warfare ethics. Is it right to use weapons that exercise "overkill" on the battlefield? As previously mentioned, a 120 mm DU projectile not only destroys a tank, it pulverizes it! When the DU anti-tank round punctures a tank, parts of the tank's armor and projectile get so hot that they both literally vaporize.1 The tank heats up to such a high temperature that it often times causes parts of the tank to melt and catch on fire. As the projectile enters the tank, it splinters into many pieces, often times bursting into flames. The tank ammo and fuel blow up( due to the ignition of fuel fumes) and the tank that's leftover is barely recognizable.1 There are numerous other weapons that are quite efficient at destroying a tank but doesn't require the use of DU ammo. Tactile weapons from conventional Apache hellfire missiles to 1970's short-range Soviet Sagger rockets can easily destroy any tank, especially at close range. A wide variety of weapons can pulverize even the most sophisticated tanks at ambush range19 (e.g. Palestinian homemade explosives have proven destructive against advanced Israeli Sabre and Merkava tanks). Hence, DU doesn't have to be a military necessity in terms of destroying armored vehicles.

This widespread Soviet-era RPG is more than adequate at taking out armored vehicles at ambush range. Image source: P15

Iraqi Soviet-made T-72 hit by 120 mm tank shell fired from M1 tank. Overkill? Image source: P14

A Yugoslav M-84 tank destroyed by DU fire from A-10 during the Kosovo conflict. Image source: P2


Who are the stakeholders in this situation? NATO/UN troops are at direct risk of DU. DU ammo is usually used in initial stages of war and conflict. Aircraft (such as A-10 anti-personnel aircraft), artillery, smart bombs, etc. are first used in initial bombardment of enemy targets. Crucial targets (e.g. radar, air defense, armored divisions, etc.) are taken out and your Soldiers eventual move in. By using DU, you are directly putting the lives of your troops in great danger! Is this justifiable? Is it necessary? Not only that, but should we send troops without telling them the full dangers of DU? If it is dangerous, shouldn't we better protect our Soldiers? Would a conflict we engage in then be politically correct? The DoD and MoD finally admit that DU ammo could have serious consequences.14i, 15 No wonder we kept DU use in Kosovo a secret for a while. In addition, enemy troops are direct stakeholders for they receive the full and direct threat of DU ammo.

Civilians and collateral damage is another issue that should be strongly considered. Civilians are the unfortunate stakeholders of DU ammo use. As previously mentioned DU decay is long and the lives of future civilians will be greatly affected. DU storage has known to cause contamination to sewers, soil, groundwater, and water supplies. Cleanup easily costs hundreds of million of dollars and is an extremely difficult process.14d Leaving behind DU ammo is just like leaving behind landmines. DU litters the land and has the potential to kill innocent people of future generations!

Every military in the world are also stakeholders of DU ammo use. Since DU ammo can be easily constructed, it will be very likely that in the future many countries will arm their current weapon systems with DU ammunition. As previously mentioned, a very important fact that one should consider is that since DU can easily be created from natural uranium ore, non-nuclear power countries can easily produce DU ammunition. The final stakeholders are companies that produce DU ammo (e.g. US ammo companies are given DU for free by the US government and given lucrative contracts to produce DU ammo to arm common military land, sea and air base weapon systems.)9,10

If the proliferation of DU ammo continues, chances are that even high caliber sniper rifles (e.g. Barrett M82A1 shown here) will be developed to fire conventional DU rounds (testing of DU sniper ammo was done during the Gulf). Image source: P16


There are a few possible actions that can be carried out to answer the ethical question concerning DU ammo usage. We can allow the widespread promotion of DU ammo or ban DU ammo completely and consider it illegal in combat. We can also permit limited use of DU ammo (e.g., halt DU use pending extensive research on DU side effects).


If we allow the widespread promotion of DU ammo, then the consequences of that could be devastating. Eventually everyone might have it! Russia and China could become mass producers and distributors of DU weapons (even though Russia currently claims that their armed forces are not using DU ammo20, it is still a possibility). Terrorists will have it as well. By having a few countries use DU weapons now will only provoke an arms race that will emphasize that a modern military needs DU ammo for its weapons! Remember, DU ammo can penetrate DU armor! When every major country eventually equips their military with DU ammo, then the benefit of only you having DU on the battlefield is eliminated! You are hence fighting the same battle fought before, just at greater distances. You are back to the previous scenario. And let's not forget the contamination that will result from this. With this decision we will continue to violate the rights of our Soldiers, society, and future generations. DU will persist to inflict collateral damage on all societies throughout the world. Hence the common good out of this situation is absolutely nothing! Certain government armies will get more power for a brief moment, only until all modern armies are equipped with DU ammunition.


The second alternative is to ban DU ammunition completely. Countries will be penalized for the use of DU ammo. This follows similarly to the rules of military engagement when using advanced weapons such as biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. There is enough mutual respect and consideration that such weapons are not to be used on the battlefield. The fear of mutual reciprocity is enough to indicate that such negative side effects are not desirable to both sides. However, there is no guarantee that such a rule would be enforced. For example, the US still continues to use horrific "overkill" weapons such as napalm, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, autonomous landmine systems, etc. These are weapons that are not necessary at getting the job done. However, if we do ban DU weapons we will stop the spread of DU contamination and hence stop the collateral damage that occurs due to the use of DU ammo. The common good here is probably the best one in that we begin to limit the negative effects of DU for our society and future generations.


The third alternative is to limit the use of DU ammo or to halt DU usage pending research on the full side effects of DU and DU weapons. There simply isn't enough research going on into this area of technology. More research has to be done to determine all the side effects in greater detail. If tests do show negative consequences of DU ammo use, then that information needs to be made public and DU proliferation should be stopped! However, the circumstantial evidence is overwhelmingly obvious that DU causes horrific side effects, however the notion for publication of such consequences needs to be made! Individual rights are somewhat respected in that by limiting DU we limit the collateral damage associated with DU usage. The common good is simply that we limit the effects of DU (pending on what research indicates).


"I don't think the government actually realizes how many lives they are ruining, and they need to ...they're just killing the veterans, and killing their families along with them, with all the worry - and it's not fair."

- Mandy Duncan, wife of Kenny Duncan, U.S. Army driver during the Gulf War.8

The final decision is to ban DU ammunition completely. DU ammunition is extremely unethical. To use such tactical weapons for a war without considering its horrible side effects or ramifications for future generations is unacceptable! DU ammo is not the ultimate alterative in the battlefield. It is an overkill technology and not necessary at all for victory in battle. DU ammo use would most likely produce an arms race that would require all modern militaries to arm themselves with DU ammunition. The only time an army has any tactical advantage with DU ammunition is if your enemy doesn't have it, but due to the ease of constructing DU ammo, it is obvious that it won't be long before every major military has armed themselves with DU ammunition. Hence, in the long run DU will become obsolete. It is better to put more research into defensive/offensive tactics rather than destructive weaponry.

120mm KE penetrator 30mm DU penetrator 120mm HE penetrator

Source: P6 Source: P17 Source: P6

In conclusion, war is a last alternative and its side effects should be limited as much as possible, especially for the innocent civilians. However, regardless of what the international community does to stop the use of DU ammo, the research into harmful military technologies will only continue to increase! There is simply too much money, power, and politics involved! It is up to the people to obligate themselves in becoming more aware of such actions by higher authorities. It is up to the people to exercise their democratic powers so as to keep their governments and their affiliated branches in check.


1. "120mm Ammunition." FAS (Federation of American Scientists): Military Analysis Network. 3/8/2002.


2. Bertell, Rosalie. "Gulf War Veterans and Depleted Uranium." Hague Peace Conference. [May 1999]. 2/27/2002. http://ccnr.org/du_hague.html

3. "Bullets for Beginners." FAS (Federation of American Scientists): Military Analysis Network. 3/8/2002.


4. Department of the [US] Army. "Chapter 2 - Hostilities." U.S. Army's Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare. [15 July, 1976]. 3/5/2002. http://nile.ed.umuc.edu/~nstanton/FM27-10.htm

5. Edwards, Gordon and Chenier, Marc. "Wanted: An Ethical Stance Against Depleted Uranium Weapons." The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. 2/27/2002. www.ccnr.org/du_ethics.html>

6. Kirby, Alex. "A Soldier's Experience." BBC News. [10 June, 1999]. 2/22/2002.


7. Kirby, Alex. "Depleted Uranium: The Lingering Poison." BBC News. [7 June, 1999]. 2/22/2002.


8. Kirby, Alex. "Depleted Uranium: The Next Generation." BBC News. [18, January, 2001]. 2/22/2002.


9. "M829 120mm, APFSDS - T." FAS (Federation of American Scientists): Military Analysis Network. 3/6/2002.


10. "M919 Cartridge 25mm, Armor Piercing, Fin Stabilized, Discarding Sabot, with Tracer (APFSDS - T)." FAS (Federation of American Scientists): Military Analysis Network. 3/6/2002.


11. "Should NATO's Uranium Weapons be Banned?" BBC News. [16 January, 2001]. 2/22/2002.


12. "The Military Uses of DU." BBC News. 2/22/2002.


13. "What is Depleted Uranium?" 2/27/2002.


14. Zajic, Vladimir S. "Review of Radioactivity, Military Use, and Health Effects of Depleted Uranium" [1 August, 1999]. 2/27/2002.


14a) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 1 - Radioactivity." [1 August, 1999]. 2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/1stchapter.html#top

14b) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 2 - Origins" [1 August, 1999].

2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/2ndchapter.html#top

14c) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 3 - Applications" [1 August, 1999].

2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/3rdchapter.html#top

14d) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 4 - Manufacturers" [1 August, 1999].

2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/4thchapter.html#top

14e) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 5 - Ammunition Testing" [1 August, 1999]. 2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/5thchapter.html#top

14f) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 6 - Combat and Accidents" [1 August, 1999]. 2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/6thchapter.html#top

14g) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 7 - Radiological Effects" [1 August, 1999]. 2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/7thchapter.html#top

14h) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 8 - Chemical Toxicity" [1 August, 1999]. 2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/8thchapter.html#top

14i) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 9 - Gulf War Illness" [1 August, 1999].

2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/9thchapter.html#top

14j) Zajic, Vladimir S. "Chapter 10 - Conclusion" [1 August, 1999].

2/27/2002. http://vzajic.tripod.com/10thchapter.html#top

15. "Depleted Uranium Legacy." Right Livelihood Foundation. Earth Island Journal. v16 i4 (2001): 22

16. "What is [depleted] uranium." 2/27/2002.


17. Kirby, Alex. "Q&A: Depleted Uranium Weapons." BBC News. 2/22/2002. http://news.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1101000/1101447.stm

18. Koppel, Naomi. "UN Scientists: Yugoslavia still contaminated by depleted uranium three years after NATO bombing." Associated Press. March 27, 2002.

19. Arkin, William M. "Still Glowing." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. V53 n5 (1997): 64.

20. "No ammunition with depleted uranium in Russia army - official." ITAR/TASS News Agency. January 11, 2001.

Image Bibliography:

P1) www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m1.htm

P2) www.usni.org/hrp/images/OP%20Desert%20Shield%20ChemWar%2090.JPG

P3) www.alertnet.org/thefacts/reliefresources/232710

P4) http://web.ead.anl.gov/uranium/guide/

P5) http://vzajic.tripod.com/3rdchapter.html#top

P6) www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/120.htm

P7) www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m2.htm

P8) http://www.wakefieldcam.freeserve.co.uk/extremedeformities.htm

P9) www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/a-10.htm

P10) http://members.aol.com/Stravonski/private/gun.html

P11) www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/bgm-109.htm

P12) http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/360000/images/_362543_training150.jpg

P13) www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/ah-64.htm

P14) deploymentlink.osd.mil/current_issues/du_use.shtml

P15) www.globalscan.net/Image101.JPG

P16) www.barrettrifles.com/rifles_82A1.html

P17) www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/pgu-14.htm

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The Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness (JTCG/ME) develops and publishes weapons effectiveness estimates for all non-nuclear weapons. This includes:

  • Prepare and continuously update Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manuals (JMEMs) for air-to-surface, surface-to-surface, and antiair, and other nonnuclear weapon systems as directed.
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Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manuals (JMEMs)

FM 101-50-1 Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual/Air-to-Surface

FM 101-60-1 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual/Surface-to-Surface: Effectiveness Data for Mortar, 81mm: M29 (U)

FM 101-60-2 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual/Surface-to-Surface: Effectiveness Data for Howitzer, 105mm, M101A1 (U)

FM 101-60-3 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual/Surface-to-Surface: Effectiveness Data for Howitzer, 155mm, M109 (U)

FM 101-60-6 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual: Surface-to-Surface Effectiveness Data for 5-Inch/ 38-Inch Naval Twin-Gun Mount, MK-28, -32, and With Gun, Fire Control System MK-37 (U)

FM 101-60-7 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual: Effectiveness Data for Mortar: 4.2-Inch, M30 (U)

FM 101-60-9 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual: Surface-to-Surface Effectiveness Data for Naval Single-Gun Mount, MK42 w/Gun Fire Control System, MK68 (U)

FM 101-61-3 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual/Surface-to-Surface (JMEM/SS) - Weapon/Munitions Application: Ammunition

FM 101-62-1 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual Surface-to-Surface: Safe Distances for Fragmentary Munitions (U)

FM 101-62-3 (C) Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual/Surface-to-Surface: Manual of Fragmentation Data (U)




A retired USAF combat pilot writes:

"Good article but you missed a point on the sub pens. If the approaches to the pens had been guarded by a combination of underwater mines and UAVs it would have been possible to sink the subs as they approached or departed the pens (their most vulnerable time. Constant pressure on transit would have worked as it makes the defenses work all the harder to prevent attack. It isn't the current crop of UAVs that are needed. It is stuff we did for the AF back in the late '70s. Which I might add, were rejected in favor of manned aircraft even though using them in the initial phase of a Pact advance would have shut the war down in about 8 hours with almost no loss of NATo territory. I got fired for pushing the idea but that is what happens to Captains ahead of their time :~).

Loved it. - Write more good stuff like that."



you are correct, we need to use the ending of the movie "Das Bot" where Allied swarms of fighter-bombers strafe the U-boat at its entrance before it got to the invincible pens as an example of what your "killer bee" UAVs could have accomplished even in the face of thick anti-aircraft fire. Coupled with sea mines, your approach is basically Air Maneuver---"paper" that covers over the "rock" of the sub pens by encirclement. The best use of UAVs is en masse in nation-state wars when you flush out or corner a foe who has to act, has to move and expose himself to get military effects. In essence, an UAV or "UCAV" is nothing more than field artillery that instead of falling down immediately has wings to fly and if it doesn't kamikaze crash into its target, drops HE munitions and comes back for re-use though UAVs have a notorious 50% crash rate. Since UCAVs are nothing more than artillery bombardment, why does the Air Force need to own/operate them when land bombardment is the Army's job? One could separate UCAVs into long-ranged (over 1, 000 miles) ones that can attack an enemy without our land army present (strategic) and those that can attack when our army is maneuvering (operational/tactical).