Conventional Wisdom (Part 3)

NVH writes in:

"Oh come on, the recent history with the Clinton Admin stressing over
killing UBL’s family members and the UAE Prince’s on the hunting trip
b/c of collateral damage would be eliminated with a weapon like this.
We could have killed UBL with little consequence to the innocents he
surrounds himself with ( not anymore, but we can’t find him, now ). As
for the long term impacts, if we had it back then to kill him with,
look where we wouldn’t be today? Is that long term enough?"

Hi NVH. Great questions!! This is exactly what we should be debating. I agree that you have a valid point and that the weapon could be used properly. But I don’t think that alone disqualifies the validity of concerns that the weapon could be used improperly. 

Also, we are talking about a 4,000lb warhead slamming into the earth from sub-orbital space at hyper-mach speed.  That isn’t what you might call a surgical weapon. Don’t think it won’t cause considerable collateral damage.


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2 Responses to Conventional Wisdom (Part 3)

  1. NVH 27 April, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    Well then I stand corrected. Just goes to show you should never take an acronym at face value.

    Thanks for the correction.

  2. bigfoot 27 April, 2007 at 1:52 pm #

    I think the ability to hit any spot on the globe within minutes is great in theory. The problem, I think, is the decision cycle. Striking HVTs under the circumstances described is a political and bureaucratic, not military problem. You might have actionable information, but by the time anyone has actually decided to do anything, the target has long since gone.

    You can always have a B-1/2 loitering on station and have them flying shifts for several days while suits at the NSC pound desks and pontificate. It would be just as accurate a platform and recallable at the last moment. (Recallable seems to be a big deal, particularly civilians, probably because of movies like Dr. Strangelove and Fail Safe.)

    Delivering the payload in a quick and efficient manner isn’t a problem–the length of the decision cycle is.

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