Re: go interceptors!

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jul 16 2001 - 11:11:22 MDT

John Clark wrote:
> Technotranscendence <> Wrote:
> > Why the focus on a land invasion
> I don't believe I did.
> >Defensive technology was doing fine until about 1918
> Castles and forts stopped being important long before then.

Incorrect. Traditional stone walled square keep designs became outmoded.
Since that time, the star shaped fortresses of rock faced earth berms
with overlapping fields of fire became of paramount importance in
securing land and river routes against invasion forces, primarily as
defense systems to protect artillery units used to support scouts and
forward observers. Many of the primary battles of the Revolutionary and
Civil Wars were fought at such sites, such as Forts McHenry, Sumter,
Ticonderoga, William and Mary, among others.

Forts didn't become outmoded until the rise of air power as a means of
trumping the artillery power of fortresses.

This evolution is one continuously toward attaining the higher ground
from which to project force. Forts at hilltops and choke points
commanded the heights over valleys and rivers through which troops and
artillery could be marched or sailed (and in artillery duels, he who is
higher, wins). Then aircraft commanded the heights over fortresses, and
war became one of maneuver, feint, and surprise lighting strikes, of
scouting out and locking down enemy forces in order to bring in standoff
fire support from either artillery or aircraft. Then ballistic missiles
gained greater advantage over aircraft: they could carry more ordinance
farther, cheaper, and faster than aircraft. The ultimate higher ground
is in orbit, intercepting ballistic missiles, at which point, warfare
becomes purely an economic enterprise, it is no longer about killing
people. When war becomes a matter of machine killing machine, it is an
economic enterprise, and decisions of when to start and stop fighting
are made purely on an economic basis. Nationalism and the arrogance of
leaders will no longer be a function, leading to a safer world.

> >If, e.g., Iraq or Serbia had the US level of technological and military
> >development would the recent wars with them have turned out the same?
> Of course not, and we would have been fools to start a war with such a country.

Bull. The most key statement about war is "amateurs talk tactics,
dilletantes talk strategy, professionals talk logistics." It doesn't
matter if Iraq had the same level of military technology and quantities,
because it would have bought it all with their oil money. They have no
domestic military industry of any amount, nor do they have any sort of
materiel resources in strategic metals, or a transportation system to
move such materials, to supply such an industry, and it is industry and
resources that matter most in war. It is why we beat the Japanese and
the Germans, despite them being better prepared and more technologically
advanced. Japan could not survive without oil from other countries, it
has none of its own. It also lacks metals and lumber. Germany was in
better shape, but still could not compare to either the US or the USSR
in total resources or industrial capacity. Either one of us alone could
have beaten Germany, it just would have taken a little longer, at most
another 3-5 years.

Germany's problem was they only counted quantities in their stockpiles
when doing strategic assessments, they did not count production rates or
potential production rates, or even material supply rates. Any rational
assessment of this would have told them it was suicidal to fight a war
with any one of the three allies.

> > Let's talk about a more realistic example. Suppose Norh Korea were to
> > launch three or four nuclear armed missles at the US's West Coast, say,
> > targetting Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Stopping one
> > of those missles would save one city from any immediate damage.
> In the cold war people said we don't have to worry about a suitcase H bomb from
> Russia because the Russians haven't invented the suitcase yet. It was a joke, and
> so are the reasons I've heard to justify Star Wars. If North Korea wanted to kill us
> and they had The Bomb why on earth would they send it to us with a ICBM and not a
> UPS? An ICBM is expensive, harder to make than The Bomb and everybody knows
> where it was launched from. UPS is cheap, easy, and nobody will know where it
> came from, all they'll know is that Seattle no longer exists.

Why is it that Seattle is always the most popular place in people's
scenarios to nuke with a backpack terrorist weapon? I'd much prefer it
if Washington DC or New York City got waxed, and I'll bet that most
terrorists would feel the same way.

The reason that it is useless is the same reason that both major power
call backpack weapons 'tactical nukes': they serve no strategic utility
as a weapon against population centers. All they would do is piss off a
lot more people than they killed, and wind up with the US laying waste,
with the cooperation of normally pacifistic people like the Japanese and
everyone else in between, of those responsible for such an attack. Any
group that claims responsibility for such an attack is writing its own
death warrant, and they know this.

Tactical nukes are only useful in the event that conventional war by an
overwhelming foe is started (like the USSR invading Europe, or China
invading, say, Taiwan). You use your tactical nukes at key choke points:
there are about a dozen places in Germany where you could eliminate all
east-west traffic corridors by highway, rail, and river by just wasting
those locations with pony nukes. This is why the US kept pony nukes in
safe locations in Germany in the first place, and also why short to
medium range missiles like the Pershing and Pershing 2 were deployed
there: to create additional delay by targeting similar crux points in
eastern europe.

Similarly, I'll bet that Taiwan has obtained several of the missing
Soviet backpack nukes, and has plans to use them on Chinese naval ports
and riverways if China launches an invasion. They might also use them
against any beach head that Chinese forces establish on Taiwan. This is
an ideal application for such weapons.

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