RE: Hi-Tech Warfare with China?

Mon, 7 Apr 1997 12:02:44 -0400
David Lloyd-Jones (

usual ebullient Oxbridgian sophomores at The Economist:

The world is in the early stages of a new military revolution.
The technologies include digital communications, which allow =
to be compressed; a "global Positioning system" (GPS) of =
which makes more exact guidance and navigation possible; radar-
evading "stealth"; and, of course, computer processing...
Digital communications has been around for thirty years now; GPS has =
been in place for a decade. The US Navy still need American Express and =
their Bell card to talk to the Army, and they always will. The =
fundamental problems are not technical. They are now, as at the time of =
Philip of Macedon, fundamentally problems of organization, morale, and =
clarity f purpose.

...over Bosnia the Americans have deployed JSTARS, a ground-
surveillance system in the sky: a single screen can display,
in any weather, the position and type of every vehicle within
an area 200 kilometres (125 miles) square...
Can we perhaps apply a little common sense here? If we assume one =
tractor to the square kilometer, that's 40,000 tractors on your screen =
confusing your attempt to find the tanks or APCs. If there's a cluster =
of 100 APCs in one place, the new technology has told you nothing you =
couldn't have found out from a scout on a burro with the technology of =
three thousand years ago.

A system of systems
The revolution in military affairs revolves around three =
The first is in gathering intelligence. Sensors in satellites,
aircraft or unmanned aircraft can monitor virtually everything
going on in an area. The second is in processing intelligence.

The two are the same, "military intelligence," and they do not add up to =
two solutions; they add up to two parts of the same problem.

Advanced command, control, communication and computing systems,
known as C4, make sense of the data gathered by the sensors and
display it on screen.=20

This is the blather of florid colonels who have spent too long in the =
sun. Unlike most fatuities, it does not even have the virtue of being =
faintly true. It is simply nonsense. C4 stumbles along, the same way =
C3, C2, and the various c1s always did. Throwing a lot of stuff on a =
screen no more makes sense of it than stuffing it in a cleft stick might =

They can then assign particular targets to
missiles, tanks or whatever. The third is in acting on all this
intelligence in particular, by using long-range precision
strikes to destroy targets. Cruise missiles, guided by =
can hit an individual building many hundreds of miles away...
Yes. But which building? The sad part is not that the Bright Young =
Things at The Economist believe this hooey, but that the Pentagon idiots =
briefing them do.

The Pentagon already has, or is developing, most of the =
required for space weapons. For instance it has just awarded a =
billion contract for an airborne laser to hit ballistic =
if that technology works, it could be adapted for a satellite...

Let's be charitable: suppose it worked. Any satellite if half an hour =
away, and shielded from ground-based lasers by millions of tons of wet =
air. Attacking somebody's satellites is just one more way of poking =
them in the eye. Given that we already have lotsa ways of doing that, =
why is just one more going to add up to a hill of beans?

Aircraft carriers, like other surface ships, risk being sunk by
cruise missiles. Some will be replaced by "arsenal ships", semi-
submersible, stealthy barges, carrying hundreds of missiles but
few sailors...
Ever since Bikini, any ship or fleet has been a one bomb coffin. Why do =
these fools keep nattering on like this? Moore then adds:

What's the point of this arsenal?
There are many more details to the article, but what may be of broader
interest are the WHY questions ... What is all this for? ... Why the
urgency? The Economist's own answers to these questions are woefully
misinformed on almost every point:

This embryonic revolution, unlike the development of nuclear
weapons, has not emerged in response to any particular threat
to the United States or its allies. It has come about because
it is there, that is, because generals want to play with new
technologies in case a future threat emerges. In that it may
resemble Blitzkrieg, which was based on the technologies of the
1920's, when defence budgets were declining and there seemed
little prospect of another world war.
Here I think that The Economist is right and Moore off base. The =
Economists patent irreverence allows them to see exactly the =
pointlessness, the kid in the toy store insouciance, of the average =
American Chief of Staff.

Nuclear weapons were developed (Manhattan Project) not - the record =
clear - because of any particular "threat", but as a key part of the
American elite's intention to actively dominate the post-war world.
Uh, there was a war on against Germany, ancestral home of most of the =
bomb-makers. (There were Jews in Cologne before the Huns arrived 2300 =
or so years ago.) In Hiroshima and Nagasaki the block committees were =
busy sharpening bamboo spears with which to attack the garand-equipped =
Americans at the gates. Nuclear weapons saved hundreds of thousands of =
people from more "tempest of steel," Okinawa style.

Intelligence sources knew the Nazis weren't getting anywhere with their =
nuclear research, and this fact was intentionally withheld from the
scientists at Los Alamos, who were manipulated into urgency "lest Hitler =
the bomb first".
What made an atom bomb in Europe unnecessary was not the failure of =
German technology; it was the Russian victory in the Kursk campaign. If =
Russian armour had not defeated German -- a victory aided by the =
diversion of German guns to the air war in the west, admittedly -- a =
bomb on the bunker would have been a pleasant surprise for everybody. =
Had it been ready a year earlier it would have prevented the Holocaust =
in Hungary, which killed 700,000 as Russian tanks were on their way =
across the Caucasus.

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - both of which cities had
intentionally been spared conventional bombing, so that test results =
be accurate - accomplished live-target tests of the U235 and plutonium
device prototypes, as well as demonstrating to the world (especially the
Soviets) the will and ability to project power in such a way.
Invention, speculation and paranoid imagination.

Similarly, Germany's blitzkrieg weapons were not idle technological
developments, carried out with little anticipation of use. Krupp's
engineers, with the connivance of several German governments, designed -
starting long before Hitler's rise - a suite of military hardware that =
aimed at achieving military superiority in a specific time-window (late
30's, early 40's), during which Germany was to regain its honor and =
its own elite's imperialist ambitions.
I think that Moore has been standing out in the sun with the addled =
colonels. This is some fantasy of a bunch of English Blimps, nothing =
more. The record shows that the vaunted Panzers could barely organize a =
victory march in Vienna for the Anschluss.

Similarly as well, permit me to suggest, America's current =
developments do not arise primarily from the play of generals nor even =
profit-seeking of arms developers. As with both the A-bomb and Nazi
blitzkrieg, what we are seeing with hi-tech warfare is the preparation =
of a
weapons suite crafted with particular - and not defensive - missions in
mind. But unlike the earlier precedents, as I'll seek to show, we are
seeing here something beyond merely elite nationalist ambitions at work.

I see no reason to permit such a suggestion. This is mere paranoid =
speculation, dressed up with laboriously culled quotes from the writings =
of the orthodox -- most of whom are mirror image paranoids.

The arsenal includes more than technology
Absent from the article, allow me to establish first, are other equally
significant threads of the ultra-modern-warfare story. Let me draw your
attention to some modern blitzkrieg conflicts: in Grenada, Panama, and =
Was anyone else struck by the similarities in this sequence of =
These episodes had all the appearance, to me at least, of a sequence of
incrementally larger-scale field tests - the unfolding deployment of a =
of techniques that included not only first-draft versions of the =
mentioned in the Economist piece, but also striking innovations in
propaganda and international "law".
Blitzkrieg? Grenada and Panama were both klutzfests, with vast =
casualties despite the fact that any enemy was conveniently absent. =
Iraq has a reputation for being a hi-tech war because of all those =
pretty pictures on CNN. People tend to forget that the high-tech =
fireworks were simply Iraq throwing a couple of years' GNP up in the air =
in the form of flak. When the tanks went after the peasant rabble in =
the trenches, they folded. Schwartzkopf against the Iraqis is the same =
as Guderian against the Belgians in 1939.

All three conflicts had highly dubious - in fact downright refutable -
justifications. American citizens in Grenada were not in danger, and =
touted Cuban "troops" were in fact civilian employees of a British firm
building a civilian (not military) air field. Noriega was in full
compliance with US drug-policy expectations, and the US put people back =
power who have continued to use Panama as a drug banking center. Saddam =
given a go signal, by the US Secretary of State, to invade Kuwait - just =
Turkey was later given a go signal to invade Kurdish areas of Iraq.

Grenada was part of America's unhealthy Cuba-fixation. I don't think =
the reasons for Panama are known yet. Iraq looks to me like a temporary =
victory for the Kuwaitis, the better investors among whom I expect to =
see living in Ibiza and commuting to offices in London and Zurich fairly =
soon. I agree with Moore that all three are rather bad jokes. To call =
them farts in the thunderstorm of history would rather overrate them, =
though none was a rose.

The publicly declared motivations for these US offensive operations were
clearly bogus. =20


The operations can however be easily understood in terms of
traditional "strategic interests" imperialism: Grenada, being blatantly
socialist, was simply too much of an embarrassment, so close to American
borders - a backbreaking straw added to the mortifying weight of Cuba on =
backyard of Uncle Sam's self image.=20

Gimme a break. Grenada, like Cuba, was another bunch of loons happy to =
play schoolbook politics with Russia's money. _Anything_ can be =
explained in terms of traditional "`strategic interests' imperialism." =
All it takes is an event and the bald assertion that imperialism is =
behind it. Child's play.

Noriega was =
threatening to get uppity
about the Panama Canal - as strategic an issue as you can imagine. =20

Moore has obviously not read a shipping schedule lately. Exports from =
Texas to Japan ship out from Long Beach -- which they get to by train. =
The Panama Canal handles tramp shipping and private yachts, not much =
else. Container ships, cruise liners and modern tankers are all too big =
to go through it.

was succeeding in building a modern secular Muslim state in the Middle =
- a precedent that threatened to undermine the controlled instability =
the US has so carefully fostered in the region; the last thing the US
(acting, as is traditional, in tacit support of major oil-company =
wants are stable, prosperous, oil-owning states which are not beholden =
outside interests to stay in power.

Horsefeathers. Saddam is no more a threat to America than the Shah, or =
the next generation of non-Saudairi Saudis. Iraq will continue to want =
its Kuwaiti province back, and eventually they'll get it -- probably =
about the time America wakes up from its anti-nuclear-power sleepwalk.

But careful consideration of this sequence of military-media offensives, =
I hope to illustrate, reveals that these were multi-mission =
<much snipped>

I have snipped the rest of Moore's article because it is so ordinary. =
The "High Tech" in his title is simply a bit of hand waving in the =
direction of the indefinite future. His "multi-mission exercises" are =
the attribution of sinister wisdoms after events. The fact is that China =
is now, and always will be, as certainly stalemated by nuclear weapons =
as the Soviet Union was. There may be some chance for the next little =
while of nuclear war by accident, but on the scale of human dangers it =
is probably much less important than DDT, viral mutation (an airborne =
AIDS, say), melting ice-caps, or McDonaldization of the arteries.
I think it is important to see that the Five Hundred Years War is now =
over. Pogo's "We have met the enemy and it is us" is not new. It is a =
major truth, and one upon which the hegemony of the Church rested before =
the recent five centuries or so of blut und eisen, plus fireworks, broke =
out. We now return to the status quo ante.
The important fluxes on the planet are once again cultural, and it is =
obvious that China and North Africa, strong cultures in the past, will =
re-emerge from the shade into which they were cast during the active =
centuries of the warlike North Europeans.
Sam Huntington, a hysterical ninny, casts this as the next wave of war, =
and Moore seems to buy his thesis, though through parlour pink =
spectacles. I think this is silly. Expressing the intermingling of =
cultures as war is simply the simian grunting of the North European =
warrior. Nothing more.

Posted by Richard K. Moore - - PO Box 26 Wexford, =
Cyberlib: | (USA =
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