Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Evolution of Weaponry

Humanity used sticks to hurt one another for a very long time—until we became “smarter,” that is. No one is exactly sure when the basic club was invented, as such technology is prehistoric, but once we began to understand the uses of ordinary tools, we slowly thereafter began creating primitive daggers. Around 1,000 years beyond the conception of the dagger, our initial swords were constructed: these longer blades would hold an important role in warfare for more than 3,000 years.
The first firearm, however, did not appear until the 9th century A.D.
Nevertheless, despite the firearm being a much more complicated technology than the sword, the newer device was improved at more than double the rate of speed. After only 1,000 years, the firearm became the primary weapon of the battlefield, insofar that our highly advanced swords were made rather useless products in a relatively short period of human history.
In fact, the vast majority of our lethal creations have been developed during the past 200 years alone: fully automatic modern machine guns are hundreds of times more efficient than the firearms our forefathers used during the American Revolution. For any meaningful discussion of relatively inefficient means of technological destruction must paradoxically include many creations which are still rather “modern,” for 200 years are hardly a lengthy span of civilization’s existence, as even the most complicated assault rifles of today are already much less useful in defending empires from invasion than highly advanced swords or bayonets were during the pinnacle years of the firearm’s usefulness—World War I: by the time World War II was underway, vastly evolved machine guns were already second to tanks, artillery, fighter jets, and bombers. Today, however, even highly advanced cruise missiles, attack aircraft, tanks, and artillery are second to somewhat unspeakable forces—we fear to even mention our greatest defenses!
But although most of us may not be sure as to how our modern military should function, especially when we may not play a good amount of chess (the latter game supposedly emulates military strategy, inasmuch that it is said to stimulate “deep thought”), at the very least, we may understand traditional militaries often rely upon archaic tactics and cloudy objectives, for such schools of thought give a great deal of credence to mindless order and the execution of established principals.
Such is the reason why the British walked in a straight line while wearing murderously hot red clothing during the years of the American Revolution.
If we fought in Vietnam, we are likely aware of how even basic weaponry can be effective against highly advanced modern technology when one’s commanders are foolish.
Today, fighters in Iraq are discovering just how potent basic weaponry and/or psychological warfare may be against an incredibly more technologically advanced militaristic force!
Indeed, psychological and/or political warfare is much more important in modern times than any theoretical ability a nation may have to destroy vast amounts of enemy forces is, for there is virtually no concrete reason for any major nation of the world to attempt to invade another, and the poorer nations of the Earth are hardly a threat to the independence of the greater powers.
Of course, in modern times, the weapons of mass destruction even poorer nations may produce are of meaningful discussion to even the richest nations of the Earth—but that is a proof of the point being made at the moment, which is to say that money does not necessarily buy security. For although the people of the United States are exceptionally worried when poorer nations may gain our great unspoken nuclear powers, our own nuclear arms are far more numerous, not to mention incredibly more advanced; nevertheless, even these devices seem to give us little comfort.
Modern invasions and bombings of second world countries have recently been justified by the rich nations of the world through the citation of the failure of the United States to respond to Hitler’s aggression at the beginning of WWII, and the supposed evil that resulted from such strict non-interventionism on our behalf (which is actually arguable to begin with, in that the United States could have allowed Russia, Europe, and Asia to have been mostly taken over, as such large empires would have quickly rotted from within, while our own nation could have grown much stronger in the meantime from a wave of European and Asian scientists and engineers seeking sanctuary here), but even if we believe such non-interventionism was foolish, such a war as thus occurred in an age composed of entirely different weapons and geopolitical forces.
Most Americans would not care about the “collateral damage” we would inflict upon other nations if we are being invaded by them—much less if we were being overrun by foreign troops—we would surely feel justified using weapons of mass destruction on nations which used such weapons on us beforehand. After all, most people in the United States feel justified in our killings of hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children in Japan—and Vietnam for that matter; yet, such instances of brutality on our behalf were not even of a purely defensive nature: they were counter-attacks, at best (Vietnam was certainly not worth the United States’ involvement).
Historically speaking, invasion has been for one thing, and one thing only—risk.
Humanity has often viewed our unjustified military attacks on nonthreatening (and/or irrationally threatening) neighbors to be possibly economical (and/or even spiritual/ideological), for a people may theoretically conquer and/or convert their enemy, thereby assimilating the defeated nation(s) into their own: such goals are known as the spoils of war. Nevertheless, when one understands that most of the economic power of the modern world is impossible to capture without almost certainly destroying one’s own country in the process through nuclear war (purely ideological and spiritual matters certainly do not require weapons and/or a great deal of material power in order to be transmitted and/or protected), most of the origination of warfare is necessarily eliminated, as most of the world’s natural resources, and people, are probabilistically secure.
The only reason any major nation would attack another today is if they felt such was worth dying for as a matter of principal—and although Islamic terrorists are about the only forces in the world willing to be so foolish, it is worthy to note that such people are not nearly as hell bent on attacking Switzerland as they are the United States, despite the Swiss economy being on a level similar to our own (it is often said that Islamic terrorists are jealous of our nation’s riches and/or that they believe we should die for our materialistic values, which is a half-truth at best; it should not be surprising to believe that Islamic terrorists are much more upset over the United States’ often unflinching support of Israel and our desire to exploit the oil fields of the Middle East rather than them being jealous over our riches directly).
In any case, our enormously expensive conventional weapon systems are surely not cost-effective in fighting terrorism, as this type of military tactic does not even rely upon weaponry a great deal whatsoever—September 11th was the result of civilian airliners being flown into buildings! This is a much different type of warfare than that waged by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.
If we are to be completely honest with ourselves—even advanced fighter aircraft, tanks, and artillery are barely useful as “special” weapons for industrialized nations of today—not only are they far too expensive to use in the defense of rather poor second world nations, much less those of the third world, but such military arms do not even guarantee rich nations victory!
A tank that costs millions of dollars to produce is a rather easy target for a five hundred dollar remote controlled mine hidden on an occupied street. Similarly, the reason an eighteen million dollar attack helicopter can be brought down by a two-thousand dollar rocket propelled grenade is simple enough to understand—most of the technological innovations of our modern military were not meant to perform the de facto “specialized” roles we have assigned to them. Specialization can work wonders, of course, especially when one has an ultimate purpose in mind, to at least some extent, but the United States’ military is far too aimless in its point of existence.
The fact that we are “converting” our existing Cold War weaponry to deal with terrorism violates the concept of specialization to begin with, although our government admits this when they desire our support for completely new weapon systems altogether. However, political admittance is hardly anything more than rhetoric the vast majority of the time, for our most expensive military systems currently in development are still being designed in order that they may eliminate massive conventional armies, for these machines were initially planned well before 9/11/2001—many of our “future” weapons on the drawing board today were initially imagined shortly before the Soviet Union fell: our defense industry has simply substituted the need to fight “communism” with the need to fight “terrorism.”
The Apache Longbows used in Iraq today were made to counter dozens of armed targets in a single moment through the use of heat-seeking missiles—they were never primarily manufactured to kill infantry disguised as civilians in urban settings.
F-16s were definitely not designed in order to bomb such people.
One may be wondering, after all, why it took ten years after the Soviet Union’s demise in order for us to understand we should no longer be making such weapon systems an economic priority—unless we believe countries such as Kosovo and Kuwait were worth trillions of dollars for the United States and Europe to defend in the 1990s—at the expense of dozens of other poor nations, for we could have used this amount of money to build up poor countries already at peace.
For what would have been the use (given the enormous uncertainties involved) of incredibly efficient attack helicopters and tanks in a direct war between the United States and the Soviet Union of the late 1970s and beyond to begin with?
Is it reasonable to assume that everyone would play fair in WWIII, despite the fact that we would be killing massive amounts of one another—even conventionally?
Perhaps it is possible that we would use inefficient methods of death and destruction for a time as a sort of gentlemen’s courtesy, as the commanders of civilized forces used to meet and have dinner with one another before their troops attempted to cut each others’ heads off, but in any case, we are far too ahead of ourselves.
1984 is a very interesting year, both in fiction, and in reality.
In fiction, it is the year in which George Orwell predicted totalitarianism would rule the entire planet. He predicted furthermore that the major nations of the world would be locked in an epic and never-ending battle between three major Superstates. These gigantic nations would be completely balanced militarily: although their alliances among one another would shift periodically, they could never truly defeat one another.
It is for this reason I shudder to mention creating anything resembling a “Superstate” between the United States, Britain, Australia, and Canada, but let us set this thought aside for a moment, as one could already assume the world is us thus: the European Union is quickly splitting from the United States and Britain as a result of our overly aggressive policies, while China, Russia and even India are becoming ever closer.
One specific prediction by Orwell was that the major nations of the world would continue to fight battles against one another in smaller nations, even though it was not truly economical for them to do so as an collective society, as the destruction and waste of warfare in and of itself would keep a relatively few fascist leaders in social positions of “power.”
In the 1984 of fiction:

War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength.

In the real world, the production of Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles began for the United States’ military in the year 1984. Each of these missiles contained ten 300-kiloton W87 warhead/MK-21 Rvs.
It is a good thing we had such a great actor as our head of state; surely, he must have struck some amount of fear into the Soviets’ hearts. Then again, one may argue that the threat of full-scale nuclear war was far more fearful than any theatrical performance may have been—for it is strange to imagine that the Soviet Union was completely fooled by our “planned” star wars missile defense system (the plan to pass the expense of such through Congress was surely not imaginary), as the Soviets could monitor outer space, and as they were not far behind us in missile technology: the Soviet’s are the ones that began the space race by launching humanity’s first artificial satellite, after all.
But let us assume that the Communists assumed our theoretical missile defense system worked.
In other words: what if they thought that the United States could have shot down all of their nuclear weapons and killed all of them in a case whereby they attacked us first?
They would not have even had the joy in knowing we would have been dead too!
Unless the Soviets were complete masochistic and suicidal, this would not have made much sense to them, for it is not as if Communists believe forty virgins are given to martyrs in Heaven.
Surely, missile “defense” was more of an offense to the Soviets than anything.
And yet, we have hardly even analyzed the world’s nuclear weaponry yet.
Perhaps a picture will make things easier for us.

It is certain that some may mistake these lights to be the descent of angels from Heaven.
But if the Hiroshima bomb was fearful, imagine what a nation would feel when ten even more powerful warheads rain death from above—each streak of light in the picture above is a warhead separated from its Peacekeeper carrier—one such warhead is capable of being twenty times as powerful as the nuclear bomb of Hiroshima: in total, therefore, a single Peacekeeper missile was capable of being at least 200 times more efficient in its creation of destruction than the greatest B-29 of WWII. In reality, however, a Peacekeeper missile was much more efficient than thus, as its power could be dispersed among many different locations simultaneously, and more importantly, as its warheads would have been nearly impossible to shoot down in 1984 (due to their rapid speed of tens of thousands of miles per hour and the past limits of anti-missile technology).
There is little doubt that a single Peacekeeper missile targeting a major modern metropolitan area would have produced a catastrophic event well beyond anything recorded before in human history: the nuclear attacks on Japan in WWII would have been incredibly small in comparison to such a strike. Nevertheless, in 1984, a single Peacekeeper missile was hardly felt to be enough to defend the United States.
114 Peacekeeper missiles were manufactured.
With a range of 6,000 miles, a Peacekeeper missile was capable of striking most strategic targets in the world with little difficulty, for this is the approximate distance between Los Angeles and Australia. In 1984, the United States extended all the way from Maine to the tip of Alaska, and we held island territories in Guam and Hawaii. If this amount of territory was not enough to put our enemies within the range of such missiles, the United States were allied with Britain, Australia, and many other nations at the time: it was more than possible for us to have potentially placed such missiles in a large number of military bases around the world.
Nevertheless, despite the great theoretical power of our Peacekeeper missiles, our generals felt the system was highly vulnerable. Our commanders asserted such weapons could have been destroyed somewhat easily before they could have been launched, insofar that we should have possibly created a railway system of some sort in order that we may have transported and stored our Peacekeeper missiles in the event of a surprise attack by an enemy of some sort. As to how statistically vulnerable the Peacekeeper missile system was thought to have been, and as to how useful a railway track would have been in protecting them, one may not be certain (one would think, however, that railroads near hardened missile silos would have been much easier to have destroyed than hardened missile silos would have been themselves—although one must also wonder how we could have launched stored missiles without any hardened missile silos leftover to begin with).
In any case, since I am not a physicist, engineer, or military strategist, let us simply assume that the Peacekeeper missile system was at least slightly survivable, insofar that only 10% of the system would have likely remained operational after an enemy surprise attack: in this case, we would have still had 11 such missiles leftover, which is a fair enough amount of firepower to have destroyed the relatively more important parts of the civilized world, much less the important parts of the Soviet Union (if it was felt that the Peacekeeper missile system was likely not even this survivable, one must wonder why we ever built 114 such missiles, as each Peacekeeper missile cost $70 million, which is an expense one would think should have been worthy of a good amount of consideration, especially since we could have used this money in order to have built much more survivable nuclear options, which shall be discussed in an oncoming section of this book).
Now that we know the range, power, and theoretical vulnerabilities of Peacekeeper missiles, let us examine a possible scenario in which they may have been utilized.
Although the United States contain many more people in 2007 than the Soviet Union possessed in 1984, imagine what would occur if the Soviet Union of the past launched only 11 Peacekeeper missiles at the United States of today. The Soviets would likely target our major metropolitan areas first and foremost in order that they may produce maximum economical and political damage (eventually, this enormous amount of destruction would weaken our military forces a great deal).
Remember: each city in the following list would be hit with the power of 200 Hiroshima-sized bombs, and these detonations would be distributed throughout such metropolitan areas, insofar that there would even be some overlap in areas not directly hit. Any person lucky enough to survive the heat of these attacks would thereafter be engulfed by an enormous amount of radiation, and they would receive very little medical aid and attention for a good amount of time. For all intents and purposes, each and every city on the Soviets’ target list would be completely destroyed.

Cities Possibly Destroyed by a launch of 11 Peacekeeper Missiles

New York
Los Angeles
San Francisco
San Diego
Washington DC

Imagine what the United States would be like as a result of such a strike: our financial and political centers would be destroyed; a large percentage of our population would be killed; an enormous amount of our infrastructure would be eliminated; and what is more, many of the intermediate products originally manufactured in such destroyed cities would thereafter need to be created in whatever cities may remain: in other words, if one’s local businesses largely relied upon parts and/or labor from any of the areas listed above, and/or if one’s suppliers relied on such, one would essentially be out of business themselves until such products and/or services were restored—essentially, a massive economic ripple effect would result. The modern economies of nations are extremely interconnected; the entire world would be sent into a catastrophic scenario, insofar that we would not be able to receive a large amount of International aid in the event of such an attack—the expectations of such matters alone would likely cause the situation to be even worse than it would be in and of itself!
This type of a situation would make the Great Depression and WWII seem as if they were walks in the park, although there would surely be a great amount of work available for us to perform—our economic statistics would look fantastic from this point onward, as we would need a great amount of economic “growth” to get us back to where we were originally!
The events of September 11th show how little fear and damage is necessarily in order to bring a great nation to its knees. Some of our politicians glorified our economy’s “resiliency” when the stock indices of the United States only dropped 14% after a few of our airlines crashed into some of our buildings—despite our markets having been closed for an entire week after the attacks—but surely, if only a few civilian airliners could cause such a massive amount of financial damage, one could only image what would occur from two Peacekeeper missiles hitting New York City and Washington D.C alone.
One of the United States greatest bombings of Japan occurred when we sent a handful of conventional aircraft in a genius attack that struck them in their hearts.

When you kill one, it is a tragedy; when you kill a million, it is a statistic.
--Joseph Stalin

Although terrorist attacks are certainly tragic for our nation, inasmuch that a single life is worth more then many people realize—such events are nothing compared to the unimaginable horror our relatively powerful country would feel from only 11 Peacekeeper missiles hitting our cities—then again, death may very well be peaceful.
In any case, would America have ever tried to invade the Soviet Union if the later nation merely had a handful of such weapons on standby, along with a limited conventional defense force that may have guaranteed their nuclear weapons’ survivability long enough for them to have launched such a “small” counterattack against us?
We are afraid enough of the potential nuclear weapons of Iraq and Iran! Even if Iran shall build nuclear weapons in the next ten years, their uranium and technological resources will limit their weapons to be much smaller, less accurate, and less numerous than 11 Peacekeeper missiles would have been, even though our future anti-missile technology shall be far more advanced than that which the United States of 1984 possessed.
For even if we had wanted to have “freed” the Soviets, the simple answer as to why we never attempted to set a militaristic boot in their empire is obvious—we were not completely suicidal ourselves, as the Soviets truly had far more nuclear arms than a few Peacekeeper missiles.
And yet, although it would have been impossible for the United States to have invaded the Soviet Union, the Soviets were quite incapable of conquering Afghanistan conventionally. Nuclear weapons were not even needed to defend such a poor nation against Soviet aggression: a relatively cheap stinger missile system, C.I.A. training, and Islamic fanaticism were enough to defeat the great evil Superpower many people in the United States thought would be the inevitable deliverer of Armageddon.
Nevertheless, our Senators and Presidents from both political parties throughout the decades following WWII declared adamantly that the leaders of the Soviet Union were incapable of basic reason. It was argued that the Communists were more than willing to launch a full-scale nuclear attack against the United States, if not for the simple fact that we were a “capitalistic” society. They claimed a war between the Soviet Union and the United States would not be based upon anything economical, but instead, it would be based upon purely ideological differences. There was no doubt that such brutal and insane dictators would be incapable of the fear of death: it was explained to us that the Soviets simply cared about power, domination, and the destruction of life; they did not care about peace, and their people were cowards afraid of rising up against those who ruled over them on their own!
Sounds familiar; doesn’t it?
Perhaps our politicians were right to tell us to be afraid of the Soviets, even though history has proved otherwise, insofar that the Soviets likely feared us much more than we feared them, but even so, one must question the reasoning of the American government even furthermore than we have, for we would have only needed roughly seven Peacekeeper missiles to have reached their intended targets in order for us to have eliminated the majority of the U.S.S.R.’s economy if such targets were the following: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, and two additional cities, all of which could have been completely destroyed with such an amount of weaponry (most Americans are probably unable to name more than four Russian cities today!).
For if only seven Peacekeeper missiles were not a large enough nuclear deterrent (which was less than 6% of the past United States’ Peacekeeper arsenal), as the Soviets were actually unafraid of death and destruction, than there was definitely no use in the United States building so many expensive fighter jets and other types of conventional weaponry in addition to such an amount of Peacekeeper missiles, just as there is no use in building such conventional weaponry today in order to defeat Islamic fascists, although for opposite reasons (even conventional weapons are too large in our new war of “ideology”).
Indeed, we have spent our money on far more needless conventional matters than Peacekeeper missiles, as one would think a few $70 million ICBMS would be a fairly cost-effective method of inducing fear in light of the money we are willing to spend on a single airplane at times.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.
-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell address, 1961

When Eisenhower spoke these words, the Cold War had hardly even begun. Therefore, this quotation does not show the truth of how much unwarranted influence the defense industry now holds over the American Congress, much less the other various branches of our government—including that which is the most important, which is to say, the masses of the United States. For although the potential of nations to claim the spoils of war has almost entirely evaporated from the Earth—taxes surely have not—such funds as thus always make war beneficial to one party or another.
But let us examine the military industrial complex in true detail.
Just for fun, let us analyze meaningless fighter aircraft in particular.

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