|What is a weapon of
"miniscule destruction?" We have a lot of them to neutralize
Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. They can burrow
into the belly of the Beast of Terror and explode on command four
stories beneath the earth. Some are "hotter than Hell," able to
burn the life out of smallpox. Some are giant microwave ovens
that "kill" electronics but not humans. Find out how we're
armed to the Vigilant Teeth to take on any Beast of Terror.
26, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 440
Weapons of Miniscule Destruction
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Nov. 26 --The
war against weapons of mass destruction is being fought with weapons of
miniscule destruction. At least, that's the plan.
As we approach Thanksgiving Eve and the weapons
inspectors start their search throughout Iraq, about the size of the State
of California, for weapons that will breech a U.N. pact and become a
trigger for war, strategic planners are looking at an array of weapons
designed to blow up targets with frightening accuracy and effectiveness.
The old expression, "the
only difference between boys and men are their toys," holds true in
reviewing the arsenal of technologically advanced weapons we have in store
for Iraq. Each one seems a Buck Rodgers dream.
I come from the
"free-fire-zone" combat era of Vietnam. In "my war," napalm
was laid like fiery eggs from the sky upon the earth below, turning rich
verdant forests and everything around them into balls of coughing black
and orange hell. Carpet bombing was employed three decades
ago, saturating earth with 500- to 1000-pound bombs that literally gave
the womb of Mother Earth a D&C.
Napalm in Vietnam
Sheets of Agent Orange, a
vicious defoliant, was spread over pristine jungles to expose movement
below, and, of course, to indiscriminately kill or maim anyone below.
There were countless other weapons such as Mother Bombs that dropped
little baby bombs that spewed shrapnel everywhere, and the most deadly of
course, the "free fire zone" which authorized the killing of anything that
War has become much more surgical and
humane as the world watches every bomb drop and every bullet speed to its
target through the high technology of satellite communication.
The GBU-58 a
laser guided bomb
In the recent issue
of the New Yorker, author Nicholas Leman provides a smorgasbord of new
technology the U.S. has strapped to its waist, waiting to use against
Hussein. One such weapon of "miniscule destruction" is an
evolution from the JDAMs, Joint Direct Attack Munitions used frequently in
Afghanistan. Called the GBU-28 (Guided Bomb Unit), its primary
goal is to blow up hardened underground facilities such as bunkers.
It has a hard-target smart fuse, says Leman, set to penetrate to a certain
depth where it can explode a thousand pounds of TNT. Advanced
sensors can "sniff" out the difference between concrete and earth, and the
bomb can, for example, be programmed to go off on the fourth level of an
underground bunker where intelligence suspects there may be an operations
or weapons center. The 1000-pound blast it creates is about one
twentieth of the A-Bomb explosion (20,000 tons of TNT equivalent) that
scorched the earth at Hiroshima, Japan to end WW II.
weapons systems likely debuting in Iraq
I thought of the
Beast of Terror running from the tunnel to tunnel, trying to get deeper
and deeper into his Cave of Terror, being sought after by computerized
smart bombs that could tell what level he was hiding in and burrowing
themselves closer and closer to him. I wondered what Saddam Hussein
thought when he read the New Yorker with its "up-on-the-table" information
about weapons seemingly singularly designed to attack Saddam.
I went on the next weapon, finding the
first one fascinating.
I'd heard of it in sci-fi, and wasn't sure
it was perfected for use. Apparently it is, except for actual battle
testing. That will come if we shove Iraq against the wall and
One of the newest bombs
slated for debut in Iraq is the "microwave bomb." It's like
dropping thousands upon thousands of microwave ovens on a target, all with
their doors open, sending out pulsing of electromagnetic energy that seeks
out electrical systems such as transformers, antennae and computers.
The microwave pulses literally burn them out, even if they're underground.
The purpose is to knock out communications systems when specific targets
aren't known. Allegedly, there is no damage to human beings.
But, I wondered, what would happen to all the dogs?
The technology gets even more sci-fi
as you read deeper into Leman's article. One of his key sources was
Daniel Goure, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a think tank
not far from the Pentagon. The mission of the institute
includes "limiting the role of the federal government to those functions
explicitly stated or implicitly defined by the Constitution."
I was a little suspect of his credentials as Constitutional watchdog since
he served as the director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness for
Paul Wolfowitz, when George H. W. Bush was president.
Wolfowitz was then Under Secretary of Defense and is now Deputy Secretary
of Defense. During the Gulf War, Goure's job was trying to
figure out where Iraq's Scud missiles were. Based on his
hawkish background, the idea of "limiting" anything in the federal
government seemed an oxymoron. But I did feel his expertise in
weaponry high on the authority list.
Gore told Leman about a new category
of anti-biochemical warfare weapons slated to be used in Iraq.
The primary one is a thermobaric bomb. It penetrates underground
facilities and sets off a blast of heat and pressure intense enough to
eliminate anthrax or smallpox germs. The weapon has yet to be
used successfully in combat, and there is a question it will have the
desired effect if such biochemical weapons are kept in heatproof
Other weapons slated for
deployment include a new Apache helicopter, the Apache Longbow. New
to the battlefields, the Apache Longbow can fire a new Hellfire guided
missile. The Hellfire missile contains a sheet of copper that
it melts internally and then ejects in molten form, at close range, right
through a tank's armor, destroying everything inside, Leman reported Goure
Apparently, the Apache Longbow
can "hear a tank," and sit just under the horizon with sixteen Hellfire
missiles, and, according to Goure, "One helicopter can take out most of a
tank battalion from behind a hill."
there's the most nefarious of all weapons--the CIA's Predator, an unmanned
plane, also capable of firing a Hellfire missile. The CIA
plane was used recently to assassinate a senior Al Qaeda leader in Yemen.
I'm sure there are a lot more
weapons under the table that the public doesn't know about that will be
tested in Iraq for killing efficiency. We'll probably hear about
them prior to our next war, but the idea of the super technology at our
disposal makes me think that Saddam Hussein is a rat in a maze, with
American technology standing over the maze, staring down into it with
clipboards and formulas using him as an experiment in "Technological
The "GI Joe" in me is
fascinated by all the new armament, but the warrior in me takes it all
with a grain of salt. The last time I remembered war, it ended up
with hand-to-hand combat, two guys slugging it out until one stood.
Perhaps that's my "Marine mentality," but in the end, all the technology
in the world is only designed to make it easier for assault troops to take
the territory with blood and guts. And then, holding it.
I guess what amazes me about
all the technological weaponry is why we can't use such incredible
advances to find an Osama or a Saddam. I keep thinking Iraq
and Afghanistan are weapons testing centers, not real war zones.
It's like looking at the Lexington Institute as a CIA front, hiding behind
Constitutional watchdogging. I find myself thinking of Robert
Redford in Three Days of the Condor, a CIA thriller where there is a rogue
CIA within the CIA.
If there is
one consolation about the new technology, it is that the world will be
watching for collateral damage limitations. By all
appearances, the modern weapons seek to limit collateral damage. For
that, I'm glad. In my war, you had to walk through the blood
of the innocent to get to the enemy. It still sticks to my soul.
Thanksgiving will be a time
I'll celebrate my thanks for Vigilance. I'll hope that Courage,
Conviction and Right Actions will overpower Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency. I'll hope that the weapons inspectors stir the pot in
Iraq, and that the people would rather rise up and change their government
than have our "missiles of miniscule destruction" burrowing into their
lands womb, seeking the cancerous cells protruding here and there.
While I am eager for a peaceful
resolution, that GI Joe in me is also eager to see these new weapons
tested in combat. It is just a reminder the Beast of
Terror inside me is alive and well, and a further reminder that during
Thanksgiving I need to remember the Sentinels of Vigilance are just one
percent bigger than the Beast.
Comments From Government Document regarding "smart bombs" evolution:
"First used during the second half of the Vietnam War, smart bombs have
revolutionized aerial bombardment. In 1944, 650 dumb bombs were required
to destroy a stationary target. In Vietnam, this number dropped to 175.
During the Persian Gulf War, only around four smart bombs were required to
destroy the same target. While 9 % of the munitions used by U.S. forces in
the Gulf were smart, that number jumped to 38% during the 1999 air
campaign over Kosovo, and is reported to be around 80% for the current war
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