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November 22, 2005

The Next Weapons Controversy?

The NE round.

[I]t is a thermobaric mixture which ignites the air, producing a shockwave of unparalleled destructive power, especially against buildings.

A post-action report from Iraq describes the effect of the new weapon: 'One unit disintegrated a large one-storey masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed.' Elsewhere it is described by one Marine as 'an awesome piece of ordnance.'

It proved highly effective in the battle for Fallujah. This from the Marine Corps Gazette, July edition: 'SMAW gunners became expert at determining which wall to shoot to cause the roof to collapse and crush the insurgents fortified inside interior rooms.'

. . .

[I]t’s understandable that the Marines have made so little noise about the use of the SMAW-NE in Fallujah. But keeping quiet about controversial weapons is a lousy strategy, no matter how effective those arms are. In the short term, it may save some bad press. In the long term, it’s a recipe for a scandal. Military leaders should debate human right advocates and the like first, and then publicly decide 'we do/do not to use X'. Otherwise when the media find do find out – as they always do -- not only do you get a level of hysteria but there is also the charge of 'covering up.'

[The author is] undecided about thermobarics myself, but I think they should let the legal people sort out all these issues and clear things up. Otherwise you get claims of 'chemical weapons' and 'violating the Geneva Protocol.' Which doesn't really help anyone. The warfighter is left in doubt, and it hands propaganda to the bad guys. Just look at what happened it last week’s screaming over white phosphorous rounds.

Lawyers? Disproportionate force? Don't some of these same people want us to send 400,000 troops to Iraq. It's crazy. Do whatever works, i say.

In 1991 it was electric filaments that were inhumane. And they didn't even kill anybody. This time it's the white phosphorous nonsense. Nobody ever mentions that we used white phosphorous in World War II. If it wasn't for WP, it would have taken us much longer to break out of hedgerow country after D-Day. The world would be a different place, let me tell you.

Remember what Dupont said (or was it Monsanto?): "Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible."

Via commenter Shelly.

Posted by annika, Nov. 22, 2005 | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: annikapunditry


Sweeeet. I always thought the SMAW was a great piece of gear. One of the things that makes it so great is that, because it's not disposable, it's very flexible. Just select the ammo that suits your purpose. (It used to be that they were developing an anti-tank round for the SMAW that, as I recall, was going to have terminal effects comparable to a Dragon AT missile. That's pretty darned good, and it'd give the infantry company a serious organic anti-tank capability -- albeit one of very limited range. I don't know it it ever came to fruition.)

As to the legal mumbo-jumbo, I've always found people who suffer the delusion that it's possible to civilize killing to be very annoying. It just ain't, except on the margins. It's one thing to say that it's not OK to conduct massed air or artillery strikes on civilian population centers (although we've certainly done that). It's quite another to say that although you can kill an enemy combatant in a war zone using Method A, you can't kill him using Method B -- even though Method B will save American lives, and its only additional collateral effects beyond Method A are upon inanimate objects. What's an American serviceman's life worth?

I frankly find the whole concept of international law more or less laughable, given that most of it is of questionable legitimacy and is largely unenforceable except against the weakest states.

Posted by: Matt on Nov. 23, 2005

A few words from the good Colonel are in order:

We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig. Cow after cow. Village after village. Army after army

It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.

We make them drop fire on people, but we won't let them write FUCK! on the sides of their airplanes.

I've seen the horrors, horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me, you have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me.

-Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 23, 2005

alk about the left fishing for an issue.

If thermobaric mixture is a chemical weapon then gunpowder is one too.

One must remember that the more destructive the weapon, the more of a deterrent it is to the enemy. It might be a reason Al Qaida is avoiding combat with us. Instead, they have switched to blowing up women and children and setting land mines for our troops.

Posted by: Jake on Nov. 23, 2005


That boy of yours still at OCS? A former boss of mine just put his eldest through Boot Camp; the kid (I still think of him as a kid; he was only 11 or 12 last time I saw him) just received his 0311 MOS and is now awaiting orders to, most likely, 1st Mar Div -- and from there, very probably, on to one sandbox or another. Whew. Did you know they're giving the Recon indoc at SOI now? He's waiting to learn whether they want him.

Posted by: Matt on Nov. 23, 2005

Week Seven and doing well. WTF, I'm a good teacher. Here is my young idiot.

I told him that a sure way to get his pic taken is to flash a shit-eating grin whenever he saw a camera, because nobody else would be smiling. Give them something different, and people will notice. Lord willing and the river don't rise, he'll be commissioned 16 December.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 23, 2005

There's a simple solution for the white flag crowd objecting to weapons like these that save American lives; just let them take the point on the next house assault without this kind of support.

Great pic, Casca. If the kid is lucky, he'll get sent to Gitmo where he can meet my beautiful niece is who will coincidentally make 03 in December. She's NI, and has had two trips to the Gulf already, including the first dustup.

If he'd not, he'll get a trip to Fallujah. Is that pic at Lejune or Quantico?

Don't know the line yet, but bet the Red on December 3. Bruins have a good passer but no running game, which makes them easier to defend.

Posted by: shelly on Nov. 24, 2005

Right down where the Chopawamsic Creek joins the Potomac, where the mud smells like pig shit in old Quanitco.

Actually, Gitmo isn't a great place to be if you're a Marine. He'll go to school for most of the next year, then a fleet tour for two or three years, then to MCRD San Diego hopefully, where he'll figure out that he should be working in bio-tech on Sorrento Ridge and on his PhD at UCSD.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 24, 2005

Kidding aside, if your kid is looking for a great bio-tech education, he needs to take a close look at USC. Eli Broad, who unlike George Soros uses his billions to make eduction and arts a lot better, has decided that too many kids are graduating from Cal Tech, UCLA and USC and leaving the area. So after getting USC to spend a hundred mil on a hundred new top professors, he wants to build the nations top bio-tech park up where the County now has its outdated juvenile hall detention facility and court.

The have J.K. McKay (remember him as the guy who made Pat Hayden look good?)as the head of the project. This will happen in the next few years.

Besides which, they have a dynasty going and Pete Carroll may be on his tenth straight national championship by then. Hell, they may even have a defense by then.

Posted by: shelly on Nov. 25, 2005

Fine looking soldier. If the enemy sees that grin, they will surely turn and run.

Posted by: gcotharn on Nov. 26, 2005

Jeez, I just followed the trackback, and had a vivid recollection of the teachings of my youth, where I was taught to, "Blind 'em, Burn 'em, and Blast 'em!"

What that means of course is to chuck some smoke grenades up by a fortified position so that they can't see you, then get your flame thrower dude to crawl up where he can squirt jellied gasoline through the observation ports, while some young stud with a satchel charge runs up and throws it on top or inside the position, either will do.

I much prefer the smaw.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 26, 2005