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Innovation in warfare

Warfare is an area of human endeavour constantly subject to innovation: how to fuck over your enemy at low cost, low risk, and ideally, without him knowing you were responsible. Drones have shown their worth, and I am awaiting the next Pearl Harbour via a force of drones. Why would you ever hit an enemy with an air force when you could almost without cost wipe out the US Pacific Fleet with drones.

The drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities this weekend were a case in point. It leads me to think that a great deal of military equipment, doctrine, training and investment is wasted, not in the sense that all military spending is wasted – of course it is, to a pacifist – but is wasted from a purely military point of view. Much may be useless under modern conditions.

I am reminded, uncomfortably, of a recent article by the always entertaining Fred Reed, in Unz review. The Unz Review is a collection of the most outrageous opinionators on the planet, and I cannot vouch for the sanity of many of them. But Fred Reed is reliably sane.

Says Reed:

” In extended periods of peace, which includes the bombing of peasants, a military tends to assume that no major war will come during the careers of those now in uniform. Commanders consequently do what makes their lives easy, what they must do to get through the day and have reasonable fitness reports. This does not include pointing out inadequacies of training or equipment. Nor does it include recommending large expenditures to remedy deficiencies. Nor does it include recommending very expensive mobilization exercises that would divert money from new weapons….”

” An aircraft carrier is a bladder of jet fuel wrapped around high explosives.The implications are considerable. A plunging hypersonic terminally-guided ballistic missile, piercing the flight deck and exploding in the hangar deck, would require a year in the repair yards. The Russians and Chinese are developing–have developed–missiles specifically to take out carriers. Note that the range of some of these missiles is much greater than the combat radius of the carrier’s aviation. Oops. “

” This happens partly because militaries are overconfident as a job requirement. You can’t tell the Marines that they are at best mediocre light infantry or the Navy that it is essentially a target setl. Instead the American armed forces are always said to be the best equipped, best trained, bravest, most formidable military that the world has ever seen. Except they aren’t. “

I do not think that all those American carrier battle fleets will survive a modern missile attack, and I hope that American admirals are conscious of the problem.

Obsolete? Obsolescent?