Wednesday, October 07, 2009


A laughable country is a place where there can't be healthcare reform that doesn't involve a bonanza for for insurers, the parties that have caused all the problems.

It's one where seventeen percent of the population is either flat out of work or woefully underemployed, where a president dithers over Afghanistan -- a war absolutely no other advanced western nation seriously cares about, and an Afghan coffee cart pusher who looked like a terrorist out of bad central casting creates yesterday's news and an astonishingly huge spike in hits on DD blog.

It's also a place where one finds little things that you couldn't make up if you were writing satire.

Did you know "[the] U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., is interested in receiving research proposals on the best technologies for Counter Directed Energy Weapons (CDEW) to protect Navy and Marine Corps ships, submarines, aircraft, and other weapons from directed-energy weapons such as high energy laser technology, non-lethal weapons like laser 'dazzlers,' high power microwave transmitters, particle beam technology, or pulsed high power electromagnetic systems?"

Yes, we have the biggest military in the world. And there is literally almost no way in hell to get rid of even the most meretricious weapons development projects when the state of the nation is so needful of help.

In case this doesn't appear sufficiently ridiculous to you, consider there are no foreign navies, pirate groups or bands of disgruntled and filthy ragtag insurgents in landlocked countries now capable (or out to the distant future) of attacking US ships with directed energy weapons. The US Navy doesn't even have directed energy weapons! Unless you call glorified megaphones, loudspeakers, jammers and radars directed energy weapons.

Everyone else has given up trying to outspend the US military and its unstoppable race to acquire capabilities for wars it will never fight.

Yes, the US Navy is spending money in case we have to fight invaders from Alpha Centauri! Or someone escapees from the SyFy Channel.

What this is about -- besides the usual escaped-from-oversight nonsense is corporate welfare -- in this case, taken in crumbs -- for giant arms manufacturers. But even crumbs will do, as it's a giant sucking vacuum, hoovering every opportunity to take from the national larder.

The only good news and it's very small good news: "The total amount of contract and grand awards for this program may be as much as $15 million over the six years from 2010 to 2015."

Which is small pocket change and litter in the military budget. But still -- you could use that kind of pocket change, no? Anyone could think of fifty ways to spend this money more equitably for the national community instead of giving it away to the usual Lockheeds and Raytheons.

"Navy leaders also want advice from industry and academia on whether new systems are necessary for this purpose, or if existing Navy weapons may provide solutions to countering directed-energy threats," the notice also informs. "Pulsed high power electromagnetic systems can create effects similar to electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which results for nuclear explosions."

In a better world, the President would find out about things like this daily. And he would spend a minute on the phone to the Office of Naval Research, brook no debate, and tell 'em: "Look, you're going to give up this flavor of stupid and parasitic arms research. Have a heart. Think of your countrymen instead of what defense contractor you boys want to get a job at after you leave the Navy."


Blogger João o Ião said...

Yes should be laughable, but I guess it isn't.
Better get my tinfoil hat anyway!

2:10 PM  
Anonymous fenrir said...

Well, i don't know how this looks from the inside, but from the news i read, see or hear in Germany, i get the impression, that literally *every* decision your president makes imediately becomes the matter of a major debate and forces him to explain in far to great detail why he decided the way he did.
I can therefore understand why he tries to choose very specific subjects and neglects minor pains in the back.
All that (public) care for details, that has been missing throughout the Bush years has come back now and he has to deal with the change, that he proposed, if only to find out (like others before him) that what people really want is that tomorrow is about the same as today.

1:43 AM  
Blogger George Smith said...

Not the entire picture: It becomes a matter of major opposition by the GOP, which is not the party in power. If Obama says something, they immediately virulently oppose it.

This has led to stagnation. IN the security arena, simply a continuation of Bush administration ways, means and policy.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous fenrir said...

Ok, i see your problem: The democrats don't sufficiently support Obama who then has to get his "change" done all by himself.
I still tend to think he does the right thing by first reducing the risk for your countrymen, which he does by rebuilding international trust.
He has really created e new international image of the USA. This will in effect reduce the number of threats as far as INTERNATIONAL terrorism is concerned.
In the long run this should enable him to take back measures that where sold to the public as important for its safety without much fuss.
He thus evades the argument, that he simply came, put everyone at risk of being bombed to death and left the country to sink in chaos.
On the other hand your very own argument, that there is a very real threat as far as NATIONAL terrorism is concerned could also be of importance. Maybe one or two laws wont be removed in case they might be needed against some wellarmed private army with a very special idea of how the country should be reigned...

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Gabe said...

With regards to your comments on laser weapons... They are not nearly as laughable as you might think. I've spent the last 4+ yrs working laser systems including dazzlers and weapons. There have been 2 primary technology hurdles up to this point - power and pointing. First, we didn't have powerful enough lasers for effective weapons (but we do now). Understand that blowing a hole in something like they do in the movies is not the only way for a laser to be effective. What if you could hold a beam on a particular spot long enough with a low power laser? See this video:

Second, we didn't previously have the technology for the tight pointing that is required. However, today we do have both the sensors and pointing mechanisms - as the video proves - to do this. Had that car been moving at a few hundred miles an hour - like a missile would - the wind rushing over the hot patch would have ripped it open and destroyed it.

Dazzlers are a much easier weapon that can temporarily blind someone. They require much lower power lasers and less accurate pointing. (We are working on them/have them because we would like to temporarily blind snipers and such hiding among civilians.)

So we have the weapons and we know approx. what it costs to develop the weapons. For the US to lose a battle or a war another military does not need to defeat every aspect of our current military. They only need to find a single weakness they can repeatedly exploit - like temporarily blinding our troops with dazzlers. If we aren't prepared, the fight will be over by the time our soldiers' eyesight returns.

You don't wait until someone is knocking F-15s our of the sky left and right to replace them with F-22s or the Joint Strike Fighter. You don't wait until thousands of your troops have been killed or captured to counter a very viable threat like a dazzler. You just get a lot of good people killed that way.

9:42 AM  
Blogger George Smith said...

Always happy to see the entitlement and social programs for arms developers are working smoothly.

You don't wait until someone is knocking F-15s our of the sky left and right to replace them with F-22s or the Joint Strike Fighter. You don't wait until thousands of your troops have been killed or captured to counter a very viable threat like a dazzler. You just get a lot of good people killed that way.

Yes, I see your point. We have to keep ahead of the technology of the Taliban and any other wars we might choose to fight against 'enemies' who have militaries smaller than Texas' national guard and US marshall service. Because who knows when the Taliban or someone from al Qaeda will start an advanced weapons and jet fighter ace training school. Could be anytime now, better to be safe than sorry. Don't want to have to apologize to the families of people coming home in caskets. Oh, wait ...

10:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home