Every Man a Missile Silo

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In Technology Review, Mark Williams peers at the Lebanon War and discusses "how the democratization of missile technology—cruise missile technology, in particular—is reshaping global realities."

[Via Lew Rockwell.]

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  1. From the article: ” “The brothers…are no longer interested in games with Kalashnikov rifles; they want anti-tank rockets….When this technology arrives, how difficult would it be for one of the fighters to sit on the Palestinian side of the wall at Abu Dis and fire a rocket at the King David Hotel? With less effort than a suicide bombing or shooting one can fire a missile and get the same results”

    At that point the idea of Palestine dies because in the fighting that ensues all of the Palestinians will need to flee the West Bank to avoid being killed.

  2. Williams is exactly right about the Revolution in Military affairs. With the proliferation of GPS technology, those missiles are going to get more and more accurate. Troop densities peaked in late 19th Century. They have been going down ever since. In 1916, the Germans retreated to a new defensive line in France and shortened their line by 30 miles and freed up 10 divisions or about 100,000 people. That is a density of over 3,000 troops per mile of front. Today, even a heavy brigade combat team of 3,500 would function over a front of 60 to 100 miles or more. The densities are only going to get smaller as lethality of individuals increases.

    I don’t see how this can ever be for the better. As the lethality of individual weapons increases and groups like Hezbollah are more and more willing to hide in civilian populations one of two things happens; either nations loose their ability to control territories and win wars and chaos and Somalia writ large over the world, or the industrial armies go back to doing what they do best, killing huge numbers of civilians. If Israel had just carpet bombed Southern Lebanon with no regard for civilian casualties, there wouldn’t be a Hezbollah left anymore nor anyone to support them. The same is true with Iran. Why send a carrier task force when a few hundred well placed nukes would end the threat all together? Both of those scenarios are pretty scary.

  3. Scary, sure, John. But don’t forget GPS navigation is only good when you control the system.

  4. So maybe the only thing the Israelis can do is hold the future of Mecca hostage to good behavior on the part of Islamist fanatics.

  5. As the lethality of individual weapons increases and groups like Hezbollah are more and more willing to hide in civilian populations one of two things happens

    Fighting among civilian populations is classic urban warfare. Are you going to claim that the Russian troops at Stalingrad were using their own population as human shields? Hezbollah is the most 3rd-generation non-state actor in the middle east. They didn’t leave their positions when the civilian population left, they stayed and continued to fight in the rubble, defending the geography as a 3rd generation army would.

    If Israel had just carpet bombed Southern Lebanon with no regard for civilian casualties, there wouldn’t be a Hezbollah left anymore nor anyone to support them.

    Hezbollah has a lot of bunkers, as the IDF discovered when they moved in. Bombing alone was not and would not have been more effective.

  6. Hezbollah has a lot of bunkers, as the IDF discovered when they moved in. Bombing alone was not and would not have been more effective.

    If they use thermobaric weapons, the bunker denizens will suffocate.

  7. And the US gave shoulder-fired missiles to the Mujahedin in Afghanistan.

    What’s new about this, exactly?

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