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War on Terrorism (Politics)
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DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
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Better detection and destruction of in-coming Exocets, I guess. (A whole 'synthetic' industry to serve or react to a situation created by some earlier cock-up, rather than addressing the root cause... That's the trouble with backwards-compatibility, with evolution in general... Just look at the anti-virus/security industry. I think maybe the idea of band-aids for owies you shouldn't have might apply in academia, too...)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Better detection and destruction of in-coming Exocets

Not being able to do this was hurriedly built in to the war plans. If you remember, HRH Prince Andrew was ordered to hover in his helicopter in front on the assumption it was better to lose a prince-of-the-realm than a ship-of-the-line.

But speaking of backward compatibility, it was demonstrated in 1943 that all navies were obsolete when the Germans sunk the battleship Roma with a single stand-off guided bomb. But since nobody has attacked the US navy with anything more effective than Al-Qaida's speedboat-crewed-by-suicide-bombers at Yemen (to which there is also no current defence) this fact has been conveniently ignored.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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DPCrisp wrote:
Better detection and destruction of in-coming Exocets, I guess. (A whole 'synthetic' industry to serve or react to a situation created by some earlier cock-up, rather than addressing the root cause... That's the trouble with backwards-compatibility, with evolution in general... Just look at the anti-virus/security industry. I think maybe the idea of band-aids for owies you shouldn't have might apply in academia, too...)


In general, militaries seem to show better response times than other branches of government, but still slower than the private sector (though, in fairness, the response of the private sector is often the demise of one outfit and its succession by another -- which is not directly comparable to what militaries must do).

And in fairness to this specific situaton, the life-span of a vessel can be 75 years! You can't rebuild your entire navy. You must develop better defences to safeguard the navy you have.

And the U.S. has in fact developed new ships it believes are much more "resistant" to missile attack. The new Stealth ships.





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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Mick Harper wrote:
...it was demonstrated in 1943 that all navies were obsolete when the Germans sunk the battleship Roma with a single stand-off guided bomb.


Even if your argument is granted, the Navy is not obsolete so long as it exists in a world where facing off against guided bombs is not required. The purpose of the modern fleet is to position aircraft carriers and protect in transit amphibious invasion forces. Seems to me it worked out ok in the Falklands, Exocets be damned.

But since nobody has attacked the US navy with anything more effective than Al-Qaida's speedboat-crewed-by-suicide-bombers at Yemen (to which there is also no current defence) this fact has been conveniently ignored.


How are these any more threatening than the WW2 era PT Boat?
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Grant



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Mick Harper wrote
The designers of the Exocet were doubtless as surprised as Al-Qaida to discover that modern constructive metals burn better than they explode.

I don't think even the most extreme conspiracy theorist has said that the steel in the WTC actually caught light!
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Grant



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Ishmael said:

I rather think it's obvious that sky-scrapers tend to collapse at exactly the rate at which they get struck by passenger airliners. It's precisely 3 for 3 and no more (everyone forgets that the Pentagon also collapsed).


I don't want to line up alongside the weirdos of the 9/11 conspiracy movement either but I'm still worried.

It seems to me that if you had told Mohammed Atta the day before 9/11 that his little band of men would manage to bring down just one building he would have been very pleased. But the terrorists brought down four! (WTC 1, 2 and 7, plus the Pentagon). And this even though one of the planes didn't make it to its destination. That's not 3/3, it's three planes, four buildings!

And just where was United Airlines 93 heading when it was brought down in Pennsylvania? The media insists it was Washington but there is no evidence for this at all. It could easily have been New York and WTC 7, forming the ultimate finale to the terrorist spectacular.

I'm not saying this is true, just that there are still many questions remaining. And can Ishmael please direct me to the photos of WTC 7 showing the massive damage he mentions?
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Mick Harper
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As usual, Ishmael's devotion to free enterprise and the American way unhinges his judgement.

Even if your argument is granted, the Navy is not obsolete so long as it exists in a world where facing off against guided bombs is not required.

No, it is ridiculously over-engineered. What was the point of spending trillions of dollars on nuclear and fleet aircraft carriers that have never once been attacked? A barge with hangar space would have done the job.

The purpose of the modern fleet is to position aircraft carriers and protect in transit amphibious invasion forces.

Yes, but only in a world where there is another naval power.

Seems to me it worked out ok in the Falklands, Exocets be damned.

Hospital conditions in the Crimea? Fine, we won the war, didn't we?

How are these any more threatening than the WW2 era PT Boat?

Are you kidding? How many PT boats were launched in wholly peaceable harbours, and how many contained crews who were prepared to be torpedoes rather than launch them.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Mick Harper wrote:
A barge with hangar space would have done the job.

Whether it is better to afford said barge its own means of propulsion I leave to the experts. I do believe once it has a motor of its own, it's an aircraft carrier.

The purpose of the modern fleet is to position aircraft carriers and protect in transit amphibious invasion forces.

Yes, but only in a world where there is another naval power.

No. In a world where some unfriendly nations are surrounded by not-friendly nations who refuse to allow their territory to be used as a staging ground for invasion or for air assault.

Are you kidding? How many PT boats were launched in wholly peaceable harbours, and how many contained crews who were prepared to be torpedoes rather than launch them.

The Japanese actually launched several dozen manned torpedoes. I believe one of them hit. As for a defence against attacks in peaceable harbors, that's like asking for an effective defence vs. any general peacetime sabotage.

Besides. Sometimes it's good to have a massively tempting target floating off the shores of some nation you'd like to add to your invasion to-do list.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Grant wrote:
I'm not saying this is true, just that there are still many questions remaining.


Ahh... the questions remaining.

When have questions not remained?

What you need are some alternative answers or a demonstration that the current answers fail epistemological critique.
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Mick Harper
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Ishmael, I return to the attack only because shooting fish in a barrel sets one up nicely for the rigours of the day.

Whether it is better to afford said barge its own means of propulsion I leave to the experts. I do believe once it has a motor of its own, it's an aircraft carrier.

The Nimitz class nuclear carrier is the most expensive human artefact in history. Building each one skewed the entire defence budget of even the United States. The point I am trying to convey is that the USN was still building state-of-the-art carriers as if Japan (or whoever) was doing likewise. The armed forces are always famously fighting the last war. They are the most conservative (though alas also among the most influential) of the pigs-at-the-national-trough.

No. In a world where some unfriendly nations are surrounded by not-friendly nations who refuse to allow their territory to be used as a staging ground for invasion or for air assault.

Some actual names would be helpful. As you know I am an avid student of these matters and I know of no example where a (powered) barge with a hangar would not have done the job. I suppose I might give you Korea but that was fought by WWII weapons of course.

The Japanese actually launched several dozen manned torpedoes. I believe one of them hit.

You seem to be under the impression that I am not fully conversant with everything military. The Kaiten were indeed useless. As of course would similarly be an Al-Qaida motorboat in a WWII fleet action. That is rather the point I am increasingly desperately trying to convey to you.

As for a defence against attacks in peaceable harbors, that's like asking for an effective defence vs. any general peacetime sabotage
.
Bong! The penny drops! A large part of the US navy budget should of course now be trained on this problem because it is the problem. Now. Today. For the forseeable future. But I think you'll find the big bucks will carry on going to Top Gun.

Besides. Sometimes it's good to have a massively tempting target floating off the shores of some nation you'd like to add to your invasion to-do list.

This is indeed a perfectly proper objective of naval power. I well remember my days as Entertainments Officer on the old Hood as we schmoozed our way round the world 'shewing the flag' to rival powers. Though it only survived the one shot from Bismark when war did come. Good to see an old Canada hand such as yourself understanding these very fine issues of policy.
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Grant



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Mick Harper wrote:
A large part of the US navy budget should of course now be trained on this problem because it is the problem. Now. Today. For the forseeable future.


It's a bit like when some loony decides to take a pop at the President or Prime Minister. The loony will always manage to fire a couple of shots (or shoes) before the secret servicemen respond. The guards are really there for show just like the aircraft carriers.

It is utterly insane to build a city on the sea and then sail it into the Persian Gulf. When World War Three breaks out the aircraft carriers won't last five minutes.
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Mick Harper
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Yes, Grant, but as Ishmael will quickly and rightly point out, World War III won't break out precisely because, inter alia, of the Nimitz class carriers. Already people are forgetting that Russia folded its cards because it couldn't keep up the payments.

However this is really nothing to do with the US Navy. You are quite right that in a shooting war a carrier wouldn't have lasted five minutes against a Soviet sub. (Which was all the Soviet navy built!)
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Mick Harper wrote:
Yes, Grant, but as Ishmael will quickly and rightly point out, World War III won't break out precisely because, inter alia, of the Nimitz class carriers.


My point was actually the opposite. That a Nimitz class carrier is a great thing to put where you want World War Three to break out.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Getting back to the WOT...

The principal idea I am opening for discussion is that "Al Quida" did not plan the September 11th attacks. Instead, the impetus for these attacks came from a tiny group of Pakistani Baloch.

The man responsible for planning 9-11 is currently in U.S. custody. His "name" is Kalid Sheik Mohammod. He is the purported "uncle" of Ramzi Youssef, the man responsible for planning the first World Trade Center bombing (will anyone ever do a DNA match on these two to establish their true biological relationship? You can bet it will never be done).

Youssef, remember, famously warned after his trial that a follow-up attack was coming.

At the time of the first World Trade Center bombing, Youssef was not linked to Al Quida by U.S. prosecutors or by U.S. intelligence. He still has been assigned no official link to Al Quida. Instead, the organization to which Youssef was linked and remains linked was that of the so-called "Blind Sheik", Omar Abdel Rahman (a veteran of both Afganistan and the Sadat assassination -- which potentially connects him to Bin Ladin amd Aiman Al-Zawaheri respectively).

But Youssef was not a member of Rahman's "organization", such as any existed.

What appears to have happened is that Youssef relied upon Rahman to provide him the manpower needed to carry out the WTC operation. Rahman himself had no organization of his own. But, having been preaching Jihad throughout the U.S. and Canada for some years, Rahman knew the names of those potential Mujahadin who could be trusted. He put those men together with Youssef.

So here it is again.

  • Rahman has no terrorist organization.
  • Rahman has a list of names.
  • Youseff has a terrorist operation he needs to staff
  • Rahman provides the man-power from his list of names.
  • A mission-specific organization is thus formed.

Now we start to get a clearer picture of the relationship between Kalid Sheik Mohammod (KSM) and Al Quida. Essentially, Bin Ladin is to "uncle" KSM what Rahman is to Youssef. Rahman furnished the manpower for attack #1. Bin Ladin furnished the manpower for attack #2.

Afghanistan under the Taliban -- the purest Islamic government in the world -- remained a rallying-point for world-wide Jihad. Bin Laden, who relocated back there after the Sudanese kicked him out (and the Americans refused to take him for lack of evidence) retained a list of jihadis from the old days and, added to that list, the names of newly-minted jihadi-wannabes. Names of young men from around the world.

This list is Al Quida.

Anyone with a fully-funded, off-the-shelf Jihadi operation, in need of staffing, could go to Afganistan and have a chat with Bin Ladin. Bin Ladin, if he liked the idea, would make a few phone calls, call in a few favours, and -- "alakazam" -- that fellow had himself a fully operational terrorist team.

  • Bin Laden has no terrorist organization.
  • Bin Laden has a list of names ("Al Quida").
  • Kalid Sheik Mohammod has a ready-made terrorist operation he needs to staff
  • Bin Laden provides the man-power from his list of names.
  • A mission-specific organization is thus formed.


KSM and Youssef are Pakistani Baloch. They organized both attacks on the WTC.

What was their motivation?
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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No comment? I rather think my analysis quite brilliant.
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