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Monday, April 09, 2007

Jimmy Al-Neutron, Military Genius

Demonstrating yet again why Arabs lose wars, former Iraqi Republican Guard "General" Saif Al-Din Al-Rawi demonstrated his total lack of knowledge of all things military by claiming to the Arabic BBC, Al Jezeera, that the U.S. defeated Iraqi forces by using ER weaponry. ER in this context refers to, not George Clooney, though he has, at times, been known to be a superlative bomb maker, but rather enhanced radiation weaponry – colloquially known as “the neutron bomb.”

Al-Rawi claimed that US forces used neutron nuclear bombs against the Iraqi Army during the battle for Baghdad’s airport. Al-Rawi said that his units were decimated by neutron bombs which, he added, neutralize soldiers without damaging buildings and equipment.

Had Al-Rawi actually attended a course in military studies, he would have known that it was extremely unlikely that the U.S. had used ER weapons at the Baghdad airport for two reasons.

First, ER weapons are still nuclear weapons. Thus, even though their blast effects are minimalized, they are nonetheless significant. Had ER weaponry been used at the Baghdad airport, both the airport and a good chunk of the surrounding neighborhood would have been flattened in the blast.

Second, the U.S. doesn’t actually have any ER weapons.

Contrary to popular lore, ER weapons were designed to be solely “defensive” weapons. Meaning that during the Cold War, NATO doctrine always called for the use of nuclear weapons to counter the overwhelming Soviet advantage in conventional forces in Europe. The problem with that is that NATO would be using nuclear weapons to stop invading columns of Soviet armor on our own turf (West Germany.) Obviously, the Krauts couldn’t be happy with that arrangement. So the idea was to design a weapon that would minimize the effects of a nuclear blast, but still neutralize the enemy. The result was ER weapons that could easily kill exposed Soviet troops through radiation effects while minimalizing the blast damage to the countryside. (Apparently our peeps would be given 15 minutes or so to hunker down in their kraut-bunkers, where a few feet of earth would easily stop the stray neutrons.)

The popular image of ER weapons, however, became enmeshed with the rantings of the American and European left. That being, that the neutron bomb was the ultimate “capitalist weapon” that would kill people while allowing America to pillage the rich and prosperous Soviet industrial base. Subsequently, the ER weaponry program was cancelled under the Carter administration, making it the first weapon system in the history of Man to be neutralized by its lack of a good press agent.

ER weapons were revived under the Reagan administration, but never deployed. The last prototypes being dismantled under the Bush Sr. administration.

Thus, it would be difficult to take the Baghdad airport with weapons not in our arsenal.

Of course, none of this appeal to reality is really to the point. “General” Al-Rawi’s message is not really targeted at the “reality-based community” but rather a society that is famous for having no Arabic word for Which is part of why we are having such a difficult time in this part of the world.

We don’t understand that it is not enough to simply lay out the facts, because that is irrelevant if a different message is coming from a more “trusted” source. The great gift of the Enlightenment is the ability to appeal to reason, rather than trusted sources. Which is why we are able to greatly expand our body of knowledge and incorporate counter-intuitive concepts in order to improve ourselves. We trust reason. The Islamic world trusts personalities. Which is why the Middle East is the only place outside the Democratic caucus room at the House of Representatives where you find people who’ll swear that no Arabs were involved in 9/11.

And now ladies and gentlemen the poetry of Jello Biafra:

Efficiency and progress
Is ours once a-more.
Now that we have
The neutron bomb.
It’s nice, and quick, and clean
And gets things done!

Away with excess enemy
But no less value to property.
No sense in war
Makes perfect sense at home!


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