I’m a bit bummed that Trump didn’t say more – or, rather, that Woodward didn’t publish everything that Trump blurted out. Remember, Woodward has a history of being barely oppositional to the presidency. Generally, he is sympathetic, because that’s how he gets access.
I guess it’s sad to see open confirmation of what I have long suspected, namely that the US withdrew from the intermediate-range missile treaty because the US has been cheating on it for close to a decade, and it wants to be able to add the new mysterious whatever-it-is to its public list of options. That only makes sense if the big surprise is a first-strike weapon. We’ve already got ridiculous, over-the-top, deterrent.
Remember, as I’ve said before [stderr] you don’t gain any extra deterrent by having a stealthy missile that makes the smouldering rubble bounce. The value of stealth, speed, and proximity is so the weapon can serve as a decapitating first-strike weapon.
As we know from watching the long, painful, constipated roll-out of the F-35 you don’t just birth a new weapons system without some teething pains and testing. Stealthy systems take a lot longer to develop because you can’t just model the stealth in software and assume it’s going to work right. In other words, the US has been building this super sekrit missile or whatever it is for years, already. My guess is that it’s what has been going up into space in the X-37B [wik] – does anyone really expect the US to follow the space-based weapons treaty? Is anyone still that naive? The announcement of “Space Force” at around the same time as the withdrawal from the intermediate missile treaty also tweaks my suspicions.
I guess I just want to register my bet that Bob Woodward suppressed some part of the story where Trump blurted out the nature of the weapons system. Because that’s the kind of hard-hitting anti-establishment journalist Bob Woodward is.
The Citations Needed podcast just dropped an episode about the “always ‘lagging’ US war machine”  that focuses on the budgetary game the pentagon and “think tanks” have played with “missile gaps” and “mineshaft gaps” etc. It’s worth a listen, if you’re interested in this kind of stuff. I don’t think they pay enough attention to the strategic implications (i.e.: that the US is positioned now to ‘win’ a nuclear war against any other powers on the planet) of what has been going on; it makes the lies more comprehensible. The budgetary games are ludicrous. As Adam and Nima point out, the Trump administration’s most recent increase to the Pentagon budget was larger than the entire Russian military budget. And we’re supposed to be terrified.
the Trump administration’s most recent increase to the Pentagon budget was larger than the entire Russian military budget.
But there is a rumour that the Russians actually speed a lot their budget on the military. Given things like the F-35 boondoggle it is difficult to figure out what the US does with the money.
BTW was the US not “losing” the missile race (or some race anyway) back in the 1960s? And probably in the 1970s?
Marcus Ranum says
The “bomber gap” and the “missile gap” were comparisons based on the CIA’s prediction of Soviet potential capacity. When the CIA claimed there were 250 ICBMs the Soviets had 5. How do we know thay was the number? The CIA-initiated CORONA spy satellite, of course! Thus the CIA debunked its own estimates, allowing themselves to claim they were right all along no matter the reality of the situation.
CIA photogrammetry had already debunked the bomber gap: the multiple waves of bombers doing flyovers at the May Day parades were flying in a loop, which was kind of duh, obvious but the planes’ insignia and tail numbers gave that away.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
Where have I heard something like that before?
Marcus Ranum says
As a result, the 6 of us feared for our lives and shot him with both shot guns and also hitting him with 17 shots from 4 9mm pistols out of 43 slugs fired.
Considering how much time they spend claiming to practice, cops are generally the worst shots I’ve ever seen.
I remember one time my buddy Mike and I were at the range, working in the barrel of my Sako TRG-21, and there were a bunch of cops at the lane next to us, wearing “law enforcement sniper” on the back of their jackets (subtle, huh?) they had a Remington 700 with a bunch of McMillan mods and a fair scope on it, and they were shooting groups at 100 yards that were more or less barely on the paper. One of them came over and asked “what kind of rifle is that you guys are shooting?” and I said, “Finnish military” and my buddy Mike pointedly scoped their target and asked them, “is something wrong with your rifle? That Remmy should hit better than that.” Then the cops looked at our target, where Mike was working on a .4″ 5-shot group (he used to annoy the crap out of me when he did that) next to my .5″ group. I mean, seriously, those cops thought they could shoot and they weren’t even qualified to consider themselves beginners.
it seems weird to be public about that sort of weapon. seems like the sort of thing you should deny having access to as long as you can.
of course Trump has proven that he’s more about emotional insecurity than anything sensible
The DoD really doesn’t seem to know where the money goes and doesn’t know what it gets for the money it knows it spends. This conclusion only cost taxpayers $413 million.
Of course this dishevelment may, in fact, be on purpose. For the same reason a hoarders cluttered and over-packed house is much more difficult to search. A mess means you are harder to hold accountable. It also makes hiding secret programs a lot easier.
“Law enforcement sniper.” I had no idea you could enforce the law from a rooftop a mile away, or whatever they do with their kit. It’s fitting though: LEO-snipers are to public policing what stealthed nukes are to nuclear deterrents. And yes, comparing US policing to nuclear deterrents also fits depressingly well, especially in the context of US “foreign policy”.
Marcus Ranum says
“Law enforcement sniper.” I had no idea you could enforce the law from a rooftop a mile away, or whatever they do with their kit. It’s fitting though: LEO-snipers are to public policing what stealthed nukes are to nuclear deterrents.
Military snipers are free to take long shots (600M+ is long, 300M-500M is intermediate, and < 200M is close) because in a military context, you have still "succeeded" if you merely mangle or blow a big chunk out of your target. Causing terror or loading up the enemy's logistics with screaming wounded is a 'legitimate' military goal. Law enforcement snipers would seldom engage at farther than 100M and even that would be rare. I believe 60-80M is more typical. At that range, I could hit some of the targets with a hand gun.* Law enforcement and FBI hostage rescue team snipers are, simply put, terrible shots. Lon Horiuchi, supposedly the highly trained FBI HRT sniper at Ruby Ridge engaged a target in the Weaver house, under poor visual situation, and wound up shooting a woman in the head. I never got why law enforcement "needs" snipers except in very very rare circumstances: an isolated target, holed up with a long-rage weapon. In that kind of situation, generally, you have time to react. Situations like the Texas university tower shooter are notable because they are incredibly rare. * http://www.ranum.com/fun/bsu/diy-dealy/index.html
That’s very interesting and I’m happy to concede that urban combat (which definitely sounds like law enforcement done wrong) works at different ranges. But 100m is also the usual range at which British cadets (and regulars and everybody else on the planet) do most of their target practice. Only they don’t get sniper gear, they use a rifle with iron sights. The staple in my day was (and likely is) the L-98 which looks and handles much like your standard automatic military rifle but needs to be cocked after each shot and jams a lot. People – including me – complained about it but it’s actually a wonderful weapon to practice and teach with – and lots of stoppages mean lots of practice. Anyway, I guess that means every 12-year-old CCF marksman first class* can, all else failing, hope for a bright future in the US LEO sniper corps. I’m not sure I should pass that tidbit along though, because I feel even the worst cadet should try to aim a little higher in life, if you’ll pardon the pun.
*Also second class, third class, no qualification and “passed their safety test third go”
P.S.: The cadets is also where I first encountered that pragmatic attitude towards wounded enemies and their effects on logistics and morale. Before you ask: No, it wasn’t part of the cadets’ training, it was something someone got out of one of those magazines aimed at non-professional military enthusiasts.
I dont remember exactly how long ago it was, but police in Portland Oregon shot at a guy who was inside a Tri Met bus 45 times and didnt hit anything other than the bus. The guy escaped by jumping out a window and running away. Marksmen indeed.