RH: ROBERT's ALMOST-COMPLETE ARCHIVE OF WORKS..... My other blog is "I came, I saw, I solved it" at http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/.......... Robert Ho REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS at http://roberthorequestforstatements.blogspot.com/2011/01/robert-ho-request-for-statements.html

Blog Archive


About Me

My photo
My archive of works is at http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 17, 2007

RH: Why US high tech cannot win wars

From: Robert Ho (ho3@pacific.net.sg)
Subject: RH: Why US high tech cannot win wars
View: Complete Thread (5 articles)

Original Format

Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore
Date: 2003-12-02 07:45:16 PST


Not too long ago, the US was basking in its own sense of superiority
as the world's only 'hyperpower'. It seems that undisputed US military might would lead to a new millennium of American supremacy, in which it could do anything to anyone. And nobody could do anything about it.

Then it invaded Iraq and quickly found that it is losing the war. Now, the almighty Americans are desperately looking for an honourable exit. The lessons of Vietnam are being learned all over again by a new generation.

US high tech, once again, cannot win wars.

[Of course, if the mission is merely to drop bombs and missiles then
go home, the US could destroy any country. But for invasions, the only kind of wars that makes sense economically and strategically, even this latest round of high tech munitions and firepower are proving, once again, useless].

Why is this, curiously, so?

I would argue that high tech munitions, far from giving the US an
advantage, instead gives the advantage to the rest of the world
against the US.

To see this, go back to the Stone Age, well before America was
invented by her founding fathers.

The first caveman who accidentally broke a flint stone and discovered
that this produced a sharp edge, thereby inventing the stone knife,
had an advantage over his fellow cave dwellers. But not for long.
Soon, everybody else in the tribe had a flint stone knife. Some even
went better and tied the sharp edge to a stick and invented the spear. Again, it was not long before everybody had spears.

Repeat this scenario for metal weapons, etc, all the way to gunpowder
and the AK-47.

In other words, when somebody develops a higher tech weapon, it was
not long before everybody, or almost everybody, also did the same.

Today, many countries have the nuclear bomb. Many more will have the
technology to build it, too. And with the spread of engineering
knowledge and machines, even more countries will soon have the basic
engineering knowledge and skills and equipment to build the bomb.

In short, high tech tends to become ordinary tech or even household
tech within a short time. And this time is getting shorter and
shorter, what with the spread of free travel, free spread of
textbooks, satellite television, the Internet and email, and even the
newer means of communications and learning possible with the next
generations of Internet and other communications.

Thus, when the US develops yet another devastating weapon or munition, it is developing these for the rest of the world, too, including its enemies and potential enemies. Even if spying and absolute security can be maintained, which is getting impossible, thanks, again, to the easy spread of communications whereby a stolen blueprint can be transmitted by fax, email, Internet website or a courier on the next plane.

The question is when, not whether. And the high tech weapon or
munition that the US develops will give it sole use advantage of just
years. There is no way to contain knowledge and expertise within your
own borders. Unless you seal your country from the rest of the world.

The battlefield weapons have gotten easier and easier to use. Now, a
single infantryman or two in a pair, can shoot down an aircraft and
stop a battletank. And easy-to-use weapons like these have become the
norm in all armies. These weapons have become the ordinary tech or
household tech of today. In Iraq, the RPG is used in daily attacks on
US forces, with deadly effect. As long as Iraqis have RPGs, US bodies
will continue to mount. The RPG may well turn out to be the weapon
that decided the Iraq War, not the vaunted cruise missile. The good
news is, with the current spread of technology, and the traditional
advantage of defence as opposed to invasion, it is becoming harder and harder to invade a country, even a smallish one like Iraq, even by a vastly bigger and vastly more superior US military. Many countries must now be busy acquiring more RPGs and training soldiers in their use. The lesson is clear.

In this Pandora's Box of weapon development, a new situation has
evolved. Chemical and biological warfare.

Unlike all other weapons, which are based on small explosions in the
case of bullets; or bigger ones like RPGs, these new high tech methods of killing do not require much engineering in the form of hardware, especially for biological warfare. Where the previous weapons require precisely machined hardware and little knowledge to use them, biological warfare requires only knowledge and little engineering. [A few months ago, someone in the UK was caught literally making deadly Sarin in his kitchen sink]. This means that, since knowledge is far more easily spread than precision machining, when the US develops a killer virus or germ or nerve gas like Sarin, the rest of the world will quickly develop similar viruses and germs and chemicals, too. And with production rather easier in labs instead of precision machine shops, this means that the lead-time advantage the US has over potential enemies will be very, very short.

Thus, US high tech cannot win wars. Far from it, they actually sow the seeds for US military defeat. When the US is booted out of Iraq, it will have lost, not because it was not high tech enough, but precisely because many of the previous expensive high tech weapons like the RPG were more than good enough for the Iraqis to use to chase them out. Put another way, if the RPG and the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile had not been invented, the US would today be in solid control in Iraq.

With the US dollar about to collapse, it is perhaps time to reconsider military spending on high tech weapons. The US could save the dollar by stopping or slowing spending on yet more weapons. Drastically cut down its US$379 billion defence bill, which is more than the next 15 largest military budgets combined. Then, too, it could start again to believe in the UN, to use the UN more to achieve its objectives. If the US really put its weight behind the UN, the UN could really work. Already, an ultra-national institution, the WTO has shown in the US steel tariff debacle, how useful an ultra-national institution can be in settling international disputes. So, why not the UN? In this, the beginning of a new millennium, the US has retrogressed into a Wild Wild West land grab of Iraq's oil when it could lead the world into research to create, yes, actually create new sources of energy, from fusion reactors to bacteria that produces fuel. Now, that is the sort of high tech that is ultimately more useful in solving America's insatiable appetite for energy. There is no need to go around the world cornering all the oil reserves just because you are indebted personally to Haliburton. But then, perhaps, US sanity [and morals and ethics] will have to wait for the next President.



Robert Ho
2 Dec 03
UK 1543 Singapore 2343

RH: Footnote: If Bush and Cheney had been biologists by training,
they'd be leading the US and the world in researching bacteria fuel
production. If they'd been physicists, they'd be leading the US and
the world in fusion reactors research as main energy sources. But they had to be oil executives and corrupt ones at that, and so only saw politics and the world in terms of oil [see Robert's TorchLight
Effect]. Thus the tragedy of Iraq.

RH: Second Footnote: Since the US President will never be a
biologist or physicist [why? lots of material there for thinking and
policies], the next best thing to do is to create a Secretary of
Science [and maybe also Technology] with a small Ministry to
coordinate. This Sec of Science's remit will be to apply scientific
knowledge and research to solving US and World problems; to coordinate and direct research in all the universities and private institutions. This way, many problems will be solved by science and technology rather than wars. Since most wars are over control of resources. In this new millennium, science can actually solve the problems of resource shortages without resorting to war. This new Ministry will not cost much and it will probably be adequately funded from cutting a little of the defence budget. Better to turn sword into ploughshare.