Mankind's only alternative 24   OCT.   21  
Mankind's only alternative
Vlad's Daily Gloat - The eXile Blog
MAIN  RUSSIA  WAR NERD   [SIC!]  BAR-DAK  THE VAULT  ABOUT US  RSS
 
 
EXILE BLOGS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

The War Nerd March 20, 2003
 
MOAB: the Monster Truck of American Ordnance
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
 

War nerds all over the world are in countdown mode, now that the big show's finally ready to start. We've got a right to be a little impatient. After all, it's been eighteen months. The Stones never made their fans wait that long. And what made it worse was that I swear to God, every day of that whole eighteen months the networks ran some story about how the invasion was juuuuust about ready.

But something tells me this time it really will happen. So I've been getting the duplex ready, pacing around the living room going down the checklist for a long spell of war-watching: CNN paid up? Fridge stocked with the essentials -- 8 or 10 liters of Diet Coke, Doritos, instant coffee for those late-night bulletins? If you're the kind of person who gets phone calls, you'll want to make sure the answering machine is on. Me, I don't have that problem. Come to think of it, most war nerds aren't all that sociable. There's probably some deep psychological reason for it, but all I know is I'm glad there won't be anybody interrupting the next few weeks. I'm planning to spend a good ten hours a day glued to the tube, checking out the new weapons in action.

The one people've been asking me about is this MOAB, this new giant conventional bomb. I hate to break everybody's bubble, but's not that big a deal. Just about the most lo-tech weapon you could imagine: a bunch of explosives on a pallet that you slide out the back of a C-130.

People who don't follow weapons development just don't understand that bigger bombs don't mean much. A guided five-pound warhead is a lot more deadly than a five-ton dumpster full of explosives. And that's really all the MOAB is: a truck-bomb like terrorists use, except we drop it from a plane. It's embarrassing, the hi-tech US military scrambling to whip up the kind of big, dumb bomb the Chechens and IRA have been making for years in somebody's farm shed out of two tons of fertilizer and a Radio Shack garage-door opener wired to a detonator. Cloud from explosion

The question that's more interesting than this MOAB itself is why we had to whip it up at all. I mean, you'd think we already had enough bombs. Which we do. Trouble is, we can't use'em. It's all about the way the rules about using nukes changed. Back in the fifties, when nukes were just entering the inventory, the Army and Air Force tried to make a nuke for every contingency. Some were so huge they scared everybody. We and the Russians both came up with some 150-megaton H-bombs, the kind of weapon only Darth Vader could love, the kind you'd want on the Death Star if you came across a planet you didn't happen to like. They'd be handy if you wanted to crack the earth's crust or blast the moon into dust for making your bedroom too bright, but not the sort of ordnance you'd actually use, unless you wanted your own population inhaling fallout and popping out three-eyed babies for the next 50 years.

But we also went for small nukes. In fact, for most purposes smaller is better with nukes. A nuke is just so damn powerful that most sane military contingencies can be handled with little tac nukes. And as missile systems got more accurate from the fifties to the eighties, warheads could afford to get smaller. If my ICBMs are only accurate to within, say, two miles of the target, then I need a big nuke warhead, but if I can guarantee it'll hit within, say, 100 meters of the target, then a little nuke will do the job. Which is good, because it means a smaller, cheaper, easier-to-store missile system.

By the seventies, warheads were so accurate that even a small warhead could destroy most hardened ICBM silos. It was pretty cool: silo designers kept making better silos, but eventually the nukes won, because the designers realized, Whoa, no matter HOW tough the silo is, a nuke landing right on top of it is going to make this huge crate all around the silo -- and the silo's going to fall over into the crater. So you could have this totally intact silo that was useless, because the launch tube is pointing down into the crater. It'd be great if you had a real grudge against earthworms or something, but for military purposes that's a dead silo, even if the crew survives and the missile's ready to fire.


SHARE:  Del.icio.us  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
FROM THE VAULT

Moscow Nitelife Roundup :
The Okhranik
Field Guide To Moscow: Aequoris Capitus :
Get Your Putin On!
Get Your Putin On! : More high fives from Kremlin's inner circle

Lincoln Log Livin' : Life without sewage in downtown Irkutsk
 

 
 
 
LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
Editorial
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442
E-mail: office@exile.ru