Boeing engineer Roy Smith on the new X-45 unmanned bomber
it's about time. I often think to myself, as my frozen dinner
rotates in the microwave, "Shouldn't I be blowing the limbs
off of some goddamn foreigners?" Then my reverie shrinks
beneath the cold banalities of rent and work. How to balance the
demands of everyday life against my patriotic duty to kill and
dismember? More importantly, how to kill and dismember without
jeopardizing my priceless American hide?
another long sweet snort of taxpayer flake
up Boeing's nostrils. And it's but one line in a binge of Studio
54 proportions. "Peace dividends" has joined the
catchphrase boneyard, but military pork is alive and oinking.
In addition to the X-45, there's the Robotic Infantry Support
System, an armed, unmanned vehicle to be deployed in convoys wherever
we find the next Hitler. No soldiers on the Spinner, either, a
mobile missile launcher, nor on the ominously-named Valkyrie.
Where are the war
heroes of tomorrow? Playing Doom
in a million suburban bedrooms. Keep those joystick fingers
healthy, kids. The Empire needs you.
the Empire had any integrity, though, it would retire the term
"national defense" once and for all. Not even the typing
monkeys at Free Republic
could find any defensive value in the aforementioned battlebots.
When those pot-crazed
Canadians storm the border, what good will remote-controlled
toys do us? (Think hard about this one, Freepers
a situation where every snafu
might kill a Republican.) Don't bother mumbling "deterrence,"
either. Any country worth deterring i.e., one that would
take more than a fortnight to crush ain't gonna be impressed
by gadgets whose very use presumes a mismatch. Kim
Jong-Il sees your gadgets and raises you a nuclear
foreign policy W. promised us apparently means that we'll
keep scouring the globe for patsies. Will we ever run out of targets?
Don't be silly. Saddams and Slobodans come and go, but the welfare-warfare
state is forever. While there's wealth to be redistributed, bureaucrats
and government contractors will find ways to justify their salaries.
As the oracular Madeleine Albright summed up the reasons for leveling
the point in having this superb military you are always talking
about if we can't use it?" The boys at Boeing,
Lockheed, and Northrop hope you buy this argument, because
unused weapons won't be replaced. Hence the mad scramble to save
our nuclear arsenal.
see, strategic nukes are victims of their own immensity. Firing
one at Mecca would be, well, a little unsportsmanlike. The
U.S. military loves shooting tuna in a barrel, but there's no
thrill in sticking a cannon into a goldfish bowl. Besides, most
people still respect the nuclear
taboo. That's where the new
mini-nukes come in. Once the Pentagon drops a few of these,
the public will adjust its threshold of horror accordingly.
course, your threshold of horror doesn't have to be all that high
when neither civilians nor soldiers ever
see any casualties. So much for the glory of war. Oh, you
daring young men in your X-45s! Your dinner is getting cold!
~ Matthew Barganier
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Barganier works for an educational philanthropy in Baton Rouge,
LA. A late bloomer in his mid-twenties, he has only recently joined
the ranks of web punditry. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State
University and the University of Alabama.