Monday, February 13, 2006

The USA is our friend and protector, right?

The USA are the good guys. They know what is best for all of us. They know who the bad guys are and they are doing their utmost to protect us all from the bad guys. Hell, they're even trying to protect the bad guys from themselves.

God Bless America.

Well, nobody's perfect, right?

Over the millenia, humans have managed to find increasingly inhumane methods in increasing numbers and increasing variety with which to end disputes, defend territories, attack territories, teach people and nations lessons, balance power, etc.

So, what IS the history of humankind's attempts to protect itself from itself?

In 1874, the Brussels Convention on the Law and Customs of War "Prohibited the employment of poison or poisoned weapons, and the use of arms, projectiles or material to cause unnecessary suffering."

In 1899, at the 1st Peace Conference at the Hague, European Nations prohibited "the use of projectiles whose sole purpose is the release of asphyxiating or harmful gases."

In 1907, the 2nd Peace Conference at the Hague added the use of poisons or poisoned weapons.

In 1925, the Geneva Protocol prohibited the use of "asphyxiating gas, or any other kind of gas, liquids, substances or similar materials."


Fat Chance

I think a few people are aware of the two atomic bombs the USA dropped on heavily populated civilian centres in World War II.

Agent Orange

I think a few people are even aware of the USA's deployment of Agent Orange in SE Asia during the Vietnam "conflict".

Here are some of the other ways the USA is protecting us all from our silly selves.

BLU-80/B Bigeye

"Bigeye was a tri-service, safe-to-handle binary chemical weapon. When employed, Bigeye was designed to delay and disrupt airfields, troops and logistical lifelines by forcing an enemy into a chemical protective posture. The Bigeye metal parts contract was awarded in June 1988 for the procurement of production-representative operational test units, trainers and Safe Separation Test Vehicles."

It was designed to carry a 180-lb warhead containing VX binary agents.

"Often regarded as the deadliest nerve agent created to date, as little as 10 mg is enough to kill an average person."

The same reference provides this gem:

"Post-treaty disposal included the US Army's CHASE (Cut Holes And Sink 'Em) program, in which old ships were filled with chemical weapons stockpiles and then scuttled. CHASE 8 was conducted on June 15, 1967, in which the S.S. Cpl. Eric G. Gibson was filled with 7,380 VX rockets and scuttled in 7,200 feet of water, off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The long-term environmental ramifications of exposing large quantities of VX to seawater and marine life could pose a grave danger, but are ultimately unknown. The US is also destroying chemical weapons stockpiles containing VX in nine other locations, one of which is in Russia."

Apparently, there was another binary chemical agent delivery system development programme. XM-768 was aimed at developing an 8-inch projectile which would deliver VX to the battlefield.

Like I said, God Bless America.

I'm still looking for it but I'm pretty sure the US military must somewhere have an acronym like SNOP (Sorry, Not Our Problem). Or maybe it's OPIATE (Our Problem Is Assigned To Everybody). Hmmm, I like that last one. Especially where the various arms of the US government are concerned, it has a whole range of applications, eh?

Bearing all of the above in mind, as well as all the reasons given by the USA, the UK and a few other good guys about why we had to invade Iraq, surely it is time somebody asked some hard questions about why the USA was developing exactly the kinds of chemical weapons it now claims are the reasons we have to attack the bad guys and why the USA was instrumental in, amongst other countries, Iraq possessing and being able to deliver exactly the kinds of weapons the USA claimed had to be found and eliminated but were, ultimately, never found.

Allegedly. On all counts, I mean.

I wouldn't for a moment want to suggest anybody do some further reading about the weapons caches that the allies (or maybe it was only the Americans) are reported to have found and destroyed. Yes, those might be the same weapons caches that were clearly identified as originating in the USA. I wouldn't want for a moment to suggest they were officially supplied to Iraq, that their more recent "discovery" was covered up or that they all were disposed of in a hurried (and, I'm sure, completely safe) manner.

It would be silly to ask oneself if, though it looked very much like an own goal at the time, you might now understand why it was worth senior members of the US administration, from the President down, "admitting" that they had not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Depleted Uranium.

I'm always banging on about this one. It bores me nearly as much as it terrifies me. Do a Google search.

Given all the fine work to date by the US government and its military, I have no doubt whatsoever that the following programme will be a smashing success!!

Agent Defeat Warhead (ADWAgent Defeat Warhead (ADW)

"Operation Desert Storm highlighted the need for pre-emptive strike capability to disable chemical and biological (CB) agent munition production facilities and stockpiles. Currently the United States must resort to conventional warheads as the only means of crippling the enemy CB agent capability. Use of explosives to destroy a CB agent production or storage bunker could result in the release of large quantities of lethal agents. Such agent releases can produce significant collateral casualities and destroy the local environment. In line with the latest national security directives (promoting non-lethal, disabling weapon technology development over current lethal nuclear and conventional weapon systems), new technologies must be investigated which can disable CB agent munition production facilities and stockpiles while minimizing collateral casualtites.

"The overall objective of the Agent Defeat Technology Program is to develop and demonstrate warhead technology capable of destroying, disabling or denying use of chemical and biological (CB) agent munition production facilities and stockpiles with minimal collateral damage (minimal agent dispersion.) The ADWD program objective is to develop and demonstrate a warhead with a payload specifically tailored for use against fixed ground targets associated with the development, production, and storage of chemical (C) agents, biological (B) agents, and CB weapons (CBW).

"The ADW shall, as a minimum, be effective against one of the following relevant target categories: hardened chemical targets, soft chemical targets, hardened biological targets, or soft biological targets. Effectiveness shall be understood to imply both the ability to achieve widespread physical damage within the target, and to limit collateral damage resulting from the unintended release of CB agents. Candidate kill mechanisms for achieving the desired results include, but are not limited to, thermal effects derived from high temperature incendiary (HTI) materials, low blast fragmenting warheads or submunitions, neutralizing chemicals, and other mechanisms which may be identified during the ADWD program. The ability of the ADW to deny the enemy access and/or use of the target and/or its contents is considered desirable, but only as a fallout capability occurring in conjunction with wide spread physical damage within the target structure. A hybrid warhead payload that employs a combination of the referenced kill mechanisms may be required to achieve program goals. Kill mechanisms that are not considered appropriate for the ADWD include those employing nuclear fizzle material or radioisotopes.

"The ADW shall, within acceptable tolerances, be designed to same external dimensions and closely approximate the mass properties as those for the 2000-lb class BLU-109 warhead. The ADW shall be designed for physical and functional compatibility with the following Air Force guidance kits: GBU-24, GBU-27, AGM-130, and GBU-31 (JDAM). The intent is to allow those weapon delivery systems, when equipped with the ADW, to hold a wide variety of CBW targets at risk, thereby minimizing the additional cost and operational burdens required to realize such a capability. Accordingly, the ADW shall also be compatible with existing Air Force ground handling, storage, and transportation equipment used to handle the 2000-lb class warhead common to those delivery systems.

"The Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Ordnance Division (AFRL/MNMI) did not receive an acceptable proposal for development of an Agent Defeat Warhead (ADW) Demonstration (ADWD). The closing date for proposals was 29 April 1999. The acquisition strategy for this program is under reevaluation."

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