Copper Bezel wrote:
At a certain point, actually running low on precision weapons is a thing*. There are finite numbers of cruise missiles and stuff out there. And we're ALSO bad at pouring money into security, so just throwing more money into buying more precision weapons seems to have significant downsides as a strategy. Sure, there's a time and place where precision is totally worth the extra money, but...not necessarily always. Perhaps a particularly remote area lends itself more to just covering the mountainside with iron bombs. *shrug*
The understanding I'm taking from the very shallow read I'm taking of how bombs and particularly carpet bombing work is that it's very hard to drop a dumb iron bomb out of a plane and make sure it lands on the right building, and that carpet bombing is an informal term used for the dumb-bomb drops popular in WWII and Vietnam, the only two cases of its use listed on its Wikipedia page. The targets in those cases were cities. Ted Cruz, if we still want to talk about him at all, apparently walked back
his comments about carpet bombing without admitting that he'd misused the term by redefining it to mean targeted strikes on particular installations. It's possible that the use of the term "carpet bombing" I'm running into in these sorts of places is actually the inaccurate one.
It has drifted, yes. A bombing run by a B-52 is, by it's nature, usually referred to as carpet bombing, because it's usually just a nice long strong of dumb bombs, despite the fact that you can orient that strip of explosions however you please, and with a reasonably good accuracy. Carpet bombing refers to the methodology, not the type of target.
Bombing an entire city is WW2 tech, and that was outdated even in vietnam, when we layered strips with some degree of precision, and selected specific targets. You might be right in that there's a communications gap here. Targetting systems are WAY better now than in Vietnam, even, let alone WW2.
But what I'm taking from this is that it's very difficult to hit a target smaller than an area of city blocks in scale by just dropping an explody thing out the back of an airplane. So a dumb-bomb attack is inherently geared to create more collateral damage.
Sort of. Precision does allow you to get away with more interesting things, and can significantly change tradeoffs in some instances. But 500-1000 pound bombs are kind of messy regardless. You've still got a somewhat large blast radius, and it doesn't change with more precision. So, in many cases, it may not actually matter.
Note that kicking a barrel bomb out of a chopper is wildly different from the US way of doing things...we can still usually deliver ordinance pretty close to where it's supposed to go, regardless of method.
I don't know that decimating a city hurts ISIL in the same way it would hurt a state power. I mean, like, pick an ISIL-controlled city and kill off 10% of the population, including 10% of the leadership, and I think it's questionable what headway has been made. The leadership can reorganize and doesn't give a damn about civilian casualties, while the civilians still probably feel they have better chances with the folks killing them in the street and running the local postal service than in rocking the boat on the part of the folks killing them in the street and not running the local postal service.
Maybe I'm over-generalizing.
If you're only hitting the same percentage of leadership that you are of the general population, you've probably done something horribly wrong, precision munitions or not. I think pretty much everyone is still in favor of at least aiming at the bad guys, even if there are other folks around, and that should skew the percentage significantly. Killing people at random is obviously a bad strategy, but...I don't think that's really the goal.
I'm also someone skeptical of the whole "creating lots of enemies" line. I'm not saying that some degree of it is not actually true, merely that it seems to be almost invariably accepted as truth without conclusively demonstrating it.
I think the models I'm unconsciously using for comparison here would be things like the lovely things our drone policies are doing for our PR in Pakistan. But these ideological entities or totalitarian or psychoviolent regimes keep rolling through the same peoples, and we keep needing to bomb the same civilians over and over again. It's not the same arrangement as fighting state powers that go down and stay down.
It'd be different if no turf was being held. Holding turf inherently means you need a structure, and that creates targets. A structureless, hidden enemy...yeah, carpet bombing is pointless. But if they're actually fielding forces and have leadership, well...you have big targets then. It makes sense to paste those areas.
I think that's probably true, but it's getting really questionable to me whether reacting to the stuff is actually all that effective at preventing the intrusions on our lives. At least the predator drones taking out the high-level terrorist leaders seemed fairly direct, you know, killing the same people back again.
Maybe? I mean, I think sometimes our reactions work out, sometimes they don't, but...it is sketchy. I'm not fully isolationist, but I am for some careful strategy consideration. And longer term strategy.