ojo, jose: The Trouble with E-Bombs and the Predator

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sat Feb 22 15:56:57 MST 2003


CounterPunch

February 22, 2003

CounterPunch Diary
The Trouble with E-Bombs and the Predator

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

E-Bombs and Predators

Remember the late Carl Sagan's Nuclear Winter? Over in Rumsfeld's empire
they've been working on Winter Lite. the "e-bomb," a high-powered microwave
designed to fry the circuits of enemy equipment. It's been hailed as the
new "wonder weapon" in the forthcoming Iraqi conflict.

As described by Robert Williscroft, in DefenseWatch, (cited on the sparky
DefenseTech site) "a properly constructed E-bomb can effectively "fry"
everything electric and electronic within several miles of the point of
detonation. And the pulse is not the end. During the next fifteen minutes
or so, collapsing electrical systems and communications grids will
distribute the pulse, and create their own smaller pulses, analogous to an
earthquake aftershock. The entire affected electrical and communications
system will tear itself apart--self destruct."

But Williscroft goes on to describe Pentagon fears that "the use of the
experimental weapon could burn out electronics on U.S. military equipment
in the vicinity. Electronic circuitry on most Air Force systems hasn't yet
been redesigned to survive a concentrated onslaught of electromagnetic
pulses, according to a February 2000 report by Air Force Col. Eileen
Walling. DefenseWatch argues that a simple version of the "e-bomb,"
constructed outside the refinements of the Iron Triangle's budgetary
requirements, with about $400 worth of materials, would serve as an almost
ideal terrorist weapon against a high-tech target like the United States.

Williscroft also cites concerns among Rumsfeld's men that destroying all
urban communications in Baghdad might somehow alienate the locals. (You
believe that?) And "it would significantly raise the financial cost of
rebuilding Iraq's economy once a conflict is over." But that's what makes
life so delightful for the postwar construction industry. Ask Dick Cheney
how Halliburton makes its money.

Oh, and talking of fizzles, this just in, also from DefenseTech, about
another miracle from the folks bringing you RMA, the Predator, touted as so
perfect a piece of unmanned flying equipment that soon it might be
requisitioned to GUARD THE HOMELAND'S SHORES. " Too bad," says DefenseTech,
they're so slow, dumb, noisy, and near-sighted that almost anything
stronger than a peashooter could take them down. Nearly half of the
military's 60-or-so plane Predator fleet has crashed or been taken out. On
Wednesday, the Iraqis claimed to have destroyed their second American drone
in a month. Two more have gone down in Pakistan since the start of the New
Year.




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