The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan

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by James Dunnigan
July 3, 2008

Discussion Board on this DLS topic

British AH-64 helicopter gunships in Afghanistan recently used a new weapon; a Hellfire missile with a thermobaric warhead. British commanders ordered the thermobaric Hellfires two years ago. But it took nearly that long for the politicians and military bureaucrats to do their thing, and get the missiles to the troops.

Thermobaric warheads operate by dispersing an inflammable mist, then igniting it. This produces an explosion that kills by sucking the oxygen out of the surrounding areas, as well as creating a powerful blast. Fired into a building, the thermobaric explosion would kill more people inside, and do less damage to adjacent structures. These warheads work better on caves than any other kind of weapon. Thermobaric warheads have been used with great success in shoulder fired rocket launchers. U.S. Troops have been using these for several years, as well as the Hellfire missiles so equipped.

British politicians were fearful of media backlash. Some European media have demonized thermobaric weapons, depicting them as inhumane. Exactly how a thermobaric explosive is less humane than any other weapon is never investigated with much vigor. Apparently thermobaric is bad, if only because the Americans use them. Actually, it was the Russians who first developed small thermobaric warheads. Since the Europeans consider the Russians a bunch of barbarians (a centuries old tradition, which goes a long way to explain why the Russians are so leery of Western Europeans), this all somehow fits together.

Europeans have a long history of trying to outlaw "inhumane" weapons. One of the earliest efforts was against the cross bow. However, this terrible weapon (which enabled a poorly trained commoner to easily bring down an armored aristocrat on horseback), could be used against Moslems, and other non-Christians. The thermobaric Hellfire will mostly be used to kill Moslems.

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