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••• The International Writers Magazine - 21 Years on-line -


James Skinner

‘One can’t help but be bemused at the ingenuity of some of the so called Iraqi terrorists that are trying to undermine the coalition’s efforts to rebuild the country by constantly ‘pin pricking’ the US and other armed forces. To use a donkey and cart with a camouflaged rocket launcher under the canvas as a lethal and effective weapon is very effective..

I would put it under the heading of ‘cheapest and deadliest’ weapon of destruction. Just think, what did it actually cost to build this piece of armoury, compared to just one of the multitude of four, six or eight wheeled monsters belonging to the US army that are being blown up every day. Not to mention the value of one of their many helicopters that has been brought down by a ‘donkey rocket’. No sir, I realise that it is no laughing matter, but it proves one point and am sure that it has been brought up many times by a plethora of experts. The new world war that we are now faced with is between twenty-first century military might and medieval lethal entrepreneurs, read al Qaeda warmongers. (And what of the fate of the poor traumatised donkey that actually survived the ordeal, burned and stunned - neglected by all and sundry? Ed)

It is the first time in history, I believe that weaponry has become obsolete although it is technically way ahead of it time. The trouble is that the politicians have not yet woken up to the fact. If we go back in history, any young bright schoolboy today knows that when gunpowder was discovered and guns were invented (though not at the same time), it would, when combined,be the end of the sword and the bow and arrow. The same applied to the armoured vehicle versus the horse and the wooden warships facing iron clad shooting ships. We could go on and on into modern day warfare such as long range missiles and radar tricking aircraft, not to mention the mass destructive nuclear and bombardment horrors. But all this was based on a set of rules laid down by countries or regions that had decided under a halo of mutual hatred to destroy each other. (MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction.) It is as old as prostitution and equally deplorable. What the world is faced with now is a creeping weed of hit and run ‘do-it-yourself’' suicide murderers that defy all the laws of historical warfare. Yet they are able to create far worse devastation than a couple of nukes dropped on specific locations. The whole bloody ballgame has turned upside down. Let’s take a look at a few weapons or even military outfits of mass uselessness.

How about the so-called EKV or exo-atmospheric kill vehicle? What is it? It’s the latest model of shield protection devised by the scientific gurus in the US in case of a nuclear or other missile attack aimed at the USA. Way back in 1983, Ronald Reagan spoke of ‘Star Wars’ as being the next major threat to his country and the world. Sure enough, in those days China and Russia were still considered as inflicting mass destruction via the space spectrum. Ever since, every US President, has been urging American scientists to devise a defence system that would virtually create a protective umbrella over the whole country. In today’s world although pretty ingenious and mighty expensive it is completely useless. Sure enough, Iran, Korea and maybe one or two of the ‘rogue states’ could eventually push a button and send the lethal darts California or New York’s way. But before this could happen, our present creeping monster of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism would have activated a few suicide acts in different parts of the world and created a far worse problem for the world and USA than any nuclear missile threat. Why? Because by then, the world economy would be in a filthy mess, and the USA completely isolated from everybody in their protective cocoon. We would all be dying of starvation because consumerism would have been wiped out! And the cost of such action? Negligible.

I follow on to the recent talks going on within the European Union about forming a EU common defence policy. Behind the scene, Britain, France and Germany had been talking, as usual, of setting the grounds for defence that could be sold to the rest of Europe in due course. Typical scenario within Europe of decisions taken by the big boys whilst the others wait and see. But the question that always crops up is what to do, or better still how to integrate European defence whilst still maintaining a powerful military presence through NATO. In other words, how to be truly European but at the same time call on Uncle Sam when the going gets tough! From a world perspective, what are we looking at anyway? The United Nations through the mandates of the Security Council are meant to supply UN troops whenever hot spots blow up in the world. The latest example was the ousting of President Taylor in Liberia and the deployment of Nigerian troops under a UN banner. Rally round the flag boys! Nobody took count of the other side of the coin during which over 1000 Nigerian troops have already died trying to put out African fires. Far more than the coalition body counts in Iraq so far.

If we move on to NATO, the original agreement basically is that if any country within the Organisation is threatened or attacked, NATO’s might, read USA, would come to the rescue. Is this still valid in the light of what is emanating from within the Middle East? So what about a strictly European defence policy? Who would Europe, on its own be afraid of; the Big Bad Wolf? How the hell does this fit in to the overall world picture? I mean, add the whole civilized world defence system up and it is one huge bundle of money coming from taxpayers who are yet to be given real protection against terrorism.

So what is the bottom line? Once again it amounts to cost. American military might is, pardon the pun mighty expensive. A few African foot soldiers are not. But then again, the strife in Liberia was also different. Civil war is cheap, money wise, to quell. Nuclear war could be horrible and devastating but predictable with a finite cost. Drop a nuke and a sector of the earth is wiped out. The fall out will take care of the surrounding areas. The figures can be worked out as a one off cost. But, if the world continues to experience a campaign of suicide bombings, devastation tends to take place at intermittent intervals, but the economic shock waves will slowly and lethally extend right across the globe. So how do you put a price tag on invisible terrorism? You can’t. But then, can anybody really count anyway?’

© James Skinner. December 15th 2003.

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