Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Yep - the deployment of not one but two (count 'em folks) Spectre gunships to turn the Taliban into dog chow explains to me why the most promising new name for the territory under attack is "Half-gone-istan".

The choice of the nickname "Spectre" for the AC-130 is, to me, an intriguing choice. I can imagine few things less "spectral" than a 62-ton, 16,000 horsepower transport plane raining down withering firepower while turning lazy circles in the sky. I can think of few more concrete demonstrations of military might and resolve. Indeed, one of the reasons they're using these beasts during broad daylight is: because they can. If indeed it's true what they say, that there are many Taliban/al-Qaeda members who cherish the thought of death as much as Americans cherish life, then this thing is here to help them achieve that goal. Anyone else with a rather, say, better functioning sense of self-preservation (hell, if we had the time, I'd be happy to wait for evolution to run its course with these geniuses) should have ample reason, if not time, to rethink that position.

Let's face it, whether you're chewed up by 7.62mm bullets being sprayed at you by the pair of incongruously-named "mini-guns" (the same 6-barrel Gatling gun things you saw being supposedly used in "Predator" - yes, those mini-guns), ripped in two by the 20mm cannons, obliterated by the 40mm Bofors cannon, or just plain aerosolized by the 105mm Howitzer, you've probably eaten your latest kebab, and burned your last American flag.

And finally ... a survivalist writer and friend of mine (who has recently been commissioned by that most urbane of the highbrow journals, "Hustler", to write a "think piece" on surviving a terrorist attack) passed on the following interesting tidbit last night: by his calculations, a one megaton nuclear airburst strike, detonated at a height of 10,000 feet agl would be sufficient to ignite every turban within a seven mile radius. He offers no particular context or rationale for having performed this calculation, just kinda thought it was interesting.

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