Advanced weapons do not equate to good foreign policy

I haven’t been watching much news on TV lately. The endless rallying cries of western imperialism depress me. The relentless bait-and-switch propaganda makes me think that in times of crisis the media give up on critically questioning the government. (And I consider myself naive for having believed that they ever did.) And the continuous parade of utter stupidity just makes me downright angry.

Consider a program that was on the Discovery Channel yesterday evening. It was a supposedly in-depth look at how Western (i.e. US) forces are tackling the war on Afghanistan. (Yes, I meant to say “on” rather than “in”.) It featured an interview with John Gresham, a military researcher. I don’t have an exact quote, but what he said went something along these lines:

“These new smart missiles can target any point in the world, and they’re accurate to a within thirteen meters. Imagine what would happen if we could have placed a bomb right in the sleeping quarters of a Saddam Hussain, a Hitler, a Pol Pot ( names a series of other renowned figures). Don’t you think that would have an effect on their foreign policy?”

Bear in mind that I wasn’t paying huge amounts of attention to this show, and I’ve just taken his quote out of context. But–hello?

First of all, it’s all very well and good to feed in a set of co-ordinates, and watch the missile go boom right on top of them. But what happens if you’ve got the wrong coordinates by accident? What if your intelligence is wrong? The bomb may be smart, but it can’t tell the difference between a bunker and a school.

And secondly, what if terrorists had the ability to detonate a bomb in the middle of any city, at any time. Don’t you think that would affect our foreign policy? Oh, wait–they do have that ability. And it has affected our foreign policy. It’s caused us to go to war. So how can anyone think that holding foreign leaders to ransom for their good behaviour is a way of ensuring peace?

What a muppet.