National Politics

A look at the shoot down of the Chinook with 30 deaths

posts: 384

Comment on the news by SPTAH:

The helicopter shot down over Afghanistan with 30 American dead is a classic example why we lost in Viet Nam and cannot "win" in any of the many wars we currently wage. From a purely military point of view, this was a defeat of astounding value to the supposed enemy.

The Chinook copter dates back to the Viet Nam war. It has been updated many times. The latest figures on such updates have a contract of 11.4 billion dollars to update 61 of them. For you non-math people that works out to about 187 million each. It does not include the original cost. In addition, there is the training of the Seals and crew. In my day, thousands of years ago, we were told it cost $200,000 to train one 2nd lieutenant. You can bet the cost of training these 30 is easily over 2 million each.

So we have a economic loss here somewhere in the vicinity of 200 million w/o even considering the human costs to their families and to the nation at large. That loss is near infinite.

What caused this defeat? Indications are strong that it was shot down by ground fire from RPGs. An RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) is among the most common weapon in the world. It is cheap, meant as a rather primitive anti-tank weapon. As in Somalia, during the action that was later filmed as "Black Hawk Down", the enemy just shoots a number of these weapons into the rough vicinity of the copter and hopes to have it run into the trajectory of the RPG. A hit is serious and, as seen, frequently fatal. This is similar to using boxcutters to down airliners. An incredibly simple weapon, used with some luck and imagination, shows how vulnerable these very expensive weapons system are. Even the best, most expensive weapons system can be defeated by primitive means.

But worse still is the propaganda and morale value of such an attack by the "primitive" enemy. Can you imagine the high the attackers get from this action? There is no doubt that they won this battle and all can see it easily. Yet, on the other hand, if the USA is "successful" in any attack the results are usually hidden and not spectacular in any way. Indeed, pretty often they include killings of people who are not enemy. There is little ability to deny such action among the people of Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan/etc since the weapons are tied directly to "our" cause. All know who dropped the bombs or who broke into the house or who manned the check point.

The whole thing reminds me of the stories told of Viet Nam where a single Viet Cong would sit outside an airbase for days firing his old bolt action rifle at planes as they landed and took off. Sooner or later a lucky hit would down one of our planes with lots of life lost. The high they got from these successes was not measurable. Talk about heroes!!! But the current example differs in that the RPG attacks are much more effective, given a little patience. So are IED�s.

Some day we may lose our arragonce and quit thinking we are so superior. We need to get out of these very bad wars. We are making enemies faster than they can be killed.