Touchdown: B-2 stealth jets return after epic 11,500 mile journey to bomb Libyan aircraft shelters
Six hero pilots return home safe and sound from a bombing mission to Libya which saw them in the cockpit for an incredible 25 hours. Three B-2 Spirit bombers, piloted by two men each, made it back after the 11,418-mile round trip from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri - where they are kept in special hangars - to Libya, where they hit targets on forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi and back again.
At $2.1bn, they are the most expensive warplanes in the world and rarely leave their climate-controlled hangars. But when it does, the B-2 bomber makes a spectacularly effective start to a war - including during this weekend's aerial attack on Libya's air defences.
Its mission is to penetrate heavily defended enemy territory and 'kick down the door' on the opening night of a conflict. One of its special features is its ability to carry eight GBU-37 'bunker buster' bombs, weighing in at 2.27 tonnes that are capable of boring 20 to 30 ft of rock or reinforced concrete before detonating.
After the first wave of more than 110 Tomahawk missiles launched from allied warships in the Mediterranean, they struck yesterday morning on 'a variety of strategic targets over Libya', according to the US Air Force.
They dropped a total of 45 one-tonne satellite guided missiles on Libyan aircraft shelters before making the 5,709 mile journey back to the Missouri. The B-2 stealth bombers were first used in the Kosovo and Serbian war and have been used more recently in Afghanistan.
The long-range, heavy bomber capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defence, and with one refuelling, is able to fly to any point in the world within hours. The aircraft is famous for rather ominous-looking bat-like silhouette: The leading edges of the wings are angled at 33° and the trailing edge has a double-W shape. It is manufactured at two Northrop Grumman facilities in Pico Rivera and Palmdale in California.
The aircraft also are deadly and effective: An assessment published by the USAF showed that two B-2s armed with precision weaponry can do the job of 75 conventional aircraft. That makes it a powerful weapon to strike targets including bunkers, command centres, radars, airfields, air defences. The B-2 can carry 16 2,000 pound (900 kilogram), satellite-guided bombs, including an earth penetrating version.
Just a tribal war in Libya
In Libya and Yemen and Bahrain, as with Egypt, there is a LOT being published in the media, a LOT of commentary on-line, and a LOT of screaming back and forth about the wonderful revolt or rebellion and how it includes all the “lost” segments of Islamic society (women, homosexuals, atheists, etc.). Balderdash! All this indicates that people do NOT understand either tyranny, dictatorship, nor the history and current situation in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Look first at Libya. Libya is a tribal society, and has been since the Arabs overran this part of the Roman empire in the 7th Century, including the Visigothic regime which had conquered this portion of the empire. The country doesn’t even have a constitution.
Gaddafi “overthrew” the old Islamist monarchy in 1969, but only because his tribe joined an alliance of other key tribes which did not want to remain under the tribe to which the monarchs had belonged from 1951 to 1969, and he was in front. He is not a figurehead, but the dominant personality and leader of a coalition of tribes in a bewildering array of committees and councils and even mixed tribal military and militia units. The national military is a cesspool of competing tribal interests. The “rebels” are not really rebels: they are tribes that have withdrawn from the various coalitions: often they are the majority, and the “government forces” are definitely in the minority: the tribes who still want to keep the current (or former) regime.
Some tribes have been very resistant to Gaddafi’s (and his tribe’s and their allies’) brand of government and Islam: they want to return to the Islamic tribal system, and have been under pressure from the more “secular” tribes and Gaddafi for decades (one reason Al Qaeda has so many Libyans in its ranks.) Other tribes just want to be in the driver’s seat. Though the current uprising has some popular roots, it is taking place and continuing because it is allowed and supported by several of the tribes which have decided to no longer participate in the shared power structure, either because THEY want to be boss, or because they are tired of the brutality used to enforce the “code of honor” that the tribes have used to resolve their conflicts.
Gaddafi (and his tribe) are in a bad position: his tribe was not a large one, and his personal influence, though built on his tribe, actually has supported and protected his tribe. Enough others have, until now, agreed with what he has done so that he has been in power for 42 years. But now enough tribes (and people) have withdrawn their support that it has collapsed into civil war. The protesters and the mobs are as much the tools of the tribes and power brokers as they are any kind of independent force for change.
The uprising and civil war is very VERY unlikely to lead to any “democratic” state - just a reordering of tribal power – even if the EU, NATO, or the US intervene. This is NOT a situation in which individual liberty is likely to increase - indeed, just the opposite. And in the chaos, the various small tribes and political groups, from Al Qaeda to the local branches of every possible group you can imagine, see this as the perfect opportunity to strike out at their enemies - but at the same time, they are better targets than ever for their own enemies.
As long as Arabs, Persians, and others are enslaved spiritually by their religion, Islam or “Submission”, and enslaved mentally by their tribal culture and society, there will be no “democratic” OR “republican” revolution on Arab Street, no individual liberty with personal responsibility, and no peace in the “Lands of Peace.” And if we do not understand that, we will continue to find OUR liberty and freedoms threatened by Islam and Arabs and their ilk two centuries from now.
An assortment of good thoughts from Thomas Sowell
Don't mention "municipal golf courses" to me. It sends my blood pressure up through the roof. What earthly excuse is there for spending the taxpayers' money subsidizing a golf course? Politicians can't even invoke "the poor," as they do when trying to justify other government boondoggles.
The vocabulary of the political left is fascinating. For example, it is considered to be "materialistic" and "greedy" to want to keep what you have earned. But it is "idealistic" to want to take away what someone else has earned and spend it for your own political benefit or to feel good about yourself.
Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do-- and nothing is more unpredictable.
An e-mail from a perceptive reader points out that, although Congressional "earmarks" represent a very small part of federal spending, they can be used as bribes to buy the votes of members of Congress on bills involving the spending of vastly larger sums of the taxpayers' money.
When political commentators from the Fox News Channel had books whose sales would normally make the New York Times' non-fiction best-seller list, the New York Times changed the rules for putting books on that list. Thus best-selling political books by Mike Huckabee and Dick Morris appeared last Sunday on a more obscure list of miscellaneous personal advice and how-to books, such as "Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook."
When the Federal Reserve cites statistics to claim that there is not much evidence of inflation, we need to keep in mind that the statistics they rely on exclude food and energy prices. The cost of living is no sweat if you can do without electricity and food.
Even if it could be proved that judges who are making rulings that go counter to the written law produce better results in those particular cases than following the letter of the law would have, that does not make society better off. When laws become unreliable and judges unpredictable, lawsuits become a bonanza for charlatans, who can force honest people to settle out of court, for fear of what some judge might do.
The mainstream media never expressed half the outrage about Mao Zedong as they did about Ronald Reagan. Yet, when it came to killing millions of innocent civilians, even Hitler was an amateur compared to Mao.
The Obama administration seems to be following what might be called "the Detroit pattern"-- increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions. In the short run, it got mayors re-elected. In the long-run, it reduced Detroit from a thriving city to an economic disaster area, whose population was cut in half, as its most productive citizens fled.
Safety advocates who say that we shouldn't take chances, but should ban things that might be unsafe, don't seem to understand that if we banned every food to which somebody had an allergy we could all starve to death.
The vile people who picket the funerals of American soldiers killed in action are far away enough from the mourners not to be heard. It is media attention that magnifies their sick message.
Intolerance may not promote progress but it can promote survival. An intolerant Islamic world may outlast the Western world that seems ready to tolerate anything, including the undermining of its own fundamental values and threats to its continued existence.
Arab League Redefines Chutzpah
I always thought the best illustration of "chutzpah" was that of the boy who kills his parents and then pleads with the court for mercy, on the grounds that he is an orphan. But given that that is only a hypothetical example, we now have a better illustration of chutzpah because this one is true.
Witnessing the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's large-scale killings of Libyan civilians, the Arab League begged us, the Europeans and the Security Council to militarily intervene on behalf of the Libyan people.
So, despite the fact that America is rather weary of fighting Muslim mass murderers, is militarily overstretched and has a devastating national debt, America said yes. We are the most decent country on Earth, and even a liberal-left Democrat in the White House feels the moral pull of America's legacy, values and unparalleled strength.
But no sooner have America and the Europeans intervened than the Arab League officially protests our intervention on the grounds that Libyan civilians -- 48 claimed, 0 confirmed at the time of the protest -- have been killed by the intervention requested by the Arab League.
What exactly did the Arab League, most of whose dictators have murdered thousands of their own people for political reasons, think would happen once the U.S. and the Europeans intervened militarily? Did they assume not one Libyan civilian would get killed? Has there been a military action in history in which no civilians died?
Amr Moussa, the outgoing secretary general of the Arab League, claimed in his statement that "What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians."
Perhaps Moussa did not read the Security Council resolution. It does not limit anti-Gadhafi military activity to "imposing a no-fly zone." The resolution authorizes U.N. member states "to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi (italics added)."
Perhaps President Obama should hold a press conference and make this announcement: "Given the Arab League's protest, we are immediately ending our military involvement in Libya. Apparently, Mr. Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, assumed that military intervention is possible without the killing of a single civilian. He should have told us so. Under that condition, we would never have put our blood and treasure on the line. So now, we are out, and the blood of every Libyan killed and tortured by the Libyan dictator is now on the Arab League's hands. On behalf of the American people, I ask the Arab League, and especially Mr. Moussa, to never again appeal to us to save Arabs from their dictators. Shukran."
(The president likes using Arabic words when he addresses Arab audiences, so his using the Arabic word for "thank you," shukran, would add a nice flourish.)
What does this Arab League protest mean? It clarifies once again that tribal values outweigh moral values in the Arab world, including among much of its educated elite such as Moussa. In many Arabs' eyes, it is better for an Arab tyrant to slaughter any number of Arabs, and to allow that tyrant to retain power, than for Westerners to kill a dozen Arabs in order save tens of thousands of them trying to topple that tyrant.
MA: Two Boston parades, two different crowds: "Under a brilliant, blue sky in South Boston yesterday, there were two Saint Patrick’s Day parades: the traditional one and, more than a mile behind it, an alternative one billed as the Peace Parade. The first had all the usual trappings of the cultural celebration and street party that dates back more than a century and draws crowds lining the streets six people deep. After that parade ended, the crowd mostly dispersed, unaware or uninterested in what followed. Forty-five minutes later, the police let the second one begin: the court-ordered procession of antiwar demonstrators and gay rights groups"
SCOTUS upholds release of Fed bailout records: "The Supreme Court let stand Monday a ruling that the U.S. Federal Reserve must disclose details about its emergency lending programs to banks during the financial crisis in 2008. The justices rejected appeals by a group representing major commercial banks of last year's ruling by a U.S. appeals court in New York that required disclosure of the lending records."
Authority: God vs. man: "I think God’s true law is written in our hearts and we know these things intuitively just as we know the justness of the rights described in The Bill of Rights. To the Founders, these rights were self-evident and ordained by our creator (again, whatever 'creator' means to you). These rights flow from the notion of self-ownership, which is also self-evident. Not to believe in self-ownership is to accept the idea that other people own you and/or that you own other people. This is an absurdity on its face, yet many hold that view — that we are owned by society"
Merging Britain's income tax and national insurance: "I am relieved to hear that chancellor George Osborne is considering merging income tax and national insurance, even if the changes are likely to be slow in coming. The division between these two direct taxes on income tax once (just about) justifiable on the contributory principle -- that payment of certain amounts of national insurance made you eligible for certain benefits. That justification no longer holds to any great extent, and if the state pension is changed as planned it will evaporate altogether. The only remaining reason to keep income tax and national insurance separate is for political, presentational reasons: to stop people from cottoning on to just how much tax they are paying." [Similar to the IRS/Social Security split in America]
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)