finally, a post with rockets


Intercepting ballistic missiles is hard! Especially if for some reason, like your first shot missing or not detecting the target until late in the day or the fire-control centre not being able to cope with all seven tracks at the same time, you have to shoot at a low angle and very high crossing speed (caveat, but it’s not as if the Israelis find it any easier, albeit for different reasons). So the Houthis in Yemen shot no fewer than seven rockets into Riyadh last night and the Saudis let off some number x of their PAC-3 Patriot SAMs and nobody is happy. Because, you know, rockets falling on your head.

Which reminds me of this Pol piece on how Trump is still too afraid of Mattis to sack him.

When the White House does make requests, national security aides express frustration that their demands often go unanswered. According to two National Security Council officials, Mattis has ignored McMaster’s requests for military options that would have allowed the U.S. to strike Eastern Gouta, in Syria, as well as requests to see plans on North Korea, and two requests for options to strike Iran—one in response to a scenario in which the country sank an American ship in the Persian Gulf, another to the possibility that Iranian-funded Houthi missiles coming out of Yemen could strike the Riyadh airport in Saudi Arabia or the Saudi Aramco oil refinery.

I can’t worry about the first one because I see no reason to think the Iranians would do anything as daft as randomly sinking US-flagged ships unless there was already a war on. The second, though. amounts to making a probabilistic event into a geopolitical trigger. The accuracy of a ballistic missile is given in terms of its circular-error probable, the radius within which 95% of shots are expected to fall. So…they miss the airport, and that’s OK? Chucking rockets into downtown Riyadh is fine so long as you miss the airport? Or they shoot at something else nearby and hit it by mistake and that MEANS WAR. As you know Bob, statistical significance at p=0.05 just means a 1 in 20 chance, and they’ve fired more than twenty rockets.

And, you know, on the strength of the videos above you wouldn’t put it past Saudi air defence to drop one short right on the airport terminal. So yes, Mattis was quite right to sit on this idiotic proposal, and seeing as McMaster didn’t, I can’t really mourn that he’s gone. Maybe someone should roll up that document and…

He quit talking about himself and he asked me things and I asked him things and it just became like more appropriate

1 Comment on "finally, a post with rockets"

  1. Like the monkeys with the typewriters you just know at some point the lunatics are going to produce Armageddon.


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