U.S. hits Iran. WTF?

What the hell happened here?

With the scent of Donald Rumsfeld’s cigar-smoke still lingering our collective ass-cheeks, I’m confused about precisely how to be outraged about this.

After Donny has taken to much care to convey the notion that this heavy bombardment of populated areas in Iraq is so carefully calibrated that each bit of ordinance practically has a particular bad guy’s name engraved on it, “The targeting capabilities and the care that goes into targeting to see that the precise targets are struck and that other targets are not struck is as impressive as anything anyone could see. The care that goes into it, the humanity that goes into it, to see that military targets are destroyed, to be sure, but that it’s done in a way, and in a manner, and in a direction and with a weapon that is appropriate to that very particularized target,” we find that there may be a margin-for-error of thirty miles? There goes my comfy image of grateful Iraqi civilian families listening with satisfaction as the thugs next door get their just desserts.

On the other hand, if we accept that the guidance systems really are that keen, one of the ‘accidental’ targets is real unfortunate:

Oh yeah, the idea that the U.S. is already targeting Iranian oil interests, (as ludicrous as it is,) is going to go over just great on the “Arab street.”

What a shot-in-the-arm for al-qaeda recruiters.

I think it’s a very unfortunate accident. The technology is good, but not foolproof, and it’s not guaranteed to work. I think the US will have to work very hard to make amends.

Shit breaks.

What might have happened, and this is just a WAG, is that the guidance may have gone out and turned what were guided missles into unguided missles that went in a straight line until they hit something.

It doesn’t seem that anyone was killed, which is a damn good thing.

It also could have been human error. Either confusion over exactly where the Iraq/Iran border is, or some sort of mistake in programming the missile.

Iran, Iraq, they just made a typo.

Or could this just be staged by the Iranians? If you’re going to postulate that Rumsfeld might be Machiavelian enough to do it on purpose, surely an Iranian ayatolah can be equally so. Or it could be Iraqis firing into Iran to stir things up. I have no idea if either scenario is true, but a little skepticism might be in order.

Maybe they thought a Chinese Embassy was there? :smiley:

…or the French Embassy

On a serious note, if this was a cruise missle, the targeter could have programmed the missle to the refinery. They are after all, a member of the axis of evil.

Maybe it was an iraqie missle?

“Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity.”
– R. A. Heinlein

I don’t know if it was intentional, but we’re shooting thousands of pounds of guided explosives at rather small targets from long distances. It’s pretty amazing we’re hitting anything at all, let alone not hitting more non-Iraqi people.

Come on Derleth, these are precission guided munitions complete with targeting guarantee or your money back. Check out Rumfield’s glowing explanation of how accurate they are in the OP. Looks like that one had Iran’s name on it.

So… you’re saying that this missile was targeted on Iran purposefully?

If so, why?

Just curious…

To give EasyPhil the benefit of the doubt (and don’t think that isn’t hard for me), he may be making a point more about the “Oh, yeah, gee whiz, look at that missile going down the chimney and into the hallway and then knocking on the door and saying “Pizza delivery” so the bad guys open the door and then scanning the room and locking onto Abdul and going right up to him and exploding without knocking a picture off the wall in the room of the nice people who live next door” rhetoric about smart missiles than about the “Okay, so here’s the plan, we take over Iraq and then we take over Iran and then we take over Iceland and then we take over Indonesia and soon all of the countries starting with “I” will be ours to do with as we will! Mwahhahahaha!” motives some attribute to the Bush administration.

It’s a war. Things happen. When they happen, a lot of people die, or are at least maimed horribly. When you put several tons of metal and explosives into the air going really fast, they may well end up someplace other than where you wanted them to. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes they hit another country, sometimes they hit a hospital full of orphaned nuns, sometimes they hit the thing you were aiming at. It’s less of a crapshoot than it used to be, but there’s still a random element.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get somebody who works in government to say “Yes, we’re going to kill a lot of innocent people in the course of pursuing our necessary and completely justified goal”.

They know it’s going to happen, they just don’t want to talk about it. They tend to concentrate on happy things, like the fact that you no longer have to bomb an entire city until it creates a firestorm (Dresden, WWII) to make sure you get the job done. They like to avoid unpleasantness like the fact that you’re still going to be putting a lot of explosions into an area where people who don’t have a real stake in the current regime are just trying to feed their families, or that you’re going to have the occasional accident where you kill a bunch of your own guys or blow something up in a neighbouring country.

There’s never been a war, just or not, good or bad in outcome, where things like that didn’t happen. It sometimes seems that the Powers That Be would like everyone to forget that. This is another thing that has been present in every war, just or not, good or bad in outcome.


OK. If that was, in fact, EP’s point, then I retract my inflammatory question and offer apologies.


Well, now, they dropped, what, 1500 bombs on Iraq? And one goes way off course? That’s less than one-tenth of one percent.

A terrible accident, true, and great effort must be put into making amends (full health care and payment for those injured, for instance, and restitution for the damage to the property), but it shouldn’t be thought of as some big attempt at spreading the war around.


Whether or not this was an accident, I have a bad feeling about Iran and a wider conflict in the region. :frowning:

  1. The Heinlein quote is both pithy & appropriate.
  2. The definition of war is Chaos. The totally unexpected hapens when two large organizations in conflict interact. Deal with it.
  3. Obligatory reference to OpalCat.
    4)Ground fire on a low-flying cruise missile can easily damage the steering gear or control surfaces on the wings. After all, it ain’t like they armor what is a non-resuable item. After being damaged, the missile can wind up anywhere. The computer is no longer able to control it.