While he doesn't look like Arnold, evolution has to begin somewhere.
One of the biggest, and I don’t think fully realized, disasters of Bush’s Iraq war is how the men and women of the armed forces have been abused and misused. Multiple extended tours away from families, constant stress of never being in a safe place with the only ground you hold under your feet, equipment that can be unsuitable for the combat environment, and a population that at best thinks of you as an infidel or outright wants to kill you. Under such conditions the all volunteer force has found it hard to recruit middle and working class patriotic young men and women. Many in the Mr. and Mrs. Middleclass ranks while supporting the war just can’t see their Jane or Johnny going out and fighting. They have SAT’s, proms, and finding a good college to worry about so they can keep a decent career track going. And the supply of patriotic working class kids, while never really being used up, has become thin and many come with certain factors such as a criminal record that years before would have had the recruiter laughing them out the office. Being honest here while Bush, Cheney, and any number of neocon chickenhawk political pundits still talk of a “clash of civilizations” and “Islamofascism” a good many of my fellow working class folks are saying something to the effect: “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” As for the children of the elite and rich serving, there are a few noble and honorable exceptions such as McCain’s boys, Jim Webb’s son, and a few others in congress and out but they are largely sitting out the war. They that stay home are serving in their own special way. Such as the Bush daughters that took a break from partying and went on an extended South American vacation to party some more. Also, I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t mention Mitt Romney’s boys who are serving the country by campaigning for their hypocrite father and his special blessed underwear.
With the rich kids serving in their own special way, the middleclass kids to busy, and the working class kids running low how is the military to keep up with all the present and future wars that Bush and his fellows want to involve us in? At first I thought it was going to be an expensive cutthroat mercenary force, I mean expensive cutthroat private contractors, but with them out of the UCMJ (Uniform code of Military Justice) and their loyalties only to money they will have their own special Praetorian Guard duties in the future if things continue like they are now. I found the best possible answer just a few days ago.
Back in the 80’s the movie going public was introduced to a sophisticated bloodthirsty killing robot in the form of a terminator shaped like a muscle bound future governor. The robot was an autonomous system identifying and killing specific targets. The fact that his target in the movie was the shapely Linda Hamilton made this movie one I watched time and time again but that was me in the 80’s. It’s not like it was as good a movie as Red Dawn (I'm joking Vigil) from the same decade. But during the same decade DARPA and the US army were already beginning research into systems very much like in principle to the terminator. While stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado when winter weather confined me to the post I would often make my way to the post library to catch up on the weekly magazines such as “Aviation Week and Space Technology” and “Jane’s Defense Weekly”. Both magazines always seemed to hold a wealth of reports on some pretty far out research the military was pursuing. One of the reports with several very pretty speculative illustrations said that to overcome the huge advantage in the Soviet Union’s ground forces the military was trying to develop independent robotic tanks or armored cars that could identify hostile forces and engage them. Developing robotic systems that can navigate simple obstacles has proven very hard even now with quantum advancement in computers system compared to what we had in the ancient 80’s but the research still is continuing. This research is finally seeing the first generation of combat robotic systems enter the service. Now these bad boys are just remote controlled and not independent, you have to walk before you run. Even the reports I read while I was in the army in the 80’s stated that more than likely the first systems would be teleoperated from rear areas. But even though these remote operated systems are very limited right now I’m sure the powers-that-be are salivating over the new possibilities for imperial military adventures and will give a whole new meaning to REMF’s. Maybe even tempting some of the middle class and rich elites back for some video game-like service with them safely in some air condition trailer in the safe rear areas wondering if they will get a medal for combat carpal tunnel syndrome. So maybe there is a future son or daughter of the Bush, Cheney or Romney clan marked for combat glory.
The Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System, or SWORDS, will be joining Stryker Brigade soldiers in Iraq when it finishes final testing, said Staff Sgt. Santiago Tordillos, a bomb disposal test and evaluation noncommissioned officer in charge with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Directorate of the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
The Talon began helping with military operations in Bosnia in 2000, deployed to Afghanistan in early 2002 and has been in Iraq since the war started, assisting with improvised explosive device detection and removal.
Different weapons can be interchanged on the system – the M16, the 240, 249 or 50-caliber machine guns, or the M202 –A1 with a 6mm rocket launcher. Soldiers operate it by remote control, from up to 1,000 meters away.n testing, it hit the bull's-eyes from as far as 2,000 meters away, Tordillos said. The only margin of error has been in sighting, he added.
The system runs off AC power, lithium batteries or Singars rechargeable batteries. The control box weighs about 30 pounds, with two joysticks that control the robot platform and the weapon and a daylight viewable screen.
There are four SWORDS in existence; 18 have been requested for service in Iraq, Tordillos said. So far, each system has cost about $230,000 to produce, said Bob Quinn, lead integrator for the project. When they go into production, Quinn estimates the cost per unit will drop to the range of $150,000 to $180,000.
Tordillos fielded a variety of questions while showing off the system in the exhibit hall. Soldiers wanted to know what military occupational speciality they have to sign up for in order to work with the system. There is no specific (military occupational specialty) for it, he said.
“You’ll never eliminate the soldier on the ground,” he said. “There’ll be a mix, but there will always be soldiers out there.”