Zounds, on Thursday evening's ATC, Mr. Heft and Humanity himself, Robert Siegel, was even more jazzed for the dazzling "accuracy" of our air-war toys than his guest, General Halter. And who is this Halter fellow? I'll let Siegel describe him: "Irv Halter. That's retired U.S. Air Force Major General Irving Halter Jr., who is now with the applied technology group of the defense contractor, CSC. " CSC? Oh them...ka-ching!
Here are some of Siegel's laser-guided questions for the Halter:
"Does a pilot who is flying over Libya today have a very different and clearer sense of what his targets are than a pilot who was flying over, say, the Balkans back in the early '90s?"
"Is the result of all this that when a plane goes out and it's hoping to hit a tank on a highway, that the odds of hitting the gas station alongside the highway are far, far, far less than they might have been, say, 15 or 20 years ago."
To which Halter gleefully answers:
"Absolutely. We had pretty good precision 20 years, 15 years ago. We have much better precision now. But at the end of the day, something can occur, for instance, you know, during the Serbian fight there was a situation where an individual was getting ready to drop a bomb on a bridge and he noticed that there was a train coming for that bridge. And so, he had to steer the weapon away at the last minute. That was a decision that the pilots made. If he hadn't have seen that, then something bad could have happened."
Let's just say that "pretty good precision" depended on whether you were on the delivering or receiving end of NATO's humanitarian operation, and that BS about not hitting the train is pure Reaganesque making-crap-up - but since NPR seems to do so little research for these pieces, there is no attempt at correcting the record. Then again NPR never lets facts get in the way of selling the idea that US airpower is the most compassionate in the world.