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Iran’s Kooky, Incendiary Arsenal

by david_axe on April 4, 2006

Super-fast underwater missiles — they ain’t the half of it. Iran’s armed forces are rolling out a slew of new military hardware this week, as part of its “Great Prophet” naval war games. Some of the gear seems downright comical. Others, downright dangerous.
iran_flying_boat.jpg(Most of these links are crimped from Kathryn Cramer and Airborne Combat Engineer. Make sure you show ‘em a little click-love.)
First, the comical — a “flying boat,” which moves at low altitude above the water. “The vessel appeared to be a more-advanced military version of the common seaplane,” Iran Focus observed. “Because of its hulls advanced design, no radar at sea or in the air can locate it. It can lift out of the water. It is wholly domestically built and can launch missiles with precise targeting while moving,” the Mullahs’ Defense Ministry mouthpiece crowed. Mayyybe. But ACE notes that “you can buy your own such boat/plane (in kit or finished form).” He finds some pictures of awfully similar craft over here.
Next, the dangerous. The Times takes a look at Tehran’s embryonic satellite program. The orbiters the Iranians are launching are crude. “But some Western analysts note that such technologies can also have atomic roles and that a crucial element of a credible nuclear arsenal is the ability to launch a missile accurately and guide a warhead to its target,” the Times says.

While Iran now depends on Russia to launch its satellites into orbit [and we know how helpful Moscow is feeling these days — ed.], it has vowed to do so itself, and is developing a family of increasingly large rockets. In theory, the biggest could hurl not only satellites into space but warheads between continents.
“The real issue is that they have a very large booster under development,” said Dr. Anthony H. Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington who wrote a recent report on Iran’s nuclear effort.

Closer to home, Tehran is bragging about an “advanced shoulder-launched rocket ‘Mithaq 1′ — which can be carried by IRGC fast ships and used on shore and on islands — was successfully test-fired,” Iran Focus quotes a military spokesperson as saying.

The Mithaq 1 anti-aircraft rockets have a heat tracking device and are “fast” and “manoeuvrable,” the report said, adding that they were particularly good at targeting light helicopters…
Iran also has the Mithaq 2 on its production line. The more advanced rocket is [almost identical to the Chinese shoulder-fired missiles and is] capable of destroying choppers and jet fighters which fly at low altitude. Tehran claims that it is good for use in electronic warfare and it can also hit fake targets.

misagh-2_crowd.jpgOn Friday, Iran “tested the Fajr-3, a missile that it said can avoid radars and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads,” the Associated Press noted. Again, it appears to be based on a Chinese model.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Jason Alderwick, reminds Reuters about the Iranian habit of “military bravado and posturing.“
But Tim Ripley, with Jane’s, adds that, “You don’t actually need lots of weapons to close (the Strait of Hormuz), you just need lots of threats… “You don’t even have to sink a ship, you just have to double the insurance rates (for shipping) and it has a knock on effect on the price of oil.“
And Kathryn Cramer notes that the man behind Tehran’s new technologies is a seriously bad dude — the man “responsible for recruitment of suicide bombers in Irans armed forces.” Not coincidentally, Brigadier General Hossein Salami also crafted Iran’s doctrine of “the massive use of suicide operations to target U.S. and Western interests around the world, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.“
UPDATE 5:12 PM: “For months, I have told interviewers that no senior political or military official was seriously considering a military attack on Iran. In the last few weeks, I have changed my view,” says Joseph Cirincione, with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “In part, this shift was triggered by colleagues with close ties to the Pentagon and the executive branch who have convinced me that some senior officials have already made up their minds: They want to hit Iran.“
(Big ups: Kevin Drum)
UPDATE 04/05/06 3:12 PM: Well, now we’ve got the sneaky missile hat trick. “Iran said Wednesday it has successfully test-fired a “top secret” missile, the third within a week, state-run television reported.” To which Kathryn asks, “If it’s so secret, what’s it doing on TV?”

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali Soltani April 4, 2006 at 9:43 am

I really dont think by using statements like maybee and kooky you seem wise. Discrediting others is the simplest task. The Iranian authorities as you say usually do brag, and as my personal past experience shows usually can not make anything that is accurate. But lets just say that it throws ten Fajr 3 missiles at a US navy ship. 9 will explode by themselves. What if the last one does make contact? Really, making fun of such dangerous concepts is not the best thing to do. Iran will not be the same as Afghanistan or Iraq. The world has to have a united response to pressurize the regime not only to give up nuclear weapons programs, but more importantly to democratize the country. By far Iran is the most likely of the regions countries to have a true democracy, after Israel.

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TheQuestioner September 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Instead of getting the so called "world" to pressurize the Middle East to give up Nuclear weapons, why don't you suggest that the major global economies such as China, the U.S, Japan, etc, do that instead? Why should the Middle East give up Weapons programs if countries against, or superior aren't? So in a future war, the Middle East could get pancaked?

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Uncrazy American September 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Because China, the U.S., and Japan aren't crazy.

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Cliff Vegas September 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm

I would not be so thin skinned. Calling an apparatus kooky (for instance) is indeed editorializing – permitted on blogs by the way – but it says nothing about the inventor nor his/her intentions. As for your observation regarding the deploying of mass munitions – certainly that is an option, but I would then be concerned about long term sustainable engagement. You may bloody your opponent's nose with a strategy like that, but what have you really accomplished?

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Rob February 8, 2013 at 11:12 pm

It would take no more than twice as long for the US to take over Iran than it took in Iraq… Our military could take over Iran while fighting another full scale war elsewhere. I am just stating facts here.

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Joseph C. April 4, 2006 at 3:49 pm

Ali: While I think you are correct in stating that the threat Iran poses should not be laughed at, I don’t think the original intention was to ignore the threat so much as put it in perspective. Iran will not be the same as Afghanistan – in fact if they’re much more likely to become democratic we may have an easier time there if we decide to go. Iran’s bragadocious demonstrations of “military power” amounts to cheap hovercraft and Russian torpedos prone to sink the submarines that LAUNCH them. It’s a pretty funny compensation tactic if you ask me. They threaten to cut off sea travel and assert dominance in the region with that?
I think the proper thing to do is make fun of it, and then flip some test switches to ensure that you can blow it out of the water / air / both (when it comes to the hoverplane) before it even knows you’re there. One of these days the Iranians will be called on their bluffs and see what they’ve brought upon themselves by ignoring the warnings and the envoys.

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TR Lavigne April 4, 2006 at 3:55 pm

I dont think the flying boat is really related a conventional seaplane. It looks, and is described, more along the lines of a “wing in ground effect” (WIG) vehicle. Not really all that kooky. The Soviet navy did lots of work with WIG ships/planes in the 1980s, mostly in terms of fast cargo-lift. More info can be found at wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect.

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bespoke April 4, 2006 at 3:58 pm

Why is a Ground Effect Vehicle (or Wing in Ground vehicle) comical? It’s effectively a super fast attack craft. Why use a hydrofoil that goes 50 knots when you can have a GEV that can possibly go as fast as 200 knots?
The Soviets called them Ekranoplans and tested them during the cold war: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_Sea_Monster
Granted, “comical” is what people said about submarines, heavier than air vehicles and tanks, too.

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Hawthorne April 4, 2006 at 4:43 pm

Just noticing that their top-secret wonderplane has an unshrouded engine on stilts above the body and a huge radar-reflecting propeller, a configuration that’s as stealthy as a bungalow.
Compare it to actual stealthy planes like the F-117 and B-2 or low-observable ships like the Skold or Visby, and ask yourself if there’s not a disconnect between what Iran’s claims are and what this thing is actually capable of…

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Eagle1 April 4, 2006 at 5:41 pm

Looks like a WIG. A bad WIG.

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Cernig April 4, 2006 at 5:56 pm

Iranian Rear-Admiral Morteza Saffari told HIS press contingent (before the the air force chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards started making his claims) that Iran would be launching a Shahab-2 as the first move in those exercizes and certainly what was launched seems to fit that designation – and it’s not stealthy or MIRVed!
The Fajr-3 name has until now been used by the Iranian military to designate a type of artillery rocket carrying only a 45kg payload up to 43 Km. That’s not stealthy or MIRVed either.
It takes about 5 minutes with Google to find the relevant facts, but for the lazy of mind here’s a link to the collection I made: http://cernigsnewshog.blogspot.com/2006/04/irans-stealth-missile-april-fool.html
The “Stealthy MIRV” misile is a mirage – and until further evidence arises than the same Gen. Hossein Salami who announced this hoax’s say so I will assume ALL the other claims from his mouth are the same – chimeras.
Regards, Cernig @ Newshog
(PS, that machine shown, whether flying boat or WIG machine, isn’t stealthy either… that’s two down for Gen. Salami)

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Joseph April 4, 2006 at 6:29 pm

No, nothing comical about them but the one they show a picture of doesn’t resemble the ones the Russians devloped. But who knows, pics can be deciving, still if I remember right there not to agile and they should be quite large. That could make them much eaiser to find and hit then a tradtional patrol boat. I think it’s just a bluff, it might be something there working on but I don’t think it’s effective, yet.
Is that a cheap and easy to use SAM, that would be a very dangerous weapon if it’s spread throughout Iraq and Afganistan. Seems like that is a trump there holding on us.

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Cernig April 4, 2006 at 6:51 pm

Now the World Peace Herald and Washington Times are repeating a Pentagon statement that the “Stealthy MIRV” was a lie.
http://www.wpherald.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20060404-102939-4495r
” An Iranian general said the Iranian military test-fired a new missile Friday that had the capability to evade enemy sensors and carried multiple warheads.
A defense official confirmed that the Iranians’ test was a Shahab-2, Tehran’s designation for the Scud-C missile, which has a range of up to 310 miles. It was not a new missile as Iranian press reported.”
Which is what I said on the day, and emailed Noah to give him the link.
It may actually be more worrying that the current gusto for war with Iran, whipped up by the Bush administration and the neocons, has even the big media companies repeating these claims of Iran’s wholesale without a single critical thought or even 5 minutes on Google to fact-check.
Regards, Cernig @ Newshog

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oz April 4, 2006 at 7:25 pm

“Just noticing that their top-secret wonderplane has an unshrouded engine on stilts above the body and a huge radar-reflecting propeller, a configuration that’s as stealthy as a bungalow.
Compare it to actual stealthy planes like the F-117 and B-2 or low-observable ships like the Skold or Visby, and ask yourself if there’s not a disconnect between what Iran’s claims are and what this thing is actually capable of…”
First of all you can’t compare it to the planes or ships you’ve listed. It’s not exactly designed for bombing runs at 20,000+ ft and it’s nowhere near the size of those ships. Its small size and extremely low flying would, under my understanding of sea based RADAR, cause it to be difficult to differenciate between it and the sea. Strap a Shkval to it and it would be quite a potent anti-ship weapon in my opinion.
-oz

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Benito April 4, 2006 at 9:42 pm

Ground Effect Plane is what that ‘kooky boat’ looks like. As others have noted it is effectively a super-fast patrol boat — a technology the Soviets experimented with during the Cold War. Given the Iranians don’t have to challenge the United States in the open ocean, but instead merely have to deny oil tankers use of the gulf these things shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, especially if they have a lot of them.
Imagine 100 of them armed with a couple of surface-to-surface anti-ship missiles each darting in and out of of the Persian Gulf from the Iranian’s long coast line. They could lose 80% of them but if they are able to take out a few supertankers or, god forbid, a surface warship or a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier then Tehran would easily come out ahead.
The combination of fast patrol craft like this coupled with hard-to-locate land-based anti-ship missiles could make the Persian Gulf an seagoing version of the Baghdad airport highway.

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ShepUK April 5, 2006 at 5:52 am

oh come on Defense Tech – posting a comment by the ‘Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’ ,yeah and i guess they havnt got an agenda have they? A group of Peaceniks like these say that and you actually take them seriously????? I’m utterly baffled, do you honestly think they would say anything other then some dumb Peacenik message. Look sorry to be rude but grow a brain will you! Sheesh some of the utter twaddle that group of peaceniks comes out with is mindblowing and you present it as real important ‘news’. I’m stunned that you let your slef and this site down like that – what next, comments from George Gallaway and his ‘respect’ party, Cindy Sheehan telling us were all wrong. Please use common sense in future instead of posting crap from a bunch of dedicated Peaceniks.

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sean September 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

george galloway is beyond your inteligence. thats the problem. your a simple little human arent you.

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Charles April 5, 2006 at 1:19 pm

Oh no, he posts a snippet that ends with ” They want to hit Iran”. He must be a big bad Hanoi Jane in our midst! :p
(Though it’s credited to Kevin Drum…maybe you should fire off a quick flame in his direction)
Iran is posturing again. The demonstration is meant to make the civilian populations think that war against Iran will be difficult due to the “wonder weapons” being thrown out. The problem is, is that somewhere out there an American sub is probably observing the tests, or a AWACS or an innocous “fishing trawler”, as the Soviets did during the Cold War.
As I’d stated before, these kinds of things will only encourage the Navy’s “Beyond the Sea” doctrine, and perhaps they’ll push a few more dollars to the rail gun program. If Iran’s land-to-sea strike capability increases enough in range, we’d have to revert to Operation Desert Fox-esque Tomahawk strikes, and we all know how pisspoor long range missile strikes are without good intel.
We’ll have to wait for LCS to come out and see how it fares against Iran’s secret ground-effect planes. Didn’t some of them have a Phalanx; that might help against missile attacks.

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Brian April 5, 2006 at 11:36 pm

Ground effect planes don’t work with a crap unless they’re BIG. There’s a reason the soviets stopped messing with them. If this is a ground effect craft, Iran just flushed a bunch of money down the crapper. If they send 100 of these things flying around the gulf (which they won’t, because they can’t afford that many), all they’ve got is 100 really slow plane/boat things that don’t get very good gas mileage.
This article should make you happy. The more they spend $$$ on this crap, the less they have to spend on weapons that work.

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soccerbrain April 6, 2006 at 1:18 am

it was said the Japanese toys were cheaply made and were shoddy. the Iranians might not have wokred all the bugs out mit der wunder weapons. look what we went thru with the F111 and recently the Osprey. none the less ; never underestimate your opponets. surprise can get in a lucky or accurate hit from time to time. the Iranians have picked the worse time to test bed their weaponry on the outter world. pretesting for war is the best training next to actual war. war is a severe test area with a high risk of something thats going to and we know ( Murphs Law ) go wrong. war is not a good place to find your men and equipment are not up to par. its flirting with death to pick a fight with the stongest naval power on earth. fire power is total with expert gunnery practice and the best financed technology of a 4th generation U.S. Naval power ? this is not a drill. Iran should reaccess and buy the enriched uranium from Momma Russia. mystical sensei say ” best fight is one that didn’t happen. ”

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lester April 12, 2006 at 3:24 pm

speaking of agendas, iranfocus is very much the mouthpiece for the old iranian guard circa the shah. The neo con stroking chalabis of ex pat Iran.

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jOSH May 3, 2006 at 1:27 am

Iranian strategy seems to be based on the Chinese swarm doctrine. Sow a couple of thousand mines across the strait of Hormuz, cover it with many batteries of advanced SAMS and silkworms…
THe soviets used to use the bastion technique…. Iran can use the same doctrine, without having to protect SSBN’s. As long as they can say who goes past Hormuz they are the masters of the universe

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Ops June 19, 2006 at 11:38 am

Actually the hover craft is the most dangerous cause USa has no efficient method to launch an attack to faster than helicopter(wich cant aim that hig speed targets well) howering object. It cant be torpedoed either. Thats why the military is now testind with the old carriers. Eguipped with superfast torpedoes few of these can remove the full mediterranean fleet in couple of hours. Thats why Australia developed em. Because they are unlimitedly hard to hit. Well not? Ok say one.. just ONE workin missile other long distance defense. Remember No radar/emission/laser aimed or seek missiles allowed(actually all missiles not hitting straigth are bound to sink). No heliweponary ect either caus these things move too fast for those and helis CAN be hit when radar is this low:)

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notany July 17, 2006 at 11:40 am

Iran has Russian made Moskit and Yakhnot cruise missiles. US Navy does not currently have any defence against them. Soviets designed them to penetrate AEGIS defence. See http://reddit.com/info/8w4k/comments/c8wx7 for for more information.

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flabbergested September 1, 2006 at 3:36 pm

in response to Ali Soltani: with all due respect US has no interest in have a democracy in Iran they had it but then had the govt over thrown and brought the shah back, as to isreal being a demoracy, what dream world planet are you living on?, how can a country(US) thats not a democracy itsself convince others to become one??

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Jaws7 October 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm

You are right. We are not a democracy. We are a republic ruled by law.
At least that is what I use to think until Clinton, the Bushs', and know Obama
were elected into office.

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Alex October 11, 2006 at 9:50 pm

No offense, but I’m not too worried… and do you seriously think the US hasn’t updated AEGIS to counter cruise missiles? and what about our Phalanx CIWS? THat should counter cruise missiles, with its own independent radar… just like their new shkval based torpedo 223 mph… but only a 5 mile range. and that missile… yea , right… a huge scud-like missile is gonna be radar-evading…. and does anyone besides me remember (or at least know about) Operation Praying Mantis in the 80′s? Iran’s arsenal is worse than that of North Korea.

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arash April 26, 2007 at 11:07 pm

BRAVO IRAN
of course Iran is the super power of middle east.
and they have very INTELLIGENT engineers.
i think it’s just a small part of their power.
if a country must be the power of middle east,that country is IRAN.

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Count Iblis November 11, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Israel could not deal very well with Hezbollah’s missiles which were supplied to hezbollah by Iran.
If it comes to war, Iran will fire 11,000 missiles in the first minute of a US attack, see here
I guess that the missiles will be fired automatically. Just send a signal to the missiles so that when the signal is cut, the missiles are launched. Then place the device sending the signal at places the US will bomb, e.g. at early warning radar sites, air defense assets etc. :)

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abubakary November 29, 2007 at 5:17 am

The world does not want to see another middle east war, so negotiations are necessary to avod mass destructions in the region.

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abubakary November 29, 2007 at 5:30 am

Israel is belived to own more than 1000 nuclear war heads, capable of destroying the whole middle east region..!! Why the U S A, E U, and the international community says nothing to Israel? Instead threatening to invade countries willing to own and develop nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes?

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sean September 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm

finally someone says something inteligent. and didnt the israelis sink one of our ships? THE USS LIBERTY???

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@Earlydawn September 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Perhaps because Israel is a U.S. ally, and because Israel has been repeatedly attacked by its neighbors? Get real.

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Wayne Goose January 10, 2008 at 1:45 am

Isaiah 33:19 and Proverbs 17:11

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Ahmat September 8, 2008 at 12:59 am

I hope some time Iranian use the weapons against american citizens because American used their weapons against Iranian may be a conflict between Iran and the US could learn the US that killing innocent people at their home is not correct. i hope iranian make advance weapons to attache american and israelies and we help them too.

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jhm September 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

screw you. If you say Americans kill innocents, Iranians frickin murdered their own students and people. I would rather have Americans running the show then a Persian who denies the Holocaust even existed. If you think americans kill people at their homes all the time, why don't you complain to Irans funder, Russia. They murdered thousands in their "homes" in Checheyna. Or how about the Chinese, they ran over their students with tanks, and gunned down Tibetens.

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Tom February 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Attacking American citizens is a great way to get a targeted military response, so go for it. America will listen to your complaints and pleas for mercy from our bombers.

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Rooster April 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm

LMAO Iran, technological development… “Yes we be habbing very good inkeneers here”. LOL
Perhaps the true insight here is the quality of the radar used to test the stealthiness of this boat (sic).
Fe Fi Fo Fum, we have religion and you got none… lol

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regaification May 7, 2009 at 2:28 pm

If your Iranian or like I Iranian's your a peace of shit!!!

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boddy February 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

also if you are an israeli and you like zionist

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L3TRC September 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Interesnte ;)

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John J. September 28, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Monte Python's Flying Circus?

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Bubba Nicholson September 30, 2010 at 6:01 am

Just nuke 'em and be done with it.

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Jaws7 October 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Kooky would be for a general to send a ten million dollar jet up against a
100 million dollar jet. To send 1000 of these kooky aircraft at a total cost of ten
million dollars against the airfield from where that 100 million dollar aircraft
took off from would be brilliant. Sort of like ants attacking a larger creature.
I think Iran's weapon program makes total sense when you consider who they
will be up against.

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