The interesting part that most people don't think about (and is extremely relevant in a MOUT setting) is the pressure shock coming out of a main gun, which can be deadly for up to 200m:
The overpressure from the tank 120-mm cannon can kill a marine found within a 90-degree arc extending from the muzzle of the gun tube out to 200 meters. (Marines MOUT Manual)
When firing it down a narrow, building-lined corridor, the effect can be far longer, and even without the canister shot it would likely be enough to clear a large section of the street.
Are the resulting pieces effectively flechettes but lawful?
(There's even a sales brochure.)
He had a huge cannon that you could pay him $500 to drive out into the desert and shoot 
I was 17, it was early 90s and Nevada. He had just imported two shipping containers of new (mfr date 1968) Chinese made SKS rifles and was having a special on them, $99.
I bought one - and was talking to the guy and he pulled out a three ring binder and said "want to see what that can do?"
And he opened it up and he had effectively a catalog of pictures of the fatal wounds various weapon rounds would cause. (pictures of dead people)
I was deeply disturbed. I never went back in there...
(He also offered to sell me claymore mines which he had up on the top shelf all around the store... [THIS SIDE TOWARD ENEMY])
But pre-internet, actual printed out physical pictures which were developed in a 3-ring binder to a 17-year-old in 1992 was a disturbing dose of reality.
Both sides could stand a dose of empathy and common sense. Its true that not all gun owners are dangerous maniacs, but guns are dangerous and a lot of them are used in crimes by irresponsible people. It's also true that not all advocates for gun control are neo-communists who just want to confiscate all guns and put Christians into camps.
Gun policy should just be a public safety issue, but politics and the catch-22 nature of the 2nd Amendment have turned it into an intractable religious war.
Watch high-level military officials and politicians from despotic oil-world countries shopping for weapons like suburban husbands shopping for patio furniture at a home and garden show. Displays and sales pitches tuned to key in on bogey-men-du-jour. Worried by Iraninan-sponsored insurgency? We've got Just. The. Thing:
The other weird site that is how much money is spent on crap, that's clearly crap.
Even with my fairly limited military experience, it's easy to walk around a show and see so much expensive junk you know that a government will pay waaayy too much money for and some soldier will get stung with. Everything from cheaply made webbing that would fall apart in seconds, CBRN kit I wouldn't wear to a pub incase Guinness farts accidentally dissolved it, useless ballistic protection, overly elaborate radio systems that don't work, good awful weapons that jam even completely clean w/o rounds in them testing at a show...you name it. So much military crapware out there
Edit: op misquoted the page. They're tungsten which would be more in line with what I'd expect. Tungsten in both very heavy (ever heavier than lead) and very very hard.
Do modern tanks frequently face massed infantry charges?
(I know, I'm being way too literal, I was just amused by the image of a bunch of guys with Lee-Enfield rifles and pot helmets surging out of a trench to assault an Abrams.)
(I just googled for the ammo types available to the Abrams, and I learned that the latest-version multipurpose HEAT round has a fucking anti-aircraft mode, which enables a proximity fuse and a puff of black smoke on detonation, so you can track your shot WW2 flak-style. I know it's for helicopters, not planes, but still. Crazy.)
These days, infantry taking on a tank would just use an RPG or an ATGM.
Canister rounds, from my knowledge, result in ball projectiles (ballistic flight) while flechettes are finned (aerodynamic flight).
i.e., more like this:
and less like this:
Don't bring a sniper rifle to a combined-arms fight, I suppose. It's interesting & typical of modern war that the politics of the fight constrain the weapons choice much more than the tactical situation.
Not just modern war, but pretty much for most of history.
Clausewitz's maxim that "war is a continuation of policy by other means" ought to be interpreted as a reminder that war is (or at least should be) subservient to the political goals that are fueling war, and that the military needs to be a tool, not a driver, of the government's foreign policies. Sadly, not all governments do a good job of remembering this fact, and that is often where the great military failures start from.
There's companies that are researching or selling very precise indirect fire weapons. Basically, they're like the smart naval turret guns scaled down to around 20 or 30mm. You can fire a shell through a window and tell it to explode just inside. One of these on an APC, perhaps? (For all I know, these weapons were present, but the building was also fortified against them.)
These exist and are slowly becoming more mature. There was one that was tested in the early phases of what became the XM8 program in the early 2000s. So far the weapons that fire them seem to always wind up being too bulky/clunky/finicky for adoption by any military.
There's also South Korea's K11, which is the same concept as the XM29, and seems to actually be used, though I can't find much info about its effectiveness.
The conclusions from the failure of the XM29 I believe was that it isn't trivial to operate a smart grenade launcher, and the 20mm grenade doesn't have as much lethality as you would like. But perhaps the K11 was able to rectify these issues. I personally think this need for precise, powerful fires could be filled by a crew-serviced weapon mounted on an APC/IFV. Doesn't even have to be a smart grenade, could be a special autocannon or something.
And apparently there's some work being done on equipping Stryker's with the XM813, a 30mm Bushmaster autocannon that can fire programmable air bursting rounds. Which might accomplish the same thing.
There's definitely a need for armored vehicles better suited to urban combat. Maybe the Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program will provide something. I don't know much about how vehicle armor works, but maybe there's room for optimization? I mean, it's not like the enemy here is firing APFSDS rounds, or using advanced ATGMs. It's all IEDs and RPGs at close range. I know there's stuff like having a V-shaped hull improves performance against mines, and slat and cage armor to deal with explosively formed penetrator type weapons, but I wonder if there's other techniques that can produce a survivable vehicle without needing a full, 60+ ton tank
That's a luxury that you only can afford when the asymmetry of force is huge and you are going to win anyway.
>>"[..] I'm not sure that it's fair to say that the US has "won" either of the two major asymmetric wars it's been engaged"
In order to know if the US has won, we would need to know what were the goals of those wars in the first place. I'm not sure we know that.
Human wave tactics only work well if your army consists of poorly paid conscripts with no benefits, and even then they aren't terribly effective.
One of the big takeaways I got from the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary series is that it really was a war that nobody could win. The NVA was completely outmatched and would have been crushed if the US wasn't trapped behind political barriers like the 17th parallel. At the same time the US couldn't win because the South Korean government and army was hopeless. All the US could do was "accidentally" walk into ambushes and try to kill as many North Vietnamese as possible in the hope that the government would become so weak that even the South Vietnamese army could take it.
The big takeaway is never get involved with someone else's civil war.
The NVA would have been crushed if the USA crossed that barrier and nobody else get involved in the conflict. The low probability of that happening is the reason for not crossing, so, it's actually a military barrier.
"The memorandum begins by disclosing the rationale behind the bombing of North Vietnam in February 1965: The February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China."
>>"The big takeaway is never get involved with someone else's civil war."
It seems that, more than a civil war, it has the characteristics of a proxy war.
"As acknowledged by the papers:
We must note that South Vietnam (unlike any of the other countries in Southeast Asia) was essentially the creation of the United States."
I agree with your "big takeaway". But the above is egregiously mistaken.
For two reasons. With Viet Nam, we're talking about a country that resisted invaders (France, China) with great tenacity and success. The North had a sense of nationhood, and favorable terrain, and a largely united political/military leadership. The US dropped more bombs on Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia than during the whole of WWII, drafted all the young men the country could stand, applied money and expertise, destroyed one if not two Presidents, and still did not come very close to winning. Hanoi and the northern mountains were never seriously threatened by US forces. One could go on.
Second reason. The US had just suffered a defeat/stalemate in Korea due to Chinese counter-invasion when it seemed the US might cross the Yalu River. The US did not want that to happen again in Viet Nam. Thus, in a very real "hard power" sense, the US did not cross the Viet Nam borders into Thailand or Laos, because of not wanting to engage China directly along a second front. This is not a political limitation, it's a very direct military limitation.
Ken Burns Vietnam documentary series was about Vietnam (1960s - 1975 ?), not the Korean War (1950 - 1953), no?
The 320,000 South Korean troops who rotated through the Vietnam War over 10+ year period were great troops according to many US veterans who were there.
And also I do not agree with the broad generalization that South Vietnamese troops were hopeless.
"U.S. bombing of Cambodia extended over the entire eastern one-half of the country and was especially intense in the heavily populated southeastern one-quarter of the country, including a wide ring surrounding the largest city of Phnom Penh. In large areas, according to maps of U.S. bombing sites, it appears that nearly every square mile of land was hit by bombs with roughly 500,000 tons of bombs dropped. [..]"
Wow, I'm very not used to reading military text. They write "a concrete-penetrating option" but they mean "we blew up the building and everybody inside it".
I truly wonder how many innocent lives could be saved if military people would start writing honestly.
> 1-68 CAB’s solution was to drop the building using the GMLRS.
It is, of course, quite possible that "drop the building" is insufficiently honest for you. I'm sure the author could have written "explosively annihilated the five-story building under construction, most likely killing any person inside or atop it". Though I confess I'm not sure what this phrasing would add that "drop the building" does not. Perhaps you can enlighten me?
In this case, the intended audience appears to be mainly subject matter experts. So they use the jargon of concrete-penetrating because that appears to be the relevant technical detail that guided the munitions choice.
It [primarily] creates an implosion, not an explosion, which is why it's such a good weapon system for reducing collateral damage in an urban warfare setting. You can level a building and barely scratch the exterior walls of the building right next to it.
EDIT: Modified the portions in square brackets. I stand corrected - there is a small explosive charge on the ends of the rockets.
That's just ridiculous. Silly and snarky. But you know that. The GP wanted honest, not more verbose; plain language that describes the reality, not pseudo-objective jargon that conceals it. What makes it horrific is that you're joking about killing lots of people.
"Drop the building" is also a euphemism, like "light up" to mean to kill. Making murder sound bland and neutral. But I suppose it must be, to the "subject matter experts".
My point being that the article is neither euphemistic nor dishonest. It is quite straightforward and clear about actions, goals, means, and expected outcomes. I understand if some people might disagree and consider the wording used to be insufficiently evocative for their own personalized interpretations of more broadly recognized vernacular.
To be clear, I am in no way, shape, or form joking about killing people. I am pointing out that the article treats the matter with gravitas.
I'm pretty sure that in a lot of cases, hitting urban area was the goal, with theories that killing civilians will help win the war.
In this case, "destroy the building" is less accurate than "drop". Their goal was complete demolition, to prevent the building from being occupied by more fighters. The intended audience of this article will understand the language clearly.
There are less-practical solutions. One could pull out the 2nd and 4th stories, like playing a game of Jenga. One could shove the whole building down by two stories, fully intact, giving it two basements.
So "drop" seems especially fitting here. The highest point needs to drop by two stories.
Once you start seeing militarese for the technical writing that it is, a lot starts to make sense. In this case, they're listing the constraints of a problem, and describing the solution that was selected. Believe it or not, the choice of ordinance in this case is called a "firing solution".
My point is this: they are writing honestly. In fact, it quite common to refer to "kills" on the radio, and in after-action reports. Where the "its dead" level of analysis suffices, the military will say "it dead".
Consider instead how many soldiers might perish if the focus shifted away from "firing solutions" and towards accurate descriptions of agony.
The former is the job of the military. The latter is the job of the journalist. Both have important roles to play, here.
btw, since we're being pedantic about terminology, it's "ordnance", not "ordinance" -- the latter means laws.
Re "firing solution", I've heard it used both in artillery (i.e.: "solution to a parabolic equation") and in a more general context of "tactical solutions". The latter might be an informal term, in US parlance, though.
People didn't die because of writing. They died because someone used the building to shoot at people and couldn't be flushed out with smaller weapons. So, the answer to your question is "probably zero"
That purpose is to hide the brutality of war, from either the writer, or the reader.
In either case, allowing to hide the brutality makes it arguably more palatable to commit it (writer) or legitimize it (reader), and therefore contributes to it.
I can’t put numbers on this, obviously, because nobody can. But just denying the argument with a sort of its-not-guns-that-kill-it’s-people-argument is intellectually dishonest.
If you insist that “dropping” is for some reason preferable to “demolish” or “collapse”, say because it’s shorter or the military has trouble spelling those actual terms, I am sure you can find me a reference in non-lethal industries involved in the destruction of construction using the term. My superficial research seems to indicate that those wielding wrecking balls instead of laser-guided missiles see no need to obfuscate their doings.
> precisely placed explosive charges dropped a 28-story building almost in its tracks.
> "It's the heaviest steel we’ve ever worked on," says Mark Loizeaux, of Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI), Towson, Md., which dropped the brick-clad structure for contractor Wells Excavating Co., Inc., Oklahoma City.
> CDI’s detonation sequence aimed to drop the building in a southerly direction in what is called a controlled progressive collapse in order to lay out the demolished structure to ease removal of debris.
> In 1975 CDI demolished a 32-story reinforced concrete building in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the only building taller than the Biltmore to be dropped with explosives
> Controlled Demolition Incorporated’s team was able to complete asbestos abatement/environmental remediation, prepare the structure for implosion and drop the massive structural steel building just 2 weeks
> Controlled Demolition Incorporated's DREXS (Directional Remote Explosive Severance) System sequentially severed the 4 inch thick flanges of the buildings' support columns to drop the structure without damage to a Boston Fire Department facility just 30 feet away.
Edit: to be clear, I’m against the pedantry at play here. Subject matter experts talk in their specific jargon. We do it in tech, why would the military be any different?
Second, "drop" may be colloquial but I don't see how it's disguising the action and the consequences. It seems to me there are similar objections to "demolish" - it's like a construction project, or "collapse" it's an unintentional tragedy. If I had to argue for "drop" I suspect it's advantage is that it describes how you want the building and the rubble to fall - down instead of out.
I'd be willing to consider the merits of different word choices, but what I think we should be hesitant about is drawing deep psychological conclusions from word choices that may be entirely coincidental or have a different motive than you think. E.g. "The author uses terms like 'drop' to disguise the horror of war and if such language weren't used we'd have less war." That feels like an overreach to me.
Not that the specific example is that relevant, as others have notice. I think it’s hard to deny that the military uses euphemisms: “soft targets”, “neutralize”, and “collateral damage” come to mind.
From there, it’s a small step to wonder what the intend may be. And even independent of intent (I could see an argument for using euphemisms with good intentions, or just to avoid very human emotions, much like medicine does), if that choice may still have the consequence of making difficult choices easier than they should be.
In any case, I was mostly just arguing that the idea that “language is meaningless, bombs kill people” is somewhere between ignorant and naive.
"Soft targets" include people, yes, but the term generally refers to any unhardended, unarmored, or unprotected thing.
"Neutralize" encompasses any kind of condition that removes a soldier from the battlefield, including death, injury, debilitating trauma, etc.
"Collateral damage" is similarly broad. It's any shit you didn't mean to fuck up.
No doubt these terms are used euphemistically at times. But I also can't, off the top of my head, think of any others that could directly replace them accurately and concisely, while also satisfying the demands of folks who lack the experience (or the desire perhaps) to understand their utility in context.
This is simply how military tactics and strategy are talked about in an academic sense. It might be weird to think that Military Science is an academic discipline when you're not used to talking about war all the time, but when you're at West Point you take these classes and this is the tone. It's because you're not going to stop every 5 minutes to reflect on those who died in combat -- that would be kind of crazy, and there are plenty of other contexts where the moral and ethical issues of war and combat are discussed in great depth.
To make an analogy, your comment would be like my reading a Computer Science paper about something technical and then commenting: "why is this person writing about technology in such technical terms? Is it because they don't want to confront the negative consequences of technology on our political and social fabric? Don't they care about the privacy issues?" It's kind of just a way to say that you wish they were talking about what YOU want to talk about.
How much would you reckon?
9M22 ROCKET. The 9M22 is a fin-stabilised rocket with a steel high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead. The 9N51 warhead contains 6.4 kg of TGAF-5 explosive composition, and generates some 3,920 pre-fragmented fragments.
I would add rhe AS-11 and 12 as two more rockets with explosive warheads.
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems is the system integrator of the 2.75-inch (70mm) Hydra-70 family of rockets. These rockets include unitary and cargo warheads for use against point and area targets, providing the user a lethal and lightweight weapon system with multi-mission capability.
The rocket system contains three components: the MK66 MOD 4 rocket motor, one of the nine warheads, and the associated point-detonating, omni-directional, remote-set fuze(s). When these components are combined, they provide a tailor-made solution to the warfighter’s situational requirements.
I would add the now defunct Mk.4 FFAR to the list, along with others.
However, this semantic argument was in the context of a discussion about GMLRS, which - after checking - do in fact have a small explosive charge attached.
Anyway. End result is that my substantive comment about GMLRS does contain the correction. And this semantic argument seems all the more pointless now. Hence my removal of my comments.
The IDF also extensively used "neighbour pressure" and "human shields" against civilians as operational Urban Warfare techniques in the 2000s. Basically grabbing an innocent civilian and sending them into a dangerous location nearby to clear the trail in front of you in the knowledge an enemy is less inclined to kill a neighbour.* Of course, how is that innocent civilian supposed to know where a landmine or tripwire is placed? Something not as readily available to US forces in Iraq.
 "IDF to appeal human shield ban"
*Yes this is a war crime and a violation of Geneva Convention. Even the Israeli Supreme Court said it shouldn't be allowed.
But... Could it be (not trying to take sides here for the sake of this though experiment, honest) "cheaper" in terms of civilian lives to use a few as shields? In other words, suppose taking an opposing officer's family hostage saves 100 lives on your side and 500 lives on their side. Ethically, which is the right decision? Kill one family to save many or kill many more soldiers and perhaps more civilians?
This is the decision Harry Truman had to make... I think.
In a city there is almost an uncountable number of places for someone to hide and launch an ambush. They can get extremely close to a target without being detected, which opens up a lot of options for anti-tank warfare. They can also block paths extremely easily (with say a dried up cement truck) and neutralize combat vehicles. They also have a good idea of where you will be when planting IEDs, unlike in a wide open field.
Oh, not just modern times. It was the same in Roman times as well, and when concrete was not available (either before, or after the Romans), rocks wood and earth would do the job!
The Most Effective Weapon on the Modern Battlefield Is Concrete (2016): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18651154
The Most Effective Weapon on the Modern Battlefield Is Concrete (usma.edu): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12962776
The truth is that aside from maybe the human effort this would've gone to some other war or battle or simply be left unspent.
If, on the other hand, you're making the observation that war and violence sucks and that humanity would ultimately be better off if we tried to work together. Then absolutely I'm behind you 100%.
In the short term, a soldier who doesn't have to neutralize Sadr City probably does get assigned to some other war mission. In the medium term, his unit is not called up again and he returns to auto mechanic or whatever other productive thing he can do. He puts his effort into raising kids instead of raising barriers.
War does have an opportunity cost.
Battles like this ideally help us learn more efficient and effective tactics and strategies that can be used in future conflicts.
It's a necessary evil but I sincerely believe we're all better off because of these investments. Maybe someday we'll have world peace but for now, we're a violent species.
Thank goodness the liberal democracies of the world have the dominant militaries.
except for the million dead Iraqi civilians that is
Maybe you are right about the second claim if you impose the rather arbitrary restriction of ”foreign military force”, but rather obviously the first responders are always the locals. If those happens to include US forces it is a reflection of the maximalist approach to foreign policy the USA follows rather than a feat of logistics.
* multi-storey farms, with "JIT" food production: lots of our food production is wasted, what if we streamlined it, by locating food production centers closer to population centers? Homeless people/other "undesirables" could be given some work maintaining a food production source they can be proud of (availability high tech solutions for various problems, lunch and learns with power point presentations and fancy marketing speak, rapid solution iteration by close interaction between (think, same office) engineers and green-collar food workers)
* traditional farms will keep their roles as is, but will have attached to them food preservation facilities, so that they can build stockpiles for when JIT fails us (natural disasters, etc.), and also be able to sell preserved stockpiles in general as special foods in supermarkets (bunch of "culinary engineering" will have to be done to take traditional preservation methods which have tasty output, and mass-produce it, or better yet, come up with new methods (with tastier output))
* public washrooms with automated cleaning facilities (janitors who maintain the washrooms are inducted into a 24 month MOS on mechanical design and robot construction---they don't need to be become experts on the physics, just aware of the possibilities so that they can combine their experience with this knowledge to come up with designs for engineers to construct, and are then responsible for testing in the field, and iterating on design)
* people who are willing to take risks exploring (maybe again, many "homeless" people/undesirables) could be recruited into fancy programs with the goal of most expansive deep sea exploration to date: mountains of geological, biological, meteorological data for scientists to explore; plus, an excellent training ground for deep space exploration (hostile outdoor environment, massive pressure differentials making structural design complicated)
* programs which involve the "mentally disabled" (think Down's syndrome, or other "obviously mentally deficient" illnesses) not in order to study them as "specimens" to be kept in the confines of their home, or a nursing home, but by involving psycholgists/neuroscientists to work with them in order to figure out the answer to: "sure, they suck at XYZ, is there anything they truly excel at? are there jobs/work/problems that other humans dislike doing which the "disabled" enjoy doing extremely, and are particularly well suited for? are there surprises regarding their capabilities (i.e. could it be that certain illnesses make you extremely good at certain types of mental tasks, which we don't know of because we simply don't interact with such people enough)?
* similar to last point, except for elderly, rather than treating them as old junk---figuring out ways to take advantage of their experience, for their benefit, and that of humanity
* fusion reactors
* deep space asteroid-mining
* energy storage research
* UI research
How old are you? I would guess in your teens.
In the developed world, most food waste occurs in the home and at restaurants. Localized food production improves local food supply resiliency and access to fresh, healthy food items. But it might also come at the cost of food security in less developed, less wealthy places.
In that battle, as in the battle for Sadr City, the Romans were constrained from a direct assault on the city. The Romans built a wall surrounding the city, cutting off the enemy from supplies. Eventually, the Celtic warriors inside the city were forced to try to attack the Roman wall and were defeated (as was a relieving force trying to attack the Romans from the other side). The Celtic leader Vercingetorix surrendered (he was taken to Rome as a prisoner and eventually strangled), and this cemented Julius Caesar's reputation as a brilliant commander.
That these two battles separated by over 2000 years and with completely different weaponry, still share the same basic plot, is to my mind amazing.
I agree. I also found it fascinating when they mentioned how when placing the wall pieces, the soldier unhooking the segment was at risk from enemy sniper fire, and how a mantlet could be used to protect the soldier. Mantlets has been around as long as sieges and were there to shield trench diggers from castle archer fire. It's incredible how many historical parallels can be drawn here.
I think it really underscores the importance of studying history not just in war, but in all things.
"Operation Gold Wall employed medieval siege warfare tactics with a twist. Instead of a city’s population withdrawing behind castle walls to wait out the besieging army, coalition forces brought a modern version of a siege engine up to the edge of JAM’s safe haven and built a wall around the enemy. This was very similar to the ancient tactic of circumvallation, an example of which was seen when Julius Caesar built a twelve-foot-high, eleven-mile wall around Alesia to defeat 60,000 Gauls in 52 BC."
"Some of you guys are cool. Don't go to <blank> tomorrow"
I wonder what other kinds of "canary" one can setup in such a situation.
This article reads like a classic WWII historical analysis of some specific battle, and its kind of amazing that can even be done for this, because the way I remember most of my time during OIF, the whole thing was a jumbled mess of Army politics, confusion, and misinterpretation.
One would hope that higher levels of command always think of how uncertain all information they get from lower levels is, but reading accounts of events written in this dead certain and authorative voice is a bit worrying. Only the number of enemy casualities hints at the uncertain state of basically all combat accounts.
This was a very WWII kind of battle.
> The barriers used to form the walls were named after American states to denote their progressive size. The smallest, Jersey barriers (three feet tall; two tons), were used to block roads and slow traffic approaching checkpoints. Medium to large barriers—Colorado (six feet tall; 3.5 tons), Texas (six feet, eight inches tall; six tons), and Alaska (twelve feet tall; seven tons)—were used to construct checkpoints and protective walls around markets, mosques, and other areas where crowds were being targeted by bombs and shootings. The Texas barrier, due to its width and ease of transport, among other reasons, was predominately used to create the safe neighborhoods. But it was the massive T-walls that were used to create coalition and ISF bases and to maximize protection and prevent infiltration. Similar in size to Alaska barriers, the massive twelve-foot-tall, six-ton T-wall, with its interconnecting edges, created an effective barrier.
Curious how folks interpret these statements as reinforcing or undermining their positions on the US Border Wall debacle. Is it a possibility that POTUS, upon hearing reports similar to this from Iraq, might be likely to want to reuse the approach?
Conversely, why is this effective in Iraq? Can opposition forces not build tunnels or lay ladders over these walls?
Just like any security system, from asymmetric encryption to a steel military weapons vault, you can't make something perfectly secure. You can only make it difficult and time-consuming to breach the target. https://www.internationalvault.com/images/standards/class-a-...
The concrete barriers in Iraq can be and have been breached. https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2016/0430/Pro-Sa...
And that's the crux of the issue: a militarized Green Zone has forces ready and able to respond when a breach attempt is detected, whereas remote New Mexico desert does not. The timescale of an unlawful entry event is a total mismatch for the amount of delay this particular security measure will introduce in an immigration context -- it's like using single-pass DES for strategic intel against an adversary with a botnet.
From what I understand from reading a lot of stuff (including Sebastian Junger's book War), the barriers were needed because of regular and persistent attacks with bombs and gunfire, and I haven't heard even the most alarmist pro-wall person claim that level of violence from illegal immigrants.
99% Invisible just released an episode about the tunnels used in smuggling drugs from Mexico into the US - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-tunnel/. Basically, the tunnels cost $1-2M or more but paid off in a matter of weeks. Getting past concrete barriers in Iraq may have been strategically valuable but didn't have a business model.
I would imagine that climbing the barriers puts you in a very undefended position for at least a couple minutes.
Walls create an impedance. Building a tunnel is a lot more effort (time, equipment, labor, etc.) than walking in. Employing a ladder is exposure; ladders are really hard to conceal.
People that claim a border wall is necessary and will be effective, such as the National Border Patrol Council, the union of border patrol officers, aren't actually ignoramuses. They don't believe or claim a wall is a perfect passive deterrent. It is a force multiplier, and like the Sadr City wall, will be effective while it is patrolled, maintained, etc.
A difference is that along the non-urban sections of the US-Mexico border, a wall needs to prevent individual persons from crossing. In Baghdad, the reason for division was to prevent large munitions, vehicle borne IEDs, and scattered gunfire.
In summary, walls can be effective, and they exist where needed along the US-Mexico border. A grand, glorious, wall in the middle of nowhere will not be helpful.
Lately I have been researching GIS Data and CRE Data. The military has to have a tool to do this, but what if you could have a live video feed that would watch for muzzle flashes or tracer rounds. When they are spotted you can try to pinpoint the location and add a layer of Building information to track the locations and all the risks associated with going into those areas.
I wonder what researchers are doing for the military and if they are applying graph theory to these types of problems (or other things that I don't know about yet) and what tech they are using to help the people on the ground.
Do you know if most jobs in HET/HUMINT are for Military personnel only?
Some absolute horrors in what is effectively a tiny square Suburb.
Similar could be said about allowing the free press to report on the government's deficiencies (Presidential scandals, bureaucratic mistakes, internal strife, Snowden, etc.)
One of the founding principles of a liberal democracy is that freedom to access information enables far more people to make far more attempts to innovate and invent new strategies/tactics/products that can help defeat the status quo. Even though your enemies may be able to access that information, the information is useless without brilliant minds capable of interpreting it and acting upon it. Hence the important role of public education / immigration within a democracy, ensuring that your citizens are the ones who e.g. come up with nuclear weapons before anyone else does.
The mistake you are making here is the same that North Korea makes when it allocates a majority of its budget to military operations. Sure, you can acquire shitty second hand tanks and submarines and guns, but the real winners - the quick thinkers, commanders, tacticians, improvisionists (all of whom are just as needed on the field as in the war rooms) - can only end up at your service if you build a society that provides prosperous education opportunities and also takes care of all basic needs to enable citizens to focus on their education. It is with this system that you can end up with great soldiers, great generals, and great supplying organizations (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, etc.) all under one flag.
"Our city is thrown open to the world, though and we never expel a foreigner and prevent him from seeing or learning anything of which the secret if revealed to an enemy might profit him."
(It mostly works, especially allowing for some, or a lot of, bending of truth in advertising.)