Just a quick news item for today.

As the U.S. military deploys an increasing number of surveillance drones in the Mideast, Iran is stepping up efforts to shoot them down. According to The Aviationist:

(T)he last close encounter was unsuccessful because the fighter jets scrambled to intercept the unarmed U.S. drone were discouraged from accomplishing the mission: at least one of the two F-4 Phantom jets came to about 16 miles from the UAV but broke off pursuit after they were broadcast a warning message by two American (F-22) planes escorting the Predator.

If you're keeping score at home, that's an American drone trying spying on Iran being chased by American jets we sold to Iran in the 1970s until they were scared away by the new, obscenely expensive jets we developed to make the old jets obsolete after they proliferated. Why do we want to spy on Iran? Because of the Iranian nuclear program that was started when American built them a reactor back in the 1950s under Atoms for Peace (Pakistan too!)

You know. The usual.

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28 thoughts on “SCORECARD”

  • You changed what the quote says. It does not say that the American fighters were F-22s. It says that there were American fighter escorts, and then speculates that they were either F/A-18s or F-22s. Also the F-22 wasn't developed in order to make the F-4 obsolete. It was to replace the F-15, which was already ahead of the F-4, and which did not proliferate–other than America, only Israel and Saudi Arabia have F-15s. (Of course, the F-22 failed to replace the F-15 because of massive cost overruns, but that typical military stupidity doesn't magically change it from replacing the F-15 to replacing the F-4, nor does it magically make the F-22 a replacement for a proliferating F-15 which didn't actually proliferate in the real world.)

  • @Arslan: something about how important it is to be able defend a population from any conceivable threat with insanely expensive hardware and expeditionary preemptive strikes. Despite the fact that said population had died out decades before from starvation, toxic air/water and had generally devolved into A Lord of the Flies anarchy.

    Isn't that the premise for an episode of Twighlight Zone?

  • c u n d gulag says:

    It's ironic that America has never learned the lesson taught it by its great newspaper cartoonist, Walt Kelly, whose character, "Pogo," in his great comic, also named "Pogo," once explained it all for this country in one neat line:
    "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    Here, the phrase is used in multiple settings:

    That comment applies to us in recent "wars," and our endless international interventions, but it also applied so well to environmental issues of the day, that it was actually used by environmentalists for "Earth Day," in 1970:

    We HAVE me the enemy, and we keep meeting the enemy in all sorts of forms and situations, and, indeed, he is us.

  • @wes

    Japan also has F-15s, in fact they build their own under license.

    One of the justifications for building the F-22 was that we needed something better than the F-16, which we have indeed sold to everyone and their brother.

    Pakistan and Venezuela being on the list of countries with somewhat iffy loyalties that we sold them to.

  • On a side note, am I the only person under 50 who occasionally DOES keep score at home while watching a baseball game?

  • @Arslan: We'll never let a little thing like an economic crisis and massive slash-and-burn cuts to the social safety net impact the preposterous gobs of money we spend on toys for politicians and their lackeys (Military hardware).

    There's an image floating around out there that unfortunately I can't relocate at the moment, but it was talking about the plans we have to build two new nuclear subs for 2.6 billion a piece, and it side-by-sides that with all of the domestic programs that help women and children that could have been fully-funded with 2.6 billion dollars.

    When's the last time submarine warfare was a crucial part of what we do, again?

  • Thanks xynzee

    The Iranians have to be the last people operating F-4s in significant numbers. Supposedly they have up to 75 that have been upgraded with new avionics over the years.

    Not sure how many they could actually put in the air on any given day. I would think that spare parts have to be scarce.

    What makes an F-4 somewhat dangerous even in 2013 is that it's fast and it carries a radar-guided missile with pretty decent range. It can't dogfight an F-16, but it could do a "hit and run" attack.

  • @John

    If we didn't make and maintain submarines, how would we make all those thrilling Navy propaganda commercials with people riding on submarines? Carriers, too.

    I mean, good god, if it weren't for military recruitment commercials, I might have to watch more trailers for InAPPropriate Comedy.

  • Submarines are the deterrent force against the enemies that don't have any actual interest in attacking us in the first place. But Oh Boy! If they did….

    I'm sure the Russians feel the same, highly-logical way. The Chinese would like to, the British and French have already decided they had to be able to field a team, and Iran has a Russian cast-off or two (don't know, don't care.)

    Still, going back to the post: I thought the point of drones was to not need anyone there. One fighter escort is stupid times infinity. Another is stupid squared times infinity cubed. Maybe helicopters have a bad track record in the Iranian desert, but can't a Special Ops guy run a few hundred miles to take photos of a uranium processing facility?

  • The Iranians have some diesel-electric submarines. Some are Russian built and some are of Iranian design.

    While it sounds old-fashioned, a diesel sub running on just its batteries is actually quieter than a nuclear sub.

    These things could cause trouble in a tight space like the Persian Gulf.

    Not trying to paint the Iranians as being a great threat here. Just pointing out that if we were to attack them they might be able to hurt us back.

  • TomAmitaiUSA says:


    The "crucial part of what we do" with our defense budget is create jobs in every congressional district in the nation. Congress critters of both parties will rear up on their hind trotters and squeal bloody murder at anyone who dares try to cut a "defense" program that employs some of their constituents.

    Funny, though, how republicans deny the value to our economy of non-defense government jobs. I guess dollars spent building tanks and planes must have some magical power that those spent building or repairing roads and bridges don't have.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Oh no, just like military contractors in THEIR districts, they also LOOOOVES them some building and/or repairing roads and bridges in THEIR districts!!!

    In THEIR districts, that's called looking out for the people back home – aka: bringing home the bacon.

    Everwhere else, particularly in Blue districts and states, they're wasteful pork-barrel/make-work projects, wastes of valuable taxpayer dollars, and boondoggles for undeserving "Blah" and brown people who then pay tithes to the Democratic political machine, which then uses that money to buy votes.

    "Me and mine deserve anyting and everything we can get. Thee and thine, deserve jack-fuckin' shit!"

  • Charles Bird says:

    I am 77 years old (how the hell did that happen?), for most of my life we have been invading some hapless country or orchestrating an overthrow. We have some kind of mythology that tells us we are the prime nation for world peace but I really think we are the only ones who buy into that. The big new drum beat is now Iran ! We believe weare able to violate their air space with impunity, but heaven help anyone who does the same to us because we have a right because stuff. Did our jets violate Iranian airspace too? What happens if Iran decides to protect itself from us? Is Obama really jacking things up for another hopeless mess so he too can have a shining legacy in the neocon history books?

  • Jak the Yak says:

    The military-industrial complex sure knows how to perpetuate it's own existence eh. Thanks for goddamn nothing.

  • You forgot to add " after we overthrew their democratically elected government to install a despot who would sell out their natural resources on the cheap to us, which is why they hate us for our freedom'

  • Major Kong Says:
    March 20th, 2013 at 8:37 am


    Japan also has F-15s, in fact they build their own under license.

    One of the justifications for building the F-22 was that we needed something better than the F-16, which we have indeed sold to everyone and their brother.

    I wasn't aware that Japan had any F-15s. That's interesting.

    It was my impression that it's actually the F-35 that's supposed to replace the F-16 (in addition to the A-10, the AV-8 and the F/A-18). The F-22 is a lot bigger, faster and more powerful than the F-16, much like the F-15. But the F-35 is smaller and suited to strike fighter roles like the F-16. The F-22 is more a pure air superiority fighter (it's notable that the one version of the F-15 that it's NOT supposed to replace is the strike fighter version, the F-15E). But the F-16 doesn't play the pure air superiority role. I may be wrong, but that was my impression from what I've read about the F-22 and the F-35.

    Dr. Mac Says:
    March 20th, 2013 at 2:59 am

    Hey Wes…. lighten up.

    Facts matter. And quote-mining is never cool. Ed might not have done it intentionally, but he definitely altered the meaning of the quote when he put "F-22" in brackets as if that's what the original author intended, when reading the original post shows that that's not the case.

    And implying that the F-22 (a large, single-seat air superiority fighter) is meant to replace the long obsolete F-4 (a two-seat carrier-based fighter) is just simply egregious. I mean, come on. You might as well claim that the Ford Fusion (introduced in 2005, same year as the F-22) was meant to replace the Ford Pinto. Except that the Pinto was introduced in 1971, while the F-4 was introduced in 1960. And the F-4 was developed for the Navy, whereas the F-22 was for the Air Force, so we're not even talking about the same branch of the military here. I guess claiming that the Fusion was supposed to replace the Pinto is less ridiculous than suggesting that the F-22 was supposed to replace the F-4.

  • Having worked on F-4's for my all too long stint in the Marines in the late 60's/early 70's I have to say that my admiration for the plane continues. Where could they obtain parts to repair F-4's? The spare parts and airframes the Iranians got from us and from Israel during Iran-Contra must have been used up by now. There must be a black market in F-4 parts.

  • Wait… so what's the point of the drones? I thought the whole idea was that they were cheap to operate compared to F-16s.

    But we have to escort them with multiple F-22s?

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