Sunday, October 09, 2005

Grand Challenge Results!

From the Stanford site, we have a DARPA Grand Challenge winner:

October 9, 2005 -- Today Stanley and the Stanford Racing Team were awarded 2 million dollars for being the first team to complete the 132 mile DARPA Grand Challenge course. Stanley finished in just under 6 hours 54 minutes and averaged over 19 miles per hours on the course.

The teams that finished, together with their times are:

Team Time
Stanford Racing Team 6 hr 53 min
Red Team 7 hr 4 min
Red Team too 7 hr 14 min
Grey Team 7 hr 30 min
Team Terramax 12 hr 51 min

 

The team my son was rooting for (and me too as his dad), Monstermoto, did not finish and was way down at the bottom. It was a really cool all-terrain vehicle with sinister-looking headlights and an appealing video scored with really cheerful music. Poor Monstermoto.

The Independent reacts with a mixture of wonder and dread at the race results.

Not so long ago, the notion of cars driving themselves seemed no more than science fiction. This weekend, it took a giant stride towards becoming reality as a handful of robotically controlled vehicles completed a 132-mile obstacle course around the Mojave desert. ... To some people, the development of robot fighters suggests a future not unlike the one imagined in the Terminator movies - where highly sophisticated machines are turned into merciless killers unburdened by considerations of conscience or their mortality.

34 Comments:

Blogger ex-democrat said...

"fighters [as] merciless killers unburdened by considerations of conscience or their mortality."
Beslan?
Iskandaria?
Could the Independent's staff be any more clueless??

10/09/2005 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

That's an excellent point, ex-democrat. Seems that the problem isn't lack of conscience or mortality at all but hyperconnection to the human spirit. There will rarely ever be a reprisal for shooting down a drone, but there is hell to pay for killing a pilot. Likewise, the tribalism and blood-feuds are far more destructive than any mechanistic force could ever be.

Look at the ad infinitum deaths from 'civil' wars and for the nation-state affairs.

10/09/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Mycroft said...

Where some of us see the triumph of human ingenuity over nature, the potential for a dramatic reduction in stress (and eventually accidents) for commuters worldwide, and in general a great benefit for mankind, the staff of the Independent evidently sees crazed, merciless war robots.

10/09/2005 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

If I were a long-haul truck driver, I'd think about getting into a new business.

IT doubles in power and precision every year. The cars' processing power, sensors, and software will all follow Moore's Curves up that geometric progression.

The 18-wheeler drivers and Greyhound drivers will go first, but soon enough it will come for the taxi drivers. It sounds silly to think that these cars could navigate downtown traffic, but just give it a couple years. It'll get better and better, and it will never be distracted by talking on the cellphone, and it will never drink & drive.

One day, not as far into the future as you think, driving will be like riding horses or sailing - one of those hobbies some people do in their free time.

10/09/2005 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I just came back from a sci fi flick at my local theatre at the mall. The movie is called Serenity.

Great flick. Worth every bit of the A- on Yahoo. (Oh, the A- is the ticket buyers score--which is a more reliable score-- than the critics score.

There's some serious themes in the movie as well a lot of great action and adventure. And the characters are well drawn. They're not like the wooden egyptian sarcophogi drawings of the last three star wars but rather the whole quirky characters of the original three episodes.

Kurizweil has come up with a new book that seems to push forward the timeline for his singularity. The book is talked about in detail at slashdot.

DARPA's methodology for funding the robot cars imho is the most ingenious part of the race. DARPA offers a prize and a competition. I've seen GAO reports that put the amount of research that DARPA gets on their million dollar prize as something over 10 times what they would have gotten if they had simply paid to have it done. (And that includes administration. That is 1 million plus the cost of administration got DARPA 10 times as much research bang--as they would have got by just going out and paying some scientists to invent the robot cars.)

(In past years I've run this idea past water desalination people but so far without much luck.)


In a similiar vein GM said last thursday that their fuel cell car will be competitive with a gasoline car by 2010.

GM has been saying this once every couple months since last fall.

Buried in the above article are two interesting tidbits. The first is that.... "Currently, Burns said, the cost of producing the hydrogen for use in vehicles is 1.3 times the cost of producing gasoline for vehicle use."

Two things have happened recently to cut the cost differential. One is the recent tripling of the cost of gas and the other is a new procedure this year that cut the cost of hydrogen production in half.

The other interesting thing in the article is that GM has run the numbers for creating an initial infrastucture to support hydrogen.

"GM has done a study showing that building about 12,000 hydrogen filling stations throughout the country’s metropolitan areas would put a station within easy access of every driver of a fuel-cell vehicle. Also, a hydrogen station every 25 miles on the interstate could also be established.

Burns said GM estimated that would cost $12 billion."

10/09/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger nigelhuffy said...

i sometimes wonder how much more present america could achieve if its people took a moment to not buy "hotdogs", "mc-griddles", and "stoner junk food", such that they could achieve something worthy of their history. until then, i guess its slurpees and cranberry bliss bars until our civilization's voluptuous demise.

10/09/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

nigelhuffy,

Don't underestimate the utility of slurpees. Americans are as productive as they are at least in part because they are happy; and they are happy at least in part because they have slurpees. It's not a coincidence that unlimited, free slurpees are one of the perks for working at the Googleplex.

The point of my story? You cannot know what really is and is not important to people, unless you let the market decide. McGriddles are important.

10/09/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

What's most remarkable here is that a few very inexpensive 'skunk works' efforts have been able to stitch together existing technologies and components to produce such enormous performance strides in only two years.

Only in America. This gives an indication of the stunning acceleration in the application of technology to warfare we would be likely to see if we ever got into another major war, just as we did during WWII.

In fact, if you take UAV's into account, robots are already flooding onto the battlefield in the GWOT. If America's productive resources are ever fully engaged in a conflict then even without the use of nuclear weapons the results would, after the first three years, most likely once again be utterly devastating for any likely foe - even on a global scale.

Battlefield robots also affect America's combat potential in strategically significant ways. Firstly they could only ever be effective when tightly and dynamically networked with other battlefield resources, in ways in which America is technically and organizationally a long way ahead. Secondly, as a force multiplier they exert a relatively small impact in a conflict in which we limit ourselves to taking minimal casualties, but an enormous potential impact in any future conflict to which we might become fully committed (i.e. willing to take casualties on a WWII scale).

The 'demonstration effect' of this sort of contest may also be deeply significant. If both Hitler and the Japanese had not so disastrously underestimated, out of pure ignorance, the overwhelming warmaking potential of the US economy then WWII might never have happened.

10/09/2005 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Mycroft:

Where some of us see the triumph of human ingenuity over nature, the potential for a dramatic reduction in stress (and eventually accidents) for commuters worldwide, and in general a great benefit for mankind, the staff of the Independent evidently sees crazed, merciless war robots.

Well, you do have to admit this was funded by DARPA not The Department of Transportation interested in reducing commuter stress. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency could give two hoots about making it easier for commuters not to miss their favorite soap opera apply makeup on the trip. The goal is autonomous movement.

This is wonderful news for maybe one day soon not having to turn so many soldiers into IED dead meat driving trucks of Burger King ingredients to the local base because no local drivers dare do it. Let a robotic system drive supply vehicles. But the real goal of autonomous travel is to have a system that can navigate obstacles and close with the enemy then use pattern recognition technology, thermal imagery, radar to probe and locate targets - human or vehicle and then with or without a human in the loop, direct fire onto the target and eliminate it.

I imagine they will build the 1st urban autonomous combat vehicles with the capability of autonomous fire but have a human inserted in the loop with GO-NoGo control to keep lethal force command and rules of engagement with a human.

Later, as they make lethal little autonomously guided robotic flying and kill vehicles, create lethal nanomech ground swarms - I suppose they can clean out cities without losing American troops by giving notice to leave the area the killing robots will be inserted into. Fair warning. Which should comply with Geneva or Hague. After that, every moving object with a thermal sig from a stray dog to an old man gets a machine gun equipped killing machine hunting them down.

It's not that far off. Motion detector triggered and radar-aimed autonomous machine guns have been around for 30 years guarding Iron Curtain borders and Zionist positions.

And as this "War Against _______" is supposed to drag on for decades, and the current pattern is one year in combat, 9 months of intense training coupled with short leave then another year of combat ---for ground troops -- we may soon be running short of volunteers, though the high morale built up since Reagans time is good for re-enlisting for a few more cycles. But given a choice, would you rather be an American in school then getting decent pay and tax cuts --or Fallujah fodder?

Next war, far better we have robot drivers and send a 70K combat robot in to hose down anything that moves than waste soldiers on something a machine can do soon.

10/09/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Meme chose - In fact, if you take UAV's into account, robots are already flooding onto the battlefield in the GWOT.

UAVs are sometimes lucky, but for the most part utterly unable to distinguish between a jihadi moving about and a "Noble Iraqi freedom lover" moving about.

Also, there is no real battlefield.

And the Global War on the (tactic) of Terror?

FARC can breath easy with the US military tied down in Iraq - not that they had to worry much for the Global War on Terror bothering them, the Tamil Tigers, ETA, Hezbollah, the few Zionist fanatic outposts practicing terrorism, or Muslim terrorists in the Sudan, Mali, Somalia, generally anywhere where oil isn't - have to worry.

Even Bush is abandoning his stupid slogan after 4 years of dithering about "evildoers in their caves hating our freedoms" and realizing the real problem is a war of ideas. It's a war against a specific ideology - radical Islam - and only a tiny part of their campaign to win over Muslim hearts and bleed America white economically actually involves terror ops. 95% of their spreading ideology involves advancing their cause through preaching, organizing, communications, and intimidation of any moderate Muslim resistance, and generating political schisms outside the Ummah.

10/09/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger otherwhen said...

meme chose:
"If both Hitler and the Japanese had not so disastrously underestimated, out of pure ignorance, the overwhelming warmaking potential of the US economy then WWII might never have happened."

Unfortunately I believe that is false. I can't be certain about Hitler, but from what I understand, the Japanese military war-gamed the hell out of a US-Nippon war and told their political masters that if the US did not surrender immediately out of cowardice, that the longer the war continued, the more certain Japan would be devastated.

The political elites chose not to believe it. They WANTED to believe that Americans would roll over like cowardly dogs after Pearl Harbor. They weren't interested in facts.

10/09/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Cedarford,

I don't imagine combat robots will have to be used more than once, any more than Desert Storm had to happen more than once. After that, any potential asymmetric enemy looks for other ways to engage in combat. One possibility is that the enemy may develop IADs (Improvised Autonomous Devices) -- made with the latest AQ Khan technology -- crude robots effective against shopping malls and similar targets.

Santayana once said "only the dead have seen the end of war". We have yet to find a way to put a stop to men's hatreds. The means are new but the ends as ancient as Lucifer's.

10/09/2005 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

What the hell do hamburgers and milkshakes have to do with creativity, morality, innovation, stamina or courage? What a snooty pseudo-intellectual way to put down a big bunch of people which has nothing to do with anything! Jerk probably thinks that French wines are the pinnacle proof of ... what? Something important, doubtless.

10/09/2005 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Cardozo, The long haul drivers would just shift over to regional drivers. At the moment long haul is classified as irregular route long haul, for an automated vehicle to be efficient it would have to compete with the railroad on the same types of routes that the rail follows today. The infrastructure doesn't exist to copy what the average trucker does every day.

As far as giving up time and money, there is a project that can be assisted at the present. The project is Einstein at Home and they're looking for gravity waves from extraterrestrial sources. Through the use of a program called BOINC they can use your system to become part of a supercomputer. There are other projects eg. SETI@home, a cryptography project and others.

10/09/2005 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger someone said...

"If both Hitler and the Japanese had not so disastrously underestimated, out of pure ignorance, the overwhelming warmaking potential of the US economy then WWII might never have happened."

It is not our might enemies will underestimate, but our spirit -- for as long as our left gives them cause to do so.

10/10/2005 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Sophia Phoster said...

There has always been a segment of human kind that fear technology and project it to include only the worst possible outcomes. The staple of sci-fi B movies is the Pentagon created weapon that is turned off by the humanist hero seconds before disaster. I suspect that folks like Cedarford are alarmed at autonomous gadgets because they threaten the manipulative imagery of the body bag. Cindy Sheehan is an even bigger unsupportable nut case lamenting the loss of her XR341-Model 2.

The underlying anti-technology theme is the same. The great unwashed (that would be you and me) are incapable of handling technologically assisted power. Control must be kept only in the hands of the great intellects - like Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi.

10/10/2005 03:41:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I understand that the DARPA effort was spurred by direction from Congress that at least 30% of military ground vehicles be unmanned within 10 years.
And I guess that by "unmanned" they don't mean parked like the busses in New Orleans.

UAVs were so long in coming not due to technical reasons but rather the inability of a pilot-dominated US Air Force to accept the concept.
From the technical standpoint, air-launched precision-guided UAVs should have been ready in time for Korea; that they were not even ready for Vietnam is simply astonishing.
Arming of the Predator UAV occurred only because (1) The CIA was doing it anyway and (2) the USAF Chief of Staff told his people to get off their duffs and do it. This in a Service that is the most technology-oriented of them all - or at least should be.

The greatest leaps in military "technology" are not made in hardware but in concepts.

It takes an enormous effort for the Services to toss aside old ideas -or even to just accept how they must be changed.

10/10/2005 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Mike H and Cardozo: autonomous vehicle technology will not necessarily replace human drivers in civilian applications, any more than automatic pilot technology has replaced human pilots over the decades that it's been in use

Smart vehicles can retain a human operator for dealing with situations that a human needs to deal with, while reducing fatigue by taking over the routine driving task of keeping the vehicle safely on the highway for hour after hour of inter-city driving.

In wartime operations, autonomous ground vehicles and flyers can take over the routine patrol duties, and signal a remote human operator to take over when they see something interesting (like people or vehicles). With such an arrangement, a small group of humans can command a large group of robots.

It's long been said that war can be characterized as long stretches of boredom punctuated by short stretches of sheer terror. Robots can alleviate both the boredom and the terror for our side

10/10/2005 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger nigelhuffy said...

nahncee:

many people, yourself presumably included, believe that its these cheese-fry hounds of the "burping classes" that are responsible for any headway made in the GWOT. why, of course it couldnt be those "chattering classes" of america's academic elite. certainly not them. i just hope when the shallow bread and circuses of Larry the Cable Guy and (laughably termed) "Premium" chicken sandwiches are both undermined by the requisite intellectual slovenliness needed to sustain them memetically, that you remember that it was judases like you who spurned those samaritans (Morgan Spurlock and Jon Stewart, for instance) trying to help.

if drug use statistics are any indicator, the burping classes will not only be passing the bong to one another, but also the bill for the necessary work on a better and more effective international order (the UN, EU, AU etc)

10/10/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Despite the Rise of the Machine fears of the Independent, my guess is that autonomous vehicles have largely a civilian future. It's hard to remember, helping your child research his homework that the Internet was developed for military purposes. And it's just as funny to realize, when out boating, that the GPS system which had its origins in the darkest places of the human heart takes fishermen home to the winking light on the distant shore.

I guess all real fire is like that. You intend it for burning out your enemies and wind up cooking your supper with it.

10/10/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger nigelhuffy said...

" What the hell do hamburgers and milkshakes have to do with creativity, morality, innovation, stamina or courage? "

While I'm certain its an easy task to find a "courageous" mcdonalds patron, i'm more wary of thinking wanton mcdonaldsly (stock price 32.33) living serves as a viable foundation for stamina, let alone creativity. case in point: whole foods (stock 130.97); with all mcdonalds' performance and economic achievement, i don't see them capable of providing free samples of their "burgers" and "mcflurries". whole foods, however, has developed a prudent business model aiming to establish economically and culturally a new agriculture, one so prolific that we'll be able to give some of it away, and youll still be staring bleary eyed at the dollar menu, fumbling for enough change to buy 2 apple pies. enjoy

10/10/2005 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

nigelhuffy:
Go into any American fast food restaurant and you will find it a model of efficiency, cleanliness, decency, respect, and comfort compared to the other 99.99999% of what human beings have to endure or for that matter, have created.
Utopia could be defined as the United Nations and most of the countries on Earth being run at least half as well as a typical McDonald's. At which I usually do not eat, by the way.
You would pose that the people who conceived and created the robotic vehicles do not dine at such places?
Absurd!
Hell, most of them probably used to work there.

10/10/2005 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Nigelhuffy is clearly not an engineer. Great ideas are drawn on napkins next to greasy McMuffins and Big Breakfasts, or empty pizza platters and pitchers of Budweiser. Being thoroughly unfamiliar with this universal innovative process he can take his elitist snobbery and stuff it.

10/10/2005 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Fabio said...

Papa Bear,

Computers are notoriously much better and faster than humans at tedious and repetitive tasks. So I think that autonomous vehicles will mostly be used to reduce the tedium and boredom.

The University of Parma (where I graduated in Industrial Chemistry) already developed in the late '90s a car with a guidance system that can autonomously follow a road, thus relieving the stress of keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road during higway driving. And many high-end cars have cruise control, keeping a set speed and proper distance from other vehicles. The future is already coming to us.

10/10/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard - Maybe the Islamoids will go with IADs, but it's all about the money. The "worth" of an American combat soldier's life is about 375-400,000 including past training & survivor benefits. Some badly wounded have a cost of several million. So going with combat robots costing 70-90K makes sense even if they are NOT ever going to be as multimission capable and versatile as a human.

On the other hand, the Islamoid is cheap fodder. Comes from areas with 35-40% unemployment, requires little training, loss of life or maiming only costs the enemy a few thousand dollars. They have no financial incentive to switch to more expensive IADs.

And the flip side of robots in warfare are biologicals under research now. Guard dogs genetically enhanced for higher intelligence.

Or? Hornets bred to attack, but attack only targets with the testosterone signature of a male above puberty age, with enhanced venom ensuring one sting, one kill. Hopefully hornets that die within a day or so unless they eat special food and do not attack any soldier wearing special DARPA designed repellent. Hornets that can be bred in millions and dropped in the ultimate cluster bomb.

Previous conflicts used bats and fleas for trial efforts to spread incendiaries and plague. Bats failed, fleas were a mixed "success" as the Japs used them for biowar against the Chinese.

60 years of advancing science ensure we can, today, use biological "soldiers" to kill the enemy soldiers or civilian populations, as we can use robots. If economics and politics permit...

As for Wretchard saying that autonomous vehicles have largely a civilian future, I think he is right, but that future may be a long way off. It's economics. We haven't bothered with robots like the Japs are now doing because we have cheaper illegal alien "vehicles" mowing lawns, cleaning toilets, doing nanny work, and driving scutwork. Then, we have lost much of our high-value manufacturing and knowledge jobs offshore, so America has a shrinking middle class and a growing number of Americans in poverty with less of a social safety net --that ensures people besides illegal aliens will take low-paying, low skill service sector jobs also deferring robots.

Finally, for those Americans left with means, economic choices. Do you want to pass 4 billion in taxpayer bonds to automate roads feeding into Atlanta simply so commuters can watch an extra hour of TV or do an extra hour of free work for the boss to and from the office? What would a mix of robot vehicles, illegal alien driven-vehicles, and people shunning the 2800 "robotic control option" in favor of a 48" plasma home entertainment center look like? Other than utter highway chaos.

I don't think we will have much in the way of robotic vehicles or robotic home helpers in the next 20-30 years. The economics of freeing houswives to video chat with their Mom while on the road or lawyers to do an extra hour of free work for the boss aren't compelling.

Same stuff that has killed the "personal commuting flying vehicle" for the last 70 years.

10/10/2005 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard: Relative to your exmaple of GPS, I can tell you that for many years the GPS Joint Program Office had a sign near its entrance that said "The purpose of this SPO is to drop a bomb within 10 ft of the target."
They have done rather better than that since then, of course.
I wonder though, what it says about the recesses of the human heart that the most innovative and efective technology often comes as a result of the darker aspects.

10/10/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Cedarford,

The "worth" of an American combat soldier's life is about 375-400,000 including past training & survivor benefits.

It's probably worth more than that, if you calculate the present value loss of a lost young man's life. You lose his entire future, although we can only put a dollar figure on his lost earnings.

But on the other hand the benefit of a soldier's sacrifice is equally incalculable. To the extent that he keeps others safe, for example you or me, how much loss is he preventing? Someone once wrote that a soldier gives us his future so that other people can have theirs.

10/10/2005 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard, as a Vet I agree on the intangibles, of course. Part of the honor we should accord not only to combat deaths, but those severely wounded, and those becoming non-cambat casulaties from the inherently risky nature of duty. (And even unscathed, service can be incredible hours put in in brutal, harsh conditions)And unlike a wrongful civilian death lawsuit, the military never had to pay for net present value of a soldiers life, whether or not negligence caused the loss. 6,000 bucks plus the small Gov't subsidy of SGLI (Servicemembers Group Life Insurance).

I was looking at it on "replacement" value. What it cost the Gov't to replace attrited manpower. When I was in (late 80s) in the nuclear field, my "replacement" cost (inc. benefits but outside VA family survivor bennies) was about 400K. 3X that of a standard issue Army groundpounder, but only 1/4th the cost of a fighter pilot.

If robots do come in, if possible, where practical- they would replace high value members first, again, if possible. Meaning if you had equal chances of seeing a cook or pilot killed, you would want to focus on the robot doing the pilot's duty.

Though I think robot military cooks able to follow a recipe procedure right each time and having no balls to scratch as they prepped the food would be an improvement.

10/10/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Spiney Widgmo said...

cedarford,
I think you are wrong on automation of automobiles for one reason. The elderly cling to their car keys long past the time that they have become a danger to themselves and others. Talk to anyone who has had to have the talk with an elderly parent about how gut wretching it is to take those keys away. I know elderly people who have failing vision and slowing reactions that chose routes and drive time to minimize their disadvantages.
The loss of freedom from losing the car is a huge dignity issue. (Same dignity issue applies to health care: when its time for me to wear diapers and be changed again, I'd rather have a machine change my diaper than a minimum wage orderly.) The loss of independent is galling because the they are forced to ask for help to just leave their home.
Between dignity and children worried about their parent's safety, an autonomous driving system that costs 10-30K would be considered reasonable.
The biggest impediment I see are the lawyers. There are unpreventable accidents: A semi at 70 losing control beside you on an interstate. An autonomous vehicle would be expected to prevent all accidents. At the first accident, the manufacturer will be sued in a class action suit. The manufacturer will be bankrupt without special legal protections. It will be a hard business to raise capital for.
Given the liability issues can be resolved, I think the demand will be there.

10/10/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

Most probable application for the immediate future: open pit mining. This technique could be the breakthrough required in the extreme far north of Canada. There are some amazing mineral ores north of the artic circle. The local climate is just so severe. Technology which would allow extraction in the depth of winter might make such deposits viable.

10/11/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

FDR and his top brass suckered the Japanese and the Germans.

Hap Arnold released the ultra-secret Rainbow Five white paper detailing an extremely bleak strategic mobilization timetable via a classic Washington 'leak'. He did so at the specific direction of the President and the assembled top brass.

Each Tuesday morning FDR routinely met with his service chiefs and other specifically invited officers. It was the beginning of the National Security Council. (Truman's codified this ad-hoc committee in 1947.)

The grim calculations based on a top to bottom analysis of the US war making power pointed to America being completely unable to react in any meaningful way for at least 18 months -- with 30 months a more realistic figure.

It was this leak plus many other disinformation operations that convinced Hitler that he had effectively won in Russia already and that America was hopelessly behind.

With war he figured he could shut down Britian's economy with his U-boat fleet.

Actually, the 18 month targets were met in six months. War production went right through the roof as all of the previous thinking was conservative. War production always astounded the brass -- none of whom was an industrial production engineer.

Japan was provoked in every imaginable way because Hitler refused prior bait.

In retrospect it is clear that Adm King schemed up the naval engagement at Pearl Harbor. An air raid on Pearl was American doctrine for a decade. It was the fleet exercise in 1930.

The President's idea was brilliant and simple. Get the weakling to attack an empty bag.

All of the new capital ships were missing from Pearl Harbor. Most of the battlewagons were on skeleton crews. The Navy had welders fitting additional AA mounts along battleship row all Saturday night into Sunday morning. (!)

All that and the Coast Guard ordered all merchant shipping away from the path of the IJN fleet, a fleet that couldn't keep its mouth shut. Even if America couldn't decode the signals triangulation would have -- did -- reveal their location.

Japan was to have attacked even earlier, but had to reschedule because of the need to get fresh code books distributed through the fleet. Just that alone gave the game away, since that is, was and always will be standard operating procedure prior to a strategic attack.

What was not forseen was that Japan would deploy novel shallow running torpedoes, nor that she could actually get a mini-sub into the harbor. ( This last point was only realized and proven in the 1990's with close analysis of battle photos. The last missing sub was finally 'found')

What was not forseen was that the Arizona would suffer a critical hit. Over 50% of Pearl's losses are due to that one blow.

What was not forseen is that the high tech radar would be ignored.

Any posture much beyond what was actually done would have compromized the fact that JN25 was broken. That secret was worth thousands of lives.

Stalin figured out the gambit. He had spies everywhere.

Britain fully doped it out no later than Spring 1943. And that is when America figured out that Britain was trying to tempt Japan in just the same way.

Britain did all she could to convince the Japanese that she was not to be a naval player against Japan anymore. This so as to lower the barrier for Japanese aggression against the 'all alone' US Navy.

10/11/2005 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger rosignol said...

otherwhen said...

Unfortunately I believe that is false. I can't be certain about Hitler, but from what I understand, the Japanese military war-gamed the hell out of a US-Nippon war and told their political masters that if the US did not surrender immediately out of cowardice, that the longer the war continued, the more certain Japan would be devastated.

The political elites chose not to believe it. They WANTED to believe that Americans would roll over like cowardly dogs after Pearl Harbor. They weren't interested in facts.

Absolutely correct, Otherwhen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoroku_Yamamoto

Yamamoto warned Premier Konoe Fumimaro not to consider war with the United States: "If I am told to fight... I shall run wild for the first six months... but I have utterly no confidence for the second or third year." He was proven uncannily correct as the Battle of Midway (generally considered the turning point in the Pacific conflict) occurred six months (almost to the day) after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

10/12/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger rosignol said...

Oh, and Cedarford--

FARC can breath easy with the US military tied down in Iraq - not that they had to worry much for the Global War on Terror bothering them, the Tamil Tigers, ETA, Hezbollah, the few Zionist fanatic outposts practicing terrorism, or Muslim terrorists in the Sudan, Mali, Somalia, generally anywhere where oil isn't - have to worry.

...the current constraint on US strategy is how many casualties the US electorate will accept to achieve a policy objective.

If casualties cease to be a factor, what do you think is going to happen? I doubt the Tamil Tigers or ETA will have much to worry about in any case, but the jihadis in Sudan, Mali, and Somalia might, along with FARC. Hizbullah is already in deep trouble, as their Syrian patron has lost control of their sanctuary in Lebanon, and their Iranian puppetmaster is under more and more international pressure.

Methinks your prognostications are likely to be very, very inaccurate.

10/12/2005 08:58:00 PM  
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