Monday, April 6, 2009

Newt's Friggin' Lasers

Can you throw Newt a friggin' bone here?

Newt Gingrich has stated that if it were up to him, he would have done everything possible to prevent North Korea's rocket launch failure this past week. Even by using friggin' lasers. Well, thank Jebus it wasn't up to him. A war on three fronts? Good thinking, Newt.

Now some are trying to say that Newt's reference to "lasers" was to laser-guided missiles. To which I call bullshit. If you watch the original video in the VanSusteren interview, Gingrich first talks about an "electromagnetic pulse attack." Not the possibility of it mind you, just the scenario of it set in book that a friend of his wrote. Seriously. A book plug. He's not mentioning some scientific study on the effects of EMP which have been around since the 1960s by the way, he's mentioning what I assume to be a Doomsday book about what would happen to us in such a case.

At the end of the interview Gingrich does say that he would use any means necessary to stop the launch test, "either a small team go in, or a way to deliver either a laser or another kind of device..." If he's talking about laser-guided missiles, why didn't he just say so?

Either Gingrich isn't using his words carefully enough or he knows exactly what kind of audience he's speaking to. When talking about "lasers," not missiles, it's a lot easier to get your idea to stick if you're not talking about shooting missiles pre-emptively into another country. That sounds bad. But lasers? Friggin' awesome!

Finally, it's odd to me that this would be a feasible idea to the same people that were shocked, SHOCK I TELL YOU!, at the use of drones on terrorist camps in Pakistani territory. Is Newt's idea okay for North Korea's failure of a satellite launch but not okay for specific terrorist training camp targets in the ideology formerly known as the "War on Terror"?

On the other hand, I hear these lasers are relatively inexpensive. One. Million. Dollars.


Fraulein said...

HAHAHAHA!!! I love it! Can you cross-post this one? Thanks!

Matt Osborne said...

The US Air Force has been working on this for a very long time. There's been some really nifty Star Trek-style technology created along the way. The problem is, a laser capable of doing actual, physical damage to a rocket requires an extremely large power source; the Air Force estimated they would need a 747 equipped with a nuclear power plant just to shoot down one missile. But Newt probably read about it in Popular Mechanics and conflated it with those episodes of Star Trek he watched while he was smoking pot in college. (Give him his props: Newt acknowledges that he inhaled.)