Thursday, December 21, 2023

Exploding the "Israel kills Gazans with dumb bombs" myth

We took apart CNN's blood libel last week that Israel uses indiscriminate "dumb bombs" against areas filled with civilians in Gaza. 

The Washington Post followed up with a similar article. 

PBS decided to tackle the topic, and they interviewed the decidedly non-expert Nazi memorabilia collector Marc Garlasco along with someone who really is an expert, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula.

Even though the interview was quite brief, Deptula wiped the floor with Garlasco:
The use of a weapon is highly dependent upon the effects that need to be accomplished.

The collateral damage concerns regarding a particular target, and the accuracy of the weapon system in its entirety, not just the bomb itself. A dumb bomb delivered by a smart aircraft can still be accurate.

So, there are legitimate reasons to use low-cost dumb bombs. An example is hitting a weapons storage location in an area where intelligence has determined there are no collateral damage or civilian casualty concerns.

In other cases, there are fleeting targets that don't allow for the process of obtaining coordinates for GPS-guided weapons or obstacles that prevent a laser-guided delivery. So the pilot with a precise delivery system can quickly get to the target and deliver accurately before the opportunity evaporates.

The bottom line is, I have seen the exquisite care the Israeli Defense Force takes to avoid civilian casualties. They have extraordinarily stringent rules for avoiding collateral damage. And I'm told by a very good source that Israel only uses dumb bombs after they clear an area.
AFP then got more information that CNN didn't bother with:
Israeli air force officers on Monday defended their actions in war against Hamas.

"All the bombs we use are high-precision bombs," an officer told reporters during a military-organized visit of the Palmahim air base, on the Mediterranean coast south of Tel Aviv.

To the Israeli officer, whose name is barred from publication due to Israeli censorship rules, "we don't need the Americans to understand we want to limit casualties."

"We did not need to change our principles" in light of international concern, he argued, saying Israeli forces had aimed at limiting civilian casualties "from the beginning".

"There (are) no dumb bombs" used in the current war, he told reporters.

"All the bombs have accurate (targets), some of them by GPS, some of them by cameras, some of them by computers" on board fighter jets.
The terminology is inconsistent - bombs without internal guidance systems are still considered "dumb" - but his point about precision is accurate.

When he says "computers," he is referring to systems like a Continuously Computed Release Point (CCRP) which can be used to accurately bomb targets (even when covered by clouds.) CCRP uses radar to identify the target. The computer then puts a bomb fall line on the pilot's heads up display. The pilot flies on that virtual line, and the computer will automatically take into account altitude, speed, drag and all the other factors needed before it releases the bomb at the right moment to accurately hit the target.

Even a "dumb" bomb. 

As mentioned, the implication that Israel does not care about civilian casualties because some of the weapons it uses do not have internal GPS systems or fins to help keep them on course  is simply a libel. The smarts are with the pilot, the fighter's computer and the circumstances that allow the IDF to use a cheaper weapon effectively and save the smarter ones for when they are needed.

But, hey, if human rights groups are so concerned about the Palestinian lives they claim are being needlessly lost because the Israeli Air Force cannot be accurate enough in its bombing, they should lobby for the US to supply Israel with more JDAM kits and smart bombs. Sure it costs American taxpayers more, but they really want to save innocent lives and agree that Hamas targets are legitimate, don't they?

(h/t  Adam L)

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