Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Russia finds eco-friendly way to massacre millions

The news today brought a huge wave of relief to the Wombats - finally, the danger of a Nuclear Winter has passed. After years of testing - particularly on Chechen civilians, the elderly, pregnant and ill - Russia has announced that it has just tested the world's biggest "vacuum bomb", of comparable magnitude in blowing stuff (and people) up to a nuclear weapon.

The name is a wonderful little piece of warmongering, elitist, spin - redolent of, perhaps, hoovering up the mess on the floor, those inconvenient unsightly crumbs (and people) that might embarass you if a neighbour sees them lying (or bleeding) on the carpet. The true nature of the "vacuum" bomb, described prosaically as "the bomb which has no match in the world"
is slightly less tasteful.

It's also known as a "fuel-air explosive" or "gas bomb", and Russia made quite effective use of one of them on the Chechen capital Grozny during Moscow's long and bloody wars of extermination in the 1990's. Issuing a warning to the Chechen capital to evacuate, the Russian military then proceeded to drop one of these nice, clean, devices onto the city, killing thousands.

The bomb works as follows: an initial explosive charge bursts the main container open at a predetermined height in order to allow the fuel to disperse in a cloud, mixing with oxygen, and becoming highly combustible. Then, a second charge ignites that cloud, creating an enormous fireball, large enough to engulf whole buildings, or blocks, depending on the size. Imagine Dresden, but with only one or two bombs. Very humane.

But at least it's not a nuclear weapon. Rest assured, dear friends, the military world is as concerned as the rest of us about protecting the environment. As the report from Alexander Rukshin, deputy head of Russia's armed force chief of staff, points out:

"At the same time, I want to stress that the action of this weapon does not contaminate the environment, in contrast to a nuclear one."

So - no uranium. Must be ok then... The options laid out for humanity by Rosa Luxemburg all those years ago have never been starker: socialism or barbarism.


Michael Karadjis said...

That's a pretty good argument against anyone inclined to give the Russian oligarchy any confidence over its "protection" of the South Ossetian people against Georgia's extermination campaign.

That said, is this actually any different to the fuel-air explosives long used by the US, particularly in Gulf War I in 1991?

Red Wombat said...

Arguably not. I'm not sure of the scale or targetability of the US explosive vs that of the Russian bomb, but I assume that the Russians have "perfected" certain aspects of the device so as to increase control over its deployment.

So, simply a more effective (and enviro-friendly) form of inhumanity.

I'm not inclined to any particular confidence in the Russian oligarchy, but I do wonder if much of the left is struggling to adjust to a world of "multipolar" imperialisms that bears - in some ways - more resemblance to the situation a century ago than to the more familiar ground of the Cold War.

That is - the US is still the Big Baddie of Imperialism, but how now do we react to the Medium and Little Baddies when they come up against the Big one, and thousands of people get caught in the middle? (A rhetorical question, but perhaps one that sheds some light on where the left is at).

Michael Karadjis said...

well I agree with your point here, except that I don't think it has been settled that Russia is an imperialist country, in the marxist sense. It might be, but I'm reticent. Yet in general I think your point still holds if ussia is only a very large and powerful capitalist country.