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Why the Iran/US Navy encounter is important
Posted by: McQ on Monday, January 14, 2008

In my post about the incident of the 5 Iranian speedboats and the 3 ship US Navy group, I mentioned I thought the Iranian actions were a probe of sorts. Let me flesh that out a bit and point to a wargame the Navy held in '02 as an explanation.

The Straits of Hormuz is a highly restrictive waterway. Because it is so narrow, there is very little room to maneuver, especially when talking about large warships. Consequently it makes a perfect "ambush" site, for want of a better word. At its narrowest point, it is 35 miles across. Any access to the Persian Gulf passes through the Straits of Hormuz. The Iranians, of course, are acutely aware of that, and, it seems, are basing their naval operations on controlling the straits and attacking shipping, to include naval shipping in that constricted space.

So given this lack of maneuver room for large warships, the threat is real from both land based missiles and from naval craft.

The question then becomes, what sort of naval craft present a threat. In the case of a restricted waterway, small, fast and highly maneuverable craft probably would pose the greatest threat. That's because a carrier battle group, for instance, wouldn't be able to deploy its rings of protective craft at the distance it usually does at sea, thereby being much more vulnerable to attack because of the extreme compression of its protective cordon.

And the most effective way to penetrate that compressed cordon is with swarming explosively laden fast craft - speed boats.

And that is what Naval authorities found out in a war game they conducted in 2002.
In that war game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States, lost 16 major warships — an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels — when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats.

“The sheer numbers involved overloaded their ability, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack,” said Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper, a retired Marine Corps officer who served in the war game as commander of a Red Team force representing an unnamed Persian Gulf military. “The whole thing was over in 5, maybe 10 minutes.”
Swarming isn't a new technique and any gamer out there knows its effectiveness when using overwhelming numbers of low strength units to attack various high strength units. In most case the outcome is inevitable. The way to avoid it, of course, is to be in a position to have a multiple of your high strength units positioned in such a way that they can detect the low strength units at a distance, and with superior standoff capability, engage them before they can engage you, destroying the bulk of them before they ever get close enough to inflict damage on your units.

The Straits of Hormuz negates that ability. Multiple high-speed targets at that close a range would overwhelm shipboard defenses. So a mixed attack of shore-to-ship missiles and swarms of suicide speed boats in a restricted waterway as a carrier battle group attempts to pass has the potential for huge losses and is a very, very real threat.

That is the significance of what the Iranians did that day.
 
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Well the Riper "exercise" was about 40% silly..."Swarming" can ba tactic, but it’s a real good way to see a lot of Boghammars destroyed. The real threat was the combined surface and missile threat.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The real threat was the combined surface and missile threat.
Of course, that’s how I concluded the post.

But:
"Swarming" can ba tactic, but it’s a real good way to see a lot of Boghammars destroyed.
If you don’t care how many are destroyed as long as you can put 16 ships on the bottom, that consideration becomes irrelevant.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well I don’t think that a swarming attack is particularly likely, the coordination should provide a major obstacle, the techint foot print of prepp’ing it will give it away, plus the techint foot print of the missile attack.

Sorry this was a D&D scenario, "Suddenly, without warning, 25 AShM are inbound AND you have 100 suicide boats closing on your position." Sure in that case you die, but what is more likely to happen is that the USN detects the AshM launches, turns away defeats the AshM’s and then launches it’s helo’s and destroys the boghammars, long before they close the target area. Or that seeing several dozen or more Boghammars coming the USN moves away from them, openeing the distance between them and the shore lessening the AShM threat...

Sure IF you allow a swarm of Tokko Shinyo to close to withing 10 kilometres, and then you allow the Iranians to launch a volley of Styx missiles you’ve got a problem. The critical word in that statement is "IF"...

Three boghammars is not the same thing as a flotilla of them, and when a flotilla of them comes out I’m betting the USN gets a LOT more "concerned" than when 3 of them appear.

I am not sanguine about the Iranian threat, but neither do I believe that "Poor Man’s Weapons and Tactics" are going to work a whole lot better than they did in the era 1944-45.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Iran also has a few submarines to add to the mix. ASW in shallow waters is difficult enough when you are not maneuvering at high speeds to avoid other threats.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Joe,

I see your point, but it omits a few real world factors. For example, let’s say that Iran decides to attack a US flotilla as it transits the Straits of Hormuz. In that case, the US ships will be alert, but their ROI will still be on a peacetime footing. This gives the Iranians, on a wartime footing (they intend to attack, after all) extra time to get into action while the US ships decide on the threat level. So let us say that I am the Iranian commander and have such an intent, and further that this is not a snap decision on my part. What I would do is to start by either sending small numbers of attack boats or putting my ASMs on alert each time that US ships transit. I would escalate the number of boats and missiles to eventually reach what I would need for the actual attack, while coupling this with media operations about how the US is provoking my country and planning to attack. The combined effect should give me severe minutes of time inside the US OODA loop as the US commander tries to figure out if it’s real this time. In such restricted waters, that might be enough to make it a knife fight, and I win the knife fight.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Iran, interestingly, is turning this into a PR benefit to themselves, primarily because of questions (and changing stories) about the video.

But the political message is clear: if the US intends hostile action against Iran, there are ways Iran can respond that can do far more damage than anything encountered in Iraq (and Iran has already sent the message that they can make life much worse for the US in Iraq). Clearly, they are trying to deter any hostile actions from the US — after all, the US in recent history has launched a number of wars, invading other lands. It’s also interesting how the Gulf States and the Arab world seems to be siding more with Iran on this, despite the Arab-Persian rivalry. I think they see more US violence as potentially destabilizing, while they can live with and work with their regional rivals. Iran has been masterfully Machiavellian in all this.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I think Jeff Medcalf is quite right. One of the great contributors to the USS Stark near-sinking incident back in the late 80s were the restrictive rules of engagement and the the fairly common occurrence of semi-provocative actions during that time. By the time the crew understood there was an actual missile attack occurring (not just some aircraft out practicing with his radar), the remaining reaction time before impact was insufficient It takes time to come up to flank speed and start evasive maneuvers, assign the fire control channels, get weapons launched and chaff dispensed. It was dumb luck that the ship wasn’t sunk with all hands.

If it becomes commonplace to see the fast boats and anti-surface missile batteries warming up, the hesitation in distinguishing between "normal" bad behavior and "bad" bad behavior will cost valuable reaction time. And that hesitation will probably be aggravated by peacetime rules of engagement that frown on putting weapons systems trackers and illuminators to bear on inbound "non-hostiles". When an actual attack commences, those hesitations will probably kill a lot of sailors.
 
Written By: Chuck
URL: http://
if the US intends hostile action against Iran, there are ways Iran can respond that can do far more damage than anything encountered in Iraq


But at a fairly dire cost to Iran and the regime in Tehran....you do realize Iran imports gasoline, right so that one attack one the primary refinery would leave Iran crippled, plus that Iran imports Natural Gas, so attacks on the gas infrastructure will leave Iran’s economy in shambles, right? In short, Iran can cause the US problems, in the short-term in the Straits area via threats and increased oil prices, but that EQUALLY Iran is vulnerable to fairly low cost US actions that will leave Iran immobilized and cold? In short BOTH sides have a lot to lose in an armed confrontation?


.
It’s also interesting how the Gulf States and the Arab world seems to be siding more with Iran on this, despite the Arab-Persian rivalry.
Uh some evidence please? A simple statement will not do. The GCC supported Iraq v. Iran because they feared Iranian dominance in the region. I see no evidence that the GCC wants a nuclear Iran in the region or a militarily dominat Iran in the region.

The other commenters have made several good points about Iranian provocations, but I will say, it seems to me, that tactically the knife fight is going to be hard to pull off. The Boghammars and missiles have different closure rates, it’s going to be hard to get a swarm of Boghammars AND the missile volley to arrive any where near simultaneously. The swarm has to arrive first (to provide targeting information), and again it has to be a swarm of boats, 12-30 and we’ve never seen that before. I tend to believe that the USN and the DC politicians, when confronted with a swarm of vessels will assume the worst and either retreat or allow a weapons free environment. BTW, the USS Stark problem was not an ROE problem but one of COMPLACENCY. The Stark simply did not believe it was in any danger.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Whether it’s true or not, if I were the Navy I’d tell those who criticized the lack of response to this provocation that I had no intention of revealing our countering tactics for only five motorboats. And I hope that’s true.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
It’s also interesting how the Gulf States and the Arab world seems to be siding more with Iran on this, despite the Arab-Persian rivalry.
Joe - ’they’ say this all the time. ’Most people’ know this and agree.

There, is that enough evidence?
if the US intends hostile action against Iran, there are ways Iran can respond that can do far more damage than anything encountered in Iraq (and Iran has already sent the message that they can make life much worse for the US in Iraq).
this play, like Pearl Harbor, has zero shelf life. In order to use it, they have to start the war. Once they start the war it’s pretty certain they will no longer ’own’ the air space over their own shore line, or the Straits of Hormuz, eastside franchise. I’d expect that counting the stars in the sky would be easier than counting the FASCAM deposits around what was left of their harbor facilities. We don’t need to own their property if we control their access to it.
And if they launch a suicide assault on an American flotilla moving through the strait, they’re going to have a hard time explaining they didn’t have it planned all along and that it was in response to some American provocation.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Three boghammars is not the same thing as a flotilla of them, and when a flotilla of them comes out I’m betting the USN gets a LOT more "concerned" than when 3 of them appear ...
There were 5 and my guess is the US Navy knew exactly what they were up to. As I said, it was a probe.

Your unconcern doesn’t mean that a carrier battle group trying to transit a strip of ocean 35 miles wide would discount the threat as you appear to be doing. Pretending it is an overwrought D&D scenario ignores the situation dictated by "terrain" (you remember METT-T)in which the less powerful, who could never get that close on the open sea, have that advantage for the powerful negated.

It is in those sorts of situations that the unlikely (or impossible) elsewhere becomes very "doable" and are thus a real threat.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, the CVBG isn’t going to be transiting the Strait...the USN only penetrated at the height of GW II and mayhap OIF. Generally the really high value targets never enter the Gulf, because it is such restricted waters. So, though an Aegis Cruiser is a target, the real firepower will not be vulnerable to the swarm attack, unless the speed boats figure on sailing a couple of hundred miles out into the Arabian Sea, looking for the CVBG and then loitering around waiting for the AShM’s to arrive.

Personally, I’m a little more concerned with mines in the Straight, moored or just floating free. The one thing the USN is not good at is mine warfare, by not good I mean not very interested in and therefore devotes few resources to, and this is after the Earnest Will re-flaggings and the mining of the USS Tripoli in GW II. We would be a little hard-pressed to clear a pathway for mines, that just "happen" to be floating in the waterway....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
But at a fairly dire cost to Iran and the regime in Tehran...
Of course, that’s the deterrence game. During the Cold War we wanted to convince the Soviets that we really thought we could win a nuclear war and would be willing to strike first even for extended deterrence (to protect allies). Deterrence requires the other side think you’re willing to act even if it will be a high cost to yourself.

As for the reaction of Arab states, click here for an article from today, reacting to Bush’s speech. Earlier, of course, we had the Saudis invite Ahmadinejad to Mecca, and the Iranians guests at the Arab League summit, with a lot of mutual praise.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Yes Dr Erb, so figuring that the Iranians have a lot to lose in a OONVENTIONAL fight, and having lost one with the USN once already, I’m betting they really don’t want a second round.

I notice no one is asking the US to leave their bases in the Gulf, though they may ahve reacted "cooly" to the speech. And Saudi Arabia might as well "invite" Achmadinajad, as a Muslim the Hajj IS a requirement, at the height of GW I thousands of Iranian Shi’i made the pilgrimage....Might as well invite him, because he can show up if he wants to.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Those war games results were really very interesting. Although my impression is that the pentagon decided not to assign Van Ripper any more Red Teams and ignore them the best they could.

Anyway, no thoughts on the significance of the audio in that clip coming from the "Filipino Monkey"?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Those war games results were really very interesting. Although my impression is that the pentagon decided not to assign Van Ripper any more Red Teams and ignore them the best they could.
Some of the reporting made the exercise out to be like a Role Playing Game,
Player: "Then I pass out my operations orders at Friday Prayers"

GM: "You can’t do THAT"

Player: "Yes I can..."

There were enough reasons on both sides of the board to question the validity of the exercise....Ripper correctly objected to the "US player" being able to intercept and read his orders, given electronically, but then wanted to claim he had effective C&C by use of messengers...well, that didn’t work for the French in 1940 so I’m thinking it’s not too effective today either.... Fundamentally this seemed to become, IMO, a test of wills about who could shape the exercise to THEIR benefit, not really about learning anything useful.

I wouldn’t repeat it either, unless there were some pretty good umpires there to make decisions, for example...I’d let him use messengers, BUT every order has to BE typewritten, in triplicate, given to three "messengers", each of which has a 5% chance of not making it, and then making Van Riiper’s team operate at road speed against an opponent that moves at light speed. Or pretty much what Gamelin tried to do in 1940.

The Filipino Monkey gives me pause to thank the USN for being as restrained as they were...as I understand it, the voice announcing the "Doom" of the USN may NOT have been broadcast by the Iranians. Just an example of how small things can have larger implications.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
audio in that clip coming from the "Filipino Monkey"?
Since the Navy is up in the air on the topic and willing to consider the possibility that it might not have been the speed boats (by acknowledging they were still unsure what the communication source was), how does that change the Iranian speedboat actions?

How do they explain away the fact that they had already previously identified the ’coalition’ ships a short while before the hot-dogging incident?

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
To paraphrase Homer: the speedboat itself incites to deeds of hot-dogging.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
McQ, the CVBG isn’t going to be transiting the Strait...the USN only penetrated at the height of GW II and mayhap OIF.
Which, of course, means they’ve found tactical and strategic reasons to do so in the past. And it also means that "isn’t going to be transiting" is a mere guess on your part.

However, think of it this way Joe - what would be likely to have to transit the straits is a assault amphibious group and the same sort of result and loss of life could be the outcome.

So it doesn’t really matter the type of group which might transit the straits - the fact remains their major advantages (space and standoff) are negated in that restricted waterway and that makes them very vulnerable to lots of cheap small boats and missiles.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
the speedboat itself incites to deeds of hot-dogging.
I won’t argue that point, having been behind the wheel of one on occasion (and young once).
But they haven’t really explained why it was twice necessary to identify the ships. Those things don’t just ’appear’ in a nautical space that small.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
However, think of it this way Joe - what would be likely to have to transit the straits is a assault amphibious group and the same sort of result and loss of life could be the outcome.
I will stand on the USN not committing the CVBG to a fight in the Gulf, WITH IRAN...you are correct about Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, BUT if the goal is to secure the Straights, the ARG can deploy up to 80 KM off shore and deply the Ch-53’s, the Ch-46’d (such as they are) and the LCAC’s for amphibious assault. Never having to close into the mouth of the Straits. At least so all their apologists continually drum into me....

Alternatively the Jumping Junkies can secure the Straits, allowing the ARG to penetrate further up the Gulf for more action. Or vice versa.

I neither want to say Iran is a "cake walk" nor "The Mother of All Battles"...I tend to think the Iranians aren’t very good, but that they could get some blows in, if they get lucky or we get stupid.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I will stand on the USN not committing the CVBG to a fight in the Gulf, WITH IRAN...you are correct about Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, BUT if the goal is to secure the Straights, the ARG can deploy up to 80 KM off shore and deply the Ch-53’s, the Ch-46’d (such as they are) and the LCAC’s for amphibious assault. Never having to close into the mouth of the Straits. At least so all their apologists continually drum into me....
That all works real well if the place you want to assault is outside the Gulf.

And "securing" the straits via combat assault isn’t quite as easy as it sounds either, plus the fact, the conversation is about speedboats and missiles, neither of which have to located at the straits themselves to eventually take out vessels there.

What we’re talking about here is, in effect, a naval ambush. And the restrictive "terrain" of the straits give the advantage to speed and numbers over size and power. There are certainly counter-measures you can take if you’re the one initiating the action. But if they initiate the action, for whatever reason, then you’re reactive and at a disadvantage. That’s the fear.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Yes Dr Erb, so figuring that the Iranians have a lot to lose in a OONVENTIONAL fight, and having lost one with the USN once already, I’m betting they really don’t want a second round.
Lost one with the USN? I’m not following you here. Of course they don’t want a war, that’s the point of deterrence. If you don’t want a war you try to deter the other side from attacking.

I notice no one is asking the US to leave their bases in the Gulf, though they may ahve reacted "cooly" to the speech. And Saudi Arabia might as well "invite" Achmadinajad, as a Muslim the Hajj IS a requirement, at the height of GW I thousands of Iranian Shi’i made the pilgrimage....Might as well invite him, because he can show up if he wants to.
You really didn’t catch the news coverage of both the invite and how Iran was treated at the Arab League summit? You missed all the analysis about the improving relationship, and how they want to avoid an American-Iranian conflict. Have you missed the growing Turkish relationship with Syria too? Do I need to give you links? Perhaps you should read outside of blogs like this one which is very selective in the news it chooses to comment upon. It’s like you’re trying to come up with reasons to minimize the story that demonstrate you haven’t been following it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This discussion will go round and round.

Joe wants to err on the side of not aggrevating Iran and/or embarassing the US.

Others want to err on the side providing security for our ships and personel.

As far as international perception, it didn’t take much for Iran to try to make an issue out of it eventhough we didn’t counter attack this past week. Plus they get to ’count coup’ everytime they approach our ships and we do nothing. So the embarassment argument seems moot to me.

That leaves risking triggering a schuffle by confronting their behavior today vs. allowing a serious first strike later. I’ll err on the side of stopping the latter.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
yeah Doc Erb, you remember Operation Praying Mantis? It DESTROYED what little Naval Power the Iranians had, in 1988, plus defeated the Pasdaran in the Gulf...the Earnest Will re-flagging dmonstrated that the US Armed forces could meet, an "asymetric threat" at sea and defeat it...That would be the destruction of the Iran Ajr and subsequent actions by various Marine units, naval forces, 160th SOAR, and the like...I believe the Iranians may well recall it. I know I do, it demonstrated that Iran isn’t that good, and I see no reason to believe that they have improved in the intervening years.

I would posit that the GCC will always wish to avoid a US-Iran fight, it’s not to their advantage, is it? "When Elephants Clash, the Grass Is Trampled." But I doubt that the GCC Nations are any more pleased with a Nuclear Iran, than the US would be. After all Iran ahs a sizable military, and the GCC states don’t...add in a nuclear capacity, plus traditional Iran/Persian desires to dominate the Gulf region, and I really don’t see the GCC being very supportive of Iran, at a fundamental level. BTW, having said the Iraninas aren’t very good, is not a contradiction where it concerns the GCC states; they aren’t very good either. So, in the end numbers count, plus the sizable Shi’i minorities make the GCC states vulnerable to internal subversion, ask Bahrain.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Swarming isn’t a new technique and any gamer out there knows its effectiveness when using overwhelming numbers of low strength units to attack various high strength units.
Great. Who bought Iran a copy of Starcraft?

Damn zerglings...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott, it could also be they have a copy of Warhammer 40,000. We would be the Forces of Chaos, I’d imagine....to the Iranians, at least.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Gods I love being on a blog with so many tabletop/computer gamers that aren’t idiots...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
What swarming the knights with footmen is a modern war gaming concept?

Scott, remind me some time and I’ll explain what I can remember of defending one of the bases that was supposed to result in a cut-scene victory for the Zerg. Oh, they won, but only because the cut-scene said so...there were no Zerg left on the map when the cut-scene faded in.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Odds are, I’ve seen the same thing. I think everyone who’s played StarCraft for any length of time has seen that.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Perhaps you should read outside of blogs like this one which is very selective in the news it chooses to comment upon.
This, from a guy who is so ignorant of history as to be unaware of Operation Praying Mantis conflict with Iran.
The battle, the largest for American surface forces since World War II,[1] sank two Iranian warships and three armed speedboats. It also marked the first surface-to-surface missile engagement in U.S. Navy history.

The attack by the U.S. helped pressure Iran to agree to a ceasefire with Iraq later that summer, ending the eight-year conflict between the Persian Gulf neighbors.
Scott Erb’s exact words were:c"Lost one with the USN? I’m not following you here"

Amazing how you lecture others on the need for outside reading on a subject which you are so unread yourself.
 
Written By: Darrell
URL: http://
McQ, the CVBG isn’t going to be transiting the Strait...the USN only penetrated at the height of GW II and mayhap OIF. Generally the really high value targets never enter the Gulf, because it is such restricted waters.
Joe, could you explain this for me, please? Because US carrier groups do transit the Strait pretty regularly and do spend a hell of a lot of time in the Persian Gulf. I have to be misunderstanding you somehow.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
yeah Doc Erb, you remember Operation Praying Mantis? It DESTROYED what little Naval Power the Iranians had, in 1988, plus defeated the Pasdaran in the Gulf
I don’t remember it being that destructive, but I had indeed forgot that incident. Thanks!

Of course you’re right that they are worried about Iran as a regional power, but they’re also worried about the US stirring up public opinion by military operations in the region. They’d prefer a stable US presence that does not involve military threats to Iran (but deters Iran from wanting to do anything expansive). They also are probably probing the possibility of better diplomatic relations with Tehran, especially since it appears Iran will be a regional power. I doubt they’re worried that much about nukes though. Don’t dismiss Iran too quickly. In 1988 they were at the end of a long war against Iraq, and that war had started not long after the revolution. Never underestimate a potential adversary, especially based on something two decades ago.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Odds are, I’ve seen the same thing. I think everyone who’s played StarCraft for any length of time has seen that.
What? (with millions of players? Seriously?)
Another family epic myth shot to hell.
Busted back to nube (hangs head in shame).
The other epic myth - same guy, fighting with bots on Tribes & thinking they were real players.
Never underestimate a potential adversary, especially based on something two decades ago.
Box this sentiment and mail it to OnmyDinnerJacket.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Never underestimate a potential adversary, especially based on something two decades ago.

Box this sentiment and mail it to OnmyDinnerJacket.
Cute. But, of course, Ahmadinejad does not shape Iranian foreign policy. If you don’t understand that, well...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, looker, a bit off topic: did you catch that the Brits passed us in per capita GNP, and our inflation rate is skyrocketing (as our currency declines in value). Early signs of decline.... ;-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The other epic myth - same guy, fighting with bots on Tribes & thinking they were real players.
Ahem...

Gabe from Penny-Arcade apparently once played for Unreal II (i believe it was) for hours with nothing but bots, and had actually been talking to them, and complimenting them when they got a kill.

When asked by Tycho what he thought when none of them EVER spoke, the reply was (if the story is to be believed) "I thought they were just really shy".

Erb, considering we have more than a few million people working at jobs that at likely below minimum wage (illegal immigrants), I would think that our average is dragged down slightly.

And considering the UK’s tax rates to pay for their lovely NHS, I’ll take the couple hundred dollar hit. I keep more of mine at the end of the day.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Brits passed us in per capita GNP
And the fact that our population is growing at over twice their rate has nothing to do with it?

Also, does Erb realize that at the end of Clinton’s administration, the per capita GNP of most western European nations was close to ours, and Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland were ahead of us?

In fact, Japan and Singapore were already ahead of us during the Clinton administration.

While our population continues to grow significantly faster than that of some industrial nations we will continue to see our per capita GNP fall in comparison to theirs.

Of course, we’ll be in a better position to support our social services with a growing work force.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
"When asked by Tycho what he thought when none of them EVER spoke.."

I did the same thing....I just figured these guys weren’t 12 and weren’t into superflous chatter...

It was a great illusion for a while, till my son’s wrecked it.
I was much kinder when I confirmed there really wasn’t a San....never mind....

Off topic (me?)
Early signs of decline.... ;-)
Yes, I noted when it happened they were going to pass us, and noted they still have a higher tax rate, so I thought it was wonderful for them that their productive effort could go in larger measure to their government.

Foreign policy - right, and the President really doesn’t fix the economy, but he still gets blame or credit. Mr Ahmedinajad is the Iranian government persona so he gets the credit/blame.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Actually, looker, in this issue a conservative, Pat Buchanan, correctly identifies a number of America’s problems.

The President if Iran doesn’t have the same powers as the President of the US; in fact, some Presidents (Italy and Germany, for example) have no real power. That’s why I prefer to look where decisions are made and where the power is. But you are right that Iran should beware of over-confidence and arrogance as well (in fact, I think that’s why the Guardian Council has reigned Ahmadinejad in, he was hurting Iran with his bravado).

The economy has been on this path since the early eighties, when our borrowing increased dramatically. At first we enjoyed the ’borrow and spend’ economy, and then cheap oil, a stock market bubble followed by a housing bubble and lax credit allowed us to avoid confronting the reality of a high current account deficit, the fact we went from the largest creditor to the largest debtor nation, the fact our savings rate is extremely low, and personal debt very high. We’re seeing a perfect storm emerging for the economy, with high oil prices simply making things more difficult. To the Republicans: cut military spending and military involvement, we can’t afford it. To the Democrats: cut government programs and don’t start new programs, we can’t afford it. Alas, I don’t think any of the candidates for President care, they just want the power.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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