Stupidity at four times the speed of sound

I’m rather concerned by some news I read this morning in Wired Magazine’s daily newsletter.

In today’s email, there was a link to an article about the US military’s plans to design and produce a hypersonic missile – about which the Lexington Institute rather casually states

“When Osama’s bad brother Larry shows up suddenly in Niger, this is something we can target him with immediately.”

Whatever. I must admit to being slightly concerned about this paragraph, though:

Speed is becoming an increasingly crucial component of how American forces fight. In the Gulf War, it took days for the U.S. military to identify a target and put a bomb on it. In recent engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, that process was cut to as little as 20 minutes, in some cases.

Now, I don’t want to be churlish, and I know Lou’s covered this ground before, but given the frequency of friendly fire incidents, perhaps less speed might be worth considering – y’know, time to check the targets and make sure they are what they’re supposed to be. In the interests of objectivity, I should remind you that the Americans aren’t the only ones to get a bit confused between “assist” and “annihilate”…

I know all this might be slightly stale news…but our friend Mr Bush’s thankfully-ending-today state visit (comically reported earlier this week by some television news programmes as a “royal” visit…one word: republic) has kind of brought it back to the front of my mind.