back to article Bunker-nobbling US megabomb test delayed

The World War II style 14-tonne conventional bunker-busting penetrator bomb being developed for the US air force has hit development snags, according to reports. Entry to service will be delayed, and costs have risen. Flight International reports that the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) will now be dropped for the first time …

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How long does it take to dig a deeper hole?

I reckon the Iranians can add 30 or 40 feet of concrete to their bunker by June. Even more by the time they _actually_ manage to test this thing. Pointless waste of money. Either use a nuke, or don't bother.

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Coat

Meteoric idea

Perhaps a better solution, given that the target is not moving anywhere soon, might be to accelerate an innocent-looking small rocky mass using repeated alternate elliptic orbits of the Earth and Moon/Mars, and slam it into the bunker at a decent fraction of c.

It'll take a while, but the resulting "act of god" (or amanfrommars) will be Plausibly Deniable.

John

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Not necessarily Iran

May we also assume that these would work on Afghani/Pakistani caves?

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Coat

@John Latham

Or a falling defunct spy satalite perhaps?

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Boffin

Not pointless

Firstly, you can't just add 30-40 feet of solid concrete to an existing building - the foundations almost certainly couldn't take the strain.

Secondly, from what I've heard, the MOP is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet of concrete.

Thirdly, if they're resurrecting Barnes Wallis's Earthquake Bomb concept, they don't even need to penetrate the structure itself - if the bomb detonates beside or under the foundations, then the structure will simply collapse.

Finally, nukes are actually overrated. A heavy, streamlined kinetic energy weapon dropped from a great altitude may actually have much greater penetrative power than a nuke, because it concentrates all of its energy onto a very small area, and in a single direction, whereas a nuke spreads all its energy in all directions. A 14-ton bomb moving at 1000m/s (just over mach 3) can concentrate 7Gj on less than a square metre of ground, whereas a megaton nuke would have to detonate within 250m (a distance which would result in a lot of fallout) to do the same. Plus, the mechanism of energy coupling is very different - the nuke expends its energy vaporising the earth, while the penetrator simply pushes it aside - which is much more efficient.

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Lack of imagination

Furthermore, they don't seem to bother with the consequences if they hit a nuclear plant (radioactive aerosols spreading by the wind). Not mentionning that they could provoke a real earthquake.

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30 or 40 feet of concrete

>> I reckon the Iranians can add 30 or 40 feet of concrete to their

>> bunker by June. Even more by the time they _actually_ manage

>> to test this thing. Pointless waste of money. Either use a nuke,

>> or don't bother.

This does not help as much as you may first think, as long as the resulting shock wave from the blast can be placed underground (rather than lost to the atmosphere it will keep traving underground until it comes across voids (think rooms etc) where the shock will do rather a lot of damage.

30 or 40 feet of extra concrete may even do a nice job of keeping the shoke wave underground.

Roger

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Black Helicopters

and knowing our American *friends*..

..and their remarkable ability to hit any target other than the one they were intending to hit, what's the betting that said uber-bomb will hit either civilians attempting to shelter, or Allied forces with clear markings, or nothing at all, like in those Tora-Bora mountains. That was a fine bit of military planning, lets drop huge amounts of ordnance into a vast range of mountains, kill some trees and goats, scare some farmers, and call it a victory in the white jaws of death or some similar over-dramatic Yank hyperbole.

it always amazes us Brits that despite the dazzling array of no-expense spared kit, Americans can't hit the right target.

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@ How long does it take to dig a deeper hole?

Not long. A failed bunker bomb would still prepare the way for a nuke strike as well as provide priceless amounts of one-time real-time logistical results data.

"30 or 40 feet of extra concrete may even do a nice job of keeping the shoke wave underground" -- Even better to seal the whole deal if you can get it to collapse.

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Delays, delays

If they have many more delays Dubya won't be able to drop one of these on Iran before he's out of a job.

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Why not just blow up the door?

Why not just blow up the door? Unless they teleport in, use a regular rocket or bomb. Then if someone tries to fix the door, drop another. Scientists can't live off enriched uranium for very long. Hell, tell them ahead of time and you have zero casualties. If they resist, then you can declare 'real' war. If you're already in 'real war,' I'd rather be launching rockets than flying planes over anyways.

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Coat

but...

-"won't somebody think of the bunkers!"

-"Terrorists are people too!"

-"I for one welcome our bunker-busting overlords"

-and a few inane and politically inept anti-Bush remarks.

...and I'm spent. Mine's the one next to the concrete overshoes.

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Anonymous Coward

@Bounty

Because they can't hit a barn door let alone a bunker door.

There's a reason America invented the term 'collateral damage'.

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Hitting the target . . .

Hitting the target . . .

Actually, we DO hit the target pretty often. For starters, ask that dirtball Al-Libi who we killed a few days ago with a rocket from a drone. Since he's been spattered pretty completely, those 72 virgins aren't going to do him a lot of good.

The US military goes out of its way NOT to hit civilians or allies - whereas the enemy, the guys you should REALLY be worrying about and bitching about, prefers civilian targets every time. They knew the people in Madrid and London wouldn't be shooting back - but soldiers (ours and yours) are quite willing to shoot back and are well equipped to do so. We don't blow up mosques full of worshipers, they specialize in doing exactly that. Why aren't you complaining about that?

Or are you telling me that every army in the history of the world has always had perfect marksmanship except for the US army? War is a nasty business, it is messy, dangerous and chaotic. People get killed in wars, sometimes by accident. If you want to stop this, you will have to stop wars - noble goal, but good luck.

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Black Helicopters

thoughts

"In addition to the ageing B-52"

Speaking of, isn't it about time to unveil the next generation of "stratofortress" type bombers?

"a Stealth bomber tooled up with MOPs is the only military pill that could take away the Natanz headache."

Well, I could think of a few ways, as mentioned above (doors); but what we're really looking for is a once-over solution...something we can deploy one time in one "incident" to say that we've taken a measure to stop this enrichment, without it looking like a "campaign", or full out war. The door seems to make sense, but when you have to make multiple runs over and over again, it becomes harder to deny that you are at war with a country, rather than just disabling a dangerous facility.

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Jobs Halo

make it glass

Once the delivery is perfected then you can put the H-bomb in there.

Go down 200 feet then detonate and make a big ball of glass.

Simon Ball had a point about the penetrators, and standard nukes.

But put them together and you have a special tool.

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Coat

KA-BLAMMO!

This will wipe the floor with any baddies in its way.

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Bronze badge

It's a pity they scrapped the V-bombers...

The Victor was designed to carry a 22.000lb Grand Slam, internally

The figures I've seen suggest they contained 10,000lb of explosive, which seems a bit high for the sort of casing they'd need to stand the impact.

The interesting effect on a concrete bunker is the spalling: the lumps of concrete that break off on the inside. In the centrifuges are running that will combine with the effect of the shockwaves on mounting bolts and bearing assemblies.

The effects will be interesting.

But oh dear, forgetting the bomb racks....

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IT Angle

question

Question why do we hate people whose only wrong that I can see is that via an internal revolution recreated real democracy then evicted the bunch of thieving clowns , CIA trained torturers , CIA trained and backed hit squads and murderers along with the usual parasitic scum that we in the west installed as a puppet government . Whilst this puppet government was in power they wracked up an impressive score of human rights abuses and deliberately killed more locals then the internal annual road toll in order for the west to steal or pay bargain basement prices for their oil and mineral wealth ?

As for the boys that play with the big toys perhaps they do so to hide from the world the simple fact they have very small wangs and the despite the fact that in the west they are recreating the very same repressive undemocratic autocratic government of the past that totalled Europe well over half a century ago to create the illusion of false safety ?

What price stupidity indeed ?

But alas one final point ever heard of a very dense rock which makes reinforced concrete look like tissue paper called "Serpentite" and the headaches it caused the Japanese when they were building the Seikan Railway Tunnel back in the sixties ?

Now I know why the current tests shown have fatal real life flaws !

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@Miami Mike

HAHAHAH!!!

"The US military goes out of its way NOT to hit civilians or allies "

That is funny. I can only assume you are being heavily sarcastic.

Perhaps there is a reason why the US has a reputation for indiscriminate friendly fire? Perhaps there is a reason why in international surveys Geoge Bush is recognized as a bigger threat to world peace than any other national leader?

I mean, listen, I guess you are american, but please, just because it says so in your local cinema, doesnt mean america is the heart of justice and freedom of the world. You have earned your reputation as a nation whos army is responsible for more friendly fire deaths than any other, and as a nation who has the worst targeting of any civilzed army.

Pleeease dont try and claim that american soldiers are concerned with loss of foreign civilian life. It is farcical at best.

Arrrr.... There be dragons...

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Happy

Re: Meteoric idea

Hmm - taking a "small rocky mass" as 1 tonne and a "decent fraction" of c as 0.1 you'll get a yield of about 400,000 megatons. Didn't someone mention something about "less drastic" than nukes?

On the other hand, anything one could reasonably characterize as "a decent fraction of c" is going to be way above escape velocity for most astronomical objects. So unless you know of a really nearby pulsar or two this is going to take a seriously long time.

"OK, Mr Secretary of Defense. It's time we whacked those bunkers properly."

"Right, Mr President. Just hang on a few thousand years and they're toast. Make that 'plasma'. In fact make that 'subatomic particles'."

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Flame

Somebody need a history lesson?

In WW II you were considered on target if you landed within 1/4 of a mile. (roughly 1/2 a click)

Today, its under 10 meters. So be thank full we're not using 60 year old technology. ;-)

Do bombs that hit their targets cause collateral damage? You betcha. Thats why some people put their military assets inside clusters of civilians...

Fortunately, the location of the centrifuges are "well known". You're not going to see a wing of Israeli fighter/bombers fly under the radar and hit this target like they did against Iraq many moons ago.

It will have to come via a high altitude with either an illuminated target or a GPS guided bomb. No nukes. You don't want the fallout.

Now you could take an asteroid out of orbit and try and hit the target. Its theoretically possible, but not as simple as the sci-fi books make it out to be. (The moon is a harsh mistress. ;-)

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Stop

RE Jesus Puncher

Don't tell me, you have personally met and discussed morals with every US serviceperson in all the US forces? Actually, I'm guessing you've never even spoken to an active duty soldier of any country. I have met soldiers from many countries, and the surprising fact is that despite differences in religion and political outlook, just about every single one shared a common view that avoiding the death of civilians was a primary concern. And before you accuse the US of being the worst for friendly fire I'd also suggest you read up on some of the African armies as I have heard many a fun tale from BAT instructors of being nearly shot by their own students! It's just that when the Yanks (or our own soldiers) commit a "blue on blue" it gets plenty of media coverage. When other countries' forces do it (very often) you never hear a whisper.

Regarding the article, I was kinda hoping for the sat-launched "rods from the gods", so does this make the lower altitude B-52s demigods?

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Guenther

"Once the delivery is perfected then you can put the H-bomb in there.

Go down 200 feet then detonate and make a big ball of glass."

So we want the Yanks to drop a NUCLEAR weapon with the intention of disabling a facility that MIGHT at some time in the future contribute to the building of NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

"But put them together and you have a special tool."

But we already have a special tool, you just proved it.

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Pirate

@Miami Mike

"The US military goes out of its way NOT to hit civilians"

It just takes out power stations, water pumping stations, sewage works and any other type of infrastructure and pits the local population against the likes of Typhoid and Cholera. The result is that only a few dozen might perish in the bombing, but hundreds and thousands die from disease and starvation because you're still trying to rebuild the infrastructure you destroyed five years ago.

You've restored my faith in Americans. You folks really are dumb enough to believe that warfare can be clean with smart bombs.

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Alien

Instead of going deeper...

Excavate a huge deep basement and make a big production of spreading the fresh dirt around on the surface. But instead of moving deeper, just pretend that you're moving deeper while moving everything up towards the surface. Cover it with canvas and plywood painted to look like heavy thick concrete. Fill the huge basement with Styrofoam peanuts and surplus stuffed animals, and then cover it over with your plywood floor. Everything of value is on the top floor.

One day there is a sudden pop from the roof and a distant deep thud from the infinite depths of the basement. There's a smoldering neat hole punched in Achmed's desk and a stapler is reported missing. Achmed takes the rest of the day off.

And so it goes...

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@By Anonymous Coward

"It just takes out power stations, water pumping stations, sewage works and any other type of infrastructure"

And name one country that in a time of war does not consider that a legitimate target ??

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These aren't the bad guys you're looking for (or who are looking for you)

"It just takes out power stations, water pumping stations, sewage works and any other type of infrastructure"

Well yeah . . . I doubt you could get anyone to surrender by blasting the local Starbucks or McDonalds (which might not be a bad idea in any case).

In fact, we've been putting Iraqi infrastructure back together for some time - there wasn't much there to start with, and various groups of locals seem to like the idea of blowing it back up again as soon as it comes back on line.

America-bashing has been a favorite hobby of the European Ignorati for years. Part of it is envy, part of it is simply fashion. Whether you know it or not, you have a serious threat facing you - and it isn't us. Lets see how the tune changes when the bad guys succeed in blowing up Westminster Cathedral or the Louvre.

Go ahead and scribble offensive cartoons about Dubya and see what happens - then try the same thing with a certain religious figure. You better have a kevlar coat.

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last weeks article about hypersonic rocket sled tests ?

Connect the dots ? Unspecified projectile type ?

They better hurry, get this completed by Jan, 21, 2009. Pres. Obama may not like this. Or Pres. McClain may prefer real nukes.

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Pirate

Let me get this straight...

Some people would prefer to see nukes used on the suspect Iranian facility. OK, so to prevent another power from *potentially* using nuclear bombs you want the Americans *actually* use nuclear bombs? It's no wonder you Americans are considered a strange breed.

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Flame

mmmmm.....

I cannot forget In the first gulf war the more British troops were killed by Americans than by the Iraqis.

Donald Rumsfeld could not believe the "Tora Bora" American snafu.

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We do hit civilians all too often

Its just coming up to the 20th anniversary of the US Navy shooting down an Airbus in the Gulf -- 290 people killed. Its one video that made prime time TV (there was a news crew on board) but its has never surfaced on youTube. (There's some normal news reports but they're just bodies in the water -- clumps of floating babies and stuff -- and somewhat upset relatives and friends at Dubai airport.)

It was an interesting incident because we're still at it 20 years later. I'm actually rather fed up with our government wasting time and energy like this, and this screwup over the "lets build a bigger bomb" and then "oops, does fit in the aircraft, oh well we'll just spend another bunch of cash on it" is just typical. Its no wonder our economy is in the toilet.

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The bomb is a tool.

Like a hammer.

With or without this bomb, or another kind of bomb, war can be debated.

When this bomb gets dropped, it might miss. (Again, like a hammer blow.) Or it might get the job just half done. If it does, there will probably be another one shortly behind it.

That's the genius of modern manufacturing technology, I've been told: once something is invented and tested, you can make more of them.

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Alien

We don't want or need smart American bombs, just smarter Americans.

"If you want to stop this, you will have to stop wars - noble goal, but good luck."... By Miami Mike Posted Wednesday 6th February 2008 18:35 GMT

It is much simpler than that, Miami Mike, even a child can understand and appreciate "Don't go to war". Have you anything constructive for old war dogs to do, are they any use in a civilised Society or are they only used in an Artificially Created Other Worldly Environment ...... a Deadly Sickening Perverted Virtual Reality made for Real and Paying and Paid for by .........well, how many Skunks can you Imagine pushing for that Reality but obviously from the Back Door rather than the Front Line.

Towering Heroes Steeped and Stepped in Cowardice and Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy. Mission Accomplished in Deed, indeed.

Turing Bombes away! Global Operating Devices Speed and GOD Speed to their Rightful Targets.

And if there is a dearth of smarter Americans, buy in some smarter foreigners, stick a number on them, give them a Passport/ID Card/Green Card and they whistle Sweet Dixie and the Star Spangled banner as well as anyone. There are bound to be Lease Lend Foreign Assets available.

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Ooh, ooh, I wanna play

Don't forget cluster bombs - spicing up Iraqi kids' football games with random death and limb loss since 1990!

War is messy, but there are levels of messy. There's a difference between gradually accumulating a pile of crap on your desk, and picking up a wastepaper basket and upending it over the keyboard. There's a difference between fighting a war, and conducting pointless large scale bombing campaigns against civilians, seeding the ground with bombs you know full well will be killing innocent people for years to come, and pumping pilots so full of amphetamines they have to figure out in the heat of combat whether they should shoot the 20-foot-high scale model of Pete Burns or the wooly mammoth made out of cheese (oops, turns out the mammoth was another British tank).

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The Accurate Americans

In ww2, there was place in Italy called Monte Cassino, which needed blowing up .

In the resulting bombing , the British and Americans bombed the Monastery and the Germans bombed our side.

One NZ soldier I knew said the rule was- If British aircraft came over the Germans ducked , if the German aircraft came over the British and Americans ducked.

When the Americans came over EVERYBODY ducked.

Peace and Joy to all

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Delays?

In 1943 one man pretty much on his own managed to design, test, and manufacture a bomb, modify the planes in the necessary way constructing a whole new support rack for the device including the motors necessary to give the device backspin. He did the majority of the design himself as he was a talented draftsman, his plans became things in the workshops very quickly.

He did this in 5 short months. And successfully achieved the goal of blowing the hell out of the german dams.

Now, you're telling me, using modern technology, CAD/CAM processes, rapid prototyping systems etc... that they take how long to do this? Seems to me the US really don't have a clue about developing weapons, they may have the technology, but that's useless if you're trying to manage projects like this through the ridiculous red tape. From an engineering stand point, they are retards...

For the record, Barnes Wallis also invented this type of bomb http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake_bomb

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Alert

Re: Instead of going deeper...

"Cover it with canvas and plywood painted to look like heavy thick concrete."

Wouldn't work. Ground-penetrating RADAR would unmask your scheme literally within milliseconds. Heck, with canvas and plywould, you wouldn't even withstand a cursory glance from normal RADAR.

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Flame

We have some right ones here

Lets see:

heystoopid - defending the peace loving democratic Iranian regime. Did you make it to the holocaust-denial conference or is the invite lost in the post? Exactly what do you think the messianic nutter wants the bomb for?

Miami Mike (et al.) - When the americans hit civillians it mean tthe bombs have missed, when AL-Q (and others) do, it means they're on target.

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Sam
Joke

Re;How long does it take to dig a deeper hole?

Using one of these things, about 0.1 of a Second.

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Thumb Up

Muha!

Cover the bunker in trampolines!

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Boffin

Caber tossing

They've obviously not been at any Highland games and watched people throwing trees (called tossing the caber).

If they had, I wonder if they would have gone with the idea of dropping a giant steel pencil from the sky hoping it would hit vertically.

It might not, you see, because it might land horizontally. It would flatten a great deal of buildings in a row, but not necessarily penetrate a bunker as advertised.

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Sam

@ MichaelG

Cabers haven't got tailfins.

I'll leave all the tosser jokes alone....

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@Caber tossing

[it might land horizontally]

That's why ever since aerial bombing was invented we added drag fin stabilisers to bombs. The end with the fins on has more air resistance than the pointy end so you don't have to worry about that (as long as you drop it from sufficiently high enough)

I'm not so sure about this weapon as it's currently advertised tho. To hit speeds of mach 3 under gravity it would need to free fall for approximately 100 seconds, which (given my rusty integration skills) would require around about 50,000m of altitude. That's like 150,000 feet! Do planes fly that high? I dunno, but it's bleeding high.

Maths based on the very bad assumptions that acceleration under gravity = 10ms-2, mach 1 = 340ms-1 and I can still do calculus.

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@risky... again

"Miami Mike (et al.) - When the americans hit civillians it mean tthe bombs have missed, when AL-Q (and others) do, it means they're on target."

Well then, the "terrorists" are one step ahead of you, at least they can hit a fucking target.

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Pirate

@Miami Mike

"In fact, we've been putting Iraqi infrastructure back together for some time"

All King Dubya's horses and men are not quite up to the job.

"there wasn't much there to start with"

They had power, running water and low disease levels. Now they've got very little power, not enough running water and over a million people have died of various diseases in the last five years.

"and various groups of locals seem to like the idea of blowing it back up again as soon as it comes back on line."

How is that different from retarded Americans blowing it up? Weren't you trying to 'help' the Iraqi people by blowing it to smithereens in the first place and then take five years to rebuild it?

"America-bashing has been a favorite hobby of the European Ignorati for years. Part of it is envy, part of it is simply fashion."

Europe will be richer than the US soon enough. We're already seeing your economy fail. We're already seeing a drop off in the numbers of rotund colonists wearing 'fashionable' clothes that wouldn't look out of place in a Golf Tournament for the colour blind.

"Go ahead and scribble offensive cartoons about Dubya and see what happens"

Everyone laughs, thats what happens. You elected an idiot, TWICE, and the rest of the world is still laughing at you.

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Alien

@stizzleswick

So, add a layer of tinfoil.

NEXT!

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Stop

@ AC Re: @ Mike

"Europe will be richer than the US soon enough. We're already seeing your economy fail."

Yep - because a failure of the US economy will have no impact on the rest of the world economy whatsoever.

(points at the various markets around the world that shiver each time the US reports bad numbers, or the Dow Jones falls)

Good luck with that.

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@ Tawakalna

"it always amazes us Brits that despite the dazzling array of no-expense spared kit, Americans can't hit the right target."

Yes, it's a good job the British forces never make mistakes, isn't it?

http://aftermathnews.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/british-troops-kill-danes-in-friendly-fire/

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3774/

Sorry, I don't have links to any British-initiated friendly-fire incidents earlier than 1471 AD.

Friendly fire incidents are always tragic regrettable. Arrogant gits such as Tawakalna, however, make one wonder if sometimes they aren't accidental, and maybe even sometimes justifiable.

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@Miami Mike

> Go ahead and scribble offensive cartoons about Dubya and see what happens - then try the same thing with a certain religious figure. You better have a kevlar coat.

Or having the BBC Top Gear team running around the American South on a bet, and getting stoned by a bunch of armed rednecks?

Seeing New Orleans as a wrecked ghetto years after Katrina passed? (then getting chased off a main street by a gang hoisting assult rifles?)

Getting threatened with a laswuit by a fly-by-night lawyer because the car that was *given* away free of charge to a religious mission was not a 1990 but a 1989 model?

Hearing US Customs and Immigration officers taking the piss out of passengers going through border control at San Fransisco International?

Having Texans talk at you telling you that everything is better in the USA (and Texas in particular) because... well, we're Texans I guess.

This is the sort of thing that makes us "European Ignorati" believe that most "yanks" are uncultured idiots...

Please do somthing as a country to proove us that you are not!

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