Peter J. Mancus, Attorney at Law


Fri Feb 20 23:09:35 2004

by Peter J. Mancus, Attorney at Law -

June 27, 2001

I will address some topics in chronological order. These topics, and my remarks, will probably seem disjointed and unrelated. If so, do not be alarmed; please be patient and keep reading. I think you will agree that they are tied up later. Due to time constraints and your attention span, I will be brief--broad strokes only.

1. The historical Jesus, per the Bible, frequently referred to himself as being "meek."

2. For years I had serious problems with the adage, "The meek shall inherit the earth." How could that be? 'Meek' people [wimps, pushovers, whiners] inheriting the earth?" I always rejected that concept.

3. For many years my dad was assigned to the U.S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command [SAC]. If I recall correctly, SAC's motto was this [or something similar to this]: "PEACE THROUGH DETERRENCE IS OUR MISSION."

4. It was common at SAC bases to see this motto prominently displayed in large letters on big buildings, major entryways, and base newspapers, etc.

5. The basic idea behind deterrence is to manifest credible evidence that the potential enemy can see and understand, namely, that you are strong and capable of inflicting a retaliatory blow, or blows, that will inflict unacceptable losses on the enemy if that enemy should ever miscalculate and strike you first. The purpose of disclosing this retaliatory capability to the enemy is to intimidate the enemy, to psyche out the enemy and convince the enemy that it is not in the enemy's best interest to attack you because you are so strong you can, and will, inflict a retaliatory blow that will not be in the enemy's best interest; hence, deterrence works and it secures the peace by deterring an anticipated aggressor. But to accomplish this goal, you cannot keep your war-making capability a secret. You have to disclose a great deal of it to your potential adversary. You also have to convince this potential adversary that you are serious, that you will strike if attacked or if your vital interests are threatened. Deterrence exists only in the mind of the potential adversary. It is difficult, if not impossible, to deter a potential adversary if you keep your war-making capability a secret or if you act like a wimp or talk like a wimp. It is also difficult to deter a potential adversary if you telegraph signs that you are merely running a bluff--that you are hot air without a big stick or no will to swing the big stick.

6. When my dad was in SAC, I dated a girl who was very religious. Her dad was in SAC, too. We frequently went to church services on Sunday conducted by an Air Force chaplain. I discussed with this chaplain my difficulty with the concept of "The meek shall inherit the earth." This chaplain explained to me that the common understanding of "meek" in the Bible is a gross misnomer. He told me the following: Jesus, the son of God, referred to himself as being "meek" because God is all powerful; "meek" really means "great strength held in check, under control, available to be used for a good, worthy purpose"; he explained that SAC is a classic example of what "meek" really means. This chaplain stressed that his definition of "meek" is 100% consistent with the original Greek meaning as used in the Bible.

7. I am not a Biblical nor a Greek scholar. The chaplain's explanation, however, does make the adage "The meek shall inherit the earth." easier to understand and to accept. If this chaplain was correct, then SAC was a classic example of that definition of "meek."

8. I have checked with Biblical scholars about what this chaplain said. They all agreed. I asked for reference to an authoritative book about the ancient Greek language, bought it, looked up "meek" and the chaplain was, and is, correct!

9. In the 1980s I did a story for publication on an advanced USMC "think tank/new tactics development" unit. That was an amazing experience. Some extremely smart people were in that outfit. One instructor, an officer, asked me this question: What chance does an airborne helicopter have against a $35 million dollar supersonic fighter armed with air to air missiles flown by a top notch pilot? If you were a helicopter pilot under attack by this fighter pilot, what would you do? Think fast! Make a wrong decision and you will be dead within 30 seconds. I had no experience with this subject matter. I was an attorney-journalist, not a pilot and not a military tactician. This officer slapped the table hard, making a lot of noise, to create a stressful environment [he was really a great guy]. "Think!", he demanded. "You are under attack. You are now almost dead! Act! Do something! Do it now!" I told him, with extreme reservations, sensing that my answer was wrong, but not knowing anything better, I'd either fly away from the fighter plane or land and abandon the helicopter, anticipating the fighter would attack and destroy the grounded, stationary, helicopter. This officer instructor smiled and told me I gave typical answers that their student helicopter pilots give. He also told me my answers warranted an "F" grade. I asked him, "What is the smartest thing to do in that situation?" Before you read further think about your answer to that question. I will make a blank gap of about 2-4 inches in this text to hide his answer as you think about the right answer to the question. When you think you have the right answer or you give up, scroll down 2-4 inches to read what this officer said is the only correct answer.

Per this officer, the only correct answer to maximize your chance of survival in that scenario is this: Turn the helicopter to face the attacking fighter plane and to fly straight at him as fast as you can, and if the fighter turns, you turn with him to keep yourself 180 degrees pointed straight at him at all times, keep closing the distance as fast as you can as you charge toward this fighter plane and stay as low to the ground as possible!

Does what this officer told me surprise you? Does it make sense to you: to fly straight at the attacking fighter plane when you are only in a helicopter? And does this make sense when the fighter plane has a cannon and missiles and you are without any weapons, except maybe a pistol? Think about this carefully.

Why is what this officer said the best answer?

Here is why: if you fly away from the fighter, your exhaust presents a great target for a heat seeking missile; you give the fighter time to solve his weapon systems switchology sequence to get you within his parameters for a high PK [probability of kill]; your nose guns, if any, will point in the wrong direction so the fighter can use guns to bring you down [to save the cost of a more expensive missile] or a heat seeker missile that will guide on your exhaust, that you so kindly gave him the hottest point to guide on; if you land, he can strafe/rocket/bomb you; but if you fly straight at him, you minimize his use of a heat seeker, you give him the smallest target to shoot at; you give him least amount of time to aim and fire at you and to solve his switchology problems; and he will soon overfly you. As this fighter jock turns, you can change direction and try to find terrain to get lost in or, absent such terrain, you would be best off to turn and charge the fighter plane again--to fly as fast as you can straight at him!

This instructor said the helo pilot should keep pointing right at the fighter and fly straight toward him at high speed: always. Never deviate from that coping technique. In that scenario, it is the tried and proven way to stay alive if you are a helo pilot attacked by a fighter plane.

This instructor said that after a while, the fighter pilot will give up. This instructor also stressed that a helo pilot who stays close to the ground make it very difficult for a fighter to get below to attack from below, and it also makes it difficult for the fighter to use a radar guided missile against the helo when that kind of a missile is fired from above because it is difficult for a radar missile to sort out the false radar returns from the ground--the helo is just too close to the ground for the radar missile to work well.

This officer went on to say that this special tactics development squadron put the Corps' best fighter jocks in their best fighters and pitted them in the air against run of the mill, snail paced, helos manned by average helo pilots on instrumented ranges to test this tactic. What do you think the real life results were? This is what that officer told me: the fighter pilots did not score any kills against these snail paced helos! They pulled a lot of G's, worked up a lot of sweat, burned a lot of fuel and never scored a single kill. He also said they retested this tactic with different pilots and the results were the same: no fighter pilot scored a kill against a helicopter!
This officer said they then outfitted these helos with short range air to air missiles on instrumented ranges and reflew the exercise against the best fighter planes flown by the best fighter pilots. This was not done in a simulator. They tested this tactic for real--in the air over an instrumented range where real weapons did not have to be fired. Everything was scored electronically.

What do you think the results of this test were? I was told that the helo pilots scored kills against the best fighter pilots flying the best fighters. Why? Because nothing out-turns a helo in the air. The helos flew, and maneuvered, like W.W.I fighter planes.

Maneuverability and tactics were better than speed! When the fighters overflew the helos, the helos would turn, point toward the fighter and "fire" a heat seeker at the fighter, "destroying" it!

The presumptively arrogant, cocky fighter pilots, in this scenario, made some classic mental errors: they tangled with air-to-air missile equipped helos operated by pilots who knew the best tactic and implemented the best tactic; they got within range of the helos' weapons; they got into a turning battle with the helos that can out turn them; and they presented the helos with their hot exhaust tail--a perfect target for a heat seeker!

I share this to stimulate deep thinking and original thinking.

10. I also personally watched these Marines launch and recover approximately 100 aircraft without radio communications of any kind. They restricted themselves to hand and light signals. They anticipated they will probably have to fight when their radio communications are down or interfered with so they tested themselves using only hand and light signals. They launched and recovered everything without a hitch.

11. If America's citizens ever resort to physical force to fight civil authority or to defend against a foreign invader, we will fight like we trained. If we never trained, we will fight like we never trained. If we never communicate ideas, like these Marines did, we will fight like we never communicate ideas. If we never communicate ideas, we will not develop--and share--better ideas. Instead, many will fight with stupid ideas -- ineffective tactics. If we fight with stupid ideas and ineffective tactics, many will be wasted, the war will be longer, the outcome less certain--at least the chances of victory for our side will be less certain. While 83 million armed American citizens are a staggering number, we need to be realistic. Only a small fraction of this number are likely to fight. A smaller faction will fight using smart tactics. We do not have enough actual potential fighters to waste them due to inadequate or nonexistent preplanning or implementation of unsound tactics.

12. What is the point of all this? People who will not communicate with like-minded, concerned citizens, those who will not use the First Amendment because they are afraid government monitors their communications and they will be tagged as being a troublesome maverick, to me, do not act prudently.

13. If you ever bought a hunting license, bought reloading equipment or any firearm related product mail order or on a credit card; if you ever wrote a check to a place that sells such equipment; if you received a gun magazine at home; if you ever wrote a politician about a gun or right issue; if you ever wrote a letter to an editor on a related issue; if you ever wrote anything on the Internet; if you ever sent anything via email; or if you ever wore a T-shirt that carried a pro-right message, you have already broken "radio silence". In that sense, you are no longer "incommunicado". Your idea of being discreet so that government cannot detect you, therefore, is to me, at best, non-persuasive.

14. Instead, I submit it is best to adopt SAC's approach: develop the capability to inflict an unacceptable retaliatory blow, flaunt it, show it off, demonstrate it without actually firing anything off. I also think it is best to adopt the Corps' approach: think deeply about developing new tactics and test them. To do that, however, people who fancy themselves to be freedom fighters--leaders or followers or both--have to communicate with one another. Without communication, if you believe in a poor tactic, until you know better, you will try to implement that poor tactic. If you have a great tactic, but will not share it, if and when you die of old age, disease, in a car wreck or are killed by a criminal or a SWAT team, your good idea dies with you.

15. Uncle Sam's military has made a lot of mistakes over the years but it has also scored many impressive successes. SAC was one of its biggest success stories. AND IT WAS NOT IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST TO KEEP SAC'S EXISTENCE AND CAPABILITIES SECRET! ESPECIALLY NOT FROM THE SOVIET UNION!

The U.S. Marine Corps has also developed an enormous expertise in small arms, conventional, lower threshold, non-nuclear, maneuver, shoot and scoot, type warfare. I submit that would-be freedom fighters can learn a lot of important information from Uncle Sam's professional military. Their data base was accumulated over 200 years. Billions upon billions have been invested to acquire that data base. Many of this nation's best minds have invested their best years to build up that data base. Those experts know something about war fighting. Sometimes it is best to keep certain things secret and limit it to a "need to know" basis. But, at other times, it is best to flaunt your capability. Hence, I submit that those who advocate secrecy and no communication are not necessarily wise. In many ways, they are too self-limiting and dangerous. To underscore this point and to explain it better, please consider the following true stories.

16. A few years ago I was at an air show at Beale AFB, CA. An Air Force public affairs officer was telling a group some amazing capabilities of the newer U-2 spy-reconnaissance airplanes. I was dumbfounded by his candor and the specific information he was disclosing. I suspected he was an idiot who was releasing near top secret, if not top secret information, or he was deliberately releasing misinformation. I kept asking him if what he was saying about the U-2 was true, if it was not secret, if he was positive he was correct. He kept telling me that everything he told me was true and none of it was secret. When I asked him why this was being revealed he said the Air Force wanted Sadam Hussein and others like him to know what the modern USAF's capabilities are in the hope that if our enemies know our capabilities they would be deterred from further aggression. Think about that! Instead of keeping your capabilities secret, disclose it! This PAO said that a U-2 above 70,000 feet can detect targets on the ground as small as a jeep, including moving targets, can send signals and information to attack planes in the area, can show those planes exactly what the U-2 is seeing on its sensors and via its cameras, can pinpoint the exact location of these targets, etc. As a result of this information, the attack planes can move in and destroy the most threatening or biggest value target(s). This PAO also said the U-2 can send signals and photo images to

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