Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why is this news ? On page A1 of

Iran’s underground nuclear site more vulnerable than portrayed, experts say

Joby Warrick
Bunker-busting weapons have capability to bore through up to 200 feet of dirt and rock before exploding

Notice that the word "New" does not appear before "Bunker-busting". I know that the program to produce such weapons was announced more than 23 years ago (I was in the NBER coffee room, Jim Hines read an article describing the announcement said "It's about time." (irony alert).

So why is the existence of such weapons front page news ? The real meaning of the article is that some prominent Washingtonians have decided to begin a campaign in favor of bombing Iran. The point of the article is to announce that fact. The sophisticated reader is expected to understand this. Only the naive imagine that there is anything new to report on US ability to destroy targets under 200 feet of dirt and rock.

The Washington Post serves as a notice board for semi official leaks (I'd have to read the article to even try to guess who is behind it). So why do they pretend that they are reporting technology news not participating in a political signalling game ?

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