Finding the target: Of bombs and missiles

In 1991 Persian Gulf war, Saddam Hussain continued to terrorise Israel with its mobile Scud Missile Launchers (the surface to air missiles that could fire at range up to 900 kms in target).

Pic source: Google (don’t think so this was of Iraq’s but hope it helps :D )

These Scud missiles were placed at different locations on the deserts of Western Iraq and the United States was to send 24 of its F15E Fighter Eagles(airforce) to dismantle them immediately and stop the bombings. On the floors of the Iraqi desert, 17th January 1991, the US military and its F15Es eagles equipped with only single mission of destroying the estimated 36 Iraqi Scuds, flows in 2493 missions day in and night and they use estimated 20,000 tons of bombs in an attempt to get rid of the scuds in what became as one of the most extensive bombings at the dawn of 20th century.

Well, after such devastating blows, the US military did an investigation as to how many Iraqi Scud missile launchers the US was indeed capable of destroying? You can guess what the answer was:

ZERO! It did not score one confirmable kill against a mobile missile or its launcher in Iraq.

So was the F15E Fighter Eagles and their pilot that dumb? No, they were absolute beast gaining phrases as “Whoever controls F15E, controls the sky”. The problem was they didn’t knew where the Scuds where!

That is always the biggest problem in warfare. A Defence Intelligence Officer puts it rightly when he says, “there was no accurate accounting of numbers of mobile launchers or where they were based or hiding” which means that the F15Es where just firing at random and of course that would never suffice their kill over Iraq’s mobile Transporter-Erector-Launchers (TEL Scuds).

We can aim at it because we know where our target is! Remember the old story of Bird’s Eye from Hindu epic Mahabharata, where Guru Dronacharya asks all the princes if they can see the Bird properly and can aim at it, only Arjuna sees and hits the target. While the narrative claims about power of concentration, there is also the notion of visibility of the object, because without the presence of the bird, Arjuna won’t be able to kill at all.

So why talk about the F15E, the Scuds and the target? Well, if we think about Nepal, we find a lot and lot of F15Es everywhere.

We are talking about migrant workers, students who go abroad because they can’t find their ‘target’ inside the country. These are group of people who have the skills and competency and ability to perform, but just like the F15Es, they end up working at random because they can’t find their target (higher income or employment)!

Or take the case of college education. In Nepal, most of the colleges invest heavily in fancy buildings, ECA’s, 100% results and the like, but I can bet on this, one thing where they invest very poorly is on the teachers!! They are the ones who are going to train the students right! and when students complain of quality education, they are actually complaining of the teachers!! right.

Why do they complain as of such? well, its because they missed their target right! Simon Sinek puts it rightly at the Aspen talk when he says to choose universities as to find a mentor, and not necessarily the fancy infrastructure the university has, isn’t it? and when college education doesn’t invest much on teacher’s improvement, students find their target elsewhere right!!

The problem is not how to drop the bomb in the target, it is how to find the target in the very first place! cause it matters…

Endnote: There is another major target incident associated with the Persian Gulf war 1991. On 13th february, the US millitary with its fighter eagle flies towards central Iraq, and on the place called Amiriyah, drop a large 2000 pound laser bomb thinking the place contained wearabouts of the Iraqi militants, but instead resulted in the death of 400 innocent civilians resulting in a bloddy attack of terror right!

Maybe thats what happens when you don’t find your target.