The overlap between artillery, battlefield air defence and C-RAM

I suspect technological change will drive huge changes in artillery and battlefield air defence in the future. Artillery, battlefield air defence and hard kill defences against air-dropped munitions, rockets, artillery shells and mortar bombs (short: C-RAM) are overlapping already. We will find new forms of arranging and organising these capabilities, and new development programs will increasingly transcend the borders between air defence and artillery.

The following table shows examples (and generic representatives) which demonstrate such overlaps ("aircraft" includes cruise missiles):

overlap of generic and actual systems (some of the "weapons" are "munitions" actually)

"RAM" = rocket, artillery (shell), mortar (bomb)
"C-RAM" = counter-RAM
"Polyphem": 60 km range fibre-optic guided missile project, potentially of use against helicopters. Similar: ALAS.
"kamikaze drones" (example TARES/Taifun) recognize, identify and engage targets autonomously
vertical missile launchers (a famous example was Netfires)
"MRL": "multiple rocket launchers", example MLRS
"Common launcher": An experiment with different misisles launched from MLRS-compatible launcher, including AIM-120 AMRAAM
"SeaWolf": British short range ship defence missile, intercepted a 114 mm cannon shell (simulating a Soviet supersonic anti-ship missiles) in the 80's 
"AGM": Fully automated 155 mm turret, based on PzH 2000 SPG turret
"Centurion": 20 mm gatling used as C-RAM
"DRACO": Italian naval 75 mm gun mounted on land vehicle, 2nd attempt
"Iron Dome": Radar-based C-RAM system with cheap radio command guided missiles
"COBRA":  representative modern (counter-)artillery radar
"AN/TPQ-36A": modified (counter-)artillery radar in use with NASAMS
"HAWK21": (or "Hawk XXI") similar in concept to NASAMS

We may ignore artillery radars and thus the whole C-RAM business and many of the overlaps if we don't trust the survivability or generally practicality of (counter-)artillery radars. A reason could be the risk of triangulation by opposing forces, followed by destructive artillery fires.
A for some reason(s) survivable and practical battlefield radar might combine a great many functions in one, though:
- detecting and tracking incoming munitions
- extrapolating their origin
- measuring the trajectory of friendly munitions, allowing for accuracy- and even dispersion-improving corrections
- measuring wind conditions by tracking weather balloons
- detecting, tracking and possibly even identifying (non-cooperatively) aircraft
- guiding radio command controlled or even semi-active radar homing surface-to-air missiles
- delivering target data for anti-air and C-RAM guns
- detecting shell impact dust clouds and thus measuring the location of impacts

This would combine classic artillery radars, classic battlefield air defence (air search and fire control, even target illuminator) radars and C-RAM radars in one. Which branch would operate these? Artillery? Air defence? Maybe electronic warfare troops as a compromise?

HIMARS used to launch AMRAAM missile

Missile launchers
Would it make sense to launch extremely expensive surface-to-air missiles (2+ million € a missile) from MRLs? A MRL cannot a easily swap between munition types as a howitzer can, after all.
The difference between C-RAM (anti-munitions) and modern VShoRAD (anti-aircraft) missiles is that the latter need to cope with the evasive manoeuvres and technical countermeasures of combat aircraft, whereas the former need to be cheap since most of their targets are cheap. A perfect merger is thus unlikely, but both could be linked to the same sensor (battlefield radar).
This may point at the possibility that C-RAM missiles may be handled by the same unit and carried by the same vehicles as will be vertical launch artillery rocket, and the latter may also serve as anti-helicopter and anti-drone missiles when the former cannot be used for want of a line of sight. The very expensive missiles on the other hand would probably justify dedicated launcher systems. Then again, this wasn't the path chosen for the expensive ATACMS rockets; they were launched from MLRS like the smaller typical MLRS rockets.

DRACO (76 mm)

Tube artillery
Will field artillery (155 mm SPGs, maybe 105 mm SPGs) serve in a dual role against ground and air targets, as was previously attempted during the Interwar Years and alter successfully done by the rather elaborate heavy anti-air artillery??
Let's compare today's 155 mm L/52 self-propelled guns with some of the most powerful WW2 heavy anti-air artillery (prototypes):
PzH 2000 and 15 cm Flak Gerät 55
calibre: 155 and 149.1 mm
muzzle velocity: 875 and  890 m/s
shell weight: 43.5 and 40 kg
barrel length:  8050 and 7753 mm
maximum elevation: 65 and 90°
traverse: 360 and 360°

A modern SPG largely is the equivalent of super-sized WW2 Flak, and vastly more powerful than any common WW2 Flak. It would potentially be able to defeat even aircraft at greater ranges than most common battlefield air defence missiles if it employed a guided projectile such as of DART's concept.
On the other end of the gun spectrum, DRACO with its 76 mm gun actually is capable of employing DART; a single of its 76 mm shells is not very impressive in indirect fire against most ground targets, though.

DRACO is rather representative of a gun turret that would accompany line-of-sight combat troops (such as a tank battalion), whereas AGM is rather representative of brigade- or division-level indirect fire artillery (but could be allocated to a battalion battlegroup as well). A modern Abbot SPG equivalent with a gun such as Denel's G7 (a high muzzle velocity 105 mm howitzer) would be somewhere in between.


The introduction of C-RAM to actual warfare during the Iraq Occupation was and is but one challenge for modern artillery branches:
The inclusion of more general air defence tasks is possible technically. Artillery radars may turn into general battlefield airspace radars soon, serving SPGs, MRLs, C-RAM and battlefield air defence. It'll take many years till this will be developed and replace the current inventories - especially in armies that purchased modern artillery radars not long ago.
The merging of tasks may require organisational changes and a merging of (radio) communication. It will also create a leadership challenge, since versatile systems need to follow a regime of priorities in order to ensure that the currently most important requirements are met instead of favouring less critical ones only. The prioritisation may need to change many times during the course of a day on the battlefield.
The very idea of "artillery" may soon change more than recently by PGMs, and for the second time ever (1st being introduction of missiles) the idea of battlefield air defences may radically change as well.




Western great powers' privilege

I'm still trying to understand the reactions to the Paris attacks. They were like

1. France bombs Daesh for 14 months with hundreds of tons of explosives
2. Daesh bombs France on one day with a few kilogram of explosives
3. Daesh attacked France! Everybody rally with France!

This was not exactly common behaviour in world history. The closest analogy that comes to my head was the great powers' treatment of China, where Westerners could be offensive to China at will, but the slightest hint of Chinese resistance was perceived as if barbarian thugs had massacred innocent white folks and intervention armies were shipped to China.

What's the detail that creates the perception that Daesh is free game and has no legitimate right to strike back?

Is it the fact that Daesh killed civilians directly instead of piling up even more dead civilians as "collateral damage"?
Is it the gruesome Daesh propaganda campaign?
Is it the fact that Daesh is no state?
Is it about disrespect towards Muslims?
Is it about disrespect towards Arabs?
Is it a misunderstanding about the (actually defensive) nature of NATO?

My best guess is that it's a different mix of these to different people. The outcome is the same. Step 1 gets ignored.

It is ultimately stupid to expect them to endure and not strike back (particularly since they were called "terrorists" more than a year before they attacked any Western country already).

It's also most disconcerting (at least to me) to see how the perception of NATO diverged towards a kind of 'the West bombs you united, not alone' club, away from a collective defence pact.

And then there's political correctness, of course. Hardly anyone dares to point out that France needlessly provoked Daesh for more than a year with bomb attacks as great power entertainment game, since now the only politically correct stance is to portray France as a victim of aggression that deserves our solidarity.

It's probably a Western great powers privilege to bomb other countries at will and still demand that counterattacks are considered to be illegitimate. 
Would you have perceived a Sudanese bombing attack on a factory in the U.S. legitimate after the U.S. bombed a fertilizer factory in Sudan? How about an Iraqi air attack on an Israeli nuclear reactor post-1983? An Iranian invasion of Mexico in order to turn it into a theocracy after  the U.S. attacked Iraq to (supposedly) turn it into a democracy? A Russian-enforced no-fly zone protecting Libyan civilians from "collateral damage" by Western bombardments? How about something as peaceful as Chinese navy task forces cruising all year off the coast of Hawaii and California? Iranian warships cruising 3.1 nm off the coast of Israel in a "freedom of navigation" patrol? Vietnam mining the harbours of the United States during the Iraq War without a declaration of war?



Go pills in land warfare

Many fighters in Syria appear to be high on the drug Captagon, including the supposedly "Islamic" fighters:
"So the brigade leader came and told us, 'this pill gives you energy, try it,' " he said. "So we took it the first time. We felt physically fit. And if there were 10 people in front of you, you could catch them and kill them. You're awake all the time. You don't have any problems, you don't even think about sleeping, you don't think to leave the checkpoint. It gives you great courage and power. If the leader told you to go break into a military barracks, I will break in with a brave heart and without any feeling of fear at all — you're not even tired."
(Context: Wikipedia about Captagon)

I imagine those who don't know much about land warfare will  be impressed by this, but I myself am not.

The challenge in land warfare isn't to be fit for a day or two. It's to avoid collapse after four days of mobile warfare. Common soldiers take a quick nap at every opportunity (learned in and beginning in basic training), but leadership usually doesn't want to be seen napping, and that's a huge problem after four days because they simply collapse and fall asleep then. This was part of the reason (next to logistics needing to catch up) why the invasion of Iraq was in 2003 wasn't particularly quick. Drugs could extend this by a day, but the following collapse would be even worse afterwards.

This is analogue to the difference between a 100 m runner and a 400 m runner. The former will lead at 100 m and probably still at 200 m, but will stand no chance over the full distance of 400 m. His only advantage would be in 100 m or 200 m competitions. In land warfare there's the technique of "delaying action"; slowing down and decimating the enemy while avoiding a decisive battle. This can be used by the "400 m runner" to defeat a "100 m sprinter".

The "no fear" feature is no less deceiving. Fear exists for a reason. You can have too much and too little of it, and "no fear" is no doubt too little. Fearless attacks are not the best attacks; smart ones are. Fear of defeat or death is necessary to react well in face of changing (worsening) circumstances. 

One might now think that the drug may be fine for enlisted personnel and junior NCOs at least (save for the long-term brain damage), but I disagree even with this notion. They would collapse after four days or so instead of taking naps whenever possible. Their decision-making is important as well; squads and even fire teams can and should manoeuvre as freely today as did platoons during WW2, so junior NCOs are important decisionmakers as well (unless your army had terrible rank inflation).
The decisionmaking of individual soldiers of the lowest ranks is important as well. This is why 'green' replacement troops had such horrible attrition rates in battles. It wasn't about them being poor shots; it was about them doing the wrong moves at the wrong time at the wrong place. A fearless private is a dumb private is a dead private real quick.

This was about land forces. Air forces need "go pills" only for air crews on stupidly long range missions and navies cope with problems with a much better shift system than established in either air or land forces (2 shifts on small warships usually, 3 shifts on many large ones).



What would make sense for the Russian navy?

Assuming Russia does insist on great power games, an elaborate MAD deterrence instead of a minimal deterrence AND enjoys fine economic growth (unlikely) - what would make sense was an objective strength for an all-new Russian navy by 2035?

First of all, Russia will still have multiple coasts:

(1) The Arctic coast with its main base near Murmansk and Arkhangelsk as potential reserve base, both well suited for accessing the Arctic regions North of Russia and thus potentially able to exchange ships with the Pacific bases even during hostilities:

(2) The Pacific Fleet, based in Vladivostok and near Petropavlovsk.

(3) The Baltic Fleet, now reduced to St. Petersburg and its vicinity, and kind of locked up behind the Kattegat and Skagerrak (I don't think Baltiysk is a serious naval base in the long term even thought h navy is important for the economy there).

(4) The Black Sea Fleet, with recently secured Sevastopol as main base but kind of locked up behind the Bosporus.

(5) The Caspian Sea Fleet with Arkhangelsk as main base, in the inland Caspian Sea.

Russian new corvette Steregushchiy,
a photo added solely to make the text easier to the eye

There's little that can be achieved in the Baltic Sea other than if necessary violent (peacetime) convoys to Kaliningrad. Likewise, there's almost no potential for achievements in the Caspian Sea. The Black Sea Fleet is dependent on passage through the Bosporus (under control of Turkey) for effect beyond the Black Sea, and there's hardly any real military utility in the Black Sea other than a largely irrelevant naval blockade against Georgia.
The Pacific Fleet is no doubt the first choice for naval or at least sea-based great power games in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The only possibly opposing power in East Asia that would not destroy the Russian Pacific Fleet with ease would be North Korea and maybe South Korea, though.
It's hard to tell (for me) which of the three Western bases would be best for a great power games squadron for the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean. The Black Sea would be best for the Med, and unlike the other two it doesn't freeze over during wintertime. Murmansk on the other hand is the least bottled-up by NATO, but the Baltic Fleet has a less restricted passage to the ocean than the Black Sea as well.

Overall, I would expect a four-part Russian navy:

(a) Dedicated Arctic naval ships, especially icebreakers. These would be based at Murmansk.

(b) Nuclear deterrence flee, mostly SSBNs. The Russians could make do with air-launched cruise missiles, rail-mobile ICBMs, road-mobile ICBMs and submarine-launched cruise missiles, but they may choose to insist on SSBNs as well (their navy lobbyists no doubt will). 

(c) Atlantic and Pacific great power games squadron with an aircraft carrier, ASW/AAW escorts, LPDs and possibly a hospital ship each. These would often visit overseas bases at friendly countries (the Atlantic squadron would likely do so during Northern hemisphere wintertime).

(d) Small, general purpose frigate-based coastal squadrons for Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Caspian Sea.

Long endurance non-nuclear and thus affordable submarines with air-independent propulsion (SSI) could be used if naval warfare played a big role in plans for great wars (wars against one or multiple great powers), but the need for operations below the Arctic ice would necessitate nuclear propulsion submarines. It's imaginable that a SSBN could take over the job of a SSN with a reduced payload of ballistic missiles (SLBMs), though. The sub forces would make most sense for the Northern/Arctic and Pacific fleets, but at least some SSI would be needed for ASW training of the Baltic and Black Sea fleets as well.

This leads to requirements for these ship classes in addition to policing and rescue ships for coast guard-like duties:

SSBN (with SSN-like qualities and reduced SLBM payload)
DDG (general purpose)
FFG (general purpose, including the new-built so called corvettes)
icebreaker (long range)
hospital ship
replenishment ship

2 Great power games squadrons each:
   1 CV
   4-6 DDG
   1 SSBN
   4-6 LPD
   1 hospital ship 
   2 replenishment ships

3 Coastal squadrons each:
   2-4 FFG*
   0-1 SSI (none in Caspian Sea)

2 Strategic deterrence squadrons each:
   5 SSBN
   2 icebreakers
   2 FFG
   1 SSI

for a total of

   12 SSBN
   2 CV
   10-12 DDG
   8-12 LPD
   8-14 FFG
   4 icebreakers
   4 SSI
   4 replenishment ships
   2 hospital ships

This was already sorted, with the more expensive ship class programs first.

A navy of this size would allow to pick the low hanging fruits in regard to warmaking potential in the vicinity to Russian harbours and provide a more than minimal nuclear deterrence with one SSBN patrolling in the Arctic and one in the Pacific at all times (in addition to air force nuclear deterrence).
The great power games squadrons would see a SSBN catching up in time** for interventions in or against poor small powers with a powerful air defence that keeps the demand for combat air patrol small, powerful anti-submarine defence, some land attack capability and enough air power to enjoy air superiority against >90% of countries.

This begs the question which aircraft would be used to equip the carriers? I suspect PAK-FA or a still undisclosed J-31 equivalent are the only realistic options for 2035-2040.
_ _ _ _ _

How would "the Western powers" (including Japan) react?

Most likely the navy lobbies would point at the carrier battlegroups and the silent submarines as great threats, and expenses to counter these threefold would be demanded. Why threefold? Well, the U.S.Navy requires three ships to counter one 'threat' ship of lesser capability: One in port or shipyard, one cruising the very long distance between home port and patrol zone and one "forward deployed".*** Other navies would welcome the bogeyman to 'justify' their funding as well.

Somewhat more rational responses would include the development of a doctrine for how to block or counter such seaborne interventions, a doctrinal emphasis on offensive minefields and SSI ambushes in order to limit the utility of the Russian fleet to exactly one sortie in the event of war and effective shadowing of both CVBGs.

Weak countries with more or less overt hostilities with friends of Russia (state or non-state) would have much more reason to be concerned about such a (still hypothetical!) Russian Navy. How does a small power defend itself against a nuclear power's CVBG? A victory in battle might prove to be a Pyrrhic victory real quick not only due to the nuclear threat, but also due to the prestige at stake. Russia might lose one CVBG, but it would soon thereafter seek a new battle using not only a CVBG, but additional naval forces including submarines. The only real counter would be a naval or air force effort by another nuclear power, and this could re-polarise the world into a Western bloc, a Russian bloc and a Chinese bloc after the first or second display of intervention power.
_ _ _ _ _

There's very little to be gained for Russia both in prestige and in actual military potential by a larger navy than this hypothetical one. This is especially true in comparison to what utility additional land-based air power and ground forces would offer (opportunity costs).

An attempt to match and potentially defeat the Chinese, American or even only Japanese naval power would be wasteful for such an obviously continental power as Russia.

It's remarkable that Russia has hardly ever benefited much of having a large navy at all. A navy wasn't even necessary to conquer Finland during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Ever since, the Russian navy failed during wars or was of little utility (such as against the Ottomans). Its Cold War nuclear deterrence role was made redundant by mobile land-based ICBMs afterwards, but I suspect they will stick with expensive SSBNs.



P.S.: I skipped mine countermeasure ships and boats because the required quantities are very hard to guess.
This is the real Russian navy today (infographic by RIA Novosti).

edit: Murmansk and other Arctic harbours don't have the problem of St. Peterburg with a freezing sea during wintertime. They're saltwater ports, where the water doesn't freeze. Still, there's precipitation, and the Arctic regions are no nice place for a surface fleet during wintertime at all. I'm not sure, but this may be a big issue with the Russian Pacific ports as well. The decontamination system and water guns may be used to disperse anti-freeze over the ship, but I have never seen this in the context of the antenna masts

*: Caspian Sea FFGs would be a good choice as training ships, since there's so little military utility otherwise and little need for a high crew competence.
**: There wouldn't be a SSBN ready to leave with the squadron at all times due to the limited quantity of SSBNs in this scenario. 
***: I'm still amazed how that navy lobby pulled it off that nobody questions then navy's competence and sanity whenever they use such a rotation scheme to 'justify' their need for a huge fleet. Then again, we're talking about taxpayers and politicians who do not dismiss the demands of "regional combatant commanders" as meaningless even though all CO and other bureaucrats ask almost always for more, no matter how much they have already.


Did anybody notice

... that the errorists struck one of the two countries with the most extreme mass surveillance and police powers in the EU?

Rational people ought to think about whether these measures are effective at all. Judging by their records, intelligence services may be snake oil sellers in the counter-terrorism field. The NSA with its gigantic budget can point at hardly any errorist plots foiled by its output.

As far as I know the only solid example was that some money sponsor was caught after transferring a couple thousand bucks.


P.S.: The gut reaction call for more intelligence services powers and activities in reaction to the Paris attacks reminds me of a certain saying about a definition of insanity.


Rapid beer delivery

Amongst all that anger about stupid instincts and politics, some light food for a change.

Pay particular attention to 1:40 :-)



Back during economics studies at the university I once attended a course on the theory of public revenues. It turned out to be no less than a philosophy course with an appalling use of math to describe the different philosophical concepts. Only the very last lecture of about twenty was about some down-to-earth topic, but by then I had already completed my preparations for the test (there were no mid-term tests) in the following week and began to learn for other tests. (Guess what lecture was the only one covered by said test!).

The lectures were appalling, but in the long term I appreciate their usefulness; I long since forgot some intricacies of fiscal policy, but this fundamental stuff influenced me a lot. One of the valuable lessons was that since philosophy doesn't offer us a convincing way to value the emotions of a person relative to another one, we cannot conclusively calculate an optimal policy even if we were otherwise all knowing.

Economic theory knows but one approach to circumvent this in pursuit of an optimal policy; to draw on the wisdom of the masses. The people shall express their preferences* through casting a vote. Thus every time economists cannot calculate a solution, they have democracy as fallback recommendation.
Political science, game theory and psychological research mess this avenue up by documenting its many problems. People vote against their best interests, imperfect information, group dynamics, the importance of the order of choices between candidates or policies (game theory) and so on.

In the end, there's still no perfect way to pursue an optimal policy. We could be gifted with a computer of infinite memory and calculating speed and we would not be able to program it to pursue an optimal policy. We could even add a device that informs this computer about every atom of this world in real time and it would still lack information and even concepts for the identification of optimal policies.

Everything I write in terms of recommendations or critique is thus first and foremost an expression of my preferences within the constraints of my knowledge. 
It's merely an expression of my preference when I regard the daily death of about 200 Frenchmen to tobacco-induced cancer after months of suffering worse than a one-time event with less than 200 people experiencing a relatively quick death. 78,000 deaths a year weighs heavier about 130 in one year when my brain does the calculation and thus I'd advise the French to allocate the finite resource "attention" on the bigger killer instead of a errorist problem that's not going to be reduced much by additional efforts anyway.

Other people may be wired differently, and their preferences may drive them to emphasize the spectacular, recent problem which the media are pointing at so much these days.
Yet again others may have subscribed to inconsistent and outright idiotic racism, conspiracy theories et cetera - and arrive at their own outlandish idea of what should be done. Such as deportation of millions because of a dozen asswipes' actions. Suffice to say, Germans should appreciate that such radical thoughts rarely shape history. It's why we exist to this date at all.

I do understand other people arrive at different opinions. I just think they're a disappointment**. I think better of mankind at least on optimistic, sunny days.
It's not the errorists who disappoint me; I'm aware that every country has a few per cent dangerous idiots. I merely had higher expectations for the vast majority.


*: The classic idea of preferences as taught to econ students is taste. Robinson and Friday sit on an island. One likes fish more than coconuts, the other one likes coconuts more than fish. The latter is the better fisherman. Voilà, trade theory and microeconomics introduction commences with lots of drawings. It's easy to find the optimum trade with a drawing at this level of model simplicity.
**: In regard to errrorism response - not in regard to every disagreement.


Mentally troubled people


I meant to write some hardware-focused posts these days, but those drafts look petty in the context of an avalanche of instinctive caveman reactions to the Paris attacks these days.

The Independent

This is unimportant to the stupid people, of course. In their opinion foreign terrorists would 'justify' bombing other countries, while domestic terrorists would 'justify' the suspension of religious freedom and ethnic cleansing fantasies. Either way, they're primitive.

NYT Editorial Slams “Disgraceful” CIA Exploitation of Paris Attacks, But Submissive Media Role Is Key
The Intercept

The reflexive exploitation of tragic events by the usual suspects for lobbying for normally unacceptable legal changes is very common, far beyond the errorism issue. Americans know this from school shootings, for example; the usually suspended gun control debate flares up after every such even for a few weeks.
I suppose such reflexive demands are not a mere failure of the news media that's a willing multiplier. The real causes are likely that we don't get problems solved without extraordinary pressure and don't decisively penalize dangerous idiots for being just that, rather allow them to return and return and return.
The Intercept

This was interesting in two ways; for one, it rejects some of the reflexive claims and accusations of the despicable pro-mass surveillance state crowd. Second, it reveals that yet again a large multi-target terror strike only succeeded because law enforcement and intelligence services have failed to make good use of a wealth of hints, as in 2001. These communities should be penalized for demanding more authority and less civil rights, and even more so they should be punished for failing on their job.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman appears to have a faint hope that Hollande isn't just gone nuts, but maybe exploiting the increased freedom of action for macroeconomic good. I think Hollande went much farther than necessary for such a strategy.

By the way; where does the idea that panicking and demanding aggressive actions, discrimination against millions of people, bigger budgets, more intelligence service powers are signs of a 'strong leader' come from?
To me, this sounds like fearful chicken(hawk) behaviour. A 'strong leader' would laugh off the scratch and point out that a ridiculous rag tag militia and stupid immature boys cannot do more than itch a community of 800+ million Westerners. Daesh is the equivalent of a flea to us; its bite may be irritating, but ultimately it's utterly harmless to us as a group. Our real problems are larger by multiple orders of magnitude.
Politicians who freak out about errorists are the equivalent of a person jumping onto furniture to escape the terror of a common spider walking on the floor.




Hat tip to BoingBoing

... for trying to stem the tide of stupid.

I'm terribly depressed by the primitiveness of most published reactions.
Caveman-level intuitions seem to override everything these days.

It's no wonder that politicians are often very cynical people who disrespect the population and exploit it. Sometimes one really has the government that one deserves.