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The type of arms (tanks, stealth fighters, aircraft carriers) the US military possesses are too costly for the Third World conflicts we consistently find ourselves fighting, and too vulnerable to modern precision weapons for the type of Great Power battles we prepare for.
Replacing the tanks, jet fighters, and gun-armed warships of the last century are new robot weapons including precision guided bombs, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles.
Expensive platforms like the Abrams Main Battle Tank, F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, and Nimitz class supercarriers are not required to carry the new robot weapons.
The new capital ship at sea is the attack submarine. Of all the legacy warships developed around the turn of the 20th century: aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers, only the new U-boats possess the inherent stealthiness to survive in the cruise missiles age.
With the "one shot, one kill" accuracy of modern missile weapons, has the gun itself become obsolete? Its very purpose was centered on the need to bracket a target with multiple shells to ensure a hit. The microchip has made the need for such wasteful expenditure of ammo unnecessary.
Robot weapons have returned the initiative on land to the foot soldier, taken from him early in the 20th century by mass firepower and the tank. We saw this dawn in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, then vanish deceptively during the 1991 Gulf War, only to reemerge dramatically in the insurgent conflicts at the opening of the 21st Century.
Man portable surface to air missiles (SAMs), and antitank guided missile (ATGM) have leveled the field between industrial age planes and tanks and the infantryman.
The submarine is the only evolutionary warship, currently duplicating the missions of all major surface warships. It's cruise missiles make it an aircraft carrier, its torpedoes a destroyer, while stealthy eavesdropping abilities mimics the traditional role of cruisers from early last century.
Here's a special message from Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee:
Move America Forward, the nation's largest pro-troop organization, has put together an effort to send the largest number of care packages to U.S. troops in history. Between now and the 4th of July we are asking Americans to sponsor care packages that we will send to our heroic military men and women who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need you to join us by sponsoring care packages and helping us reach this historic goal.
** SPONSOR A CARE PACKAGE - CLICK HERE **
My son gave up his life for this country because he knew that the series of attacks against Americans by Islamic jihadists/terrorists had to be stopped. Our country could no longer look the other way and pretend that there wasn't an enemy that was determined to destroy our nation. So Marc volunteered to serve his nation, as an elite Navy Seal, and he and so many others joined our military knowing that they might have to sacrifice their own lives for the freedoms of our nation, for you, for me.
The United States of America is a great nation thanks in large part to all those in uniform who have shed blood and given their lives to ensure that this remains the shining city on a hill that President Ronald Reagan once spoke of -- a land of freedom, of liberty, of decency, of opportunity.
Let's use this day to show our military men and women currently serving overseas how much we appreciate them. Please, join me in this wonderful effort to send the largest shipment of care packages in history to our troops.
** SPONSOR A CARE PACKAGE - CLICK HERE **
This is Democrat Rep. Paul Kanjorski who said:
I'll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when
I say we . . . the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of
the fleet, didn't say it, but we implied it. That if we won the Congressional
elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody was a good student of Government
would know that wasn't true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back
the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts . . . and people ate it up.
And if you don't believe me, here's the video:
Or million person army. Whatever, lets get it done. Here's Thomas Donnelly and Fred Kagan in the Wall Street Journal:
Unfortunately, the Bush administration's program – to grow the
active Army and Marine Corps from the current 700,000 to about 750,000 in the
next five years – is a Rumsfeld legacy and entirely inadequate. Regardless of
the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will need a total active land
force of something like one million soldiers and Marines.
The active duty
portion of the U.S. Army needs to grow to about 800,000 soldiers. That's the
size maintained during the 1980s and into the early 1990s, and it is a bare
minimum for success in the many and varied missions that will be required in the
future – missions that have ranged from "building partnership capacity" in West
Africa to tracking down terrorists in Southeast Asia, as well as large-scale
invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan...
Repairing and reshaping the active Army is also key to
restoring the Marine Corps to its traditional and still essential role as a
sea-based contingency force. And it is critical in order to return the Army
National Guard to a proper place as a national strategic reserve, and an
operational force with state responsibilities. The Army is the keystone in the
arch of America's land-force structure.
And how would America pay for this essential new role for her land forces? A simple change in budget applications with a 50%-25%-25% split in the Amy's favor. The Navy could go to an all submarine/gunboat force while the USAF would concentrate on essentials such as close air support, perhaps like the Israeli Air Force, building an all-fighter fleet.
Applying the Media's defense of Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright to justify President Bush's speech to the Israeli Knesset: The MSM used a single sound-bite (specifically the word "Appeasement"), took it out of context without reading the entire speech and launched their partisan attack on the President. Also, Bush has made hundreds of speeches without ever mentioning "appeasement", so he couldn't have been talking about Obama. See, it works both ways!
After watching so many Republicans join Democrats in overriding the President's veto of the swollen Farm Bill, John McCain is making a lot of sense these days. With liberals and conservatives hell-bent on bankrupting the country with earmarks and bailouts, the time is ripe for a fiscally responsible candidate like the "Maverick".
Despite calls from the Right for John McCain to accept a younger, more conservative Vice President to appeal to his base, it appears his running mate for the 2008 nomination might be Senator Joe Lieberman, or at lease should be. Both have become mavericks within their own parties, and concerning the fight against Radical Islam, share a like and clear vision.
John Kerry in 2004, and Hillary Clinton today are living proof on how not to run a campaign for President. Each started off with a moderate view on the war, then quickly flip-flopped when faced with criticism by a more liberal antiwar candidate (Howard Dean vs. Kerry, Obama vs. Hillary). Then too little too late they were forced back to the center when reality set in, that they must also appeal to moderates and independents to win the election, especially in this Age of Terrorism. By then the damage has been done. John McCain is sitting pretty.
I have contended for some time (see here and here) that the worse thing we can do to Iran is to create a free and democratic Iraq. Here's soon to be head of CentCom General David Petraeus on the same subject:
Army Gen. David Petraeus, who is to assume control of U.S. forces
in the Middle East, says that a continued U.S. presence in Iraq is more likely
to blunt, rather than inflame, Iran's growing influence in the region.
46-page question-and-answer document submitted in advance of his confirmation
hearing on Thursday, Petraeus says the U.S. must work on developing more
leverage — primarily diplomatic or economic — to pressure Tehran to abandon its
nuclear program. But, he notes, the U.S. must retain military strike options as
a "last resort."
When asked by the Senate panel whether a lengthy deployment in Iraq
only strengthens Iran's influence in the region, Petraeus responded that the
opposite was true. It "has the potential to counter malign Iranian influence
against the government of Iraq, build common cause in the region and expose the
extent of malign Iranian activities to the world," he wrote.
I fear that many of the American Left actually want us to attack Iran. How can this be from a so-called Peace movement, you ask? We need only look to the Vietnam War, and President Nixon's invasion of Cambodia for the answer. While this attempt to sever North Vietnamese supply lines entering into the South gave the US Troops a short term tactical advantage, it so embolden the cause of the Anti-War Movement in the US that we were were soon forced completely out of the war by a weary and indignant public.
There is a rule in warfare of the dangers of over-extending a victorious army, examples being Hitler invading Russia in 1941, the Japanese attack on Midway in 1942, and MacArthur marching too close to the Chinese border after the victorious Inchon landing in 1950. Thankfully, President Bush understands the lessons of history, and what some may criticize as his stubbornness in many cases, at least on this issue he is exactly right to hold back.
The MSM have gone strangely quiet on the Iraq War news of late. Could it be because of this:
Commander: Al Qaeda in Iraq Is at Its Weakest-FoxNews
The End of an Act Approaches in Iraq -Information Dissemination
The Jihadists Admit Defeat in Iraq -Talisman Gate
B.C. researchers find decline in global terrorism, question previous data-Canadian Press
Petraeus: Troops in Iraq help blunt Iran threat-Associated Press
Sadr City calm after Iraqi troop move-Washington Post
Here's a response by John Hofmeister, CEO of Shell Oil to Congress yesterday:
"In the United States, access to our own oil and gas resources has
been limited for the last 30 years, prohibiting companies such as Shell from
exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people. It is
not a free market. According to the Department of the Interior, 62% of all
on-shore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with
restrictions applying to 92% of all federal lands. The Argonne National
Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40 specific federal policy areas
that halt, limit, delay, or restrict natural gas projects. The problem of access
can be solved in this country by the same government that has prohibited it.
Congress could have chose to lift some or all of the current restrictions on
exploration and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national
policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resource
But Washington would tell us its our "obsession" with oil. And because Congress refuses to allow opening up new oil fields, we are forced to defend the terrorist breeding grounds of the Middle East from radicals who wish to stop the flow. In other words, no dependence on foreign oil, no reason for us to fight in the Middle East!
H/T to Blogs for Victory
Updated and Bumped. See below.
I don't buy into the notion that because the Canadians have decided to purchase 100 used Leopard 2 tanks from Holland, rather than update their armored forces with new-build Strykers, that the Main Battle Tank (MBT) still is King of the Battlefield. Certain types of track vehicles might always be required for specialized operations in difficult terrain, but with no one in the West currently building new MBTs, save for updating older models, how long will even these tired warriors be in frontline service?
The fact is the enemies of the MBT has made the giant behemoth so costly to defend that it has outlived its usefulness in this age of precision guided weapons. As we have discovered in recent years, fast and easy to produce armored cars like the Stryker and even new MRAP vehicles can perform many of the missions once thought the domain of the tank at far less the expense.
During World War 2, after Britain and America had completely mechanized their armies, it was soon discovered that over tough, mountainous terrain, the recently disposed of cavalry might still be useful. Especially during the Italian Campaign, army mules were considered vital to load ammo and essential supplies before the Allies could seize more favorable ground for the armored divisions. This strategy brought its own set of difficulties as "each division needed 300-500 mules, also, the food, shoes, nails, packs, etc, for them. This in turn led to frantic searches for veterinarians, harness makers, blacksmiths and mule skinners to manage the beasts!"
In certain limited conditions then, the tank still is essential, especially against any Third World adversary,as we have seen since 1991. On roadless landscape, as we may find in Afghanistan where the Taliban reside, or in undeveloped nations as in Africa, the archaic giants are still intimidating and effective. Yet, against such poorly armed foes do we still need to sink our national treasure into developing $150 billion Future Combat Systems, or will older models as the Canadians are using be good enough?
Against any future peer antagonist, in which precision weapons are involved, today's most powerful land ships are no more useful than the Japanese battleships at the Battle of Midway. Such weapons have returned the initiative in land war to the "poor bloody infantry". As for armored vehicles, all that is required of them today is as "battle taxis", providing the foot soldier with a ride where his new arsenal of portable anti-tank missiles plus his ability to reign down fire from above by calling on precision air or guided artillery support has effectively doomed the Main Battle Tank.
Update-Just came across this editorial in the Toronto Sun by Peter Worthington, concerning the new Canadian Leopards which adds validity to my thoughts above:
My problem is that having been to Afghanistan and seen some of
the ravages of war, what stands out in memory is the countryside littered with
burned and destroyed Soviet tanks. My question: If Russian armour was vulnerable
and destroyable in Afghanistan, why is Canadian armour considered invulnerable
and effective? Or is it?
I know the Americans' mighty 70-ton Abrams tanks
and Bradley fighting vehicles have proved somewhat of a mixed blessing in the
mountains. The big guns in the tanks have limited elevation and in mountains
cannot shoot at high ridges where the enemy lurks. Nor is the Abrams
satisfactory in urban guerrilla warfare in Iraq, where it is vulnerable to
ambush -- especially with anti-tank weaponry coming from Iran.
The same applies to 60-ton Canadian Leopards in
Afghanistan, where roadside explosives devices are lethal. In flat country,
these tanks with the 122-mm and 120-mm guns can be devastating at routing the
Wheeled armoured vehicles are vulnerable to powerful roadside
explosive devices; 25-mm guns are not as lethal as tank guns. Increasingly
mine-resistance ambush- protected vehicles (MRAPs) are necessary, with special
armour and V-shaped hulls to deflect explosions.
I remember being in Eritrea in 1988 when fighters of the
Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) ambushed an Ethiopian armoured brigade
on a mountain road. The Eritreans knocked out the lead tank and the last tank,
thus trapping the whole brigade, and then picked off those in the middle at
leisure. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.
So helpless were the
Ethiopians that their own air force bombed the trapped brigade to destroy their
own equipment and ensure the Eritreans couldn't use it.
Without incurring one casualty, the EPLF annihilated the
brigade, and then went on to destroy a division, subsequently winning the war
and their own independence. (At the time I took photos of Canadian wheat flour
intended for refugees, being used in army kitchens -- which CIDA ignored or
denied when this eyewitness account was published).
Eritrea was a country of
three million that, with little outside military aid, defeated a country of 44
million that (excluding South Africa) boasted the most modern army in Africa,
supplied by the U.S. and then the Soviets.
So perhaps it's understandable why I and others are uneasy
about the use of tanks in a mountainous country like Afghanistan, where a
resourceful "enemy" is nervy and adept at innovation.
There's no reason to
suppose they can't, or won't, do to our precious tanks what they did to Soviet
Thought this very interesting and relevent, especially coming from someone who's actually been to the warzone, observing the environment there first hand.
Senator Joe Lieberman pleads with his fellow Democrats to awake from their fallen state:
The attack on America by Islamist terrorists shook President
Bush from the foreign policy course he was on. He saw September 11 for what it
was: a direct ideological and military attack on us and our way of life. If the
Democratic Party had stayed where it was in 2000, America could have confronted
the terrorists with unity and strength in the years after 9/11.
Instead a debate soon began within the Democratic Party
about how to respond to Mr. Bush. I felt strongly that Democrats should embrace
the basic framework the president had advanced for the war on terror as our own,
because it was our own. But that was not the choice most Democratic leaders
made. When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of
partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves.
By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but
Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to
the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.
And with a warning to Barack Obama:
Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the
footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never
met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting
down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot.
I think the Dems must wake up or fade into irrelevance. If the latter happens, here's hoping they don't take the country down with them. But I just can't figure why my fellow countrymen fight so hard those who fight against the terrorists.
Ugh. Via Blogs For Victory:
The United Nations will send nearly a quarter of a million condoms
into cyclone-hit Myanmar to help needy survivors with no access to
contraceptives, a UN official says.
So far, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
said it had sent 72 800 condoms to survivors struggling to maintain their family
planning after the storm hit in early May.
I agree with Mark here-"Close it down. Implode it. Sow the ground with salt"!
Hate to say I told you so but...from Strategypage:
The U.S. Secretary of Defense has ordered the service chiefs and
their subordinates to cut back on developing weapons and tactics for the next
war (wherever and whatever it might be), and concentrate on the current ones.
This directive is based on the assumption that the U.S. military can already
defeat any potential foe, and the near future appears to include more irregular
fighters and terrorists, than masses of tanks, modern aircraft and high tech
The Department of Defense wants the troops to become more
effective at dealing with irregulars and terrorists. The current war is giving
the ground troops invaluable combat experience, making American ground forces
the most capable on the planet. The idea is to capitalize on that, not new,
untried and very expensive technology.
I am convinced that it is not so much our high tech wonder weapons that has given the US its wave of victories in the post-Cold War era, but how it schools its troops in warfare (train as you would fight). Only this can explain our ability to fight 2 simultaneous conflicts since 2001, while keeping watch on China, North Korea, and Iran, despite suffering in the Clinton Era the largest defense cuts since after World War 2.
Therefore, I believe the US can safely endure a "weapons holiday" with a freeze on building Big Ships, while bolstering our littoral fleet to fight pirate insurgents. We could also hold off plans for reequipping the USAF with hi-tech fighters and concentrate on close air support planes, plus late model fighters like the F-16 or Super Hornet to keep numbers up. The Army already seems to be doing everything right. As mentioned in the article they are backing off some on the Future Combat System while beefing up its forces with off-the-shelf equipment like Strykers and armored cars, armor for the troops, and new build helicopters.
Your enthusiastic response, both pro and con, for our recent posting titled "Questioning the Need for a Gator Navy" inspired us to publish parts as an editorial. This article ended up in the Navy News Clips emailed by the Office of Information. We appreciate our readers and the US Navy for its open mindedness in publishing this little piece of constructive criticism.
Our main purpose in writing such articles is in hopes of salvaging the supremacy of the US Fleet, which is down to 279 ships in commission and no end of this decline in sight. None of the potential presidential contenders, whether Republican or Democrat offers any hope of a major expansion in shipbuilding funds for the near future, an obvious requirement of the stated goal of a 313 ship navy.
Yet, the USN insists on constructing a traditional industrial age force structure consisting of aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, nuclear submarines, and amphibious assault ships. Continuing down this course in the age of digital weapons is not only folly in our view, but very unnecessary.
Concerning the amphibious ships, we part company from Galrahn who offers a good argument on what the Gator Navy should be doing, and therein lies the problem. They do seem to be everywhere, showing the flag, threatening Iran, providing disaster relief; all very well, except these very complicated and highly expensive warships were designed for a Inchon/Falklands style forcible entry onto a hostile shore.
Instead we use them in the role of gunboats, which Galrahn concedes is the right role for such massive ships(?) in the Post Cold War:
If we consider a moment that the challenge regions emerging in
the expeditionary era are what Thomas Barnett calls the Non-Integrated Gaps, the regions from South
America to Africa to Southeast Asia, and we believe it is likely this is where
extremism is likely to breed and disruption to the global system is most likely
to occur, we first observe there is a serious lack of military basing in those
regions. This means the US military is going to require a force shaped for
gaining access and sustaining operations to remote regions far away from
sustained ground support presence.
When the 24th MEU deployed to Afghanistan, theyIf the Marines would return to their roots as a light intervention force, then place them back on the warships, especially these fast ferries with their spacious cargo hulls. Also place them onboard our invisible submarine fleet in homage to Carlson's Raiders, or on the new littoral ships if they ever make it into service.
took a FSS not amphibious ships, the reason being
the FSS could actually take all the MEU equipment while the amphibious ships