Thursday, October 25, 2012

You've Got Crap

I don't know what the AOL Defense Board of Contributors is or why this author has any business contributing to any board addressing defense, but this article is just a big wet kiss for President Obama with no actual demonstration of defense knowledge displayed.

Let's set the stage. The author doesn't think the Benghazi debacle is anything but a "he said, she said dispute." President Obama is trying to keep our economy strong by reducing non-stimulus spending. ("His main focus is ensuring that we have a strong economy to maintain American strength, so he is trying to keep non-stimulus spending down. ") He's rebalancing to Asia. And he wants to avoid oil to avoid the need to intervene in the Middle East.

Oh. My. God. Given our poor economic growth, high unemployment, and high deficit, is all our spending but defense considered stimulus spending? Because I don't see much trying to keep spending down and I sure don't see any results.

And Benghazi is a political issue rather than a defeat in the war against al Qaeda and an indication that our president isn't waging war effectively and isn't capable of taking a 3:00 a.m. call?

As for the pivot to Asia, it is a tiny shift and it has been going on for much of the last two decades because of the dwindling threat in Europe and the rise of China. Von Clausewitz isn't about to be replaced at West Point with an iPod full of the president's defense speeches. Besides, as far as I'm concerned, the pivot is more of a propaganda effort to justify walking away from the Middle East.

On Middle East oil dependency, isn't the idea that we should reduce our dependency on their oil? If so, why not frack and drill here and use energy we already have access to rather than seek expensive and unproven boutique energy sources that make wealthy liberals feel good about themselves without actually affecting our energy imports?

That's how she started a piece purporting to slam Romney's defense plans. Now on to the actual issue.

She complains that Romney wants to spend 4% of our GDP on defense; that he wants to avoid cutting our ground forces by 100,000; and that he wants more ships for the Navy.

Four percent of GDP is low, historically, for the post-World War II era. I doubt that Romney plans to spend that immediately--he's too good a businessman not to understand that throwing money at the Pentagon all at once isn't a solution. I'm assuming that 4% is a goal he wants to build up to. Since we spend money to avoid spending blood, 4% of GDP is not much at all. Not when you consider all we need to do.

On to troop strength. Let's see. Democrats spent the early part of the Iraq War complaining that we had too few troops and slamming Rumsfeld for saying the obvious that you go to war with the military you have and not the military you wish you had.

I know, President Obama has informed the Army and Marine Corps that they won't have to fight any big or long land fights, but what if he's wrong? A hundred thousand more ground troops may not be necessary, but cutting our ground forces back to levels not much higher than pre-9/11 levels might not be the most prudent thing to do. The idea that something between Obama's and Romney's plan might be wise is hardly a foolish notion.

The pre-9/11 Army force structure needed tens of thousands of troops more than we had just to fill out our units. We still need over 60,000 mobilized reservists to fight the reduced scale fighting we are in right now. Yet we'll cut 100,000 more? Maybe the high-tech Navy and Air Force can replace people with technology, to some extent. But the Army and Marines are more people-intensive.

As for wondering what Romney would do with a bigger Navy, is she serious? We'll do what we've been doing but with more margin of error. We'll be able to react to events without having to pull assets from other missions as much because we have too few ships. Already, the 6th Fleet is a paper fleet riding on its Cold War reputation that relies more on ships transiting between the East Coast and CENTCOM than actual assets committed to the Mediterranean Sea.

Then she focuses her immense defense knowledge on geography.

She complains that Russia doesn't have warm water ports and that China can't land planes on their single carrier.

Let's see, the Soviet Union also lacked warm water ports, yet under Reagan we built toward a 600-ship Navy just to oppose them. No, I don't expect to fight Russia's aging fleet, but if the issue she wants to bring up is ports, I'm game. This was just a stupid comment on her part.

But let's talk about China. China probably can't land a plane on their carrier. They need time to learn how to use the carrier they just launched. But China's main naval threat is to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and states bordering the South China Sea. If China wants to challenge our fleet they have these things called "air bases" located on land real close to those potential theaters. It's almost like China is one big unsinkable aircraft carrier for the purposes of projecting air power several hundred miles out to sea. And China is working on anti-ship ballistic missiles to reach even farther out. Those won't be mounted on a carrier at all.

Gosh, she's good at geography and its impact on strategy and force structure.

Oh, and in the end she says that Romney will cut our defense spending. And as a bonus, she actually calls Romney a "chicken-hawk." (Hey, President Obama killed Osama bin Laden, right? And is a veteran of the 101st Community Organizing Division, right?)

I don't need to even take seriously the comment that completely undercut her point about Romney spending too much on defense, or the empty calorie feeding frenzy of a childish name-calling, do I?

Lawrence Korb and Ted Carpenter better watch out! There's a strong contender for defense idiot out there! And her name is Rachel Kleinfeld. I wouldn't trust her to give advice on a game of Battleship let alone on American defense spending levels.

It's just the sheer rock-pounding stupidity of some authors that really just gets to me sometimes. My God, do they actually think they have a clue?

UPDATE: A fast update. I mistakenly assumed that the author's claim that Romney wants to break the bank by expanding our spending up to 4% of GDP was factual. But then I thought I'd best check that.

We already spend above 4%. Romney must be talking about a floor he doesn't want to fall below, based on projections of spending under the president's planning. Which makes the author's claims his defense spending will break the bank (before she claims Romney will cut spending) all the more bizzare.