3 thoughts on “‘John Kerry Won the Debate’

  1. Saw a news item indicating that Romney is (?STILL?) planning to build an ad campaign based on the so-called shrinkage of the navy. How Rovian – attack your enemy on your weakest point. As the linked story points out (and as I saw in another news item), Romney’s claim is based on a study by the non-biased heritage foundation; even their study shows that we are not at a “low”. As with the comment on your link, one clear example is that the numbers decreased under Bush II and are coming back up under Obama (One easy explanation is that a war, including actions such as Iraq and Afghanistan, is a good way to get rid of your old, outdated weapons by shooting them at the enemy. You can then rebuild your arsenal with the new and improved weaponry. )
    Yet, even the non-military, dove Collin Powell (how’d he make it to General while not being in the military) is pointing out that a horde of the Romney advisors were also advisors for Bush II.

  2. Intestingly, about 20 years ago, I split rent with a guy who was retired, high ranking, special ops. There was a public debate about an airplane back then that required what seemed like a horridly long time to service the plane between missions. He simply pointed out that while the ratio of time in the air to time in repair seemed extremely out of line, the plane could do so much damage in an hour in the air that it was well worth it. Look instead at the strategic damage the plane could cause per hour in maintenance and it was well worth it.
    Let’s think about the differences between the Navy of early 1900’s versus today:
    *) As Obama made clear, ships are bigger today and pack more firepower. The comparison of numbers is manipulating meaningless numbers. Would it be more realistic to graph (vs. year) the weight of the ships, or to graph the total firepower?
    *) The presence of rifled barrels for heavy munitions made its appearance in the Civil War (trivia, had a strong effect on Fort Sumter). This was the major extensiion of how far you could fire and accurately hit your target. This meant that you didn’t have to be as close to your target to hit it.
    Technology progresses. Simple cannons have a drastically longer range. Add to this that we have better ways of aiming and correcting our aim (laser guided, computerized correction, etc.) and the ships don’t need to be in close proximity to their targets. And I haven’t even started to talk about guided missles and their kin which made the location of the ship much less of an issue (dare I even exagerrate and say irrelevant?)
    *) Steamships made their appearance in the 1800s. While trans-Atlantic voyages were reasonable in the early 1900s, there were still problems (remember the Liberty Ships breaking in two). Today’s ships are faster and less reliant on restocking points ( to nuclear powereds which don’t have to stop to refill the gas tank / take on coal / etc.) In short, in the early 1900s the decision to move a fleet around had to include the risk to the fleet; today the decision only has to look at the coparatively short time lag.

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