Guess where I read this:
To better cope with Iraq and Afghanistan and prepare for other potential crises, the active-duty Army should be increased by about 100,000. That would still amount to a smaller force than the one the United States easily maintained during the 1980’s and should not require a return to conscription. Instead, recruits should be attracted by allowing enlistees to fulfill their entire service obligation through four years of active duty and ending senseless and offensive restrictions on openly gay people serving in the military and on women serving in combat.
To pay for expanding the Army, the Pentagon should trim the Navy by at least one carrier group and the Air Force by two flight wings. Additional savings can be realized by further scaling back the Air Force’s F/A-22 stealth fighter and the Navy’s DD(X) destroyer, deferring further construction of Virginia-class attack submarines and acknowledging that ballistic missile defense is not ready to graduate from research to early deployment.
If you guessed the Strategy Page, Jane’s Defence, Defenselink, or any other place probably at least remotely capable of discussig these issues intelligently, you would be wrong. Instead, these is the lead editorial in the NY Times. Gail Collins probably cribbed notes from one of Chuck Schumer’s aides.
Sorry, maybe I’m just getting slower as I get older.
I read this post three times. What is the issue, or beef, here?
Who do you think is better prepared to make the tough and exacting decisions about the precise make-up of the modern military? Gail Collins and crew, in a several hundred piece op-ed scribble, or the thousands of experts who work with the issue every day.
They are out of their league…
These are good point worth discussing. No one has a crystal ball about what wars will come up in the future and how we will want to face them. Janes is not about to talk down any defense spending. Strategy Page can disagree on substantive points, if they have any disagreement.
We get limited practical “bang for the buck” from the $400 billion a year we spend on defense, in my view. Even Rummsfeld agrees (or agreed) that we should get more for what we spend. I am not seeing huge divergence between the NYT and the Rumsfeld philsophy here. Am I missing something?
An editorial in a newspaper is equated to “mak(ing) the tough and exacting decisions” ….about anything?
I thought that the opinion section of the newspaper was a place for the display of … opinions. All kinds of opinions.
Has that rather bland concept suddenly become a threat to the American Experiment?
Or, since I still consider myself to be rather new around here, is there an official anti-NYT or anti-Gail Collins stance around these hallways?
Maybe it’s just because I have only now sat through an hour of government potatoheads mealy-mouthing their way through yet another session of Meet the Press that I am in no mood for bullshit this morning. I can only shovel so fast, for so long.
As an info consumer, I’m interested in any opinion on the subject of defense these days, and I really don’t give a flying fig how the speaker got his or her information. I’d rather see some response to the opinion that sheds light on whatever the issues are.
I haven’t seen the MTP transcript yet, but I think that a particular set of numbers was mentioned at least two, if not three times, by the moderator and by some very informed and reasonable-sounding guests: Your government is spending as much in 3 days in Iraq as it spends in a year on certain key aspects of Homeland Security. A fortune on airport security, and nearly nothing on the rest of the transportation system, or on industrial-complex (chemical, biological, ordnance) vulnerabilities, on threats to infrastructure, food supply, etc etc etc.
Let’s just say that with every passing week, I am more and more convinced that the potatoheads have no frigging idea what they are doing.
This is a pretty good transcript of an exchange between Russert and Chertoff:
Russert: Is Al Qaeda alive and well?
Chertoff: It is …
It is, but blah blah blah blah blah blah weasely mealy-mouhted doublespeak government spinmeister bullshit blah blah blah blah.
Al Qaeda is alive and well, according to Mr. Chertoff. The spending and focus priorities of the government WRT a “war on terror” seem lopsided, to the point of being crazy.
Two experts on terrorism and vulnerability, one of whom is a very quiet-spoken former chief of the US Coast Guard, a thoroughly military man, sat there and basically said that we are vulnerable, getting more vulnerable, whistling past the graveyard.
By all means, everybody, let’s sit around this morning and shoot spitwads at Gail Collins.
Yes, they are important questions, and ones that deserve more than glib ‘we should axe this and do this’ editorials…
I thought it was pretty clear that the EXCERPTED part of this is what bothered me, and that this is not something that can be boiled down to soundbite analysis. People follow the lead of the NY Times, and now we will probably have chuckjleheads running around pronouncing loudly that we should get rid of a carrier group and all our problems will be solved and all of our needs met…
Your point is well taken. Something tells me, though, that planners at the Pentagon are not convening to discuss the NYT editorial department’s suggestions ……….
Sounds like atleast one person at the NYT actually read the infamous PNAC reports and agreed with them. In spirit atleast since PNAC only called for a 50,000 increase in active duty roles. Too bad the Paper of Record was singing a different tune back then. Life’s a bitch sometimes, eh?