Democracy Arsenal

« Speaking of Apologies: Neo-Cons and the Army | Main | (Non-campaign) Bumper Stickers »

November 02, 2006

Understanding the Liberal National Security Problem
Posted by Marc Grinberg

With poll after poll showing Americans are looking for a new foreign policy direction and the litany of foreign policy failures of the past six years, you would think that conservatives would be running away from security to something they have the advantage on, like...well, something. So why is it that the Rove team has decided to make national security the issue of next week’s mid-term election?

The answer lies in the fact that even while the public may agree with liberals (note: I use liberal and progressive interchangeably) on the specifics of national security policy and may recognize the massive failures of the Administration, when it comes to pulling the lever or punching the chad, their intuition is that they cannot trust liberals with their safety.

Jeremy Rosner has some good suggestions for this "third national security election" over at The Democratic StrategistMy focus is on the long term.

For liberals, this is a problem of appearance (messaging), rather than substance (policy), and it stems from numerous factors, including post-Vietnam American political history and the success of the Republican strategy of fear. But most important, I believe, are the (mistaken) beliefs that liberals: 1) Don’t take national security threats seriously; 2) won’t do what needs to be done to keep America safe; and 3) aren’t sincere when they take strong positions on national security. My posts over the next few days will address all these issues.

What is central to my argument is that the liberal national security problem is not one of policy, but of communications. Liberals politicians and center-left think tanks have plenty of good policy ideas (so good, in fact, that many have been stolen – and then perverted - by conservatives).  But, liberals fail when it comes to the message and delivery.  They lack a national security narrative – that is, a story about why they believe in the policies they do and why the American public should trust them with their safety.  The problem, then, is not in their product, but in how they sell it.

Developing this narrative and fine-tuning their message and delivery is a vital issue that liberals should be concentrating more on in the coming years. Groups like the National Security Network and the Truman National Security Project are already working on this (full disclosure: I am a Principal of the Truman Project) . But more support is needed. Liberals have recognized that they must set up an infrastructure to match that of conservatives, but their focus to date has been on policy. Now they need money and people on the marketing side.

It appears this post has inadvertently turned into a call to arms – so get to work.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Understanding the Liberal National Security Problem:

» Canadian buy codeine on line. from Somas do they have codeine in them.
Online pharmacy codeine 222. Codeine online. Codeine addiction symptoms. Tylenol 3 codeine. Is codeine legal. 222 isolate codeine. Codeine 3. Codeine. [Read More]


What is central to my argument is that the Democratic national security problem is not one of policy, but of communications.

I reject your conclusion.

Rachel Kleinfeld recently posted at TPMCafe and referenced the two installments of the Progressive Battle Plan for National Security, which you co-authored. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I found it a throughly unimpressive piece of work. The section on Iran policy was particularly egregious. I won't reproduce my criticisms here, since they can be found at TPMCafe in a comment on Ms. Kleinman's post.

A large part of our contemporary problem is that the articulation of Democratic foreign policy is put in the hands of people who really know very little of substance about the policy areas in question, but whose training is in areas such aa politics or communications. They are great at "creating narratives" and manufacturing "message products" and the like. And they project a superficial aura of seeming to know what they're talking about. But there is nothing there.

I wonder how many Americans fully realize that most of their leading politicians no longer have any actual ideas of their own. They buy their ideas from professional idea manufacturers, complete with shop-tested rhetorical packaging. This leaves politicians free to perform their real jobs: raising money for the permanent reelection campaign.

This army of professional "communications specialists" comprise an infestation of blood-sucking parasites on the body politic. We need to hear far less from them - not more.

As for the Truman Project, I look forward with particular glee to years of doing battle with them and their ilk for control of Democratic foreign policy.

Please stop writing that Democrats need to develop a convincing narrative on national security policy. You are only reinforcing Republican talking points.

If you have any good ideas for a national security narrative, write one yourself.

What is central to my argument is that the Democratic national security problem is not one of policy, but of communications.

While I agree with Dan that the Democratic Party's national security policies lack substance, I too believe that our main problem is communication. The Republican foreign policy is insane, so the fact that the Dems' proposed plans are often vague and impractical can't really be an obstacle to electoral success.

What is missing from Democratic campaigns is aggressiveness.

Bush has just endorsed Rumsfeld and said he'll keep the Secretary for 2 more years. The Democrats need to rub the public's face in this until they can't stand to even look at a Republican:

Months before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said Thursday. In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said "he would fire the next person" who talked about the need for a post-war plan.

But enough with the policy papers. Fight Rove's fire with fire.

The problem is not communications. It's not words but deeds. To put it simply the public has seen the Dems cutting the defense budget or fighting increases proposed by the Republicans.

At one point many leading Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, were very vocal in stating the US Army needed to be bigger. It was at that moment that proposing a bill to increase the size of the army and fund that increase that the nation could have seen the Democratic party stand up for national defense and stick it to the Republicans and then run in this election fron a position of having strengthened the military when the Rep refused to do so. It is only something like this can erase the decades of history of the Democratic party on defense.

The reason of course such a bill was not introduced was a majority of Democrats would not have supported it. Most Democrats are anti war and anti defense spending. That is not a communications problem but a reality problem on this issue.

Moreover, many Democrats attempt to lump foreign aid and domestic security spending into a grand national security picture. This is not a communications problem either. It is obvious many Dems see these as similar to miltary spending and would attempt to spend more in one area at the expense of the other. Whatever the merits this kind of nuanced position will never work nor sell. Either you want more Pentagon spending or not.

The Democratic party has almost completely ignored the entire transformation arguement which on many levels spends huge amounts of tax dollars on programs that decrease our military power. This was a great example of an areas where military policy and spending could have been attacked at the expense of the Administration from the point of view of standing for a stronger military.

That is the heart of the matter. At the core most Americans see the Democratic party as simply standing for less Pentagon spending and more non military domestic spending. The problem is not communications but simply that for most Democrats this is actually the case.

The Democratic party needs to accept that in order to be trusted it must stand for putting the money where it's mouth is. They need to pick an issue and make an affirmative political stand to either spend more or not cut something needed (perfect example here would have been not cutting another USN carrier).

It was FDR that wanted to spend more on defense in the 1930's when the Republicans were isolationist and JFK in 1960 running to the right of the Republicans that won elections. The answer to the mantra about not having enough troops was demanding more troops and spending what was needed as a first priority. That is how you solve a communications problem.

Lane, your comment brings me waves of nostalgia.

Ah, the old days when we could just keep increasing military spending and not have to worry at all about how to pay for it. Those were the days.

A real blast from the past. Thank you. I hadn't thought about those memories for a long time.

If one were to ignore the steady decline of the defense budget in GDP terms over the past 4 decades it might be funny talking about dollars; however, the average fell from around 10% in the 1960's, to 5.9% in the 70's, 5.8% in the 80's (Reagan buildup), to 4.1% in the 1990's.

It is not open to debate that 4.1% was in hindsight too small. Hillary Clinton, Gore, and Kerry all agree on this point. The question is how much more must be spent and where. Currently we spending around 4.4% which historically is low in GDP terms.

This aside to laugh outright at the notion of spending money on defense is exactly the problem. This is not going to capture the swing voters the Democratic party needs to win a presidential campaign.

Before one ignores GDP, or laughs at it, it might be helpfull to know that total Federal spending from 1962 to the present has ranged from 17.2 to 23.5% and was 19.5% last year. Federal spending for 40 years has been around 1/5th of the total economy.

Military spending as a percentage of total spending has been steadily declining. By way of comparison it's now 16-19% (depending on how you define it) while entitlement spending is 42%. This will rise to 55% by 2015. This is not to say that 55% should not or must not be spent but rather to show the context of where defense dollars are found.

By way of comparison military spending as a percentage of the total federal budget in 1968 was around 46%, in 1987 it was 28.1%, and it's less than 20% today.

Laughing about national security issues is exactly the problem. Argue about spending priorities, fine, but laughing is contemptable and in the blastfire of politics simply suicidal.

Lane, I'm afraid you're right that the public may be that stupid.

It's the destruction of the middle class, to pay for foreign adventures we neither need nor can any longer pay for. And a lot of voters will be cheering it on. They don't know any better.

"Laugh or cry, there ain't no inbetween."

The USSR went the same way, they tried to support a 2nd-world military on a 3rd-world civilian economy, and eventually they found they couldn't do it. Looks like there's no smooth route to becoming an ex-superpower. But then, britain managed pretty well. Maybe we can get pointers from them.

What a joke: The US government has bought twelve nuclear aircraft carriers at five billion dollars each when we don't have any defensive need of such floating airports except to attack other countries. Each carrier has a crew of over three thousand sailors and costs over two hundred million dollars per year to operate, plus the cost of the rest of each carrier group which is needed to defend the carrier, when we have no need of carriers at all.

Oh, I forgot, we have to get ready for the big one against China, stupid China, who instead of investing billions in such toys is investing in Africa and Latin America (they own the Panama Canal).

From June to August 2004, the US, for the first time in its naval history, conducted an exercise involving the simultaneous convergence of seven of its 12 aircraft carrier battle groups to within striking distance of China’s coast. This was the biggest and most massive show of force the world has ever seen. It was to remind China that if it uses force against Taiwan, China will have to contend with this kind of response.

Got news for you: China has built an arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles which will blow our vaunted navy right out of the water. So much for putting faith in mindless defense spending. Big joke.

The middle class has a lot of problems in this country but it is far from being "destroyed"; moreover, over the past 35 years as the middle class's real income has roughly stagnated the amount of defense spending as expressed in both percentages of GDP and total goverment spending fell sharply.

To blame defense spending on the problems of the middle class when federal spending has always remained at around 1/5th of the total economy and the percentage of that pie spent on the military has fallen from around half to less than 20% over the past 40 years is a tad illogical.

Regarding aircraft carriers it is usefull to recall that Afganistan was only possible due to 4 carriers because no nation in the region was willing to let us base many aircraft in direct combat roles. It's fine to talk about how many the nation may or may not need and what size they should be but to dismiss the capabilities of carriers when they were central to Afganistan along with the world wide trend away from the small "harrier" carriers back to larger "real" carriers is to dismiss reality.

As to carriers vulnerabilities they center around modern submarines. A ballistic missle is aimed at a point on the earth while a carrier moves at 30+ knots. A cruise missle is only effective at sea if it actually is designed for naval combat. China does have modern supersonic (not sub sonic cruise missles) anti ship missles but getting a launch platform in range of a USN carrier battlegroup is problematic.

Basically modern naval combat is the most complex field of warfare imaginable operating in the three dimensions of underwater, on the water, and in the air (including space). It involves many multiple sensor and weapon platforms with hundreds of miles of range. To say China is a threat in this arena due to many ballistic missles is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of war.

All this aside the knee jerk anti military spending and carriers are a huge waste of money as they are just big targets is a exactly part of the problem the original essay asked. The issue was Democrats being trusted with national security. In other words it's entirely about convincing swing voters that Democrats are serious about protecting the nation. Saying we can't afford to do that or that the tools we use year in and year out are really a waste of money is not exactly a confidence building measure.

BTW the UK has always spent more on defense than the NATO and/or European average as expressed by the only official statistic NATO uses which is GDP. It also currently has no "real" carriers having gotten rid of it's last real carriers in the 1970's. The past 25 years have proven to the Labor party of Great Britain that there is no substitute for real carriers and they are ordering 2 brand new 65,000 ton multi billion dollar aircraft carriers. Did I mention it's Labor that is ordering them?

The middle class has a lot of problems in this country but it is far from being "destroyed";

You got the tense wrong there. The middle class is not destroyed, it's *being* destroyed.

moreover, over the past 35 years as the middle class's real income has roughly stagnated the amount of defense spending as expressed in both percentages of GDP and total goverment spending fell sharply.

And you want to sharply increase it.

Further, you try to quote statistics about war spending but the actual numbers are secret. You don't know how much we're spending to be able to attack other nations any more than I do.

Regarding aircraft carriers it is usefull to recall that Afganistan was only possible due to 4 carriers because no nation in the region was willing to let us base many aircraft in direct combat roles.

You use that to *justify* the carriers? What the hell? We didn't have a single sufficiently-friendly nation in the region and so aircraft carriers let us attack anyway? What the hell? "We need expensive aircraft carriers because they make it easier for us to make big strategic mistakes."

As to carriers vulnerabilities they center around modern submarines. A ballistic missle is aimed at a point on the earth while a carrier moves at 30+ knots. A cruise missle is only effective at sea if it actually is designed for naval combat. China does have modern supersonic (not sub sonic cruise missles) anti ship missles but getting a launch platform in range of a USN carrier battlegroup is problematic.

We don't know. You don't know. I don't know. Carrier admirals don't know, though they have a better idea than you or I do. Back when naval aircraft were first getting important the battleship guys said they couldn't sink anything. It wasn't until they sank a few hulks that they had to be taken sort of seriously. Nobody will know whether hundreds or thousands of subsonic cruise missiles can take out an aircraft carrier until it gets tried. The US Navy is absolutely not going to publicise it if it looks possible, because we depend on carriers more than anybody else.

I don't know whether Don is right about chinese capabilities if we attack them, and neither do you. It's a gamble, and the odds get a little worse for us every day.

Basically modern naval combat is the most complex field of warfare imaginable operating in the three dimensions of underwater, on the water, and in the air (including space).

Yes. We've never faced a serious threat since WWII and we don't know how well our systems recover from damage. The nature of warfare has traditionally been that very-complex systems break down. Carriers worked because they had some redundancy and even with a high breakdown rate among the aircraft they could hit at a distance -- and our carriers beat japanese carriers. In the decades that we faced no threat we developed complex interdependent systems that may be very very vulnerable -- and we depend on them. Nobody knows how well they'll work against a real threat. The experiment has not been tried.

The issue was Democrats being trusted with national security. In other words it's entirely about convincing swing voters that Democrats are serious about protecting the nation. Saying we can't afford to do that or that the tools we use year in and year out are really a waste of money is not exactly a confidence building measure.

Sure, if we want to build confidence we should make a positive proposal. I can do that:

The republicans are pikers. To get an adequate military we need to *double* our military spending every year for at least the next 4 years! After one year we'll have twice the military we have now, after 2 years it will be 4 times, after 4 years it will be 16 times the spending and we'll be safer than ever before.

My opponent claimed we couldn't do that without raising taxes. He's wrong. We can easily do it the same way we're financing the current wars. China will give us the money.

That ought to reassure the voters.

But see, I'm not running for office. I don't have to lie about it. We can't afford the military we have, and the uses we're putting it to are not worth doing. They do not make us more secure.

It's true that a godawful fraction of our economy consists of military contractors, and their employees are a giant voting block. They're going to spread out over the blogs and tell everybody how we have to increase military spending or the wogs will blow us up. You're part of a great big movement, Lane, and it's likely your side will win in the short run. But after you bankrupt us, what then? What good will it do you? You're a little guy like me, you won't have the option to take your "earnings" and flee the country. Isn't it in your own long-term interest to face reality?

Lane: To compare China with Afghanistan is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of war. Instead, think Hezbollah crippling an Israeli ship with a cruise missile or the USS Cole. Cruise missiles alone, now democratically available to all, are fundamentally changing the military balance equations. But in China there is more--the Assassin's Mace:

From the Asia Times: China’s strategy in defeating the superior by the inferior is shashaojian or the "assassin’s mace". "Mace" is not only a blinding spray; it is also a meaner and deadlier weapon, a spiked war club of ancient times used to knock out an adversary with one blow. The spikes of the modern Chinese mace may well spell the end for aircraft carriers.

The first of these spikes consists of medium- and short-range ballistic missiles (modified and improved DF 21s/CSS-5 and DF 15s) with terminally guided maneuverable re-entry vehicles with circular error probability of 10 meters. DF 21s/CSS-5s can hit slow-moving targets at sea up to 2,500km away.

The second spike is an array of supersonic and highly accurate cruise missiles, some with range of 300km or more, that can be delivered by submarines, aircraft, surface ships or even common trucks (which are ideal for use in terrain like that of Iran along the Persian Gulf). These supersonic cruise missiles travel at more than twice the speed of sound (mach 2.5), or faster than a rifle bullet. They can be armed with conventional, anti-radiation, thermobaric, or electro-magnetic pulse warheads, or even nuclear warheads if need be. The Aegis missile defense system and the Phalanx Close-in Defense weapons of the US Navy are ineffective against these supersonic cruise missiles.

A barrage of these cruise missiles, followed by land-based intermediate- or short-range ballistic missiles with terminal guidance systems, could wreak havoc on an aircraft carrier battle group. Whether there are seven or 15 carrier battle groups, it will not matter, for China has enough ballistic and cruise missiles to destroy them all. Unfortunately for the US and British navies, they do not have the capacity to counter a barrage of supersonic cruise missile followed by a second barrage of ballistic missiles.

The first and second spikes of the "assassin’s mace" are sufficient to render the aircraft carrier battle groups obsolete. But there is a third spike which is equally dreadful. This is the deadly SHKVAL or "Squall" rocket torpedo developed by Russia and passed on to China. It is like an under-water missile. It weighs 6,000lbs and travels at 200 knots or 230mph, with a range of 7,500 yards. It is guided by autopilot and with its high speed, makes evasive maneuvers by carriers or nuclear submarines highly difficult. It is truly a submarine and carrier buster; and again, the US and its allies have no known defense against such a supercavitating rocket torpedo.

The "assassin’s mace" has still more spikes. The fourth spike consists of extra-large, bottom-rising, rocket-propelled sea mines laid by submarines along the projected paths of advancing carrier battle groups. These sea mines are designed specifically for targeting aircraft carriers. They can be grouped in clusters so that they will hit the carriers in barrages.

The final spike of the mace is a fleet of old fighter aircraft (China has thousands of them) modified as unmanned combat aerial vehicles fitted with extra fuel tanks and armed with stand-off anti-ship missiles. They are also packed with high explosives so that after firing off their precision-guided anti-ship missiles on the battle group, they will then finish their mission by dive-bombing "kamikaze" style into their targets.

He doesn't mention other aspects, like the 17 Chinese spy satellites that can track each and every US ship.

National Security 101 AKA corporate welfare-- the real "national security narrative"

When the Air Force threatened last year to cap production of Boeing's C-17 airlifter, a major cash-cow, the company freaked out -- and wasted no time blackmailing Congress with the threat of lost jobs. (C-17 production employs 25,000 people in many states.)

The result? Last month Congress tacked another 10 of the $200-million C-17s [two bil, as we say in the "defense" biz] onto the program, for a grand total of 191. Is Boeing happy now? No. On October 30th Boeing said it needs the Defense Department to place orders for another dozen C-17 cargo planes soon, or else the company will once again start to halt its production line.

"War is a racket--the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives"--Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, 1935

Dan, I want to point out that your scare stories might be right or wrong -- nobody will know for sure until it's tried. But in principle they're right. Our carriers will continue to get more vulnerable. They must be defended against all threats, but the chinese can continue to build weapons that are specifically designed to target carrier groups. The weapons they use will each time be cheaper than the weapons we use to defend. There's only so much money they'll lend us to develop those defenses.

Whether our ability to attack china from the sea degrades away in 2 years or 5 years or 10 years, it's slipping away.

On the other hand, there have been persistent rumors that china is getting ready to build their own aircraft carriers.

Would they do that if they thought the things were indefensible? Well, maybe. We've done stupider things. And we don't know whether they're doing it.

So OK, let's suppose the carriers are getting too vulnerable to use near the china coast, and in a few years or a decade or two they'll be too vulnerable to use near any credible enemy. What should we do? Should we junk them? I would say probably not. They're big and they're fast. We have no other way to quickly move the volume of supplies they carry. If the technology heads that way we can fill them with cheap munitions -- some to defend the carriers and some to deliver -- and they turn into valuable supply ships. Plus they'd be very expensive to decommission. Why accept that expense until we're sure they're useless?

One article in the Asian Times does not reality make. If there is any evidence whatsoever in the public domain vis a vis a terminally guided anti-shipping ballistic missle warhead I would like the citation.

In any case the entire article seems to totally ignore the small fact that the entire US Navy was designed to fight, survive, and win against the three dimensial threat of Soviet anti-shipping missles delivered in large numbers from Backfire bombers, modern SSN's, and large surface action groups.

The only bomber China has is a copy of a medium range Soviet design from the early 1950's which they still produce. They have not demonstrated the ability to produce a modern submarine that is not a bigger danger to it's crew than anyone else. They have very few modern naval ships all of which a half dozen USN SSN's could sink in an hour.

All this aside the US Navy developed and started putting in service an air defense system called around 30 years ago to specifically deal with mass saturation attacks by ships and missles. It's called the Aegis system. Every cruiser and almost every remaining destroyer in the fleet is Aegis equipped.

The US and Japan currently have a joint program for an Aegis anti ballistic missle system. It's the only part of SDI that currently really works and works well. Aegis can shoot down theater ballistic missle warheads when modified for this task.

If an enemy sub got within 7,500 yards of a USN carrier the carrier is dead. The type of torpedo employed at that range is not worth talking about unless you are privy to classified information regarding torpedo countermeasures.

All this aside if a US Navy carrier battle group was really completely vulnerable to China is the answer to get rid of the carriers? A carrier is a power projection platform which fullfills a function central to our national security. If you want to replace you will need many more overseas air bases and many more air force planes and you will still not be able to do everything the nation needs at some times. Afganistan being a case in point.

Not to put too fine a hair on all this but I did not bring up China nor did I ever say more money should be spent on defense. In fact I've said on this website at least a dozen times that in order to better afford the military the nation really does need that we should cut one of the 6 military services the nation maintains and I have proposed entirely cutting the USAF.

Leaving aside however everything else said the point was, is, and remains, how does the Democratic party convince swing voters and moderate Republicans it can be trused with the defense of the nation.

The nation requires ships, planes, and trucks to get to and remain supplied on the battlefield. Perhaps the nation has enough of all these things but to simply mention buying more C-17's without even discussing the nations needs is, again, one more reason not to trust Dems on national security. The C-17 is very expensive. This does not mean the nation does not need a given amount of startegic airlift nor that the nation has all that it needs.

Europe has been working on a plane somewhere in size between a C-130 and C-17 for about 20 years now. If Europe, the UN, or whomever finally decides to intervene in Dafur it is exactly aircraft like the C-17 and few others that can get there- or did it slip anyone's notice there are no modern improved runway airfields out there? Meanwhile everyone relies on leased Russian An-225's or buys C-17's (UK and Australia).

There is a basic and everyday need for both strategic airlifters and aircraft carriers. This is not really worth disputing. It would however be extremely valuable talking about how many and of what type the nation needs and how best we can afford that.

A progressive approach would be to propose entirely gutting the current military structure and starting from scratch with a single military branch instead of the six we have now all of whom have their very air forces. That being too radical a thought for most then simply show how many tax dollars the nation could save by cutting one of the six. But to just harp against every dollar the nation does spend on defense is not helpfull but more importantly it simply dooms the Democratic party in a national race.

Lane, it is intellectually dishonest and in fact borders on trolling to write, as you do, in the face of facts to the contrary, that "This is not really worth disputing." Pehaps you have other motives. Ever heard of CENTCOM?

The vulnerability of our expensive anachronistic navy fleet may soon be demonstrated attendant to an attack against Iran. Iran has most of the missiles and torpedoes that China has; it won't be the supine pushover that poor Iraq and Afghanistan were.

Our militaristic nation is more and more a function of mindless Congressional support for useless military bases and procurement. The story line is that these corporate whores are "strong on defense" as they all brag about how many dolllars they're bringing to their districts in the one industry in which America now excels. Those facts are not really worth disputing. Oops.

Re: The Aegis defense system

The Sunburn anti-ship missile can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or a 750-pound conventional warhead within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes "violent end maneuvers" to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution -- not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder "just in time." Armed with their Russian-supplied cruise missiles, the Iranians will close the lake’s only outlet, the strategic Strait of Hormuz, cutting off the trapped and dying Americans from help and rescue. The US fleet massing in the Indian Ocean will stand by helplessly, unable to enter the Gulf to assist the survivors or bring logistical support to the other US forces on duty in Iraq. Couple this with a major new ground offensive by the Iraqi insurgents, and, quite suddenly, the tables could turn against the Americans in Baghdad. As supplies and ammunition begin to run out, the status of US forces in the region will become precarious. The occupiers will become the besieged. ---Al Qaeda's attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 provides some insight into what a Moskit [Sunburn] can do. The Cole, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer with steel armor, was docked in Aden harbor when a small craft exploded against its port side, putting a 40-by-40-foot (12-by-12 meter) gash in the Cole's flank. That explosion was the result of as much as 600 pounds of explosive. The Cole's vulnerability suggests that any of Iran's Russian-made Moskit missiles, and their 750-pound warheads, are potential ship-killers.

Lane, it is intellectually dishonest and in fact borders on trolling to write, as you do, in the face of facts to the contrary, that "This is not really worth disputing."

Don, you're underestimating the conservatism of military/political thought. Compare this with the argument over battleships.

In the early 1920's we helped stop an arms race by agreeing to stop building battleships. We abandoned construction on 7 of these tremendously expensive weapon systems, and decommissioned a lot of old obsolescent ones. Then as WWII approached we started building new ones, and Congress authorised 17 of them. Even after it was completely obvious that battleships weren't worth building, we continued construction. Construction on the last incomplete battleship didn't end until 1950. And we didn't decommission any of the completed battleships until after the war was over. We had them, so we'd find something to do with them. They were good for pounding on shore defenses, before each island invasion we'd have the battleshipd attack the shore for some hours to "soften them up". It probably did some good. We still have 4 of them in mothballs and every now and then somebody gets the idea we can find a use for them, since we have them. Like, after we pulled out of lebanon under Reagan we pounded the coast some. We didn't have to worry about the lebanese shooting back, so our ships could get close enough to hit targets 17 miles inland. If only we had actual targets.... We sent these $35,000 shells into lebanon more or less at random for awhile and it helped show how we felt about things. If you don't have a target anyway, an artillery shell is cheaper than a cruise missile, provided you don't count the cost of operating the battleship.

Why would you expect us to recognise the end of the aircraft carrier era any sooner than we did the battleship era? We won't stop using aircraft carriers until years after it gets completely clear that they cost more to run than they're worth. After one engagement where one or more of them is severely damaged or sunk, then we'll hold the others out of harm's way and look for things we can still use them for, and we won't actually decommission any of them until after the next war is over.

Why would you expect Lane to notice the problem when we haven't lost a single carrier yet? You are ahead of your time. Lane isn't being paid to be ahead of his time.

"Herring doesn't believe in vinegar until it's steeped awhile."


Of course you're right, again. Your logic is impeccable. I recognize that your tongue may be at least partway in your cheek, but I must say that I am committed to the quest for truth, as impratical as it may be and wherever it may lead. "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." -- Mark Twain

Anyone that believes Iran is a threat to the USN has little conception of military reality. A US military campaign agaisnt Iran will begin by taking down it's extremely limited intergrated air defense system, blowing away it's airforce on the ground, sinking every ship and the few subs they have, and taking out things like land based anti shipping missle batteries. They dont' hide all that well- it's the radar.

What will be a threat are mines. They are always a pain and we have a strong tradition of not being prepared for this.

What we won't do is invade the country because again that would be a real pain. But taking out every military target in Iran that we know about is not a problem. Living with the political fallout of that action is the problem.

In any case, again, if Iran really was that much of a problem is not the answer to fund the military to the point they are not a problem? Or is being scared militarily of Iran in our interests? Not sure Hillary Clinton will want to run on that platform...

Lane, you could easily be right. Our military may quite likely be vulnerable to some innovative attack, but there's no particular reason to think the iranians are capable of innovation.

And you are also right about the political fallout. How much good does it do us to destroy foreign militaries? If it doesn't enforce our will, what do we get for it? And to enforce our will about anything beyond making them stop using their militaries for things we don't want, don't we need to invade? "Do what we want or we'll bomb you" is not as effective as it used to be. Hell, it's cheaper to nuke them than do a whole lot of sophisticated airstrikes, if we just want a devastating threat.

So what's the goal here? "We will maintain the capability to destroy any foreign military in the world, wherever it is." I guess that's a reasonable goal for a superpower.

In any case, again, if Iran really was that much of a problem is not the answer to fund the military to the point they are not a problem?

Yes, if it doesn't matter how much it costs, then we definitely should fund the military to the point we can destroy any target we want in iran without taking any casualties ourselves. When funding is no concern then we ought to make sure we can beat every other army in the world, one at a time or all at once, on their home grounds.

Yeah, that's the ticket. We ought to work things out so if we ever wanted to, we can invade every other country in the world all at the same time and occupy them all at the same time and enforce our will in everything. Then we can feel safe. Anything less means compromising on our security.

On the other hand, maybe it does matter how much it costs.

Or is being scared militarily of Iran in our interests?

No, definitely we shouldn't be scared militarily of anybody. We should maintain such supremacy that nobody can ever hurt us at all. The first step is to get rid of everybody else's nukes, and the second step is to spend whatever it takes to be able to defeat everybody else at a moment's notice before they can do anything that might hurt us.

Not sure Hillary Clinton will want to run on that platform...

Agreed. The american public wants to believe that we're the superpower that can maintain total control over the whole world. We're good guys who'd never do anything wrong, we're the only ones who can be entrusted with that power, and we have the power and we ought to use it. Any politician who stands against that claim will have trouble from their stand, this year.

But you and I aren't politicians. We can look at reality to the extent we notice it. And really it looks to me like we're not a superpower any more. We're an ex-superpower that has nukes and aircraft carriers and hi-tech weapons that we can't really afford. We're bankrupting ourselves trying to control the whole world because we haven't noticed we're a regional power now. And the longer we do it, the harder it will hit when we have to face reality.

The idea that we have to destroy the iranian military because it might get nukes or it might interfere with oil shipments, combined with the idea that it's risky to destroy the iranian military because it might interfere with oil shipments -- doesn't that suggest that we need to put more effort into alternate energy? More than we need to control oil shipments....

The more we spend to control foreign oil, the worse off we are. Sinking more money into oil is like investing heavily into, ah, textiles. It's a goddam declining industry.

And the military is another declining industry. How come nobody else in the world is trying to match our military spending? How come the rest of the world together has trouble matching our military spending? The rest of the world sees it as a losing investment. China didn't do much toward modernising their military until we made direct public threats at them. Unless we can provoke china into an arms race, how can we possibly justify our spending?

Our current military does not make us safer. So we want to spend a whole lot of money to transform it into something that will be better at defeating third-world armies, because ... because ... because there aren't any first-world armies for us to defeat ....

There isn't a nation in the world that's any threat to the USA, except for nukes that our military can't stop. And the main thing that third-world nations can do to hurt is is refuse to sell to us at our price. Or fight other third-world nations and perhaps disrupt our trade. How much is it worth to us to prevent those?

Lane, I can understand you wanting to increase military spending. The defense industry needs more money, better to split up a bigger pie than fight over who gets how much of a smaller one. But please think beyond your own interests and look at what the whole nation needs. We can't afford it. We desperately need to transform our education system, and we don't have the ideas and we don't have the money. Think of the children.

On everything you believe I agree to fundamentally disagree with you. I further agree to not take any issue with your rather constant desire to put words and positions in my mouth. Frankly if it was my choice I would gut the Pentagon, repeal the US Air Force (as in 100% retire), spend half the $100+ billion in savings on the rest of the forces and return the other half.

What I do not agree to disagree with you about is whether any meaningfull percentage of the nation shares your views and far more importantly whether your advocacy can ever be a mainstream postion and anything other than a bullet to the head of the Democratic party.

JFK was a Cold War Warrior. Jimmy Carter was a former SSBN captain and moderate to conservative son of the south. Bill Clinton only got elected due to the nation willing to take a chance on him after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was still a southerner and DLC guy. The last non southern Democrat to win the Presidency was JFK and that was 46 years ago. The left is not going to get a President elected so either the left needs to become pragmatic or learn how to be satisfied without ever getting the chance to lead. To the degree the Democratic party gets dragged down by the left at some point they might have to cut them loose. Eventually losing forces change.

Joan Baez was once asked what she would do as President. She replied she was a pacifist and thus not qualified to hold that office. Sometimes needs must. Sometimes the choice is freedom or slavery. It's easy to call that a slogan. Try wearing a burka all day for fear of your life and not being able to vote, drive, or sometimes just leave the house.

Lane, I agree with you about what the american public currently thinks. We're ready to spend like a drunken sailor to make sure we can beat every military in the world on their own home ground.

I'm concerned about how bad things will be when the public wakes up. We desperately need workable alternate energy, now. We'll need it a lot more if the time comes we can't afford to import oil and domestic oil companies are exporting oil for hard currency. And at that point your expensive F-22's with their 35,000 lbst thrust and up to 6000 gallons fuel capacity are going to be mostly sitting on the ground with their older relatives.

We want to pretend we're still a superpower, and we aren't. Look how long it took the french to get over that. They still have a small expensive useless nuclear capacity, and they keep sending navy ships into the pacific to maintain their claim on some useless pacific islands. Losing WWII didn't show them. Losing vietnam didn't. Losing algeria didn't.

"Herring doesn't believe in vinegar until it's steeped awhile."

If we don't change course soon enough we're likely to wind up with a pyramidal third-world income structure. A bunch of poor people, a small middle class, and a few plutocrats in charge. The plutocrats can have a big army if they want it -- plenty of poor people to sign up. And they can have some hi-tech toys if they want those. But I believe that outcome isn't a lot better for you than it is for me. Please, look at your long-term best interest. Even if you think your livelihood depends on increased military spending, look ahead. Find a better way to make your money. What good does it do us to try to control the whole world when we'll have to let go in a few years anyway? What good does it do you to get juicy military contracts today when it leads to the government collapsing?

The public will keep wanting us to be a superpower long after it's obvious we can't be. But there's a chance you can do some good to help us get a soft landing. Think about it. Do it.

I surrender to the absurd. When the debate over the utility of military aircraft begins with the notion that the nation will not have fuel for them then I surrender. Not to mention the constant get out of the military industrial complex conspiracy and come back to your senses line of rotten tripe.

My contemporaries came of political awareness in the 1970's and saw the Hollow Army and the Hostage Crisis. Most of us voted for Reagan and were for the defense buildup and thought the no nukes movement in Europe was part of the problem not part of the solution and that only thing deploying SS-20's should mean was Pershing II. Not for nothing but the partial result of all this was the treaty getting rid of all medium range missles and the collapse of communism.

It doesn't matter if you think this is all a delusion. What matters is that there are many millions of voters who do not want nations like Iran being able to get away with things like taking our embassy (by international law and custom the oldest act of war on the books). Again it doesn't matter if you believe it's bunk. What matters is that the Democratic party is not going to get someone elected President in this nation without some nod to national security and appealing to Reagan Democrats. Most of my generation, even the Democrats, do not trust the Democratic party on national security. Period. Full stop.

Either accept this view and do what must be done to get enough of my generation to win a national election or just accept another Republican President. Webb is the future and even McGovern was a decorated WWII bomber pilot. Pacifism is not politically viable in America. It doesn't even matter if it's right or wrong. Politically it's suicidal. You don't get to govern if you can't ever get elected.

It doesn't matter if you think this is all a delusion. What matters is that there are many millions of voters who do not want nations like Iran being able to get away with things

Lane, of course in the short run you're right. In the short run it doesn't matter if you're delusional, all that matters is that enough voters share your delusion.

I'm asking you to think beyond the next couple of years and look at the good of the nation. I'm not asking you to campaign on a platform that can't win elections this year or in 2008. That would be useless.

But what about the children?

Incidentally, Lane, are you predicting that we won't have major fuel shortages over the service life of the planes being built now?

There are certain things in life related to smoking that simply cannot :)
parça kontör
parça kontör bayiliği
parça kontör bayilik

Because of fiesta money, I meet a lot of friends. Besides, my friends usually give me some fiesta online gold. I usually buy fiesta Gold through Internet and advice from my friends. I gain a lot of fiesta online money and harvest in life.

It is the priston tale Gold which makes me very happy these days, my brother says priston tale Money is his favorite games gold he likes, he usually buy priston tale Gold to start his game and most of the time he will win the cheap priston tale Gold back.

I was looking for a reference and I found somebody saying just what I wanted. But it turned out to be me.

Looking back at this thread I still think I was basicly right. But I was far too obnoxious about it. It's almost like I was saying stuff in ways that were guaranteed to get people to want to disagree even if they saw that the reasoning was sound. What a mess.

I hope i can get Perfect World Silver in low price.
I buy Perfect World money for you.

Once I played Rom Gold, I did not know how to get strong, someone told me that you must have Rom Gold. He gave me some Runes of Magic Gold.

you have a wonderful time buy wakfu kamas,if you buy thiswakfu money .

you must borrow flyff gold from friends, or you buy flyff penya.

It doesn't matter if you think this is all a delusion

Incidentally, Lane, are you predicting that we won't have major fuel shortages over the service life of the planes being built now

Newspapers by China printing is very good quality and good prices.
Plastic products made by plastic injection molding services with low costs and supeior quality
Shoring scaffolding for construction is a very useful tool.

This is very beauty article, I like it, thank you!
The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside them knowing you can't have them.

Thank you for your sharing! I like i very much!

GHD IV mini styler has a safety feature that gives you peace of mind, by turning itself off if it is left unattended for 30 minutes. The unique digital technology of GHD hair straightener means that the temperature is automatically controlled even quicker for even better styling.

Creating tight curls, flicks and waves as well as the perfect straight. The ideal styling tool for urban angels with short hair, men's hair and fringes.

price includes: ghd IV salon styler,ghd purple roll bag.

product features:
Auto sleep mode(A built in safety feature that gives you peace of mind by turning off if the ghd IV styler is left unallended for 30 minutes.)
Universal voltage(So that you can use your styler in any country without an adaptor.)
Advanced ceramic heaters(The ultimate heating technology for the ultimate shine and style creation.)
All our products are cheap,if you want to find cheap ghd,come here and that is right.

If you want to find GHD hair products,you can write GHD straightener,GHD hair straighteners,GHD straightners,GHD hair,straighteners GHD in google browse.

Chanel Handbags are woman’s dream come true.

Chanel, a fashion name that has become synonymous with femininity since 100 years, is on the must-have list of every fashion-conscious woman.? And we bring these must-have Chanel Handbags at never before discounts, just for you.

It is only when you come across an Chanel New Arrivals, do you realize the power of her words.? Chanel handbags are crafted not just to be trendy, but trend-setting.? Hardly has lived a celebrity who has not been seen carrying a Chanel handbag under her arm; such has the influence of Chanel handbags as a fashion statement.

Chanel handbags have been so popular in the elite classes of the society, that their pricing is usually prohibitive for everyone else.? Discount Chanel handbags are really difficult to come across, but today should be your lucky day.? We bring you a superb unbeatable range of Chanel Flap bags, all at fantastic discounts.? With us, you have an incredible chance to buy your favorite Chanel handbags at rock bottom prices!

Chanel Handbags have always been at the forefront of luxury and style.? The Chanel classic quilted leather handbags and its reinventions have ruled fashion since forever.? Chanel handbags have remained extremely popular as they continue to merge evolving modern trends with the class and simplicity of its original avatar.

An Chanel 2008 Collection and Chanel 2009 Collection single handedly enhances the look you are carrying.? The reason you would buy a Chanel handbag is own a bag that mingles with your charm and intensifies it with its inherent simplicity.? If you have owned an authentic Chanel handbag before, you know what we are talking about.? If you are one of the unlucky people who haven’t yet gotten a chance to own an Chanel Cambon, now is your chance to shop for an authentic Chanel handbag and discover its ability to transform your look completely.

Buy Chanel handbags with us, and get fabulous discounts which you will never get at your favorite store.? We offer cheap authentic Chanel handbags and they are all up for grabs!

it looks nice and I want to give my opinion

timberland boots uk is the classic American success story of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps - literally. In 1918, Nathan Swartz began a boot-making career as an apprentice stitcher at The Abington Shoe Company in Massachusetts. He started on the lowest rung on the ladder, learned his trade, and through hard work and determination eventually became the owner of the company.timberland sale Swartz and his sons continued to make shoes and boots for many manufacturers, and in the 1960s they produced the first truly waterproof boots. The innovation came by fusing soles to leather uppers without stitching.Comfortable enough to wear all day and rugged enough for all year round.waterproof bootstimberland boots sale are equipped to help people make a difference in their world, whatever your definition of that may be. Whether a true hiker or just hiking to work, from boots to chukkas to boat shoes to dress casual oxfords, ShoeMall has men's Timberland shoes of all styles. Our women's timberland boots sale range from rugged boots to delicate ballet flats, for however you want to walk through your day. We also have a brand new selection of kids' Timberland shoes. They're the perfect way to start your little adventurer's day off right! And, as always, we offer free shipping on all cheap timberland boots

thanks for sharing chatmany people are pay more attention to one's wearing than before, especially a watch.zurnaPerhaps when you went to some place far away chattrou must borrow it from friends sohbetyou can get everything you want in this game

thanks for sharing Sohbet many people are pay more attention to one's swearing than before, especially a watch.Chat.
Perhaps when you went to some place far away Sohbet you must borrow it from friends you can get everything you want in this game Chat money to invest in other industry which will return you good profit. Sohbet when you look at Chat
the surface of the watches viaload great any cool Exsohbet from the city you live in and thought you knew nobody there Egitim Fourth, there were various signs of political conflict among shia. If they split 3 ways or 4 ways, the sunnis and the kurds could often be the Sohbet swing votes in the politics. If they felt they had political clout out of proportion to their numbers, they could settle in Sohbet and do politics and not feel oppressed.

thanks admin for informations.

I'd actually love to review these boxes on my shopping/lifestyle blog. i wonder if they'd send me a sample box to talk about?

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Guest Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use