Wednesday, October 24, 2012


This is a lil bit like the way I feel after a confrontation... in that I always think o' the best comebacks the next day.

But it's true, none the less.

I didn't get to read a lot o' reaction to the debate yesterday, bein' otherwise occupied with life, but I did read a lil bit.  One of the better expository pieces on the wrongness of Obama's snarky "horses and bayonets" comment was this extended piece by J. E. Dyer at Hot Air: "Bayonets, horses, and ships, oh my."  A couple o' few excerpts:
There are so many ways to criticize President Obama’s now-infamous “horses and bayonets” comment from last night’s foreign policy debate that one hardly knows where to start.  The snarky attitude alone is worth a column.  What is Obama, a blog troll?  If he has a case to make about having a smaller Navy, he could surely have made it without being snide, specious, and condescending.


But what is it we are trying to do with these naval forces?  Mitt Romney’s approach is to assume that we intend to exercise control of our ocean bastions – the Atlantic and Pacific – and effectively resume our position as the primary naval influence on the world’s strategic chokepoints: the approaches to Central America; the maritime space of Northwestern Europe; the Mediterranean; the chokepoint-belt from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Hormuz; and the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea.  Being well briefed, Romney no doubt has in mind as well the increasingly maritime confrontation space of the Arctic, where Russia and Canada are competing, but the US – with our own Arctic claims – has in recent years been passive.

Romney thus sees the Navy as a core element of our enduring strategic posture.  For national defense and for the protection of trade, the United States has from the beginning sought to operate in freedom on the seas, and, where necessary, to exercise control of them.  We are a maritime nation, with extremely long, shipping-friendly coastlines in the temperate zone and an unprecedented control of the world’s most traveled oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific.


Obama’s approach has been budgetary.  Under the constraints of the defense budget reductions proposed by Obama – $487 billion through 2022 – the Navy proposed decommissioning 11 ships in 2013, including four Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruisers whose service life has another 10-15 years left.  Three additional cruisers with more than a decade of service life remaining are to be decommissioned in 2014.  As noted at the Navy-oriented Information Dissemination blog, when the proposed cuts were first outlined in late 2011, the decommissioning plan will take out of service cruisers that can be upgraded with the ballistic missile defense (BMD) package – now a core capability for the Navy – while keeping five cruisers that cannot receive the BMD upgrade.
Read the whole thing.  It turns out that Romney DOES get it and Obama doesn't... which surprises me not a whit.  It's too damned bad our sound-bite debates leave no room for extended discussion of these issues, particularly when it comes to enlightening people who are predisposed by nature to vote for Obama.

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