Sunday, February 10, 2002
The Guardian, a left-wing British newspaper, has an article on the United States military build-up. The basic point of the piece is that the U.S. can kick any country's butt as it is now, why do we have to buy more military equipment?
'Ostensibly,' says one European diplomat, 'this is about security. But quite how a massive increase in defence spending is supposed to prevent another terrorist attack remains unclear. Instead this seems to be about repairing the bruised American psyche after 11 September. America's powerlessness in the face of this attack requires big gestures and reassurances, even if they are counter-productive and meaningless.'
Indeed, some analysts say, if it is security that America seeks it is better sought in dialogue with potentially threatening states, rather than in reinforcing the idea already held by many anti-US groups that it is an evil empire bent on world domination.
We always try talking first, but talk doesn't always do it. When we saw that Saddam Hussein was marshalling his forces to invade Kuwait in 1990. This just in to all of those America-haters across the pond: Saddam didn't listen, others will not necessarily listen either. That's why we have a military. As I recall, Hitler wasn't a good listener either. Maybe that's how we can find out who may be a danger. If the kid won't listen, he or she will probably grow up to be a mass murderer.
The reality - even before the latest proposed increases in military spending - is that America could beat the rest of the world at war with one hand tied behind its back. The requirement that US armed forces be able to fight two fully fledged wars with two separate adversaries simultaneously may recently have been dropped, but only because it would be hard pushed to find two such equal foes to fight.
A single US nuclear-powered carrier group - which forms around the USS Enterprise, for example, with a flight deck almost a mile in length and a superstructure 20 storeys high - concentrates more military power in one naval group than most states can manage with all their armed forces. America has seven of these battle groups.
Well, two points here. First, yes we can whoop any one country's butt at our leisure, but it can cause a drain on our economy. A friend of mine who had served in the Marine Corps has been recalled, he will be spending 6 months as an MP on the East Coast. You can be sure he's not the only one. That's people leaving the private sector to go on the government payroll. Second, check your facts. U.S. aircraft carriers are big, but they're not that big. The max length of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier is just over 1,000 feet in length. If that's "almost a mile," then, well.....I once caught a fish and it weighed at least 2,000 pounds.
'Will the Americans ever fight a war through Nato again?' asks Carl Bildt, former Swedish Prime Minister. 'It's doubtful. The United States reserves the right to itself to wage war, and dumps on others the messy, expensive business of nation-building and peace keeping'.
At last check the U.S. had immediately pledged $300 million in aid to Afghanistan. France had pledged $2 million. Who's the cheapskate in this scenario? Add to that, the war part is the where most of the dying occurs. Peacekeeping is police work. You don't have to take ground, you don't really have to defend it...you just make your presence known. You can ask the Muslims left in Srebrenica if the peacekeepers there were any help when Serbs bent on genocide came calling.
If the Europeans want to complain, we won't stop them. But they'd come whining to the U.S. if the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre got bombed. I don't think the whines from the other side of the pond about American military might would be so loud then.