Sunday, May 12, 2002
Why the Crusader artillery piece is unnecessary: Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.) on Fox News Sunday lamely attempted to defend the continued existence of the Crusader. Nickles pointed out that the North Koreans reportedly have an artillery piece which is better than our current artillery piece, the Paladin. Brit Hume asked the key and insightful question: When was the last time the United States lost a battle because the other side had a better cannon?
The truth is that we can take out any artillery piece we want to with relative ease. Using UAVs, GPS-guided smart bombs, etc. Nickles tried the lame excuse that "sometimes, when it's cloudy, planes don't fly." What a load of fertilizer. In bad weather, during peacetime, training flights may be canceled. But during wartime, planes fly.
When I was covering an air show at Vandenberg Air Force Base back in the mid-1990s I was waiting aboard a C-130 transport with the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, waiting to take off. Unfortunately, a storm had just passed through, and the wind was incredible, gusting to speeds of more than 30 mph. The Golden Knights would not jump in an airshow if the wind was above 20 mph because there is too much of risk of injury or being dragged across the tarmac by their chutes.
But, they assured us, if it was a time of war, they'd jump no matter what the windspeed. There's a difference in what the military will do during wartime. I don't think that Sen. Nickles need be concerned that planes may not fly because it's cloudy.