Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Col Gentile goes down for the count --

-- as Sec/Defense Robert Gates reveals his priorities for defense spending. Gone is the Air Force's F-22 air-superiority fighter, except for those already ordered or in the pipeline. (Can you imagine going to war with 187--count them: 187--front-line fighters? That's about one for every country whose security the US has explicitly or implicitly guaranteed.) Gone is the new presidential helicopter. Much reduced is our missile shield, and the Night of the Living Dead program to acquire a new aerial tanker goes back to the drawing board one more time.

Much of this is good news, especially the bit about the $18 billion presidential helicopter. What in the world was the Pentagon planning to do with the president--teleport him? If he travels 100,000 miles over the next eight years--the helicopter only gets him to and from Andrews Air Force base, remember, or at most to Camp David--that would be $180,000 a mile. Obama has called the program Pentagon programming 'gone amok', and that's certainly a phrase in which the words mean something, unlike a lot of his rhetoric. Scanting the missile shield, however, makes me uneasy in the aftermath of Dear Leader Kim's missile launch last Saturday. So does Obama's guileless romp into an arms-reduction treaty with the Soviet--oops, with Russia. Given that we have likewise forsworn any improvement in our existing inventory of nukes, the madmen in charge of Iran and North Korea must be dreamily contemplating the day when they'll have nuclear parity with the United States.

(For those who haven't been following the great Gian-John Debate, Col Gentile argues that it's folly to remodel our military on the assumption that we will never again fight a conventional army. The argument now seems to be settled)

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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