Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fleet Weak 2017

h/t Mike

Not too far from truth if we keep it up. Bonus: Still more seaworthy than the 7th Fleet.

Mike at Cold Fury looks at how our military stands regarding readiness, and looks at the lies we tell ourselves about the nation.

"America is the richest nation in the world. America is the most free nation in the world. The American military is the strongest in the world, is effectively invincible, and will always be so. Slashing its budget can therefore do no real harm, and there is no chance of anyone daring to take advantage of any erroneous perception of decline and weakness on our part."

We are the richest nation in the world, any way you'd care to measure that.
But we've spent ourselves deep in a hole, and mortgaged our present and future.
Debt is slavery, and chaining us to everyone else won't save anyone when we all start to slide into the hole.

We are the freest country in the world, by any measure whatsoever.
I've seen the competition, and you can have them.
But we're far less free than we were twenty, let alone seventy years ago and more.
And we keep heading the wrong way on that, every day.

And we do have the most powerful military in the world, period.
We spend more per annum than the next dozen armies.
But we are not therefore invincible.
We have been shrinking by leaps and bounds under the studied neglect of four presidents, and the distance between our potential enemies and ourselves has closed apace.

In 1990, we were King Kong, alone atop the Empire State Building, and no one in the world dared touch us.
We now have all the admirals and generals we had then, every single one, but only 1/3 as many E-7s, E-5s, or E-3s as we did then.

We now have an army and navy nearly as small as what we had on hand around the Great Depression.

And the armed might we wielded as recently as 1990 was barely a patch on the machine we dismantled in 1946, after doing the heavy lifting to win two world wars.

That's what happens when you cut defense spending precipitously, plow the money into stock bubbles, housing welfare, etc., and in the process crash the economy hard twice.
And after all that quantitative easing, we're headed for a brutal third crash that will make 1929 look like a church picnic.

And between the two bubbles, we squandered a serviceable but barely adequate military on adventurism and asinine you-break-it, you-bought-it "nation building" in two of the most illiterate and utterly worthless sh*tholes on the face of the earth.

We traded a family cow's worth of military power for the magic beans of Middle Eastern democracy, and we don't even have a beanstalk to show for it afterwards. Just a dead giant.

But we burned out the troops, burned up their airplanes, wore out their weapons, and mothballed our rusted navy, because affirmative-action generals like Colon Powell never read Alfred Thayer Mahan.

What you see now is what happens when you entrust leadership to idiots, in an organization dedicated to the Peter Principle as a promotion tool.

Militaries cost money and brains, and both Congress and the Pentagon have been short on both for decades. And there's no easy fix for that, either place.

But the tests will come, ready or not.
The only good news is that the country has a president up for the job for the first time in 40 years.
But that's a thin nail to hang our hat on.


tweell said...

One positive freedom we've seen is gun rights. Kommiefornia notwithstanding, the rest of the nation has become much more gun-friendly. I'd also note that the misuse of our military has a silver lining in that storm cloud - we have a LOT more combat veterans in our population. Thanks to Obama, there's a lot more firearms in that population as well.

Can Trump and Matthis fix the US military? We'll see, but if they can't, who can?

James M Dakin said...

Hmmm. Freest country on earth. Are you sure? How about the indefinite detention without charges? That kind of sounds like a Third World craphole dictatorship to me. So, we have the freedom to bitch about it, so what. The jingoism is getting a bit deep. Or is it The Delusion? No, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, but that doesn't mean I'm under any illusions.

Aesop said...

That's the point, James: this is the best there is.
Everything else is south of us along the slope to hell.
That doesn't means it's the best it's ever been, or even close to what it once was.

And invariably, the yappiest people about things are the ones with the least experience with anything elsewhere.
Dunning-Kruger meets poli sci.

MarshFox said...

“The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” – Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (ca 410 BCE)

Pretty sure Aesop, that this about covers it in spades. Btw, as I am sure your aware, not enough amphibs to even move us any more, word has it though that is about to change, seems too that they are making room for you Long Arm of Decision boys new toys the Triple 7s.

loren said...

Freest country on Earth. By what definition?
Sure you can shout what a douche Trump is from the rooftops and nothing happens but so what?
Right now I'm in a third world shithole and the everyday folks are a whole lot freer than you or me in the States. They pretty much do what they want to.
Start a business, drive around, scratch their ass and nobody gives a good God damn. They'd be shocked at the restrictions we put up with.
They may have to bribe their way into some things like getting power or phoe service but what's the difference from paying some corporation or gov. body money to do the same?
Oh yeah, I do prefer to live in the States and part time an even more restricted place, Australia but free they fucking ain't.

Aesop said...

Got it: anarchy is better than rule of law.
Good luck with that when things get sporty.
Mayhap visit Venezuela or Zimbabwe.

And yes, they'd be shocked at the restrictions we put up with.
Mainly because they can't read to begin with.
I've seen the Third World, from Tijuana to Central America to western Asia, and I wouldn't give you so much as a popcorn fart for the deed to the whole shebang.

As Bill Whittle pointed out, if things suck so hard here, go down to Key West, and tell me which way the raft traffic is going.

When your map and the terrain don't match, it isn't the terrain that's wrong.
Anybody that thinks there's a better country anywhere else isn't paying close enough attention to reality, neither there or here.

Anderson said...

Great response to James Dakin, Aesop. He's a 'thinker', which I respect, but he so often fights below his weight. It's likely that his tough circumstances cloud his discernment. But he is still an asset in the 'fight'. Don't be too hard on him.

Aesop said...

I was no kind of harsh on JD. The "yappiest people" comments weren't intended in his direction at all.

Simply noting that people that had never been anywhere but the US tend to have the rosiest opinions about there, and the worst about here, having no experience to base their imagination on.
It's also why everyone else is trying to get here, not anywhere else (except as a consolation prize), and the ones who make it here for the right reasons - like freedom, not just economic opportunity - are far harder on their home sh*tholes and their shortcomings than I ever would be.