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Failing as Commander-in-chief—Part 2

July 27, 2009

Yeah, that’s right, there’s a Part 2.  Aren’t you glad?

In “Failing as Commander-in-chief—Part 1” I talked about the destruction of the American economy, how President Obama is responsible, and why the destruction of our economy threatens the security of our nation.

Here in Part 2, I want to look at the second crucial factor involved in a nation’s security: the will to fight.

Remember our Hannibal example?  Hannibal had the will to fight but the wealth needed to fund the war was absent.  Interestingly, although the money was not available to him on the Italian peninsula, where he was thrashing the Roman legions like they were schoolchildren, it was available back in Carthage.

They just refused to send any of it to Hannibal.

So just when Hannibal had Rome nearly destroyed and was camped on the city’s doorstep, Carthage lacked the national will to send him what he needed to finish them off.

History has other examples.  How many times did the Mongols ride into China and make a mess of the place?  I don’t know but it had to be quite a few times because the problem was consistent enough to inspire that big-ass wall to stop them.  (And there’s an awful lot of people in China who look suspiciously Mongolian.)

China was the wealthiest nation in the world but they could never muster the will to conquer and destroy their barbarian neighbors to the north.  China had such persistent problems with national will that every once in a while the sheep herders in Mongolia would peek over the wall and notice the Chinese weren’t funding their armies anymore, whereupon they would ride screaming into China on their tiny little horses and make another mess.

“How was the wall?” their wives would ask when they got home.

“Oh, the wall was Great,” the Mongols would answer.  Hence the name.  I love history.

Looking at our own national will to fight, I want to spotlight three specific decisions by the Obama administration:

1. The decision to stop building F-22s
2. The decision to stop building the Boeing YAL-1
3. The decision to slash funding for missile defense
All three decisions are irrational from a national security standpoint and signify the same lack of will that was calamitous for Carthage two thousand years ago.

Ever since D-Day in World War II American GIs have gone into battle knowing their forces controlled the air.  When an American soldier is by some unlucky chance attacked from above, he always knows the situation is temporary.  He knows as soon as the U.S. Air Force hears about his predicament they will bring American air power to bear and the skies will be swept clean of enemy aircraft.

That’s a powerful advantage on a battlefield.  Why in the world would we risk losing it?

The aircraft responsible for controlling the air are called “air superiority fighters.”  Our current air superiority fighter is the F-15, developed back in the 1960s and 1970s.  It’s been a great plane, but it’s a forty-year-old design, they don’t make them anymore, and they’re wearing out.  The last combat F-15 came off the assembly line in 1985 and the maintenance costs of keeping these fighters in the air are starting to skyrocket.

As any reasonable man would expect.  When’s the last time you saw a 30-year-old car in a NASCAR race?

The obsolescence of the F-15 shouldn’t be a problem because way back in 1981 the Air Force started the process of designing and building a replacement, the F-22 Raptor.  It started flying in the 1990s and the first production fighter was delivered to the Air Force on January 14, 2003.  Just in time to start replacing the aging F-15 fleet.

The F-22 is so good that during military exercises in 2006 12 F-22s fought as many as 40 opponents at a time in simulated combat—including everything else in the U.S. arsenal—and achieved a 108-to-zero kill ratio.

That’s 108–0.  Think about it.

Then they teamed the F-22s up with a mixed battle group and set the team against an opposing team led by F-15s and the team led by the F-22s amassed 241 kills against two losses, and neither of the two losses was an F-22.

That’s 241–2.  Think about it.

Nevertheless, on April 6 Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he was ending production of the F-22, leaving the Air Force with only 187 of what is inarguably the top air superiority fighter in the world.  The original plan was for the Air Force to purchase 650 of them so we could replace the F-15s.

Gates justified his decision by saying it wasn’t useful in either Iraq or Afghanastan and it was too expensive.  His mistake is a mistake straight out of the history books.  His decision reflects a lack of will to fight.  That lack of will is endemic to the Democrat Party and epidemic in the Obama administration.

And Gates is lying about the costs, too.

First of all, it’s a military axiom that you don’t prepare to fight the last war, you prepare to fight the next war.  American politicians are no better at figuring that out than the politicians of Carthage or the politicians of ancient China.

Whether the F-22 is needed against terrorists in the Middle East or not, the fact remains that we will need it in any confrontation with China or Russia or any of their various allies who receive Chinese or Russian military technology.  The F-15 is no longer the best air superiority fighter in the air and is vulnerable to an alarming degree to the latest Russian SAMs... and the Russians are threatening to sell their next generation SAMs to Iran, which will make the F-15s almost useless in a very tense area.

This is the very reason we developed the F-22.  How stupid will Gates look if Iran ends up reselling those Russian SAMs to Taliban or Al Queda forces?

Or what if we have a confrontation with China and our F-15s get knocked out of the air because they’re fifty years old?

Second of all, the costs of the F-22 are high because the politicians have been dialing back the number of orders for two decades.  The research and development costs are fixed and spent.  Every time you decrease the number of F-22s you are going to build, those costs are spread over fewer units... so of course the per unit cost of the F-22 looks high.

The Air Force asked for 762, and the Pentagon’s original order was for 650.  Now they’re shutting down the assembly line after only 187 are built.  All of those research and development costs have to be spread over a measly 187 aircraft.  No wonder they’re expensive!

If they went ahead and built the original 650, the cost per aircraft of the F-22 would be less than a third of what it is now.

Peculiar how Gates failed to mention that on April 6, isn’t it?  You probably thought I was being harsh when I said he was lying but what do you think now?

Enough about the F-22.  I mentioned two other items.

Did you know the United States has something called the YAL-1?  It’s an airborne laser (ABL).  This weapon sits in a converted Boeing 747 and can zap enemy missiles from hundreds of miles away while they are still in their boost phase.  That means the wreckage will fall down on the heads of the people who were firing them in the first place.

High-tech poetic justice, that’s what that is.

I know, I know, it sounds like science fiction, but it’s real, and it works.  The Obama administration is killing the program.  Never mind that it’s the perfect defense against a certain whacked-out certifiably-insane North Korean dictator with a fetish for shooting ICBMs toward Japan and Hawaii.  Never mind that.

Like the F-22, the YAL-1 costs money, but compared to the amount of money being wasted rescuing Wall Street robber barons and frittered away on the fictitious Global Warming issue, they don’t cost much at all.  This is about lack of will, not lack of money.

Finally, we come to the issue of missile defense in general.  The Obama administration is slashing funding for missile defense.  Go figure.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why liberals have a problem with missile DEFENSE.  We aren’t talking about the evil imperialistic United States hurting some poor communist dictator in Nicaragua with missile DEFENSE, right?  So what’s the problem?

Why doesn’t the left want us to be able to stop an incoming nuclear missile?

As near as I can figure, Obama and the left are just afraid of offending somebody by building a missile defense system.  I know that sounds insane but that’s what it looks like.

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s liberal Democrats made fun of the whole missile defense concept, pooh-poohing Reagan’s idea and constantly cutting back the funding for research every chance they got.  Nevertheless, in spite of the Democrats, here we are in 2009 with multiple and various missile defense technologies that actually work, and guess who just relied on that technology?

Yeah, that’s right, the same guy who is slashing funding for it.

In the days prior to July 4th, the Obama administration ordered the military to deploy additional anti-missile defenses around Hawaii in response to a perceived threat of a missile launch by North Korea.  Two months earlier, Defense Secretary Gates announced that he was cutting funding for the Missile Defense Agency by $1.4 billion.

To reiterate: April 6, the administration announces a drastic cut in funding for missile defense; July 1, the adminstration scrambles to deploy missile defenses around Hawaii.

Is this irony, hypocrisy, or some other, less polite word?

Our president is not doing the most important job he has, protecting the security of the nation.  And even when something like the missile threat to Hawaii slaps him in the face with a dose of reality, he won’t correct his course.

In the six months since becoming president, he has cancelled the next-generation air superiority fighter, cancelled a working airborne laser that can zap enemy missiles as soon as they’re launched, and drastically cut the funding for the Missile Defense Agency.

Our Commander-in-chief doesn’t have the will to fight.

I hope the Mongols don’t peek over the wall.

From Reno, Nevada, USA

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