We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, July 27. 2015
Image via Moonbattery
If Male Musicians Were Described The Same Way As Female Musicians
Woman who shot alleged attacker may have slain a serial killer, police say
NASA estimates 1 billion ‘Earths’ in our galaxy alone
Where Does the Bible Say Extra-Marital Sex is Wrong? The big picture of God's design for sex.
Call off the bee-pocalypse: U.S. honeybee colonies hit a 20-year high
Honeybees are not native to North America
When I worked at Marxism Today, my desire to
At Anti-Bullying Conference, Middle Schoolers Learn About Lesbian Strap-On Anal Sex, Fake Testicles
The New York Times' Nail-Salon Exploitation Narrative Is Falling Apart - Another case of advocacy journalism proving full of factual inaccuracies.
"... why stop at Jefferson and Jackson?"
Supremely Naive: The Impact of Southworth on the "Marketplace of Ideas"
Charles Murray’s Prescription for American Government
Obama Admin Plans More Executive Action on Immigration
Democrats’ handout strategy is failing
Carly Fiorina Shows Us How It's Done
As Hillary! Craters, Democrats Search for Panic Button
As Military Strength Plummets, the New York Times Cheers Cutbacks
Hungary’s Orban Urges Hard Line Over Migrants in ‘Broken’ Europe
Iran vows to bar international inspectors from military sites
Iranian FM: Using Ballistic Missiles No Violation of N. Agreement
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the article doesn't explain why these cuts are a bad idea, except for the impact on local economies, which seems to me not to be a good factor in determining troop strength.
The Army’s plan to cut 40,000 troops, as well as 17,000 civilian employees, over the next two years is unsettling many American communities. Congressmen and senators in the affected districts are railing against the reductions and insisting they will fight to reverse them. ...
Plans to shrink the active duty force to 450,000 troops from 490,000 ... By 2017, the Army, which had 490,000 troops before the Sept 11 attacks and reached 570,000 troops during the Afghan and Iraq wars, will decline to its lowest level since World War II.
before railing against troop cuts in general, can anyone give and defend a specific number of troops needed to defend American interests?
RE: As Military Strength Plummets, the New York Times Cheers Cutbacks
"before railing against troop cuts in general, can anyone give and defend a specific number of troops needed to defend American interests?"
Excellent point. A specific number ought to be determined from a strategic estimate of what is actually required to defend your country and its national interests.
If the US simply wishes to withdraw in on itself (i.e., as an isolationist "Fortress America") you probably don't even need a third of what you have now and can focus on early warning of direct military threats to your territory (and these aren't going to come from either Canada or Mexico).
And even if you do wish to continue being pretty much the only country on earth than can project significant military power globally, it's still not at all clear whether you really need two million personnel to do that.
Over and above the US Army, your navy has something like 11 carrier groups. As impressive as that number is, it's not at all clear to me (as a foreign observer) that the US taxpayer is getting much bang for his buck out them.
China has a massive military but, unless we're talking an outright land war with Russia or India it can barely project a few thousand men regionally and almost no forces globally.
Ouch. Sorry about the mystery bold lettering. I'm having one of those days at the keyboard I guess.
I think there's a bug in the code this week--you're not the first one to find mystery bold font in your comment.
I think the problem is, without a robust military that are trained and have experience, you will not do well when the time comes to actually use those troops. You must have a dynamic, large military in order to do that.
Let's just think about the Navy, for example. They have dozens of ships and subs of all classes. It takes many people with many skills to run those ships and subs, and not just ONE team per ship, but multiple, since you can't run a crew 24/7 for months on end. You need to have at least 2 experienced, full crews to do this. You can't just fill those spots with fresh candidates from boot camp.
So, it makes no sense to me to downsize your military to a size smaller than it was in the 70s right after several large military efforts. The Obama Administration has already gotten rid of experience officers that disagreed with them...years of training and experience put out to pasture for no good reason, except they didn't agree with Obama.
This is not the era of WWII or even Vietnam where you can easily train people to fly planes and sail ships. Today's equipment is complex and takes a LOT of time to learn.
For a good example, watch an episode of "The Last Ship." Notice the difference between the Navy ship run by professional military men and women and the submarine run by a bunch of undisciplined crazies.
I'm not sure what the 'right' number of military is, but it surely isn't 1970s standards.
It is time to rethink things though. The founders envisioned a defensive military. Since the days of FDR and Truman, however, the nation has become obsessed with maintaining a global footprint, a hugely expensive operation for a nation that has only a small percentage of the world's population.
We (or any country) has neither the resources nor sufficient clout of authority to control the world. It merely bleeds us dry.
"I'm not sure what the 'right' number of military is, but it surely isn't 1970s standards."
that's the point. how can you criticize a drawdown if you don't know what the right numbers should be?
Ok, so you forced me to do some research. This was interesting. If you look at the number of military at the bottom of this link:
It is pretty interesting to see that since 2000, the numbers of military have fluctuated between 1,384,000 (2000) and 1,354,000 (2014). Even during the height of the war period (2003) the military maxed out at 1,434,000.
So, I would have to say that I would like to see the military stay no lower than the 2014 number. If that was 'good enough' for Obama's administration and what we had going on in the world, then the left should be okay with about that number today.
Besides, we really aren't talking just about personnel, but equipment, planes, ships, etc. that must be in good working order and ready to be used at a moment's notice. The military should be given the best technology and the newest equipment. Anything to prevent our men and women from being put in harm's way...either while training or out in the field.
I ask myself, what foreign lands are worth American blood?
New England? maybe.
New York City? perhaps.
Korea, no. Germany, nein. Japan, no. England, no. The Permian? no. Afghanistan, no. Iraq, no. Iran, no. Syria? no. No 'istans. No. None. Nowhere. You foreigners, we're not coming to your rescue the next time some other foreigners go on a world tour. You're not worth the life of a 17 year old kid from Kansas.
"You foreigners, we're not coming to your rescue the next time some other foreigners go on a world tour. You're not worth the life of a 17 year old kid from Kansas."
If that is so, neither is Israel.
Antibullying: I am so glad I grew up when I did, when children were allowed to be children. I think there are a surprising number of people who cannot abide the innocence of childhood and have a compulsive need to foist adult worries and concerns upon them. And of course, they had to misrepresent the nature of the conference to sneak it past the local yokels; any sneaky, underhanded tactic or exploitation is justifiable for their cause.
And recruitment numbers need to increase at a younger age.
Because humans concerned about their adults diapers holding contents in from deviant behavior are too busy to notice that their rulers are robbing them blind and killing individuals in the streets.
my daughter in high school said that there was a significant difference in attitude towards homosexuals and the gender confused just this past year. From being a pariah to being super-popular.
As soon as they started blaming bee deaths on commercially made pesticides I knew it was a fabricated crisis.
I'm thinking that if a black plague of some sort were to occur now, it would be blamed on modern agriculture or fracking, or climate change.
It's like nature doesn't exist with it's own ways to control population, "everything" is caused by man.
Bees are doing very well all around my home. There are bees everywhere, all over my flowers everyday. They never bother me and I leave them alone. Bees endangered is made up much like Climate Change.
The musician article was a hoot, but I have no doubt that some individuals will got into an ideological tirade over this. Expect plenty of 'male sexist culture' (without explaining that this is pretty much universal throughout human cultures--without explaining why this would be so)
The answer is simply our biology as mammals. Evolutionary psychology does a pretty good job of explaining these differences. Culture develops within a framework developed over millions of years by biology. Cultures that go against our basic nature are doomed to failure.
I must take issue with that Moonbattery "Founding Fathers" image: they are guilty of the very same thing they blame the daffy lefties for: revisionist history.
Your Founding Fathers were indeed career politicians (all kinds of them were involved in colonial politics of some sort or another and five would go on to become presidents), were outlaws only in the sense that they spread sedition, were not so much angry extremists as unsatisfied middle-class malcontents (they saw the Crown as a hindrance to their ambitions for both themselves and the American colonies).
They were involved in the colonial political establishment themselves and a good number were "elite" - unless you somehow consider prosperous lawyers, plantation owners and financial speculators as radical peasant [i] Sans-culottes. [/i ]
And while the Crown's paternalistic arrogance towards the American colonies was obvious, to describe it as "oppressive rule" is to exaggerate. The average American colonist had more civil liberty than almost anywhere else in the world. In some circumstances, even more liberty than Englishmen in England itself.
If you think the British Crown was oppressive in 1776, ponder for a moment the lot of subjects in most other monarchies and empires of the day.
That your Founding Fathers were courageous, daring men - no doubt (they all knew they'd likely swing on the gallows if they failed). That many of their ideas were "radical" for their time - yes (though such ideas were freely circulating in England too). That they had many legitimate beefs with the Crown - you bet.
But this was actually a very genteel revolution as revolutions go; your Founder Fathers were the leading lights and thinkers of colonial American society, impatient with the restrictions placed on them and their ambitions far away in London.
A great part of the reason that post-Revolutionary War American did not descend straight into chaos like France did, is that your Founding Fathers were not political maniacs but relatively sober members of the colonial establishment. Independence, fine. But no radical collectivism, mass executions or dictatorships of the people, thank you.
The Founding fathers were steeped in the ancient liberties of the English-speaking people. A devotion that waxed and waned over the course of Anglo-Saxon history, rising in the English Civil Wars to restore representative government in the face of an usurping Executive. This culture survived the Normans and eventually co-opted them. When the English civil war of the 1770s arose, the Founders realized the need for a new form of government, one not dominated by king, nor parliament, but one of the people with unalienable rights beyond even the reach of the majority to usurp. Sadly, of recent, we must admit, while more perfect than all that came before, the plan to protect the ancient liberties for the people has been far from perfect and is at risk of being overrun.
The study of Anglo-American constitutional law is that of the liberties of the people. Neither a body of dry technicalities, as the demagogue is prone to consider it, nor an instrument new created in the year 1787 and now but an inconvenient impediment to the national destiny, our own Constitution registers the totality of those principles which, in eight hundred and forty years of struggle, the Saxon peoples have won back again from Norman kings, the common law from Roman conceptions of a Sovereign State; each rising wave of freedom leaving its record in some historic document, then perhaps to recede again until the next flood left a higher record still. And if to the Mother Country is due the invention of the Constitution as a bulwark of "the people against the Executive, to our forefathers belongs the glory of protecting the people against the Legislative as well; and against the usurpations of any Government or law, even of their own making, on that irreducible minimum which time has shown to be necessary to the English-American people for freedom as they understand it. Give them less than this and they will fight.
--THE CONSTITUTION AND THE PEOPLE'S LIBERTIES, F. J. STIMSON. (1907)
If these latest cuts in the military were unique it wouldn't be troubling. But as part of a concerted effort to emasculate the nations defense it is very troubling indeed. Obama has been purging the officer ranks of the military in an unprecedented fashion in an effort to eliminate strong experienced leaders. Over the last 25 years or so the entire military has been reduced to a fraction of it's traditional strenght. This has happened before in our history and it lead to WW II. It is almost as though he is intentionaly putting the country at risk...
What, exactly, is the correct strength of the military? A difficult question but that number is probably around 2 million active duty and 2 million active reserves. The Pentagon advises that our strength should be enough to conduct war in two theaters at the same time. Traditionally this has been about 2 million active duty military. Whatever the "right" number is it should give our enemies pause when they calculate their next aggression.
Speak softly and carry a big stick.
"around 2 million active duty and 2 million active reserves"
almost doubling current active servicemen and reservists.
in other words, since you're not citing any manpower studies, you're guessing. making it up. blowing smoke.
because sure as shi'ite, the pentagon will find a way to fight them somewhere if they're available.
ever been a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer?
So a citation would make it all true?
The Pentagon in the 80's prepared plans to allow them to fight two wars in seperate theaters. They came up with the nubers for active duty at about 2 million and that was approximately the size of our military at that time until Bill Clinton started the reductions that have continued through 2015. If you don't like the 2 million active duty number take it up with the Pentagon.
something beyond your opinion would make a response worth the loss of all these photons.
Heh, The avg 'Mericun can no longer reason about such things. I'm reasonably confident he can't make heads or tails of this either.
"Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative."
said by a five-star general and former Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, and well worth heeding.
Hey, hell of a point, champ. Just look at how much better things are now then then.
Especially principles. Those things go bad in like, a month!
But then I did predict you'd not get, didn't I? The unfortunate thing is why you don't...
no, that's the opinion of a five star general who commanded the Allies in Europe during WW2.
your expertise? (I'm assuming you're going to claim to be a 'Nam vet, so I'll give you that)
"This has happened before in our history and it lead to WW II."
So reducing the size of the US military caused WWII.
And here I always thought it was caused by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan.
regular army strength from '21 to '36 was around 145,000 (not including Philippine Scouts). this was partially offset by Steve McQueen's performance in The Sand Pebbles.
After WW II research showed that both the Japanese and German leaders believed that the U.S. military was too small to effectively stop them. By their own words it is a fact that our perceived weakness encouraged Japan and Germany to go to war.
Who knew? Historians knew/know. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
it will come as a surprise to you that WW2 didn't start in December, 1941.
u r rite.
By the time the US entered the war, members of my own family (in British and Canadian service) had already been fighting Herr Hitler and Signore Mussolini for over two years.
Witty but irrelevant. When Germany decided to create the most powerful army in the world they made the decision knowing that there was a power vacuum. Had the U.S. not dramatically cut their military after WW I Germany would have had less confidence that they could declare war on their nieghbors. Japan too would have had second thoughts about attacking us.
you can't possibly be serious.
the US never tried to be a deterrent to anyone post WW1. Your argument is disconnected and illogical from the beginning. Like Godzilla or big band music the army wasn't supposed to deter foreign aggression on foreign soil. regardless, US manpower reserves based on population, or industrial capacity, or oil reserves weren't exactly a secret.
everything about the US was isolationist and oriented toward not fighting in Europe or Asia but only defending the US. The US might never have entered the European war if it weren't for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hitler gambled correctly that the UK and France were too war weary to honor existing defense commitments.
The war in Asia started in 1937 in China, where most of the killing took place until war's end. without the US in a full wartime mode, Japan could not have been deterred once FDR imposed oil and steel sanctions. ironically, it was the timing of the US buildup in the far east and FDR's belligerency that triggered the Japanese attacks on 7/7 and 7/8 '41.
the public would never have allowed a peacetime draft or the necessary defense spending.
"the US never tried to be a deterrent to anyone post WW1"
That's the point. If the U.S. had a strong military it is far more likely that WW II wouldn't have happened.
"ironically, it was the timing of the US buildup in the far east and FDR's belligerency that triggered the Japanese attacks on 7/7"
I'm no fan of FDR but you have gotta be kidding; "belligerency"! So you think instead of an embargo of war supplies we should have just allowed Japan to have what they needed to continue their invasion of China and the South Pacific?
pay attention. the war in Asia started in '37 when the Japanese invaded China. the US and the western Allies were involved in Dec. '41.
I'm saying you've got some strange fantasy in an alternate history where the US public wants to occupy Germany through the '30s and would have tolerated massive military expenditures and a draft during the Great Depression.
I'm also saying there's nothing that could have kept the Japanese Army out of Manchuria. FDR's economic sanctions were bungled, expanded the war, and could only have been effective with US force levels as they were in 1944, and if you think the public would have paid for a 600 ship navy or a 2,000,000 man armed forces in 1935, you should go back to reading romance novels.
He's actually imposing a post-WWII US strategic construct on the pre-WWII period.
The US became the world's policeman in 1945 more or less by default: it was the one power not completely knackered and shattered by the war.
Before WWII, the US was inward-looking and isolationist (not without reason in many ways).
If we want to play at rewriting history, imagine a pre-WWII US that had no great interest in the Pacific and no involvement in the Philippines at all. There might never have been a Pearl Harbor.
All mental masturbation of course, because the US was in the Pacific and did garrison the Philippines and Pearl Harbor did happen.
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Oh Donny! That's so cute how you misinterpret and misrepresent what I have said just so you can stroke your ego and convince yourself you actually know something. But seriously don't you think that when you do that it is obvious that you got nothing and had to resort to lying?
I hope our military strategists are careful not to prepare to fight the last war and are thinking about what war may look like in the future, such as whether or not there will be boots on the ground, or weather it will be asymmetrical, economic, or technological. Even though many may see the necessity, I think a large percentage of the American population will not support any kind of intervention, regardless of the merits. Hopeless, I know, but I would like to think we still have people who are working on contingencies and realize that wars may not be between nation states. In fact, isn't the real enemy, the one worlders, the globalists who disdain sovereignty and would chuck nation states in a heart beat.
Off topic, but this reminds me of two unsung heroes: William Knudson and Henry Kaiser who managed the supply of war time materiel for the Allies. Their accomplishment was nothing less than extraordinary and by the end of the war the American GI had an unprecedented supply chain behind him compared to the early days of the war. Did you realize that Willow Run, outside Detroit, was producing a bomber almost every hour at its peak (650/month) and a Liberty ship was finished every day in California. This capacity is no longer available.
Sorry to belabor this but this reminds me of the first hand reminiscence of a Ball Turret tail gunner on D-Day. To paraphrase, "I looked to the right of me, to the left of me and straight ahead. The sky was filled with planes from one horizon to the other. I knew no one had ever seen the like and never would again; I thought what kind of country can do this?"
Regarding Obama and executive orders: do Democrats really want to set that precedent, seeing that they will not always have the White House? Do they believe that Republicans will never be that audacious (cf filibusters), or are they so enamored of This Week's Cause that they don't contemplate the future?
Precedent and principles don't matter for the Demos. All that counts is power. Rest assured that when the worm turns, and Pubs in power apply the same principles to Demos that the Demos previously applied to Pubs, the Demos will scream like stuck pigs, will talk about principles- and the MSM and spineless Pub leadership will probably let them get away with it.
Recall the Demos' demonization of Ted Cruz and the Tea Party regarding the government shutdown of two years ago, when this was a tactic that the Demos themselves had no hesitation in previously using. It's all in what will maintain power- and what you can get away with.
At least that is my opinion after dealing with Demo supporters where I live.
Southworth isn't naive.
the USSC gave us a weapon, the typically badly written article shows how its used. there must be some genetic reason why conservatives so often whine about everything.
BTW, of possible interest to those here, I've been reading a novel by Frederic J. Stimson that purports to be a memoir of one of the first settlers of the upper Charles.
I say purports as Bampfylde Moore Carew, the main character, is apparently a notorious swindler whose questionable memoirs appeared in the early 18th century with Wikipedia giving him a birth some 40-50 years after the start of Stimson's story. In any case, in the first 10 chapters, I've found the story engaging and refreshing with historical background during Cromwell's Commonwealth and early Jamestown and Boston after he was packed off in irons to the new world as a convict after a fateful choice of side in an insurrection driven by, might be guessed, his love of a girl.
[url=http://www.archive.org/details/kingnoanettstoryOOstim ]King Noanett : A Story of Old Virginia and the Massachusetts Bay[/url]
THE story of Bampfylde Carew, one of the earliest
settlers on the upper Charles, is herein for the first
time printed. Though first set down (as appears by the
context) for the edification of the writer's children, Mr.
Carew's views upon some subjects, notably Cromwell and
the later Puritans, would have rendered their publication
inopportune in New England at a time much before the
present. But if he sets forth these matters in a somewhat
novel light, he is severer still upon certain phases of early
life in Virginia. He speaks without fear or favour, and I
have printed it as written, altering only the spelling ; and
although occasionally he uses words only suited to the
robuster stomachs of his time, I have let them stand :
partly that the sweet and noble temper of his story atones
for them, partly that our own stomachs are a trifle over
queasy (as to words alone).