Friday, May 8, 2015

VE Day Plus 70 Years

May 8th, 1945. On this day seventy years ago, Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allied Powers, having been defeated on both their eastern and western fronts. This was a momentous occasion. The fascist Third Reich had been destroyed. Japan surrendered just three months later, Imperial Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri. Our boys in uniform and our industrial war machine here at home were up to the task. Do you think an undertaking of this magnitude today would be possible? I hope this great country could rise to the challenge but I'm not so sure anymore.

Our country was uniquely equipped to fight a World War during the time of the conflict. The United States had a manufacturing ability that was unrivaled. I understand that today's weapons systems allow for many fewer assets to be utilized, but if we needed to, could we still defeat a worldwide threat without resorting to nuclear war? In just under six years, this country produced over 300,000 aircraft, almost 124,000 naval ships landing craft and submarines, including 10 battleships, 27 aircraft carriers, 110 escort carriers, and over 900 destroyers and cruisers. The US also built 2.4 million wheeled vehicles, 61,000 tanks and 7,500 locomotives to move all of those goods to port. In addition, we produced 12.5 million rifles and carbines for the Army and Marine Corps along with 41 billion rounds of ammunition. We may not need quite that much industry now, but could we do it again if called upon? I don't think so. Technology has taken the need for such a large build up away but what if our technological advantage were to wane.

With the build up of communist China and post-Soviet Russia, our technology advantage is slipping. Also, with rising tensions in the Middle East and Africa due to Islamic extremism, which doesn't rely on high tech means, could we fight a true, all encompassing war? Currently, we don't have the numbers and even worse, I don't think we have the political or military will. Too many people here at home are too comfortable with what they have. As long as one has a cellphone and food, it's all good. I'm getting unnerved by this aspect of American life. Our country is so divided along political and cultural lines now, I fear it would be very hard for us to mobilize the kind of support needed. Some will say that our spirit is just dormant. Even after the attacks of 9/11/2001, that spirit was still somewhat fractured. I understand that during the lead up to World War Two, many here at home were hesitant to get involved in anything more than a supply role, but after Pearl Harbor, our country decided collectively to stand up and fight. I fear we have lost that will.

The way I see it, there are two enemies outside of the borders of this country we must concern ourselves with. The first is the threat of Russia and China. While both are different, the threat is similar. They are fascist countries that control great military power and are in the process of building up their respective militaries. The second and more pressing threat is radical Islam and its race to obtain weaponry great enough to take on Israel, the US and western Europe. Currently, in a true ground war, these Muslim radicals lose. They fight an asymmetric war of gruesome but small attacks interspersed with large scale but underhanded attacks on civilian targets. Our military, along with a few close allied militaries, need to be able to take on both threats at one time and currently, that is not possible.

The lead time on production of aircraft, armor and weaponry is too long. Regulations and red tape are responsible for a large part of this delay. The other aspect that is troublesome is the lack of industry to ramp up if needed. The detrimental part of the global economy is the outsourcing of our sovereignty in terms of protecting ourselves and our closest allies. Also, we have been reducing the manpower needed to sustain a state of readiness. With fast air transportation and real time info all over the world, readiness needs to be addressed as an aspect of our current defense needs. An enemy can be here in less than 24 hours. With our military more concerned with political correctness rather than being the best fighters in the world, I don't see this getting better any time soon.

I guess what I am trying to say in this exploration of the state of our world is we need to do some soul searching about how we maintain our place in a world with increasing threats and decreasing political will. Our leadership, from President Obama on down, is not up to the task. Warrior Generals and Admirals are being forcibly retired and replaced with military politicians. Elected politicians are more concerned with abortion rights, gay marriage being enacted, social engineering through wealth redistribution and keeping their precious place in the DC circle of power than they are with making sure our country is the strongest in the world. At one time, the American flag demanded respect the world over. With lax leadership and no real will from the political class or the populace as a whole, that respect has been diminished to the point where our enemies now know that we won't stay in a fight to actually finish it. I'm not against nation building like what happened in Japan and Europe starting seventy years ago, but that kind of nation building requires complete and total defeat of the enemy. Hearts and minds can't be won with the enemy still active in the theatre. The only war we have won since the end of World War Two is the Cold War and though the two conflicts are completely different, the reason for winning both was the same. We were held the moral and industrial high ground in both.

Without becoming an isolationist country, we need to start thinking of our needs when we approach other countries. A strong economy here at home benefits the whole world. Rather than try and help others when our own house is falling apart, perhaps we should shore up the foundation here and be that light to all other countries that we were just 70 short years ago.

What are the solutions, you might ask. I posit that these several would go a long way to helping our country rebuild our strength. I realize that these policies and procedures are not going to happen under the current group of progressive hacks occupying the seats of power in Washington, DC, but one can hope to be ready once the seat of power is wrested away from the current powers that be. The federal government can start by getting out of the way of industry here at home by lowering tax and regulatory burdens. When more people are working in production and more things being made here, the whole country benefits.

Reduce the amount of money that is being redistributed to bloated social engineering programs and get the federal government out of the school business. The trades have suffered greatly because of the progressive need to indoctrinate students rather than prepare them for life outside of academia.

Rebuild the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force to where they need to be to tackle a global war on two fronts. A strengthen Coast Guard back under the Department of Defense would go quite a long way to relieving Navy pressure to protect the waters around our coasts as well. When other countries know that we can crush them in a matter of days, it lessens the likelihood that we will need to crush them in a matter of days. Cutting bureaucratic waste in the military and the government as a whole would go a long way to achieving this goal. Also, by allowing our military to accomplish an actual objective of complete and total annihilation of any enemy will shorten future conflicts. I'm not one to advocate for civilian casualties but that can not be the overriding factor when establishing rules of engagement. The complete and total destruction of the enemy must come first. If a town is harboring terrorist elements, that town needs to be removed from the equation.  I know this is more difficult when fighting a non-uniform enemy such as ISIS or Boko Haram but if the civilians knew that they were in danger by allowing these evil elements to take cover with them, that may work to our advantage. Our military can be the best only if they are allowed to be.

Finally, if you see a veteran, thank that person. There are only about 850,000 WWII vets left. All of them deserve respect and gratitude. Also, don't forget those veterans and active duty members that have served and are still serving. They answered a noble calling and should be recognized for their service and sacrifice as well.

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