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Obama's 'Battleship' Argument Has Holes in its Hull ^ | October 26, 2012 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 10/26/2012 4:25:43 AM PDT by Kaslin

In the third and final debate, Barack Obama scored huge points with the media, college kids and die-hard liberals -- in other words, his base -- when he mocked Mitt Romney's concern about our historically small Navy.

"But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works," the president said. "You -- you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines."

"And so," he added, "the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships," The question is "what are our capabilities."

This struck me as an example of how thoroughly liberalism has confused sneering for intellectual confidence. It shouldn't be surprising, given that comedy shows often substitute for news programs, particularly for younger liberals. That's probably why the president has been spending more time talking to DJs, entertainment shows and comedians than to reporters. He desperately needs the support of low-information voters, who've replaced the old adage "it's funny because it's true" with "if it's funny, it must be true."

Obama's argument -- if that's not too generous a word -- is that the Navy in particular, and the military in general, can do so much more because of technological advances.

And that is certainly true.

But it's also true that there have been huge advances in the technology used to sink our ships and blow up our planes as well. And, to date, no breakthrough innovation has led us to figuring out how to put one ship in two places at once.

There's another problem. What innovation does he have in mind? Many of our warplanes and nearly all of our major naval vessels are much older than the pilots and sailors flying and sailing them. It's great to talk up the benefits of innovation, but that argument starts to sputter when you realize we are often relying on the innovation of older generations. For all his talk about the game Battleship, we haven't built a real battleship in almost 70 years, and the Navy hasn't had one in its arsenal for decades.

But what I find most interesting about this argument is how selective it is. For instance, defenders of Obama's Keynesian economic policies are constantly touting the benefits of big, high-tech spending programs because of the "multiplier effect" -- the increased economic activity "primed" by government spending.

Indeed, the economists who subscribe to these views tend to tout military spending as particularly good evidence in their favor. Many argue that it was the massive spending during World War II that really pulled us out of the Great Depression (a flawed theory but more credible than the New Deal itself, which mostly prolonged the Great Depression).

And yet, it seems that military spending is the only Keynesian pump-priming this president doesn't like.

Conversely, his argument that technological advances should deliver increased savings by providing more "bang for the buck" doesn't seem to enter his thinking anywhere else. In the private sector he finds improved efficiencies to be a burden -- all of those ATM machines taking away good bank teller jobs.

And where are the technological efficiencies making government more effective for less money? Surely the breakthroughs in productivity, information management and telecommunications would afford us a huge opportunity to cut away some of the obsolescence in the non-defense parts of our government?

But no. Obama is constantly yearning to hire more government workers. The private sector, he said not long ago, was doing fine. The place we needed more jobs was in the federal, state and local bureaucracies.

Indeed, in his new "plan" he promises -- again -- to hire 100,000 new teachers. He is constantly assuring us that our "crumbling" schools with leaky roofs are robbing children of their education. The honest truth: You can teach kids in a school with a leaky roof pretty easily. A submarine with a leaky roof? That's a problem.

The amazing thing is that we've been increasing federal government spending on education at a blistering pace for decades. Where is the return on the investment? Where are the improved capabilities and efficiencies from investments in technology?

The military, which thrives on precisely the civic virtue Obama insists is on full display in public education, has a lot to show for the investments of the past Obama would like to curtail. Where's a similar return in the non-defense sector? And has Obama ever bothered to ask that question?

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: barackobama; debates; defense; economy; horsesandbayonets; liberal; military; mittromney; navy; teachers

1 posted on 10/26/2012 4:25:52 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

It was so snarky and arrogant and condescending for Obama to talk that way.

We have ships called aircraft carriers which airplanes land on? Really? And we have ships which go underwater, called submarines? Really Mr. President? Why is he talking to us like he’s talking to a 3 year old???

2 posted on 10/26/2012 4:57:01 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Dilbert San Diego

If we really do have sufficient numbers of “ships called aircraft carriers which airplanes land on” why wasn’t one stationed about 30 miles off the Libyan coast on September 11?

3 posted on 10/26/2012 5:13:52 AM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
He learned that there are "ships that go underwater" from Sesame Street.

I don't understand the language thing either?? No adult I know talks or would talk that way.

4 posted on 10/26/2012 5:17:49 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (r)
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To: Kaslin

Romney really dropped the ball when he didn’t ask why all this gee-wiz stuff was no help to our Ambassador under attack for over 6 hours in Benghazi.

5 posted on 10/26/2012 5:22:03 AM PDT by wrench
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To: Dilbert San Diego
“Why is he talking to us like he’s talking to a 3 year old???”


Because he is an Arrogant, Narcissistic, little a$$hole among other things.

6 posted on 10/26/2012 5:30:22 AM PDT by mongo141 (Revolution ver. 2.0, just a matter of when, not a matter of if!)
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To: John Valentine


The biggest stench from the Benghazi fiasco is that it is beginning to smell like Obama went “nighty-night” to rest up for Las Vegas, instead of manning up in the Situation Room and seeing the crisis through and (had he only been awake) ordering a rescue mission.

In Benghazi, after 6-8 hours enduring a few “Fort Apaches,” with running street battles in between, (like a mini Blackhawk Down), the living Americans must have been thinking, “Any minute now, here come the helicopters! Just hang on!”

But they didn’t. So even though Delta had forward staged to Sigonella Sicily (rumint) from base in Germany, nobody was willing or able to pull the trigger and send a rescue force. Or even a few F-18 supersonic flybys, to bust windows and warn, “Here comes American airpower, and you camel jockeys know what that means.” Just as a morale booster it would have helped the besieged staffers.

But it was never sent, not even a lousy supersonic low-level flyby. One hour from bases in Italy, max.

Here is the deal. The military automatically does a lot on its own, under standing orders and SOPs. The minute they see that the consulate is under attack, and the ambassador and others are in a “safe room” hiding, it becomes TOP priority. Every other mission aborts or slaves over to support any possible rescue.

At that moment when the critical incident alarm messages start ringing, military steps happen on autopilot in real time. Everybody in the Navy and USAF chain of command swings into a crisis contingency plan mode. What ships are closest? Helicopters? Marines? Delta is in Germany? Get them moving right now. Where is closest? Sigonella, for now. It’s NATO, no permission needed, just fly.

En route in C-17s, the D-boys would even be prepping for an immediate action rescue mission, that is, the C-17s will fly directly to some desert road outside of Benghazi, and here comes “The Raid On Entebbe,” done in crisis mode, canned actions, but they would do it. They practice for these exact scenarios, and leave gear staged for them.

They would coordinate with fighters out of Italy, mid-air-refueling platforms start shifting, it’s a huge show that swings into action for thousands of miles around Behghazi. The ongoing consulate attack is JOB ONE, the only job. VIPs will be tossed off of planes at remote runways if they need that platform.

Or Marines on amphibious ships in the central Med, (if any were available), would also be put on the real-time options board. We used to have a “Med. Amphibious Ready Group” (MARG) of about 3-5 USN gator freighters, including a helo carrier like a Tarawa class. They carry an entire battalion of USMC, plus SEALs etc, with helos and Ospreys to carry them all. (But not at once.) Where was our MARG? Does our Navy have enough ships for that mission any more?

But while all of that military staging would have happened/did happen during the 6-8 hour battle at the consulate and annex, what the military cannot do on their own say-so is cross an international border without an order from the NCA, the National Command Authority, and that means POTUS, Obama.

Only POTUS can authorize a cross-border hostile mission. That is, guns clear, no official permission from the Tripoli govt (if it really exists outside State Dept fantasies.)

Only one man can pull that trigger and say, “GO!” Obama.

(But for America to act “unilaterally” would have meant the bogus Libyan Arab Spring and so-called new Libyan Unity Govt. that we were propping up didn’t really exist. Libyan sovereignty must be held sacrosanct, even the false image of one, where in reality, Al Queda is top dog in Libya. Even when an Al Queda offshoot is your external “security,” namely, “The 17th of February Martyrs Brigade.” IOW, the White House thought they had a “deal” with AQ in Behghazi, since we were helping to run weaponry from Libya to their pals in Syria. So there was an “institutional bias” at State against crossing the border on a rescue operation sin permisso.)

Anyway, be that as it may, no General or Admiral will order the Marines ashore, or a Delta raid or even an F-18 or F-16 low-level supersonic flyby. They can not and will not cross a border without a clear-cut order from POTUS via the NCA. Not even Hillary can make that decision. Only Obama.

But no order came, as of midnight in DC. And then none would come. Because the POTUS retired for the night with a “do not disturb” sign on his door, punted, and went to bed, to be well rested for Las Vegas.

This while his ambassador was off the U.S. radar, missing, and at that moment possibly being dragged down a Benghazi street or even raped. But that is when Obama went to bed. Midnight in DC is 0600 in Beghazi.

That is the greatest scandal of Benghazi. The POTUS slept through it, while all around the world, military forces were poised for the Raid on Entebbe or any other damn thing the POTUS ordered them to do. (And the were raring to go, believe me.)

But the POTUS said, “We’ll discuss it further in the morning,” and then he went to bed around midnight in DC, 0600 in Benghazi, with a missing ambassador and a full-blown crisis in full mega flap.

He punted. He went to bed.

God help us.
I think that’s the big secret they are keeping. The President went to bed, with his lost Ambassador being dragged through streets.

Obama went to bed.

7 posted on 10/26/2012 5:53:14 AM PDT by Travis McGee (
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To: Kaslin
That Barack Obama could talk that way in front of 60 million people to any human being but in this case to a being who is his intellectual, physical, and moral superior is evidence not just of his narcissism but of the psychic power of the cult. Obama despises Romney in the true sense of the word, in the sense that Obama has no regard for Romney's values, he thinks that Romney is morally and intellectually inferior.

He comes to this conclusion not by way of a process of intellectual deduction but by emotional reaction. Obama is a member of a cult, a cult of radical leftists, as such he believes he has an exclusive understanding of the truth and those who disagree with him are not just wrong but morally wrong because they are outside of the cult.

Stone Age tribes notoriously are brutal to their enemies, they are utterly without empathetic feeling as they strip the skin off their prisoners. The Iroquois, as an example, come to mind. But these tribal peoples are wonderfully indulgent and loving toward their children and respectful of one another. The dichotomy of their world is in the tribe or outside the tribe.

When one becomes a true believer, he surrenders his power of intellectual discernment to this emotional release and affirmation granted by the cult. Obama does not think that he is behaving insufferably, he believes he is schooling an ignorant and obdurate child. Obama believes that he and his fellow cultists have exclusive possession of the truth. His entire life is built emotionally around this supposition. If he lets go of that, he lets go of everything. Anything that threatens that bubble must be rejected and that means it can be ridiculed or even censored out of existence.

Those outside of the tribe do not deserve politeness or decency or even a hearing. They are the "other."

8 posted on 10/26/2012 5:58:18 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford

I was going to respond with the following: he acts and talks like this because that’s the prism he views anyone with whom he disagrees through. They are petulant children needing his schooling - he’s never wrong.

It’s the ultimate in projection!

I like they way you explain it though.

9 posted on 10/26/2012 6:15:18 AM PDT by jurroppi1
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To: jurroppi1
I really do think we are on to something with this explanation. And I think it applies perfectly to this column by Peggy Noonan was just popped up on the thread

10 posted on 10/26/2012 6:23:43 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

So when obama said in we have a lot fewer horses and bayonets as well. He was basically implying that these weapons have been replaced. Horses with(Helocopters, tanks, and so on), Bayonets with (Bayonets).

Here is the logical fallacy though. Ships haven’t been replaced. We still have them. We have different types. So ships were replaced with (ships).

I can take it a step further. We have an increased need for ships, because of the invention of the aircraft carrier, because it will give you air power in every part of the world. Battleships and ships from the “Age of sail” could not hope to accomplish this.

11 posted on 10/26/2012 6:35:15 AM PDT by castlegreyskull
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To: nathanbedford

Doh! The linky no worky. Would you please retry, my curiosity is piqued now...

12 posted on 10/26/2012 12:46:13 PM PDT by jurroppi1
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To: nathanbedford

And Islam is the crystallized, institutionalized embodiment of this attitude of hating, fearing, and envying the “other.” The polar opposite of Christianity.

13 posted on 10/26/2012 1:09:20 PM PDT by firebrand (Beware of wishful thinking--the mousetrap of small minds.)
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