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Abolish the Air Force
The American Prospect ^ | Nov. 1, 2007 | Robert Farley

Posted on 11/02/2007 1:36:49 PM PDT by DesScorp

Does the United States Air Force (USAF) fit into the post–September 11 world, a world in which the military mission of U.S. forces focuses more on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency? Not very well. Even the new counterinsurgency manual authored in part by Gen. David H. Petraeus, specifically notes that the excessive use of airpower in counterinsurgency conflict can lead to disaster.

In response, the Air Force has gone on the defensive. In September 2006, Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap Jr. published an article in Armed Forces Journal denouncing "boots on the ground zealots," and insisting that airpower can solve the most important problems associated with counterinsurgency. The Air Force also recently published its own counterinsurgency manual elaborating on these claims. A recent op-ed by Maj. Gen. Dunlap called on the United States to "think creatively" about airpower and counterinsurgency -- and proposed striking Iranian oil facilities.

Surely, this is not the way the United States Air Force had planned to celebrate its 60th anniversary. On Sept. 18, 1947, Congress granted independence to the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), the branch of the U.S. Army that had coordinated the air campaigns against Germany and Japan.

But it's time to revisit the 1947 decision to separate the Air Force from the Army. While everyone agrees that the United States military requires air capability, it's less obvious that we need a bureaucratic entity called the United States Air Force. The independent Air Force privileges airpower to a degree unsupported by the historical record. This bureaucratic structure has proven to be a continual problem in war fighting, in procurement, and in estimates of the costs of armed conflict. Indeed, it would be wrong to say that the USAF is an idea whose time has passed. Rather, it's a mistake that never should have been made.

(Excerpt) Read more at prospect.org ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: force; military; navair; usaf; war
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To: DesScorp
To a man, my Army friends, past and present, think USAF does a lousy job of air support in ground combat situations because they think the mission isn't sexy enough.

A foul ground-pounding muddy lie! Why very often we in the USAF used to look down there and wonder what our Army colleagues were up to, exactly. And why they wore those hard-to-see-uniforms? Why, in a gesture of military solidarity, we even assigned Forward Air Controllers, very often with radios tuned to our very own frequency, so we could come in at 500mph and drop napalm nearby and get shot up by enemy guys with rifles.

Why during VietNam we even started up the assembly line to build new AD-1's, that 1945 Navy design that was unsurpassed as a ground support plane. Of course, being assigned to them was your career kiss of death, except for General Singlaub.

Then there was the A-10. USAF couldn't wait to get rid of that low, slow, cheap, incredibly effective plane. Sent it to the ANG units and then was embarassed when it did so well in combat and it turned out we had nowhere near enough of them. Let's see, for the cost of one F-35, we could buy what, a 100 A-10's? But then the AC 130 gunship came along. Nowhere enough of them, either.

But why throw out the baby with the bathwater. Why not have an Army Air Corps to fly the A-10s, attack helicopters that they already have, plus some nifty new ground attack plane, and put the AC 130 under Army control full time? Maybe bring back the AD-1 Spad as an Army A/C. Scary and we're talking about direct violations of The Treaty of Key West of 1948, in which the Army promised to give up fixed wing planes, except to fly generals to country clubs and other vital missions.

151 posted on 11/02/2007 3:35:22 PM PDT by Zerodown (Draft Petraeus. Or how about Pace? What do you say we win this one?)
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To: snippy_about_it

In the Ozarks, there was a mountaineer that was reputed to have the best hunting dog ever, by the name of Co-pilot.

Three city folks went up in the mountains and wanted to rent him. “Good huntin dog, ... gonna cost ya $50 a day.” They agreed, and three days later came back with the limit.

The next year they came back. “Co-pilot got better, gonna cost ya $75 a day.” Again they agreed, and 2 days later came back with the limit.

The third year they came back and told the mountaineer they had to have Co-pilot, even if it cost $100 a day.

“You can have that worthless mutt for $5 a day, and I’m overcharging you $4.”

“But I don’t understand, what happened to him?”

“Well, had me one of them Herky crews from that there Air Base in Oakaloosa county come up and rent him. One of those idiots called him Pilot, and he has been sittin on his ass barkin ever since.”


152 posted on 11/02/2007 3:39:44 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Do dyslexics sell their souls to Santa?)
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To: JamesP81

“Yeah, the short sightedness is infuriating. The F-22, for all its sophistication, is a throwback to the old school way of doing things. It’s not one of those multi-role do it all type machines. It’s purpose to hunt enemy aircraft and destroy them with extreme prejudice, and this is the sort of tool we’re going to need to keep the likes of China and Russia off our doorstep. The Iranian’s air force might be a joke, but Russia’s and China’s isn’t and we need to be prepared to deal with them both.”

Actually, though it’s original mission was air dominance, the F-22 can now carry 2 1,000 lb. JDAMs, and will soon be able to carry eight Small Diameter Bombs (each with the destructive force of a conventional 500 lb. bomb). So, in addition to being the premier fighter on the planet, it’s able to deliver precision munitions deep into heavily defended territory at supersonic speeds. Sounds pretty good to me... ;-)


153 posted on 11/02/2007 3:40:00 PM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: Muleteam1

F-111’s? You need to update your photo!

(RAF Upper Heyford - 1987-1991)


154 posted on 11/02/2007 3:40:16 PM PDT by Gil4 ("There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism" - Teddy Roosevelt)
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To: SauronOfMordor

“But when bad weather grounds the planes, its the Precision Artillery Team that will save your butt”

Bad weather doesn’t ground planes often these days...the only thing that I know of is very high winds. JDAMS work day or night, rain or shine...and land right where the troops on the ground say they should.

We don’t need CAS, we need ‘bomb trucks’ orbiting at 15,000+ ft.


155 posted on 11/02/2007 3:41:45 PM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: SAMWolf

Ha!


156 posted on 11/02/2007 3:42:36 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul. WWPD (what would Patton do))
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To: The Pack Knight
They've always considered strategic bombing and interdiction to be a much higher priority.

The first priority of air power is counter-air. You can't fly for anybody if your planes are at the bottom of a smoking hole.

The second priority of air power is interdiction. If the enemy can't get to the battlefield, there is no need for close air support.

The third priority of air power is close air support. CAS should always be service-specific as in the Marine Corps model. Frankly, that is the only part of the Air Force mission that the Army wants to take back from the Air Force.

The final priority of air power is strategic bombing. The Army and Navy have never been keen on taking this role from the Air Force.

And none of those addresses strategic missile defense, air transport, aerial refueling, and space warfare. Those last three elements are not done by anybody but the Air Force, and none of the other services want anything to do with them.

157 posted on 11/02/2007 3:42:57 PM PDT by been_lurking
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To: snippy_about_it

Rules Of The Air

Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.

If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.

Flying isn’t dangerous. Crashing is what’s dangerous.

It’s always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.

The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.

When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.

A ‘good’ landing is one from which you can walk away. A ‘great’ landing is one after which they can use the plane again.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself.

You know you’ve landed with the wheels up if it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.

The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of
arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.

Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier.

Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide out in clouds.

Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you’ve made.


158 posted on 11/02/2007 3:44:21 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Do dyslexics sell their souls to Santa?)
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To: SIDENET

Golf is restricted to Lt. Cols and above.


159 posted on 11/02/2007 3:44:32 PM PDT by Zerodown (Draft Petraeus. Or how about Pace? What do you say we win this one?)
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To: SAMWolf

Best one.

ARMY: If your values change, we will make an announcement.


160 posted on 11/02/2007 3:44:41 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul. WWPD (what would Patton do))
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To: SAMWolf
SAMWolf you're hijacking this thread, stop it you booger!!

I think it's time for a Foxhole thread. You seem in the mood to type.

161 posted on 11/02/2007 3:47:17 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul. WWPD (what would Patton do))
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To: DesScorp

bump for later


162 posted on 11/02/2007 3:47:25 PM PDT by OldCorps
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To: DesScorp

Silly argument for budgets is what it boils down to.

All weapons systems have their proper uses and times to be used.


163 posted on 11/02/2007 3:50:05 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain. True support of the troops means praying for US to WIN the war!)
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To: strider44
We need the Air Force. Where else will all the hot girls who can’t get into college enlist?

The Navy, same as always. That way they get to meet SAILORS.

164 posted on 11/02/2007 3:50:23 PM PDT by magslinger (cranky right-winger)
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To: DesScorp

If anything, the AF is more relevant today than ever. In fact, the AF is morphing into Space Command. This is the same boneheaded thinking that prevailed when they talked about missiles eliminating the need for guns on fighters.

Like strategic bombing will never be required ever again.


165 posted on 11/02/2007 3:51:14 PM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: art_rocks

“But there have been times where the Air Force has done lots of bombing and it was ineffective.”

Neither the Air Force nor any of the other services can do much from a distance against enemies entrenched beneath many meters of rock. However, if today’s Air Force had hit the beach at Normandy, the landing force wouldn’t have encountered much opposition. ;-)


166 posted on 11/02/2007 3:52:10 PM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: proudmilitarymrs
The Air Force, the only branch of the military where the non-com’s pat the officers on the helmet and send THEM of to war.

Yeah, that's a non-rate's job in Navair.

167 posted on 11/02/2007 3:53:09 PM PDT by magslinger (cranky right-winger)
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To: donnab

As the mom of a newly minted Airman, I’m glad to see at least some sensible and supportive comments on this thread.


168 posted on 11/02/2007 3:58:15 PM PDT by visualops (artlife.us)
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To: fremont_steve
The way he talks about air power as employed during Desert Storm is ludicrous. Seems to me the 1 1/2 months of constant bombing made the 100 hour cake walk for the Army/Marines.

Ah yes. I remember sitting in our forward position in the middle of nowhere and listening to the bombing runs, thinking "Sweet - less people to shoot at us." The sound of your guys carpet bombing the area you're about to invade is deeply comforting.
169 posted on 11/02/2007 3:59:21 PM PDT by fr_freak
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To: DesScorp

Abolish the University of Kentucky.


170 posted on 11/02/2007 3:59:39 PM PDT by verity ("Lord, what fools these mortals be!")
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To: Natural Law
As a former combat infantryman I have a deep and lasting appreciation for the guys in the "Big Blue Wrecking Crew". The next most beautiful picture to me, after my wife and kids, is the image of an F4 in a close air support Napalm drop. No body can bring hurt in an enemy like they can!

Thank you Natural Law! One of my friends who is a Marine, served in Viet Nom said the same thing! GO AF!

171 posted on 11/02/2007 3:59:58 PM PDT by notaliberal
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To: Knitebane

From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Naval Infantry.

Nah...that doesn’t work.


172 posted on 11/02/2007 4:01:08 PM PDT by Diverdogz
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To: DesScorp
At a time when we are more dependent on space than ever before, the need for the Air Force cannot be understated.
173 posted on 11/02/2007 4:04:40 PM PDT by rmlew (Build a wall, attrit the illegals, end the anchor babies, Americanize Immigrants)
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To: DaveyB

“If a single strike is called for against Iranian targets to halt production of nuclear weapons - you can bet it will be USAF with their B1’s will called to get er done.”

B-2s. :-)

(BTW, only the B-52 and B-2 are qualified to carry the new 30,000 lb. MOP bunker busters.)


174 posted on 11/02/2007 4:06:03 PM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: Gil4

I’ll bet most here didn’t know it it was RAF. My last assignment was supposed to be at Upper Heyford but I separated instead.


175 posted on 11/02/2007 4:12:01 PM PDT by Muleteam1
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To: Knitebane

Jerry Pournelle has advocated exactly that, for quite some time, along with a return to how thing generally worked up until WWII. That is, the President gets Dept of the Navy (includes the Marines) to take care of business that doesn’t require a declaration of war. Anything requiring the Dept. of War (Army + Air Force), requires a declaration.

We should have declared war on Iraq before going in.


176 posted on 11/02/2007 4:18:34 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: DesScorp
To a man, my Army friends, past and present, think USAF does a lousy job of air support in ground combat situations because they think the mission isn't sexy enough.

I work with an Air Force Unit that evaluates Air Force units from around the world on how they do CAS. I have never heard ONE pilot say the mission "was not sexy enough." To a man, trying to use PGMs and perform CAS is a proud mission for them. I have been doing this for over ten years. I would say from my actual experience that your army buddies are dead wrong.

177 posted on 11/02/2007 4:23:39 PM PDT by saminfl (,/i)
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To: PreciousLiberty
Neither the Air Force nor any of the other services can do much from a distance against enemies entrenched beneath many meters of rock

Maybe not just yet but soon. Plus the Air Force is real good at dropping a number of these sorts of munitions and burrowing in to waste the rats in their holes.

Leave the bleedin’ air force alone. In this kind of warfare the enemy can pick the time and place to hit us. Air power, properly utilized, give us a very nice quick response that can equalize a hairy ground situation quickly. Combat Law. IF it aint broke, don’t fix it.

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/09/penetrator-bomb.html Penetrator Bomb Ready in 2008

178 posted on 11/02/2007 4:24:48 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Pacifism is not moral. True morality requires evil be opposed, not appeased)
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To: SolidWood

Typical paper exercise. First, let us pretend we can read the future. Heck, we do not even know what is going to happen tomorrow.


179 posted on 11/02/2007 4:28:36 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: dakine

“Never make O-6 that way...”

Didn’t stop me and a whole bunch of others, several of whom were runners.
I can think of darn few O-6s who golf frequently.
Most of the runners now have crappy knees in their 60s.


180 posted on 11/02/2007 4:30:42 PM PDT by rogator
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To: driftdiver; occamrzr06
Can you artillery battery cover 500 miles in less then an half an hour to hit the bad guys about to over run a SOF team in the crap?

Leave the air force alone. They earn their pay.

181 posted on 11/02/2007 4:30:52 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Pacifism is not moral. True morality requires evil be opposed, not appeased)
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To: The Pack Knight

Yes, response time is the issue. F-16’s are like sports cars with small gas tanks. Not always practical, having to gas up so often!


182 posted on 11/02/2007 4:30:54 PM PDT by ODC-GIRL (Proudly serving our Nation's Homeland Defense)
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To: art_rocks

Umm the airforce and navy are 60 some years better at hitting targets and have 60 years worth of new technology and techniques. Comparing what our Air does now with what it did in WW 2 or Vietnam or even Gulf War 1 is neither accurate nor fair.


183 posted on 11/02/2007 4:32:43 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Pacifism is not moral. True morality requires evil be opposed, not appeased)
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To: Paul Ross
Absent the air power, the US ground forces would have been in seriously adverse fights. Yep.
184 posted on 11/02/2007 4:36:08 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Pacifism is not moral. True morality requires evil be opposed, not appeased)
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To: MNJohnnie

I wasn’t picking on the AF. I was just saying an Artillery display can be as fun as an airshow.

Of course an Arty Btry can’t, but your plane also can’t hold terrain.

That is why it is called Combined Arms!


185 posted on 11/02/2007 4:37:13 PM PDT by occamrzr06
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To: SAMWolf

Good to see you around. Haven’t seen much of you here lately.


186 posted on 11/02/2007 4:46:45 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: Natural Law

Aaahh! Thanks for the memory. Flying from a base during the Vietnam conflict that hardly had a jet engine anywhere except in the Superjollygreen helicopters, the general feeling about fast movers, was they couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a base fiddle. That was a fair generalization from a base full of radial engine straight wing bombers and fighters.

Reality might have been a little different, but really close air support was the forte of the SAR “Search and Rescue” forces and they were really good when it counted which was always. Fast forward to today, with smart weapons that are so much more accurate than the iron bombs of yesteryear, and I’m not sure what the problem is, unless it is just perception.


187 posted on 11/02/2007 4:50:18 PM PDT by wita (truthspeaks@freerepublic.com)
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To: joe fonebone
well, everybody knows the air farce is not the real military......

Go ahead and tell that to the widows and orphans of guys who died flying for the USAF, a##wipe.
188 posted on 11/02/2007 4:51:25 PM PDT by Kozak (Anti Shahada: There is no god named Allah, and Muhammed is a false prophet)
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To: DesScorp

Hap Arnold would be very sad.


189 posted on 11/02/2007 4:51:59 PM PDT by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

You got that right!!!


190 posted on 11/02/2007 4:53:49 PM PDT by conservaDave (You can't ignore the democRAT...He's a menace to health, home and industry...kill him!)
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To: All
I did my 23 years in the USAF with pride.. it was once a service that let the officers do the fighting and the majority of the enlisted acted in a support role.

But now days.. the airman is on the ground doing duties that can and sometimes do mean combat. I went to Air Mobility Commands, Air Mobility Warfare Center training at Ft. Dix New Jersey twice (Noble Eagle) and was introduced with basic ground combat tactics, the 2nd time I attended it was to be OPFOR for the new attendees.. both times you had to go through training.

The Department of the Air Force was established after the National Security Act of 1947 was signed. Its a presidential decision that should be allowed to stand. But if idiots followed the writers advice a fine service will be abolished.. Fortunately calmer heads will prevail.

191 posted on 11/02/2007 5:09:52 PM PDT by Kitanis
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To: occamrzr06

Don’t doubt it. Hard to do for a live American audience outside of Nevada, though...


192 posted on 11/02/2007 5:14:38 PM PDT by Philistone (If someone tells you it's for the children, he believes that YOU are a child.)
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To: DesScorp

Read a history book. The Air Force was originally part of the army.


193 posted on 11/02/2007 5:14:50 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: Jet Jaguar

My parents told me about Mr. Common Sense early in my life and told me I would do well to call on him when making decisions. It seems he was always around in my early years but less and less as time passed by. Today I read his obituary. Please join me in a moment of silence in remembrance, for Common Sense had served us all so well for so many generations.

Obituary: Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student, but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know my Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I’m a Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. Until this BS thread was posted ........:o)

Stay safe JJ....... USAF is not going to fall victim to some freethinking presstitute or a bunch of uninformed uniformed wannabes behind desks who pretend to know WTF they are talking about as THEY SEEK TO CORNER THE USAF’s BUDGET as their OWN !


194 posted on 11/02/2007 5:22:02 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. ©)
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To: stevem

Which outfit is doing the Lord’s work preparing for the next war,

My bet is they all are. I was AF, but I recognize the value of each service and the fact that each has particular missions that are not duplicated by other branches.

The AF has the unsung refuelers whose mission of getting other aircraft to fly longer and further than their design allowed before having to land is pretty unique, and logistically a miracle.

Iraq is not a nonstop destination for aircraft unrefueled. Especially fighter aircraft. Anyone think that air refueling is going away anytime soon?

We have had some new bombers like the B-1 and B-2 but narry a new refueler since the sixties, ok maybe a few KC-10’s. Yes they put new engines on the old 135’s, which was a great idea and paying great dividends, but since the acquisition of the tanker, the force has been decreasing in numbers ever since, and I’m betting the call for AR is close to the max capability.

There are other really unique missions, like Reconaissance Hurricane Hunters, Medical Evacuation, VIP flights, Airborne Command and Control, and a host of other important and necessary roles for aircraft and crew.


195 posted on 11/02/2007 5:26:37 PM PDT by wita (truthspeaks@freerepublic.com)
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To: Squantos; Monkey Face; stephenjohnbanker

Very well put.

Thanks.

Reminds me of a common sense radio personality.


196 posted on 11/02/2007 5:27:04 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: DesScorp
Dumb. The Israeli Air Force just destroyed a Syrian nuclear site. American air power won in Kosovo and softened Iraq in GWI and will be the main force in destroying Iran's nukes.

I guess some people will say anything to tear down the US armed forces.

197 posted on 11/02/2007 5:28:43 PM PDT by edsheppa (WI.)
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To: DesScorp
All liberals want all the armed forces done away with. They only need their KGB styled thugs to keep us in line. An armed military means we could fight them back. That is why they are trying to out law the 2d amendment and take away our personal fire arms.
198 posted on 11/02/2007 5:28:54 PM PDT by RetiredArmy (The Marxist's Dimocrat Party: Party for and by terrorists, Marxists, Socialists and Homos.)
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To: DesScorp

If they got rid of the Chair Force, nobody would get cable or air conditioning in the field.


199 posted on 11/02/2007 5:30:20 PM PDT by Doohickey (Giuliani: Brokeback Republican)
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To: DesScorp
To a man, my Army friends, past and present, think USAF does a lousy job of air support in ground combat situations because they think the mission isn't sexy enough.

The USAF will soon be bombing dozens of Iranian nuke sites and shooting down any fighter jets the enemy has the nerve to send airborne. That's sexy enough.

200 posted on 11/02/2007 5:31:32 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo (“Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors and miss.”)
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