Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Horses and Bayonets" Simply Part of Broader Argument

Need a Saddle?
"We also have fewer horses and bayonets."
--Barack Obama

The comment that launched a thousand memes.  President Barack Obama's well-placed zinger, slap down, or condescending comment (depending on where you stand politically) was perhaps the most meme-orable moment from the third debate, but it is the rush to turn the President's comments against him that cracks me up.

Today, on the Garrison Show, Greg Garrison wrongly pointed out that bayonets are still part of Army training and rightly pointed out that the U.S. dropped saddles from supply planes so that we could use horses in some of the Afghanistan back country.  Woo hoo, score one for the right.  That stupid Obama!  (Sarcasm intended)

It continued though, all day.  Countermemes showing Marines pointing bayonet-outfitted rifles at targets underscored that yes, it's still part of the standard issue for the USMC. And yes, Marines still get training on how to use them.  But, as one of my former students who is in the Corps said, it's not hard to use a bayonet. "Pointy end goes in the bad guy."

The larger argument isn't about old-world technology.  The argument is about how to spend the part of the defense budget most effectively.  Now, I'm a proponent of strength in our military, but I'm not a proponent of building ships and things that aren't efficient or cost-effective.  The battleships are a good example.  Naval technology advanced past them, and the old technology just became obsolete.  16-inch human aimed guns were destructive, but surgical strike missiles and drones are the wave of the future.  Why build manned airplanes if all we need are unmanned drones?  Why build, as I've seen, seven ships to do the job that one mega ship can do?

Mitt Romney thinks he's Ronald Reagan.  Reagan's playbook worked to end the Cold War.  But, the War on Terror is a much different operation.  Just because you build more ships, it doesn't mean that Al Qaeda will be any less willing to attack us if they get the chance.

Instead of pouring our money into defense technology we don't need, why not pour our money into things that keep us safe?  Pour money into our intelligence units.  Pour money into our special forces.  These are the ways to fight terror.  The FBI and the CIA can be far more effective than a new destroyer or submarine in this regard.

President Obama gets it, but Mitt Romney doesn't.  He still thinks Russia is a geopolitical foe and that China is basing their economic policies on how many ships or troops we have.  He's wrong.

We need to maintain a strong defense, but, because of the way we've spent and overspent these last 40 years, we're very strong now.  It's time to see where we can find ways to save money and not spend more.  If Romney were a true conservative, he would be behind this line of thinking, too.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Last bayonet charge - Korean war
The Army dropped bayonet training
The Marine bayonet doubles as their knife

Sorry to disagree, but Reagan spent a ton of money to "end the Cold War", but the Soviet Union only needed a tiny push. It was already rotted from within. The most successful weapon that won the Cold War - American Pop Culture - especially Rock 'n' Roll and Jazz

Otherwise, I entirely agree with you. 8)>