Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

February 26, 2014

Hagel’s plan to shrink military criticized (The Globe, AP)

  • The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. Wikipedia
  • Range: 800 miles (1,287 km)
  • Weight: 24,960 lbs (11,320 kg)
  • Unit cost: 11,800,000–11,800,000 USD (1994)

In a piece by Robert Burns of the AP on page A9 , 2-25-2014; Chuck Hagel lays out a plan to bring the military  down to a size that was just before WWII, (or close to it).

Let’s face facts, times, weaponry, politics, wealth and a hundred other things have changed over the past decade plus, hell, even in the past few years it seems as if things are almost completely out of control. There is a ray of sunshine here piercing through the fog. We are the worlds premier power on the globe, not the only one, but now, we’re at the top of the heap militarily, that gives us a chance to seek alternatives to war, (it also increases the possibility of a catastrophic event, but that is a can of worms for another day).

Some of the “highlights” are quite simple, a reduction in manpower, a somewhat obvious choice if we are not planning on creating a cataclysm somewhere in the world. A trade-off in choppers is well overdo as well; what does the National Guard need Apache Attack helicopters for? The obvious trade would be for the Regular Army to have the AH-1’s and we receive Blackhawks which could easily fill the void to answer to state/national needs. When people need food or water immediately, you’re not going to get those items there on an Apache, but Blackhawks are perfect. Rescuing people from a Blackhawk beats shooting them to pieces with a mini-gun on an Apache.

On the Naval side of this, 11 aircraft carriers seem a bit much, but some of these are always in port being worked on, so all 11 are not on constant deployment. The firepower these behemoths can unleash is unbelievable, it should also be known they are huge targets as well, and the loss of even one would kill thousands of sailors in one fell swoop, no one wants that, even an attacker, if they could get through the defenses, would face massive retaliation, which of course benefits no one, particularly those on the receiving end of said retaliation.

A-10 “Warthogs” would be phased out. These are jet propelled tank killers, they do an excellent job at what they were designed for, but their lack of speed makes them vulnerable, so they need air cover, which was to be the F-35, a machine that has so many flaws, as they are built, they are moved to a “parking” area in AZ. The simple truth is, they can’t fly, not exactly what one is looking for in a state of the art aircraft. Each pilot has to have a helmet specifically designed for the individual head of the pilot, the initial cost was some $250,000 apiece, it’s now up to a cool half a million dollars, just for a helmet. So you’ve got this really cool helmet, but it’s not an “off the shelf deal”, it fits a single pilot, in a single aircraft that is prone to the wings shaking so badly, they just about fall off, (which makes the plane a ‘dumb bomb’ as it goes down. The problem is so bad, pilots are refusing to fly prototypes that supposedly fixed the initial problems. Last week, the VTOL, (Vertical Take Off and Landing), versions, crashed. From what I hear, the pilots survived.

The U-2, which was replaced by the SR-71, (now retired), is coming off-line. I’m not sure if anything is going to replace it, or whether the USAF will rely strictly on satellites or some other form of clandestine, (think drones), method of ground to HQ communication.

The sliver of daylight in all of this, is that while ground troop reduction, sailor reduction, airman reduction, etc, shows me that the US is planning on cutting back on military hardware, this is a good thing, even if there is something “hidden” we are not yet aware of. The point is, less personnel, less of a chance to go traipsing off starting wars. For decades, the military has believed that air/sea power were the keys to “victory”; anyone who has had their boots on the ground will tell you, “it ain’t over until the Infantry is there”. Less Infantry, less of a chance to attack other countries. We need to defend ourselves, but the empire building days must come to close. The corporate masters can hire their own mercenaries, (at a premium price), and quit having our young men and women shoved into harms way to protect corporate interests. The oil companies can use the subsidies Uncle Sam gives them to raise their own protective forces. In the mean time, we can send our children off to colleges and they can spend their time figuring a way to get off of fossil fuels once and for all.

I wish you all Peace,

Bob

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