Saturday, April 25, 2009

Robert Gates, Traitor or Fool?

"The highest-profile test of Defense Secretary Robert Gates's plan to overhaul how the Pentagon buys weapons will be whether he succeeds in winding down production of the most advanced fighter the Air Force has ever flown. ... But despite its political muscle and technological prowess, more F-22s don't have a place in Mr. Gates's vision. He wants to curtail production after 187 jets are delivered, some 60 jets short of what the Air Force has told lawmakers it wants. That could lead to thousands of job cuts. Mr. Gates sees the F-22, which costs $143 million apeice, as overkill for a military that needs to be more focused on hunting insurgents that fighting the militaries of peer nations. He is throwing the Defense Department's weight behind another plane made by Lockheed, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It is a simpler design, and US allies who will buy the jet share the costs. ... There are likely to be a flurry of hearings on all aspects of the Pentagon's plans, which will test Mr. Gates's holistic approach to the budget. ... He also wants the Navy to go back to producing and older-model destroyer and abandon a futuristic cruiser, among other cutbacks. For the Army, Mr. Gates wants to abandon plans to develop high-tech ground vehicles that were part of an $87 billion program. All these programs, he says, are too expensive and rely on unproven technology. ... Lockheed Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Stevens in a note ... said ... 'I embrace Secretary Gates' call to put the interests of the United States first--above the interests of agencies, services, and contractors--and I will support him in every way.' ... It would be shortsighted to think 'we're going to be fighting terrorists for 50 years and we're not going to be engaged in conventional war', [Sen. Saxby Chambliss said]", my emphasis, August Cole at the WSJ, 8 April 2009.

"On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a significant reordering of US defense programs. His recommendations should not go unchallenged. In the 1990s, defense cuts helped pay for increased domestic spending. Though Mr. Gates said that his decisions were 'almost exclusively influenced by factors other than simply finding a way to balance the books,' the broad list of program reductions and terminations suggest otherwise. In fact, he tacitly acknowledged as much by saying the budget plan represented 'one of those rare chances to match virtue to necessity'--the 'necessity' of course being the adminstration's decision to reorder the government's spending priorities. However, warfare is not a human activity that directly rewards virtue. Nor is it a perfectly calcuable endeavor that permits a delicate 'balancing; of risk. More often it rewards those who are on the battlefield 'the fustest with the mostest,' as Civil War Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest once put it. If Mr. Gates has his way, US forces will find it increasingly hard to meet the Forrest standard. ... The termination of the F-22 Raptor program at just 187 aircraft inveitably will call US air supremacy--the salient feature, since World War II, of the American way or war--into question. The need for these sophisticated, stealthy, radar-evading plance is already apparent. ... As the air-defense and air-combat capabilities of other nations, most notably China, increase, the demand for F-22s would likewise rise. And the Air Force will have to manage this small fleet of Raptors over 30 years. Compare that number with the 660 F-15s flying today, but which are lieterally falling apart at the seams from age and use. ... Meanwhile,Mr. Gates is further postponing the already decades-long search for the existing handful of B-2 bombers. The US Navy will continue to shrink below the fleet size of 313 ships it set only a few years ago. ... Dealying future moderization means that future generations of soldiers will conduct mounted operations in M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles designed in the 1970s. Gates ... calculus is true only because the Obama administration has chosen to cut defense, while increasing domestic entitlements and debt so dramatically", my emphasis, Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt at the WSJ, 8 April 2009.

"'There is no purely military solution to it,' [piracy] Gates said in an address to the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Va. 'There's really no way in my view to control it unless you get something on land that begins to change the equation for these kids.' ... Among the advocates for more serious initiatives in Somalia has been Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of US naval forces in the Middle East, who on Suday reiterated his ships could only do so much and 'the ultimate solution for piracy is on land'," Peter Spiegel at the WSJ, 14 April 2009.

Where do I begin with how incompetent, or worse Gates is? That we fought terrorists for over seven years shows our strategy and tactics incompetence. Gates should be fired. Now! What does "holistic approach" mean? Programs "rely on unproven technology", gee. Gates sounds like, drumroll please, a stupid accountant! The Manhattan Project relied on "unproven technology" too! Gates is a bigger danger to the Republic than al-Queda is, was or ever could be. Gates should find himself a sinecure somewhere with a foreign embassy. I understand the Saudis have lots of money. Gates find yourself a sinecure there. I've posted on the F-22 before, 12 March 2009:

Air supremacy? Time for an Independent Accountant father's war story. A real war story. During World War II my father said he used to seek shelter whenever he heard a plane in the sky until about November 1944. Why? By November 1944 the Luftwaffe could no longer fly.

Gates has forgotten, he is the US SecDef, not Obama's SecDef. He should resign. Now!

Gates is misplaced. He would be better at Health and Human Services. What does Gortney think we should do on land? Burn Somali villages to the ground if they harbor pirates? If not, what then?


Anonymous said...

I vote Gates a fool...

If the Secretary of Defense is not arguing for more weapons who on earth would? These weaknesses will take many years to reverse...

It would be wonderful if the world revolved around "peace and love"... our enemies pray that we stay in that delusion... our enemies play rough... wake up Gates or join the Saudis payroll...

Anonymous said...

Don't know about your father, but my granddad flew La-5 since late 1942 fighting on the Eastern Front. According to him, soviet forces dominated Luftwaffe since mid 1942, and after the Battle of Kursk soviets enjoyed complete air supremacy.
Are you sure about your father's account?
This talk about F22 is just the usual fear mongering. Cry me a river, seriously.
Gates is doing the right thing.

Independent Accountant said...

My chronology is correct. My father served in the Fifth Army in North Africa, Italy and Yugoslavia. You are entitled to your opinion of Gates. I don't share it.

Anonymous said...

Nonsense on both counts.

--The US was losing the Iraq war under Rumsfeld. Gates brought in Petraeus; the rest is history.

--You hear the same hysterical "Sky is falling" statements every time a major weapons system gets cancelled. You heard it about the Sgt. Ork DIVAD, you heard it about the XB-70, and you heard it about the F-12.

Read Coram's bio of John Boyd and get back with me.

Anonymous said...

piracy has never been defeated at sea, cf barbary coast, caribbean in the 1700s, etc. pirates are too small/nimble for capital ships or airstrikes, and the sea is too large to patrol effectively. a blockade doesn't work either--modern pirate craft don't require deep-water harbors, so they can launch anywhere on the somali coast.

the only way to defeat them is, unfortunately, to take them out on the ground or eliminate the political conditions under which they have room to operate.