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  • Morning Bell: Can America Defend Itself?

    The Iranian threat yet again finds itself on the front page of America’s newspapers this morning, this time with news that the rogue regime has sentenced a U.S. citizen to death for working for the CIA and that it has started refining uranium deep inside a mountain bunker. Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is launching a week-long trip through South America in order to bolster ties with his allies in the region in hopes of strengthening the country’s challenge to the United States.

    This news comes just after a series of Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz–a provocative move that would cut off a quarter of the world’s energy supply and wreak havoc on the global economy. Of course, on top of this verbal threat, Iran is continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons despite an uproar from the international community.

    Despite this emerging threat, President Barack Obama traveled to the Pentagon last Thursday to announce that the “tide of war is receding” for the United States, thereby justifying massive cuts to the U.S. military. “In short, we’ve succeeded in defending our nation, taking the fight to our enemies, reducing the number of Americans in harm’s way, and we’ve restored America’s global leadership. That makes us safer and it makes us stronger.”

    The President, though, did not mention the Iranian threat, North Korea’s new 28-year-old leader whose finger rests on a nuclear trigger, and the growing dominance of China as a regional power. In other words, the President is pursuing a strategy to cut the U.S. military by a half-trillion dollars over ten years based on the argument that the world is a safer place, yet he is totally ignoring the very real threats around the world today. Defense expert Mackenzie Eaglen explains how the military plans to cope with the resulting reduction in funding and forces, one component of which includes a “strategic pivot” from southwest Asia to East Asia in order to counter a rising China:

    Pentagon leaders plan to skirt the lack of capabilities through an increased reliance on National Guard and reserve forces–the same men and women who are worn out from a decade of multiple tours overseas. DoD plans to assume more risk in the active component and the capabilities that are available immediately in the event of conflict or crisis. Examples include heavy armor brigades and tactical fighter wings.

    Another tenet of the “pivot” to Asia is the transition from a military focused on manpower-intensive counterinsurgency to the light footprint doctrine of counterterrorism. Panetta has mentioned unmanned or remotely piloted aircraft, cyber, and special forces as key areas that must be protected from budget cuts. They may even get more money.

    Of course, the Pentagon will do its best to answer the call to duty under the limitations that the White House imposes. But that does not mean that it will be as well-equipped as it could and should be to defend the United States, at home and abroad. As Heritage’s James Carafano writes, “It is completely unreasonable for the White House to argue the world has changed so much that we can just do all this with less.” That is especially true given the threats that are lurking around the corner from the likes of Iran, North Korea, and China.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    55 Responses to Morning Bell: Can America Defend Itself?

    1. toledofan says:

      It's clear, that as long as the Democrats are in charge, we will always be in a precarious situation. I'm sure there are some things that can be trimmed, but, to use a chainsaw seems like the wrong approach. As long as the pjhilosophy is to talk, cut and run or just turn our back, we will be always be looking in the rear view mirror.

      • pcj says:

        Rep. Allen West of Florida was in the military for many years, stationed in the middle east. He has posted his views on how the US can protect itself in his weekly newsletter at http://west.house.gov I don't live in Florida but I read his newsletter every week just to read some sane words in this lunatic world. I hope that whichever Republican wins in 2012 uses West's experience and intelligence to do the best for the US.

    2. ThomNJ says:

      This is more of obama moves to placate his base while preparing for serious campaigning ahead.

      Sadly, this will indeed come back to bite us – and bite us hard – as will most of what obama has undone during his presidency.

      I don't really think the military budget needs a whole lot of trimming – better usage of funds and re-allocation of waste to other budget items or projects, yes, but the obverall size is not the issue, in my view.

    3. Ricardo Gray says:

      Power and the perception of power are the essential elements to influence in the world. Simply reducing our armed forces and basically retreating around the world lead to less influence and more danger to ourselves, our world-wide interests, and our continuing friends and allies. They will see our acts for what they really are, regardless the blatherings of US politicians and diplomats. Careful and effective realignment of forces, weapons, and diplomatic arrangements can all contribute to a safer and more integrated world. Unilateral diminishment of our armed forces is short-sighted, dangerous, and counter-productive. We will accrue more and more regret as the future brings actions and threats beyond our control and outside our influence. Weakness is very unattractive.

      • auhunter says:

        I'm with you. 10 or 15 years ago Iran would never have even considered threatening us, now with increasing ties in South America they are practically on our door step. Diminishing our military strength is the same as saying "Hey guys we're sorry, we give up". Strength in diplomacy is based upon military power, real or perceived. It is time to stop "bowing" and get back to the military strength we had during the Cold War, granted the military needs to make some changes, but cutting personnel and weaponry is not the way to go. If our allies concur build the missile defense shield, tell Russia to hell with reduction in nukes (we always end up on the short end of the stick anyway), and tell these rogue nations, you want a piece of us come and get it; it'll be the biggest mistake you ever made. In 1954 the world made us the International Police Force, like it or not. We could then and still can put the largest and most sophisticated military force on the ground in 48 hours or less. It's time to shoulder the responsibility and at any nations request, with concurrence of NATO, even though they have forgotten their responsibility to the world, to act the part. "Walk the Talk" not Talk the Talk".

    4. Jacques says:

      And we carve on the Iranian threat by not returning the Stennis aircraft carrier in the Persian Golf. Where do we go?

    5. Jeff says:

      It won't happen with Obama in office, but it might be a good idea to shore things up with China and Russia then take out both N. Korea and Iran. Those two little toilets of nations are threatening the well-being of three giant ones. Hopefully we'll be able to wait out the year…

    6. LynnGA says:

      So our fearless leader plans to just let an American be executed by these barbarians? This, while he wants to release Islamic terrorists from Gitmo and refuses to respond to any Iranian provocation. He is putting this country in peril. Whose side is he on??

    7. Wayne Peterkin says:

      Barack Obama believes the U.S. has sinned, we are the cause of most of the world's problems, and therefore should be seriously weakened and relegated to little more than third-world status. In the process, he would like to redistribute most of our wealth to the rest of the world. Lowering our living standard is nothing but what we deserve.

    8. sdfultz says:

      No one will ever address America in linear warfare, indeed the tide is changing. The President has with counsel determined a new direction for the military. We will be the spear of détente in the world, capable of striking anywhere in the world. Boots on the ground will be the Second line of defense.
      I'm sure our troops will appreciate this new direction, new technology, new training and new level of preparedness. we're moving into the 21st Century!

    9. Mary......WI says:

      I'm hearing more and more folks in their 70's and 80's saying how glad they are they're "old". They consider themselves fortunate to have lived their lives in a free country but fear their children and grandchildren will not be as fortunate given the direction the current president is taking this country. A personal friend mentioned that the epitaph on his gravestone is supposed to read "I was born a free man and I died a free man"….hs's hoping he makes it otherwise his daughter will have to change the epitaph.

      Obama is taking this country down and making such drastic cuts in the defense of this country leaves me uncomfortable given the Iranian, Russian, Chinese, and Venezuelan leaders that seem determined to take out the USA……with the help of Obama it would appear.

    10. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      NO!

    11. 1* NC says:

      Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman,JCS is now going on tour on behalf of the Obama Whitehouse. He willl give a lecture on 12 Jan, at 5:30pm, at Duke University's Page auditorium, in the left-leaning (therefore sympathetic) bastion of Durham, NC. He is purported to be speaking expansively on this new shift to a "leaner defense strategy". Is anyone from Heritage going to cover this lecture? It will be interesting to see just how much the Pentagon will tout the party line.

    12. Jill Maine says:

      We can thank clinton for desimating the military years ag which made us weak. Now BHO is doing it when the world has never been more dangerous or threatening. The Iranian nut job is going to South America because that is where he sends his terrorists so they can come into America through the Mexican back door. I think we have a nightmare in the making. BHO has got to go.

    13. Minarchist says:

      Remembering that these cuts are the result of the debt ceiling negotiation that failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion within the "Super committee", one has to wonder if this was not Barack Hussein Obama's plan all along. Did he speculate or otherwise know that the Democrats on that committee would not agree to any substantial cuts put forward by the Republicans, thus allowing him to default and cut the Pentagon?

      He received his debt ceiling increase, paid nothing for it, and gets to downsize the military as a bonus.

      Yes, and he has recently asked for another increase in the borrowing limit.

      What will be the financial and political costs of this one?

    14. James McGarrahan says:

      As I read, one sentence jumped out at me.
      "Pentagon leaders plan to skirt the lack of capabilities through an increased reliance on National Guard and reserve forces–the same men and women who are worn out from a decade of multiple tours overseas. "
      Aside from the obvious ramifications to the men and women of the National Guard and their families, it dawned on me that over time, this will also created a situation here at home where there will be times when the Guard is needed and will not be available.
      Not to worry though. I'm sure Obama had just this in mind when he spoke of a "civilian national security force."
      Is it possible that this man is cunning enough to be setting up just such a situation?

    15. Victor Barney says:

      No! In fact, I predict that the two-witnesses of Revelation, chapter 11 will begin to witness against u.s. for 3 1/2 years beginning on September 16, 2012 on the Israelite Feast of Trumpets(war) and only 144,000 will survive, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel except Dan(Irish) as written in Revelation! Watch!

    16. Judy says:

      I tried to warn everyone about Obama's goal our total disarmament, before he was elected. It is sickening and sad and is unfair to our Special Forces, not to mention the already heavy burden of our border guards who need our help at the war on our Borders. May God help us elect a strong pro-defense, strong conservative who will not kow-tow to tyranny on the world stage, nor tyrannical threats that have invaded our own country's borders.

    17. wallace McCormick says:

      We have been unable to protect OURSELVES from our own Government. Due to our inability and slothfulness we have become the bullies of the world, a new Rome. Until we can once again control our OWN country, our own leaders (and yes I mean both parties, Republicans and Democrats alike) they will continue to drive America off the cliff. Unless we wake up NOW America is doomed for destruction from within. Is it not our own leaders, corporations, cities, counties , and States that needs to be RETURNED to We The People? Shouldn't we be securing our own borders rather than the borders of other countries? I urge every American citizen to get involved , if it is already not too late.

    18. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      I have no doubt the American fighting man & women can defend thereself against any threat. What we cannot defend ourselves from is the rot within the nation by self-serving politicians who seek only to enrich themselves…

      It's never the enemy without one needs to fear…it's the enemy within…When Heritage is having lunch & dinner with the life-long politicians…pay attention!

    19. Sue Costanzo says:

      Obama's last rite of passage will be to unarm America. He may have not succeeded in individual arms, due to "Fast and Furious" failing…..so now he must take it nationally. I am convinced and have been that this Man is evil and is a fraud. He is in teh WH for our enemy. I do not know who, but I suspect it is China, as China has been a very patient Country in the eventual takeover of the West and her freedoms.
      We must stand up…all of us and refuse this dangerous turn, as we all will be in jeopardy as our forces become inadequately trained to defend our freedom.

    20. Curt Krehbiel says:

      The better question is. Can America defend itself against the radical left?

    21. Brown Derby says:

      Per the constitution, Obama is hamhandedly pursuing exactly the right course. Next week he needs to go to the Pentagon and tell them to double last week's cut and halve our overseas postings.

    22. Ron W. Smith says:

      Being perpetually in a state of anxiety over international threats is a consequence of United States foreign policy. Our projection of power everywhere, more than 700 large and small military installations around the world, on land and at sea, means we're in everyone's backyard. Iran, for instance, not only knows we're there in three neighboring countries, they're aware of our presence in their only access to international waters.
      That's our foreign policy at work, friends, and one effect is that our presence is felt. As a consequence, can it be any wonder we're constantly a target and involved in war after war, intervention after intervention? Iran is acting no differently at all than we would if, say, Iran were present in Canada and Mexico. We're already paranoid over Iran's friendliness with Latin and South American countries seeing it as a threat and doing what we can to nip any such goings on in the bud.
      Another effect of our foreign policy decisions since WWII, and especially since 9/11, is that we have a $15 trillion + national debt that shows no sign of shrinking. International presence, easy in flush times, is too costly in lean times. Think of all the good we could be doing domestically with the money we squander just on servicing that debt! Being SuperPower on call is an extravagance no longer affordable, a cheaper form of hegemony definitely needed instead.
      A good read on the subject is Andrew Bacevich's Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War.
      It's time, in this country, for open discussion and debate of our foreign policy decisions. Folks need to be more involved in decisions as costly in blood and treasure as those we've made have turned out to be.

    23. Whicket Williams says:

      Well, it is proven The American citizen is dumb, and dumb animals get eaten by predators, and go extinct

    24. Dennis Beck says:

      Quick question – what do we (the U.S.) do when we find a foreign spy in our country? We most likely put them to death, with or without a trial.

      So why is it bad for Iran to do so? I mean, I am saddened for the family of the person who was caught, but in fact, Iran is practicing the very same policy that we do.

      • ChuckL says:

        Dennis, Facts do not back your statement.

        In most cases the spy is held for a prisoner exchange. We have in the far past executed spies, but I doubt that you were alive then.

    25. DanStewart says:

      Play nice kiddies, tell it like it is, & the admins make you go sit in the corner.

    26. Basia says:

      Obama is taking America into the rapid, drastic and deadly decline. The only army that Obama dreams of is a food state army. Those are his soldiers that become his dependent voters.

    27. DanStewart says:

      Today it is raining here & a little cool. Will the weather be deleted too?

    28. ainee says:

      Every now and then when a drastic (or so it seems) move is made by thePresident followed by his explanation , I reverse what he says and find it most nearly approaches the reality of a situation: Example:

      the “tide of war is [not] receding” for the United States, thereby [there should be no] justifying massive cuts to the U.S. military. “In short, we’ve [not] succeeded in defending our nation, [we are not] taking the fight to our enemies, [nor] reduc[ed] the number of Americans in harm’s way, [nor have we] restored America’s global leadership." Does anyone feel – either with obama's original statement or its reverse – that we are safer and stronger, as he declared???

    29. sdfultz says:

      Ahh, no response to your story?

    30. Janice says:

      I am convinced that Obama is from another planet, maybe even another universe. His thinking does not compute.

    31. Larry says:

      What is or can be done about Obama's unconstitutional actions on appointeesand any other such acts???

    32. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Being an Army brat, I grew up with the knowledge that a country is only as strong as it's Military, cutting the size is not the answer it is cutting the waste and exorbant prices paid for material. My mother and step-father both worked for the BU of Ordance, Navy during WWII and I heard first hand aout the waste, high prices that occured at the end of the war, they only got worse, just as with BHO, there was a lot of "Pay back" for votes, this is one large hole that needs to be plugged, votes should NEVER be bought, it has been bad in the past BUT with this administration it's gotten well out of hand.

    33. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Everyone should read "Throw them all out" Then VOTE in Nov. after any primaries

    34. Steven A. Sylwester says:

      It is interesting to note the comparisons between the oath of office taken by a U.S. president:
      "I, <name>, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
      and the oath of office taken by members of the U.S. Congress:
      "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."
      The oath of office taken by members of the U.S. Congress is also the oath of office taken by the Vice President, members of the Cabinet, federal judges and all other civil and military officers and federal employees other than the President.

      Big difference. Oddly, even as Commander in Chief, the President of the United States of America does not take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," though everyone else of consequence in the U.S. government does. Odder still, only the oath taken by a U.S. president has the qualifier: "to the best of my ability." One could conclude that the oath taken by all others to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" requires a fight until death if necessary, but the oath taken by a president requires him/her to save his/her own life at all costs. It makes sense in a strange way.

      So who carries the greater burden — the greater obligation? It seems to me the Congress does, but the Congress is a damnable mess and too often a gaggle. On the other hand, the President is just one person: an easy target — an easy scapegoat. The President recommends, but it is the Congress that spends in our system of government. Remember that.

      The question "Can America defend itself?" is much bigger than considerations regarding U.S. military spending. If we are so small-minded to identify our enemies —"all enemies, foreign and domestic" — as only those distant nations that have big guns and unfriendly intentions, we are hopelessly doomed.

      America's greatest enemies are already lurking around inside our nation's borders with free rein to help themselves to whatever they want. It is an outrage, but we allow it unfettered because our focus and our fears are wrongly placed elsewhere. Open your eyes, America! It is not too late already, but it is fast approaching that tipping point.

      What can be done — that is: what should be done?

      Well, the three amendments to the U.S. Constitution that I propose at the following two links should have been ratified years ago, so time cannot be wasted in starting the ratification process now: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2011/12/thhttp://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2012/01/wa

      But even those three amendments are not enough. The health care problem in America must be solved. And, yes, Obamacare is a mistake that must be repealed, but the necessary fix is even more sweeping. Understand this: it is absolutely essential — it is a MUST DO — that all health care obligations of any sort be taken entirely off of U.S. businesses. Health care obligations are what is strangling U.S. businesses in the global economy, and preserving the economic future of our great nation is what is at stake in doing what is necessary to immediately stop that strangulation. We cannot afford to NOT do what is necessary, and what is necessary is described in detail at the following two links: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2009/12/nahttp://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2011/11/my

      Unfortunately, the persistent problems in U.S public education must also be solved if America wants to remain a great nation. It is a folly to think that local solutions are the only acceptable solutions to the many problems. I assure you: the greatest problem — the problem of effectively educating America's very brightest young people to their fullest potential — will never be solved locally, and I mean: NEVER! The resources and the will that are necessary are just not there.

      What is at stake? For starters: America's fate in cyber-warfare is at stake, which is quite possibly America's fate in the next great war we will eventually have with a worthy opponent. Please consider my proposal at: http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blog
      Also consider: http://school-usa-proposal.blogspot.com/

      All of the above is my fervent attempt to recognize just exactly what are America's greatest resources, and to then support and defend those greatest resources "against all enemies, foreign and domestic." In all of that, who is our worst enemy by my own observation? We are.

      God help us.

      Steven A. Sylwester

      • Bobbie says:

        The cyber-warfare does effect the general welfare of the public but the rest is unconstitutional. It's dangerous to have government in any part of what we have and can control on our own, Steven. Government intrusion got us here. Look what they did with the sub crime loans? they used us to accommodate people who couldn't afford homes with homes that led to more irresponsibilities like paying the maintenance, property taxes, etc. more government programs to subsidize their way! all a big set up right on our laps while money is spent on priorities of leisure! If the rules to buy a home remained the same for all without government driven bias, discrimination, etc, NONE OF THIS WOULD BE HERE! there is affordable housing if people want it they work for it like the rest of us without fannie and freddie which came out when we were buying our home and my husband wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ARMS OF GOVERNMENT! THIS IS WHY! Imagine a constitutional government and our personal abilities that lead our lives, our way!
        If you can run your ideas with the least to none of government, I'm with you…sorry for the rant!

    35. Bobbie says:

      Can America defend itself? not when the one in power and control compromises America's defenses. It's practical not to have waste to begin with but the cutting of waste should go domestically, as that's where it's unconstitutional! Obama isn't cutting waste he's cutting significant safety and protection measures of his priorities at the cost of America's safety! where's the elimination of costs to "special interests?" cuts in those that didn't earn but are getting, entitlements?

    36. Ann Wilson Kingsley says:

      Iran and North Korea are just little countries trying to be "Big". North Korea has all of about 8 nukes left. Some probably will not even get off the launch pad. This happened when they were firing off nukes in more recent times, trying to bolster nationalism and the premiere's image. North Koreans were starving once again, and something had to be done. North Korea's nukes will probably not reach any further than Japan, and the Japanese have their own nukes. The Israeli Mossad says Iran's nuke ambitions are not a threat to Israel. Israel has 100s of all kinds of nukes. It is the New World Order and their unceasing ambition to control the world's energy supply and dominate the whole world that suffers from not being to control the Middle East. The threats to the U.S. and the rest of the world are China, India, Pakistan, and Russia. WE need to leave these poor little countries alone. If Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, whose fault is it if we do not have enough oil? You guessed it – ours – Americans. Several presidents have not engaged in an aggressive drilling program. And, energy credits were extended for "Green" energy, which is mostly a scam. Windmill fields are closing down as lacking in viability while new fields are being built. Industry needs to research hydrogen and other technologies.

    37. Grenadier says:

      The Iranian threat to close the Straits of Hormuz is a major military and economic threat which must not be ignored. We need an appropriate force structure and economic power to counter this threat. Since the threat of a massive disruption of oil supplies is a major threat to the US economy, shouldn't we be expanding our oil production as fast as possible? It doesn't seem very smart to spend billions on defense of the Middle Eastern oil when we are sitting virtually unlimited supplies here at home. We should be drilling, fracking, building pipelines and refineries as quickly as we can. In my opinion, the best strategy is to stay strong militarily and eliminate the threat using an indirect approach without the need for another protracted war.

    38. jay says:

      When I retired from the USA in 92, there were 14 active divisions, now there are 10. Many are worn out and ill-equipped after ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama and Dempsey tells us we are going light. In my twenty-seven years in the military it was tried time and again until the first shot was fired then the cry went out for tanks and heavy armor. We have our trucks so heavily armored now they appear almost comical and certainly would not work in any place with hills,mud, snow or jungle. Special forces have its important role but history tells me it is limited. We always try to do our military on the cheap and it always goes back to haunt us; WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. Jay

    39. Bob Johnston says:

      Obama does not want us to defend ourselves and his plan, rite from the start, was to ruin our financial system by putting us so far in debt we would have to depend on the government for our living. This is socialism. It has failed every where it has been tried.

    40. NW-PA says:

      Well, this happened under President Clinton and President Bush had to build up our defense and military. The next republican President will have to do the same as President Bush.

    41. Wes Evans says:

      A reliance on drones and rpv's will not work in a war or conflict with a sophisticated enemy for they are easily disabled as are GPS guided weapons. An EMP weapon , nuke anti-satellite or high energy interference capability can render all of these modern marvels inoperable. Because we have been successful against 3rd world and non state opponents it is a mistake to think that future opponents will not be able to counter these weapons. In the end any future major war fought against a credible military it will end up with piloted aircraft, tanks with men in them, artistry and infantry boots on the ground.

    42. Ryan says:

      Um… Iran, North Korea, and China are not new threats. You could reasonably argue that Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be unstable but by leaving them out here you're essentially granting the President's point that the threats are at worst remaining constant while our technology improves and reduces the need for such a large footprint, as you basically point out here.

      China wants to be the most economically dominant country in the world, but they don't want an actual war. They understand, much more so than our actual enemies in Iran and North Korea, that the world is now ruled on the economic stage.

      And how is the military so sacred as to be spared by Heritage, who links this article in from charts of massive debt accumulation? Everything needs to be on the table – military, entitlements, both mandatory and discretionary.

    43. Kurt says:

      The Constitution specifically "authorizes" the Federal government to ensure the safety of this country (via Army, Navy, et al) They should cut funding to the scads of unconstitutional programs and redirect that money to its true responsibilities!

    44. Thor H. Asgardson says:

      It is absurd to suppose that we are not already at war with Iran, yet this nation had best get its own house in order, before embarking on another Don Quixote adventure. Time has run out, if this republic is to survive.

      America is very confused about what constitutes an American. We have the international bankers to thank for weaving the myth that our country is a mini-United Nations and that it belongs to the world.

      This dangerous notion leaves our nation without defense against the third and final strike, which will knockout our nation for good.
      http://www.realzionistnews.com/?p=183
      http://www.realzionistnews.com/?p=585
      http://www.badeagle.com/2011/03/03/amercia-must-d

    45. Walt Bates says:

      RE: Closing the Straits of Hormuz.
      When oil was discovered on Alaska's North Slope in 1969 the question was how to get it out. A pipeline had many downsides beside its $12.5B (1970 dollars) cost but there seemed to be no other way. Exxon formed a separate company called Alyeska which would own and operate the pipeline, renting out space on it to other oil companies. But in the midst of all this planning guess who walked in – Boeing! They would build a fleet of tanker airplanes to fly the oil out. The Seattle giant was fresh off of the success of the 747 which essentially proved that the only limit to an aircraft's size was its economic viability.

    46. Walt Bates says:

      Boeing's aircraft would have a 400 foot wingspan with six large oil pods on each wing with engines interspersed. This resulted in ten engines and twelve pods. Calculations involving maintenance downtime and historical unflyable weather at Prudhoe Bay showed that a fleet of 55 aircraft could equal the flow rate of the pipeline. Coincidentally, the cost was $12.5B.
      But look at the other plusses. No ocean going tankers with their threats of spills. Refineries could be located anywhere, not just on shorelines. No problem with political boundaries (can you spell Hormuz?). Infinite flexibility for future transport (can you spell Keystone?).
      Exxon was the one who shot this idea down as they were going to make a bundle off the pipeline. Events over the last 40 years have proven that the wrong chouice was made.,

    47. Rock Cramer says:

      We need a new strategy for terrorism that’s also similar to the old MAD uncertainty philosophy. With cruise missiles, unmanned drones, special ops, etc., a president should be able to take out any number of levels of military and administration in any regime he chooses. It’s just a matter of will and a clear understanding that it really is necessary to execute some “cowboy” act of retribution just often enough to keep foreign bad guys mindful that “plausible deniability” makes no difference. If you are on the watch list, you might become toast or get spanked hard for any “random” terrorist act. With this level of uncertainty, nasty regimes will likely make some effort to police themselves.

      In any case, deployment based on technology advantages and cultivating an aura of uncertainty in the opposition are strategies at least as old as Machiavelli, if not Sun Tzu.

      This is another civilian “debate” that we should be having.

    48. Jim Smith says:

      I seem to remember another Defense Secretary proposing a "leaner defense strategy".
      His name was Donald Rumsfeld, and he was part of the Bush Administration.

      Wondering what Heritage had to say about that at the time?

    49. ChuckL says:

      The Constitution establishes the President as the commander in Chief of the U. S. military forces.

      The Constitution establishes the Congress as the authority to determine the make up of the U. S. Military and to fund it.

      The Congress must take back its authority and listen to the Miliary about what is actually needed. The Russian PAK FA or Sukhoi T-50 and the Chinese J-20 and F-50 which are all touted as F-22 equals must be considered. Unfortunately the F-35 is only in the class of the fighters of the Vietnam war era. It is not a true 5th generation fighter. It has neither the speed nor the maneuverability to perform as such.

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