Oct 23 2012
Update: I really like this post at Hot Air on the multidimensional screw up this incident really is.
Update: Someone from across the pond (in the UK) saw it the same way I did:
Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed.” The audience laughed, Obama laughed, I laughed. It was funny.
But here’s why it was also a vote loser. For a start, Twitter immediately lit up with examples of how the US Army does still use horses and bayonets (horses were used during the invasion of Afghanistan). More importantly, this was one example of many in which the President insulted, patronised and mocked his opponent rather than put across a constructive argument. His performance was rude and unpresidential. Obama seemed to have a touch of the Bidens, wriggling about in his chair, waving his hands dismissively and always – always – smirking in Romney’s direction. By contrast, Romney sucked up the abuse and retained a rigid poker face all night. He looked like a Commander in Chief; Obama looked like a lawyer. Who would you rather vote for?
For the record, with family and friends in the military, I did not laugh. – end update
Mitt Romney made an important comment last night, one that apparently went right by a sadly ignorant nation (given this morning’s glowing response to President Obama’s snarky retort). It goes to the “Bayonets & Horses” comment of Obama, which in its full context also noted ships upon which aircraft land called “carriers”, and ships that go underwater called “submarines”. I felt I was back watching Sesame Street again.
This retort tracked well with some of Frank Luntze’s undecided voters – which also sadly exposed the ignorance of the electorate on history, technology and the military.
Trust me, the snarky comment did not go over well in Navy-heavy Virginia – home of all the services and the Pentagon – nor military-heavy Colorado. Both states have large communities well versed on the topic so flippantly dismissed by the current Command in Chief.
Romney’s point was Obama plans to cut the military to early World War I levels (1916). At this point in our history we could barely protect ourselves. Roughly year later America mobilized a lot of men to die in Europe without the military technology and weapons that could save them for dying for Europe’s freedom. Our tanks were joke.
By the beginning of World War II we had invested in more military capacity, but it was not nearly enough. The German’s and Japanese started the war with much better tech – across the board. They could not produce our numbers, but at the War’s start their ships, planes and tanks were superior and killed 100’s of thousands of Americans. US Tech won the war, but brutally. We did not toss a horse or bayonet at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
If our forces were equipped and sized like they were coming out of World War II, Germany may not have (who can tell with a mad man), and Japan more than likely would not have initiated their plans of global conquest. Proof is in the cold war, where Stalin (another insane mass murderer) was contained along with his brutal successors. Once America was well enough equipped, the world stopped the World Wars and was faced with regional conflicts (until madmen like Saddam Hussein built up a military to rival China’s).
Peace through strength. It is not a cheap slogan. Our fire power and resolve to use it keeps much of the world’s hot spots from becoming regional or global. The reason we have the largest military compared to the next 10 nations is because all the European nations have shrunk their military capacity down to nothing. It is why the US deploys 80% of international and UN forces when actual fighting is required.
Russia too has slimmed down their forces. We are the largest in The West because we are the last ones capable of policing the world when called.
But not China. China is now building aircraft carriers (only a handful of nations can afford them, let alone staff them). Obama said we would be the Pacific naval power – but his military cuts don’t add up anymore than his deficit cutting does. He will expose us to an aggressive China who may feel like experimenting with US resolve. This is very dangerous.
The Horse and Bayonet line, while I guess funny to some, was arrogant and ignorant. First off, Romney was not asking for horses (and yes, we still use bayonets in the Marine Corp).
Romney wants to make sure we have enough of those fancy carriers and submarines to project the peace. And we need updated modern tech, since the rest of the world is not using horses any more either. We need more of these (click to enlarge):
These fast, powerful and stealthy ships will protect our forces, our allies and all civilians by projecting accurate and deadly force where and when we need it. It is this ability to reach out and tap someone like a Bin Laden that keeps many frustrated people from becoming the next Adolph Hitler.
This subject – what is our role in the world and how much military fighting power do we need to perform our missions – is not a laughing matter. Protecting people overseas in harms way, disaster relief after tsunamis, wars are all deadly serious business. This is not a game of Battleship.
See the difference?
Also note how snark is easy and useless when it comes to serious matters.
While I grant most citizens are woefully naive about this important community of defenders in our nation, that does not mean they are not out there, listening and turned off. Colorado and Virginia are epicenters of national defense. And the military’s extended family (families of soldiers and contractors) is massive. We have an enormous capacity to secure the world because we have an enormous work force doing the job..
It is quite clear people who serve should be proud of their service and sacrifice. I doubt that American pride translates to those now serving on Obama food stamp programs. I know which service I would prefer.