Monday, February 07, 2005
M-113 APC's, C-130's and Military Spending
At the start of World War II, building a 10,000 ton Liberty ship took 12 months. Three years later, this was down to four days, and the ships were coming off assembly line at the rate of 13 per week. The Willow Run bomber plant in Michigan was turning out a four-engine B-24 every hour.I have read, today, that only 25% of our vehicles are armored and C-130's are taking over some of the transport duties to lessen the danger to our troops. Now the Army plans to send 734 Vietnam-era M-113 APC's to Iraq. This is the vehicle that troops would rather ride on top and risk exposure to enemy fire, than run the risk of being drenched with fuel and trapped inside.
Some of today's weapons are more complex and take longer to build, but three years into the war, armor, for instance should be coming off assembly lines like sheets of plywood. Instead, armor is in short supply, and troops are dying for lack of it.
Mark Helprin asked in January if President Bush was fighting this war on the cheap. I have said it is eerie that we are at war, yet see no signs of it in our daily domestic lives, other than wives, parents and children of our military personnel. The war is being fought overseas, yet our borders are as porous as a T-shirt that's been washed every week for 12 years. Why? Are the politicians afraid to tell us that massive military spending is heading our way? Are we in for a repeat of the sixties under Johnson, when he tried to give us "guns and butter" and what we got was massive inflation? Are big increases in spending a threat to the USD?