- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2006

By air, land and sea

In his article, “Enemies adapt to military air power” (Technology, Aug. 17), Fred Reed adeptly identifies that it can be challenging fighting unconventional forces. He very correctly noted that technology is not always the answer for defeating another military force and that intelligence challenges will continue. However, I am a little confused as to why he focused on only airpower.

Airpower was only one aspect of the overall Israeli campaign against Hezbollah, which began with engagements between surface forces. Israeli land, air, and sea forces all faced challenges and common intelligence shortfalls. Insofar as airpower is concerned, any knowledgeable air strategist understands airpower has strengths and weaknesses, capabilities and limitations, costs and relative savings. Airpower is an extremely important aspect in the application of military power and is best employed when closely integrated with other aspects of military force in support of overarching military and political objectives.

Mr. Reed asks, “Why does air force after air force promise more than it can deliver?” and “Why are bright and well-informed air staffs so often taken by surprise?” As for the former question, Mr. Reed does not state which air force is making this promise. More specifically, he does not state which person (or people) in a given air force makes this promise.

Mr. Reed mentions three prominent air theorists by name — Billy Mitchell (died 1936), Giulio Douhet (died 1930), Alexander de Seversky (died 1974) — who he indicates “all grossly overestimated aircraft.” However, their theories were formulated from 50 to 80 years ago when airpower was in its infancy. And although their ideas remain important to understand, modern airpower in theory, strategy and application has progressed an order of magnitude past their early ideas. I know of no prominent or established airman who makes such promises today.



As for the latter question, it is not only airmen who are surprised but military members of all components. Intelligence is garnered and shared by all the military services. The Israeli land forces were every bit as surprised as their air forces about the level and type of resistance Hezbollah presented. Israeli airpower, like the surface forces, was not decisive. However, airpower greatly extended the strike range within the overall campaign quickly striking targets which surface forces never were going to reach — in time or range. In addition, the employment of its air force enabled attacks that did not place large numbers of soldiers at risk.

Prominent air strategists today understand that airpower — along with all other military competencies — is not best employed in isolation. The bottom line is we continue to need and rely upon a proper balance of forces to accomplish assigned military missions. We are best served by a synergism of highly integrated air, sea and land forces. In regards to airpower, it can simultaneously support the overall campaign, be a high impact element within itself, or do both.

COL. MACE CARPENTER

Air Force

Farifax

The right legal moves

With regards to “Court rejects early voting” (Metropolitan, Tuesday): It is possible that the Maryland Court of Appeals has viewed the Maryland Constitution and finally seen that it is there to protect the citizens of Maryland and not for the personal use of special interest groups, agents of foreign governments, and government lawyers. Normally the domain of party hacks and social engineers, the court seems to have finally found a few good judges. What a refreshing notion.

The early voting effort by state Democrats financed by various special interest groups and foreign governments was an affront to law and order and had the rights of everyone but citizens at its core. Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s fight against this plan of rampant fraud should be seen as the highlight of his stewardship. Our state needs tighter controls on the use of the vote to make certain that those with the right are protected and those without it are sent on their way.

Tom Perez, on the other hand is an example of an ego run amuck. The courts ruling should send a clear message to all that just because you worked for the government does not allow you to infringe on and ignore the constitution. His actions and the actions of his followers do not shed a good light on any further efforts in the political arena. How could Mr. Perez wish to be the attorney general by ignoring or subverting the laws he is sworn to defend?

WILSON FARIS

Gaithersburg

Disingenuous disclaimer

Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org’s political action executive director, has been somewhat disingenuous in disclaiming MoveOn.org’s responsibility for the anti-American and anti-Semitic slurs that have been appearing all over its Action Forum (“MoveOn and hate speech,” Letters, Saturday).

First, MoveOn.org has always had the power to moderate this forum. Objections to slurs like “Jew Lieberman” were in fact removed while the slurs themselves were allowed to stand. Only when Robert Goldberg’s “Donkey See, Monkey Do” Op-Ed (Aug. 29) exposed this scandal did MoveOn try to sweep the worst of the evidence under the rug. Unfortunately for MoveOn.org, much of it is still cached on Google and has been downloaded and posted elsewhere for all to see.

The MoveOn community shows overwhelming approval for accusations that Jews do not serve in the U.S. military, Jews are loyal to Israel instead of the United States, America is a war criminal country, and other, often worse, critcisms.

It is time for all liberals who consider themselves ladies or gentlemen to walk away from MoveOn.org’s anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. Candidates like Ned Lamont and Bob Casey cannot control who endorses them but they can reject MoveOn’s endorsement the way President Reagan rejected the Ku Klux Klan’s.

WILLIAM A. LEVINSON

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Don’t blame politicians

Friday’s editorial against the proposed Metrorail tunnel under Tysons — “Tunnel vision” — rails against our elected officials for not evaluating the proposed tunnel based upon economic considerations. That is grossly unfair. Politicians do not do economics; politicians tax and spend.

We call them politicians because their business is politics. If the business of politicians was economics, we would call them economists. If the editor of the Washington Times wants economics to drive transportation infrastructure decisions, then the editor should suggest that we change the decision makers.

And we can. We can have people looking for profit and consumers concerned about expense decide. We can finance transportation infrastructure improvements with private capital, and we can have the users pay for the costs of these improvements. If we require private financing and repayment with user fees, either investors or bondholders will demand economically viable proposals or they will not invest. If the improvements are too costly, the improved systems will have too few users.

We are already half way there. We already do private financing and we already collect user fees. We have government entities that issue bonds to finance large infrastructure projects. We have toll roads. Even the Metro and the VRE collect fees. We just have to change the system so that we pay off infrastructure improvements strictly with the collection of tolls or user fees. If we do that, our elected officials will have less influence, and we will spend our money more wisely.

We have an easy choice. We can build transportation systems people want to use. We can let financiers and transportation system users decide what we build. Otherwise, we can continue to abuse our electedofficials for beingpoliticians.

RICHARD T. SALMON

Gainesville, Va.

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