Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I've been reading a lot about the First World War lately, trying to figure out what my grandfather might have experienced then as a private in the French infantry. In the first months of the war, it quickly became apparent that the old rules no longer applied. Machine guns and mechanization had changed everything.
In the Russo-Japanese War [1904-05] an English observer, the future General Ian Hamilton, reported that the only thing the cavalry could do in the face of entrenched machine guns was to cook rice for the infantry, causing the War Office to wonder if his months in the Orient had not affected his mind. [The Guns of August, Barbara W. Tuchman]
So I was on my feet cheering last night when, during his debate with Mitt Romney, President Obama pointed out why comparing the number of ships in the U.S. Navy in 1916 was missing the point in a very significant way. If you didn't see the exchange, this is a MUST WATCH segment:

Now, I must say that I originally thought the President was going a bit too far when he started explaining that we now have ships that planes can actually land on. That's piling on and really talking down to him, I thought.

Then Paul Ryan opened his mouth:

These guys are colossally ignorant.

Add to that Romney's explanation that Syria is Iran's "route to the sea." Steve Benen has a good post on this, headlined "Flunking Geography 101," and I'll steal his map:

The further out we get from this debate, the worse Romney's performance looks.

It is no surprise that Romney's foreign policy team is composed mostly of John Bolton and his band of chuckleheads.  Like George W. Bush, Romney is a blank and clueless slate, upon which they can write whatever they please.

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