Derisive image from HorsesandBayonetstumblr
â€œYou mention the Navy, for example… That we have fewer ships than in 1916. … We also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. So the question is not a game of Battleship where we are counting ships. Itâ€™s what are our capabilities?â€
Donald Sensing points out that he’s completely wrong about the bayonets.
As 1916 opened, the US Army’s total size was about 110,000 troops. The Marine Corps was minuscule since the Marines were still seen then as a raiding or expeditionary force rather than a major land combatant force.
In 1916, the Congress passed the National Defense Act that doubled the Army to 220,000 (rounded slightly). The USMC was marginally affected.
So a compromise was passed in May 1916, as the war raged on and Berlin was debating whether America was so weak it could be ignored. The army was to double in size to 11,300 officers and 208,000 men, with no reserves, and a National Guard that would be enlarged in five years to 440,000 men.
The US Army today has more than 560,000 troops and the USMC more than 200,000. Obama is wrong. we have hundreds of thousands more bayonets nowï»¿ than in 1916.
Sarcasm and condescension only work if the speaker’s presumption of lofty superior knowledge is borne out by his command of actual facts. You can’t successfully accuse your opponent of being an ignoramus when you don’t know what you’re talking about yourself.
The President was right on the basic fact that the US military, decades ago, replaced horse cavalry with mechanized infantry, armour, and helicopters, but his statement is inevitably undermined by the generally well-known fact that when US military forces were obliged to operate in Afghanistan, it was found that horse-mounted soldiers were essential.
US Special Operations Forces have consequently resumed training in horse-back riding at Fort Bragg.
So, though the US military hasn’t today got as many horses as it had in 1916, it actually has more horses than it had in 1986.
The President’s choice of submarines and aircraft carriers as a conceptual alternative to Mr. Romney’s larger number of ships than in 1916 (245) is particularly ironic when viewed in the light of the Obama Administration’s drastic plans to reduce both.
The Obama Administration, for example, plans to allow US attack submarines (the contemporary equivalent of the kind of submarines we had in 1916*) to bottom out at 40. In 1916, we had 44. By the end of WWI, we had 80 submarines.
*as opposed to ballistic submarines, used as launch platforms for ballistic missiles.
With respect to aircraft carriers, the Obama Administration’s plans to reduce the current 11 US aircraft carriers down to 9. (Comparisons of carriers with 1916 are not possible, as aircraft carriers did not yet exist.)
It is typical of Barack Obama’s rhetorical opportunism to try to exploit as examples of military strength, capability, and advanced thinking, some of the same portions of the Naval Fleet that he has actually dramatically cut.