“We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow the pathway of Europe. To shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. And they of course rely on the strength of America and they hope for the best. Were we to follow that kind of course, there would be no one that could stand to protect us.
The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world. We choose that course. We choose that course for America not just so that we can win wars, but so we can prevent wars.”
– Mitt Romney during a Memorial Day event at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center in San Diego on Monday.
That speech prompted this headline :
Romney tells vets dangerous world demands powerful military
SAN DIEGO, California – Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney chose Veterans Day to proclaim to the American people his conviction that the world is a dangerous place, and the United States must remain its most formidable military power. “The world is not safe,” Romney told veterans on Memorial Day.
OK, let’s ignore the reference to Veterans Day and just acknowledge the basic pandering to our emotional side that responds to fear and is comforted by someone telling us that they will protect us … but is the danger being exploited ?
If you missed that headline, well the Washington Post offered another story on a different subject that pushes the same fear emotion :
They’re at it again — trying to deny lifesaving cancer tests.
The story referred to two studies that the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test does more harm than good. The studies, which involved 259,000 men in the United States and Europe, found that routine PSA testing of healthy men saved, at best, one life per thousand. And the tests drove many men to get expensive treatment — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy — they didn’t need.
They now recommended against having the test … and the reaction is again … They are trying to deny lifesaving cancer tests … we want that reassurance from someone telling us they will protect us … well at least request the test so that we can feel somewhat at ease.
Mitt Romney has not weighed in on whether men should have the PSA test, but he has weighed in on increasing the size of America’s Navy. He’s all for it … and a common refrain in his stump speech has been the question “Do you realize our Navy is now smaller than any time since 1917?”
Technically, Mitt Romney is correct … however if he went back to 1916, he could not make that claim … in December 1916 the active ship force levels was 245 … in April 2012 it was 282 (which happens to be larger than the Bush-era of September 2006 but let us not quibble).
Of course, the composition of our fleet is different. Today, we have nuclear submarines and ships are equipped with a variety of guided missile systems. The reality is that we have been decreasing the size and shape of the Navy as the decision was made to rid the fleet of small combatant ships.
The Navy is now on its fifth generation in configuring the fleet. It is in transition to a platform-centric battle force. Where the Navy used to count the number of ships, we now will consider the total battle force network.
But for a politician that does not have the pizzazz fear-mongering that the world is a dangerous place. Instead wanna-be Commander-in-Chief Romney panders that he will increase the military force by 100,000 and increase the ship build from 9 to 15 a year … and to discourage any dissent, he poses the alternative as “To shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs.” So to Commander-in-Chief Romney, we have all the money to expand the largest and best equip military in the world, but not enough to pay for our social needs … so gentleman if you want a PSA test, be prepared to pay for it … because President Romney will have no choice but to cut entitlement programs to pay for his military build-up.