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A rejoinder to “The USMC and Aircraft Carriers… don’t leave home without ‘em”

Eric L. Bainter takes a shot at starting an inter-service exchange of fire views

In referece to Perry de Havilland and his Samizdata post of 28 Nov entitled The USMC and Aircraft Carriers… don’t leave home without ‘em , I can’t help but note the following:


  1. It is probably not terribly hard to establish air superiority over a handful of helicopters and some aged Antonov transports…
  2. Analysis of true cause-and-effect will take some time, but I note that it seems the things didn’t really seem to start breaking loose until the heavy bombers – i.e. the USAF – started hammering things.
  3. There might have been secret efforts at present unknown, but at least by press accounts, the Marines were largely out of the war until their recent arrival in the Kandahar neighborhood. Aside from the recovery of the downed helicopter, Army and Air Force special forces, and CIA types, seem to have been the primary ground forces that aided the Northern Alliance, set ambushes in the south, and guided the bombing strikes.
  4. During the transformation debate prior to this war(at least as recorded in the press), I don’t recall anyone really trying the eliminate either carriers or Marines, but there was consideration of how many carriers/marines/fighters/army divisions/everything else are required – and what is the best mix. The transformationalists (is that a word) were big on information fusion, UAVs, remote attacks, and all that – all of which have been successfully employed in this war so far.

So, I wish the best to the Marines (shoot, I’ve even informally recruited for them), and I hope they get their chance to clobber the terrorists, and I am glad the Navy had some carriers. But, I do not think the war in Afghanistan supports the general tone of Mr. de Havilland’s post, which I read as a blanket defense of the current Department of the Navy force structure.

Eric L. Bainter

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