The right-wing has apparently become aware that the United States is part of NATO, and in a recent post to Herman Cain’s website, at least one right-winger has decided to complain about how the United States Marine Corps is deploying with allies due to a “shortage of ships.”
And of course they blamed Obama for it. Because that’s what they do; it’s a pathological derangement.
Meanwhile, their rush to blame Obama overlooks the reality of the situation — the shortage of amphibious deployment ships is the result of a Navy budget drafted in 2011 — not something that King Obama decided by decree.
Reassuring European allies
One of the major reasons the Marines will be deploying aboard NATO ally ships is to “reassure European partners that the U.S. is close at hand to counter Russian saber-rattling,” according to the Marine Corps Times. The Times also noted that using our allies’ ships could get us to “flashpoints faster.”
This is also consistent with the purpose of NATO, according to Brigadier General Norm Cooling:
Working with some partner nations, we could put our forces aboard their maritime platforms and it is consistent with NATO interoperability objectives.
They will be testing to decide whether the various ships can deploy the MV-22B Osprey, which has “unique requirements on deck strength.”
This sort of thing benefits everyone involved — but since American isn’t going it alone, the right-wing is having a conniption.
Another reason they’re training with European allies is because of a described shortage of amphibious deployment craft. The Navy is at 30 amphibious ships, but claims it needs more.
The Navy’s 2012 30-year-plan called for 33 amphibious ships, a compromise with the Marine Corps, who wanted 38. The Navy won’t reach their goal of having 33 ships in the inventory until 2021, according to a 2011 CBO review, due to budget constraints.
These ships are a huge investment of taxpayer dollars. According to that same 2011 CBO report, “Over the next 30 years, the Navy plans to buy 20 new amphibious ships at a total cost of about $50 billion (in 2011 dollars), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.”
That’s not including staff or operating costs. Imagine how many social programs we could fund with that, instead. For $50 billion, we could probably set up a mincome program.
That we’re experiencing a shortage now is actually part of the Navy’s 2012 plan:
Under the 2012 plan, the Navy’s inventory of amphibious ships would reach at least 33 ships for 15 of the next 30 years—between 2017 and 2031. The rest of the time, from 2012 to 2016 and from 2032 to 2041, the amphibious force would fall below that objective.
This is hardly Obama’s fault, and this is hardly a problem. In that same Marine Corps Times article, there’s a single “blink and you’ll miss it” sentence where they mention the Marines will be testing aboard the HMS Ocean, “the United Kingdom’s only amphibious assault ship.”
If the United Kingdom can survive with one amphibious assault ship, we can survive with 30.
The only reason this is a problem is because people like the author writing for Herman Cain want us to police the world, locked in a perpetual stalemate against an ideology that we’ll never beat, dumping tens of billions of dollars into a global game of “whack-a-mole.”
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons