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Pearl Harbor -- The Lessons

December 7, 2015

Today is the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the U.S. into World War II. There were a lot of missteps that led up to that attack, one of which was America’s “Isolationist Approach” to foreign policy and the weakening of our military.  For those who know their history, Pearl Harbor is more than just a memorial; it's a lesson. 

The Threats:

  • China is building Islands in the South China Sea and investing heavily in new military technology in order to project its power in the region.

  • Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon and openly working to develop ICBMs that can reach both the U.S. and Israel. It’s also the world’s leading supporter of global terrorism.

  • Islamic militants continue to gain ground and power in the middle east and throughout Europe.  Paris is not a setback, Al Qaeda is not decimated and ISIS is not the JV Team like Obama told us. 

  • In 2014 Russia invaded the Ukraine. Since then it has threatened NATO countries especially in the Baltic region and moved its air force and anti-air missile batteries into Syria; threatening Turkey.

  • North Korea continues to threaten South Korea, Japan, and even the U.S.

  • In Latin America the cartels disregard borders and threaten authorities.

The Resources:

  • Our military is drastically reduced from the days of the cold war in both size and readiness. When we used to have the capability to wage military operations on two fronts simultaneously, today we would be hard pressed to do so.

  • The Army needs 50 Combat Brigades.  Five years ago it had 45. With spending cuts it now has 32, way below what it needed to face potential threats and to protect U.S. interests around the world.

  • The Navy has historically maintained a 350 ship naval force.  The Navy’s own assessment calls for at least a 308 ship navy, but today it has only 272.

  • The Air Force’s F-15 fleet represents 71% of its combat capability and 90% of our F-15’s life span is already used up making its fleet the oldest in our history. 

  • The baseline for Marines battalions is 36.  Five years ago it had 27.  Now it has 24, requiring longer tours of duty and more frequent recycling of personnel into combat.

  • In Congressional testimony members of the military have made it abundantly clear we can now just barely meet our worldwide commitments and in the next few years we will fall way below what we need to protect U.S. interests and keep American safe.

So what’s the lesson for us today?

  • First restore our armed forces; but don’t put all your trust in our military might and use that might sparingly;

  • Remember Teddy Roosevelt’s saying “Walk softly but carry a big stick;” and

  • Follow the Reagan approach to foreign policy: “Peace through strength.”

In order to do this we need to fund our military and provide it with the resources/personnel it needs to carry out its mission.  Washington, DC, are you listening?

Bill, Mark and John








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